Wednesday, October 5, 2016

2016 NCAA Football Top 25 Rankings (Week Five!)

Tell the Associated Press to take a hike ... these are the only college pigskin rankings you ought to pay any attention to.

By: Jimbo X

This Week's Episode:
"I'll A.C.C. you in hell"

The A.P.? The USA Today's Coaches Poll? Whatever jibber-jabber is being puked out over at ESPN and Bleacher Report? Puh-leeze, we all know those alleged "Top 25" countdowns are pathetic jokes penned by homers, Power Five loyalists and Notre Dame nuthuggers. That's why I decided to release my own weekly rundown of the best FBS college football squads in the States, completely devoid of all the usual fanboyism and corporate malarkey that makes lists of the like elsewhere so unbelievably annoying.

Throughout the regular season, a new installment will go up every Wednesday morning, so you may want to bookmark this sucker for future reference ... and to show to all of your fellow NCAA football lovin' chums, so they can know that - at least somewhere out in the tangled, endlessly frustrating World Wide Web - there's someone on the Internet with some goddamn horse sense when it comes to ranking college 'ball teams.

Clemson (5-0)
Next Opponent: vs. Boston College (Oct. 07)

In the absolute biggest game of the college football season thus far, Deshaun Watson more than rose to the occasion. In a thrilling 42-36 win over the red hot Louisville Cardinals, Clemson's QB had a hell of a game, lobbing the rock for five touchdown passes and 306 yards (plus another 91 rushing yards.) Granted, he also threw three interceptions, but I reckon his late fourth quarter heroics easily cancel out that trifling little criticism.

Alabama (5-0)
Next Opponent: vs. Arkansas (Oct. 08)

Another 'Bama game, another defensive showcase. While Jalen Hurts looked good in the 34-6 win over Kentucky (he finished the game with 262 passing yards and two touchdowns on 20 completions), the Tide's defense was definitely the most impressive aspect of the victory. At the final horn, the Wildcats had only accumulated an anemic 89 passing yards ... and an even more iron-deficient 72 yards rushing. 

Ohio State (4-0)
Next Opponent: vs. Indiana (Oct. 08)

There was absolutely no drama in the Buckeyes 58-0 obliteration of Rutgers. J.T. Barrett had a tremendous showing, going 21 for 29 on pass attempts with 239 total aerial yards (and with them, four touchdown strikes.) Don't sleep on stellar running back Mike Weber, neither - he finished the route with 144 yards and one TD gallop on 14 carries. 

Michigan (5-0)
Next Opponent: vs. Rutgers (Oct. 08)

In a defensive showcase, the Wolverines just barely outlasted conference foes Wisconsin 14-7. While Wilton Speight was OK (he went 20 for 32 for 218 yards and one TD), really, it was Michigan's D that keep them competitive here, with the boys in blue and gold intercepting Badgers' QB Alex Hornibrook no less than three times

Houston (5-0)
Next Opponent: vs. Navy (Oct. 08)

The Cougars absolutely creamed helpless, hapless and hopeless UConn last Thursday night, with Greg Ward, Jr. and company beating the Huskies 42-14. Speaking of Ward, he had perhaps his most impressive game of the season, going 32 for 38 on passing attempts for 389 yards and three touchdowns. Oh, and he picked up another 65 yards - plus another two TDs - with his feet, just because.  

Washington (5-0)
Next Opponent: vs. Oregon (Oct. 08)

The Huskies obliterated the always singular Cardinal last Friday night, positively throttling Stanford 44-6. Washington QB Jake Browning had 210 yards and 3 touchdowns in the outing, while receiver Myles Gaskin wrapped up the affair with 100 yards and two TDs on 18 carries. Just as impressive? The Huskies' defense, which held Stanford to an astonishingly low 29 rushing yards all game long. 

Texas A&M (5-0)
Next Opponent: vs. Tennessee (Oct. 08)

Although Trevor Knight  (206 yards, no TDs and one INT on 23 completions) didn't impress in his team's 24-13 win over South Carolina, he didn't really have, to considering the effectiveness and efficiency of the Aggies' running back corps. In all, A&M's scramblers collected 216 yards and three rushing scores, with Trayveon Williams leading the pack with 98 yards on 14 carries.

Tennessee (5-0)
Next Opponent: vs. Texas A&M (Oct. 08)

With just four seconds left on the clock, Joshua Dobbs made sure he'll never have to pay for a meal in Knoxville ever again when he lobbed a last second Hail Mary touchdown pass to put the Vols over UGA, 34-31. While the dramatic conclusion overshadows everything else about the game, Dobbs' overall stats from the outing shouldn't be overlooked - he finished the SEC East showdown with an impressive 230 yards and three touchdowns on just 16 completions. 

Baylor (5-0)
Next Opponent: vs. Kansas (Oct. 15)

Iowa State made it close, but they still couldn't fight off the advances of Baylor, who won a very, very tight 45-42 road game. The Bears running back committee did an excellent job controlling the tempo of the game, ultimately finishing the consensual(?) contest with 469 rushing yards and five touchdowns on the ground. The game ball definitely belongs to halfback Shock Linwood, who wrapped up the day with a remarkable 237 yards on 25 carries.

Miami (4-0)
Next Opponent: vs. Florida State (Oct. 08)

The Hurricanes had no troubles in Atlanta over the weekend, besting Georgia Tech 35-21 in a relatively facile road win. Still, there are some things to be worried about if you bleed orange and green. Not only did Brad Kaaya have a pretty ho-hum day (241 yards and just one TD on 13 completions), the Canes' defense let GT run all over them, with the the Yellow Jackets ultimately racking up 267 rushing yards in their losing effort.

Nebraska (5-0)
Next Opponent: vs. Indiana (Oct. 15)

Are the Cornhuskers for real? Despite their 31-16 win against Illinois last Saturday, the team really hasn't gone toe-to-toe with what you would call "elite" competition so far this season (and in the closest they've gotten, they almost got beat by Oregon.) Still, Tommy Armstrong, Jr. is playing pretty well and Terrell Newby - who had 140 yards and two TDs in Nebraska's win over the weekend - is slowly shaping up into one of the most consistently productive backs in college football. 

Boise State (4-0)
Next Opponent: vs. New Mexico (Oct. 07)

The blue turfers continue to impress, with their latest victory a 21-10 "W" over Utah State. While quarterback Brett Rypien had a solid enough showing (163 yards and two touchdowns on 15 completions), it was the Broncos run game that really put Boise State in the driver's seat. Talented halfback Jeremy McNichols concluded the game 132 yards on 30 carries ... albeit, without recording any end zone visitations.

West Virginia (4-0)
Next Opponent: vs. Texas Tech (Oct. 15)

Skyler Howard was definitely the difference maker in the Mountaineers' one-point win over Kansas State. West Virginia's quarterback had 298 yards on 24 completions in the 17-16 win, with receiver Shelton Gibson (104 yards on just three catches) and halfback Justin Crawford (104 yards and a TD on 18 carries) also doing their part to keep the Big 12 overperformers among the ranks of the (surprisingly) unbeaten.

Air Force (4-0)
Next Opponent: vs. Wyoming (Oct. 07)

In a 28-14 win over Navy, the Falcons' defense showed some positive signs and some fairly negatives ones. On the negative side of the equation, they let Will Worth lob the rock for 260 yards (and remember, Navy is not a team that likes to throw the ball ... for any reason.) But as positives, Air Force did intercept Worth twice, and they held Navy's potent rushing attack to just 57 yards. And holy shit, did I laugh my head off when I found out an Air Force played named "Timothy McVey" scored a touchdown. 

Maryland (4-0)
Next Opponent: vs. Penn State (Oct. 08)

The Terrapins continued their winning ways, absolutely beating the dog shit out of Purdue 50-7. While the Boilermakers had about 100 more passing yards than Maryland, the Terrapins positively butt fucked their foes on the ground. The final rushing yardage count from last Saturday's match-up? Purdue, 10, Maryland, four-fucking-hundred

Western Michigan (5-0)
Next Opponent: vs. Northern Illinois (Oct. 08)

The other other team in Michigan is doing pretty well for themselves. The Broncos improved to 5-0 on the season following last Saturday's 49-10 win over Central Michigan, in which QB Zach Terrell threw three touchdowns, two of which were ran in by talented receiver Corey Davis. Also looking good in the outing was running back Jarvion Franklin, who finished the contest with 132 yards and two rushing touchdowns on 23 carries. 

Louisville (4-1)
Next Opponent: vs. Duke (Oct. 14)

Last Saturday's prime-time donnybrook with Clemson was everything we hoped it would be and then some. Unfortunately, it didn't have the outcome Cardinals fans wanted, as Louisville dropped a close one to Clemson, 42-36. While Lamar Jackson didn't put up his usual NFL Fever 2003 numbers, his stats were still rather impressive: he went 1:1 on TDs to INTs thrown, ultimately collecting 295 passing yards on 27 completions (and oh yeah, another two scrambling touchdowns, and another 162 yards on the ground.) 

North Carolina (4-1)
Next Opponent: vs. Virginia Tech (Oct. 08)

And with a fateful 54-yard field goal as time expired, the Tar Heels may have effectively ended the season of the Florida State Seminoles. While the 37-35 upset win will likely forever be known as Jimbo Fisher's Waterloo, you really shouldn't discount what UNC has done this season. And their quarterback, Mitch Trubisky, is pretty damned good, too; last Saturday, he lobbed the rock for more than 400 yards and recorded three touchdown passes on 31 completions.

Wisconsin (4-1)
Next Opponent: vs. Ohio State (Oct. 15)

Even after you factor in Alex Hornibrook's three interceptions, the Badgers kept the game against Michigan over the weekend  very close. Alas, even in the narrow 14-7 loss, it's pretty obvious this team has some major deficiencies when it comes to offense: do you start with the fact that they only recorded 88 passing yards in their last defeat, or the fact that they only recorded 71 yards rushing?

Florida (4-1)
Next Opponent: vs. LSU (Oct. o8)

There is really no excuse for the Gators struggling as much as they did against Vanderbilt, but they nonetheless managed to eke out an absurdly slim 13-6 win over the weekend. Believe it or not, the Commodores actually managed to outrun Florida 147 yards to 92, and they kept it surprisingly close when it came to the passing tally (where Florida held a narrow 144 to 118 lead.) Still, Vanderbilt lobbed two costly interceptions, and the Gators were more than happy settling for field goals in a minimalist outing. 

Arkansas (4-1)
Next Opponent: vs. Alabama (Oct. 08)

The Razorbacks positively sodomized Alcorn State over the weekend, pounding the Braves into submission in a commanding 52-10 win. Especially impressive was Arkansas' rushing attack, which saw backs DevWah Whaley and Rawleigh Williams III combine for 261 yards and a TD saunter on 22 total carries. The question now is, does Arkansas have the defensive chops to upset Nick Sabin's boys this weekend

Arizona State (4-1)
Next Opponent: vs. UCLA (Oct. 08)

The Sun Devils tasted defeat for the first time this season, having dropped a late Saturday contest against USC 41-20. Manny Wilkins - who, for the most part, has been pretty solid this season - had his worst showing of the year, going 13 for 24 and recording just 148 yards of aerial offense ... with no touchdowns. Oh, and their pass defense sucked royally, having allowed the Trojans to lob the rock for a far too high 366 yards. 

Utah (4-1)
Next Opponent: vs. Arizona (Oct. 08)

The Utes dropped a heart breaker Saturday, falling to California 28-23. Troy Williams had no touchdown passes, but he nonetheless was able to pick up 266 yards on 24 completions. The defense also held up fairly well in the losing effort, limiting Cal's rushing attack to only 56 yards. Granted, they still let Davis Webb throw the ball for 306 yards and four touchdowns, so don't kid yourself into thinking this isn't a squad without some major defensive deficiencies. 

Stanford (3-1)
Next Opponent: vs. Washington State (Oct. 08)

Following last week's horrendous 44-6 loss to Washington, the always singular Cardinal are going to have to do a lot of work to even think about being considered for the National Championship playoffs. A good place to start retooling this team? The stagnant rushing attack, which posted a measly 29 yards in the drubbing by the Cougars. 

Colorado (4-1)
Next Opponent: vs. USC (Oct. 08)

The Buffaloes made short work of Oregon State, beating the beavers (huh, huh) 47-6 last Saturday. Shay Fields is definitely a name to remember; in the one-sided hammering, the talented receiver posted 169 yards and three touchdowns on only seven carries. 


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