Wednesday, October 12, 2016

2016 NCAA Football Top 25 Rankings (Week Six!)

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:
"The Whittling Begins"

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 (6-0)
Next Opponent: vs. N.C. State (Oct. 15)

As expected, the Tigers ran through Boston College like it wasn't no thing, beating the Eagles 56-10 in a very, very noncompetitive match-up. Of course, Deshaun Watson looked great (he did lob four touchdown passes and collect 266 aerial yards on just 14 completions), but Clemson's running game was just as solid. At the final horn, the Tigers had collected 229 yards, plus another three touchdowns, on the ground, with talented back Wayne Gallman leading the pack with 109 yards and a solo TD scamper on nine carries.

Alabama (6-0)
Next Opponent: vs. Tennessee (Oct. 15)

The Tide were never really in a bind in their 49-30 win over Arkansas, having leapt out to a huge 35-17 lead at halftime. Jalen Hurts (two TDs, one INT and 253 yards on 13 completions) got a lot of help from back Damien Harris (122 yards on 13 carries) and receiver ArDarius Stewart (120 yards on five catches), but defensively, Alabama just shit the bed. While Bama's D held the Razorbacks to just 73 yards on the ground, they also let Austin Allen lob the rock for a preposterous 400 yards.

Michigan (6-0)
Next Opponent: vs. Illinois (Oct. 22) 

There are ass beatings, and then there's Michigan's 78-0 mauling of Rutgers. Oh goodness, there are so many freaky stats from this one it's hard to pick a favorite. Is it Wilton Speight's surprisingly low passing stats (one TD and 100 yards on just six completions), or is it the fact that no less than three Michigan backs had two rushing touchdowns apiece (with the team's top rusher, Chris Evans, leading the pack with 153 yards but strangely no TDs?) Ultimately, I think the defensive figures best tell the tale here - at the end of the fourth, Rutgers had just 34 rushing yards and - almost impossibly - only five yards of aerial offense

Ohio State (5-0)
Next Opponent: vs. Wisconsin (Oct. 15)

With the Buckeyes pouring on 21 second quarter points, the outcome of last Saturday's contest against Indiana was never in question (it was a 38-17 Ohio State win, in case you were wondering.) J.T. Barrett actually had one of his weaker showings of the season in the outing, lobbing the rock just 93 yards on nine completions (with one resulting in a TD and one resulting in an INT.) He did look a little bit better running the pigskin, though - he wound up with 137 yards and another scrambling touchdown on 26 carries.

Washington (6-0)
Next Opponent: vs. Oregon State (Oct. 22)

The Huskies are starting to run away with the PAC-12, especially following their 70-21 annihilation of Oregon. Yeah, you could chide the team's defense for letting the Ducks rack up 230 yards of rushing offense (even though Washington put up 378 rushing yards, themselves), but really, the story of this game was Jake Browning, who racked up 304 yards and six passing touchdowns on 22 completions.

Texas A&M (6-0)
Next Opponent: vs. Alabama (Oct. 22)

While the Aggies squandered a two touchdown lead late, they nonetheless managed to overcome the Vols 45-38 in double overtime. Trevor Knight was mediocre (he went 17 for 34 for 239 yards, two TDs and two INTs) but back Trayveon Williams was a goddamn pimp: at the final horn, he had 217 yards and a rushing TD on 28 carries.

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

Baylor took the week off (no doubt welcoming the opportunity to chase down co-eds in their downtime) ahead of this Saturday's conference clash with Kansas. Posting 42.6 points per game (along with an average of 568 all purpose yards), Baylor is the 20th ranked team in college ball. Interestingly, that's also their overall rank in terms of defense, having allowed foes to average just 19.2 points and 341 yards per game against them so far this season.

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

The Cornhuskers did whatever cornhuskers do when they are not playing football (a wild guess here, but I think it's mostly husking corn) during they bye week. Heading into this weekend's match-up with Indiana, Nebraska ranks 58th in terms of total NCAA offense (that's 37 points and 473 yards a game) and 21st in terms of defense (allowing 17.6 points and 347 yards per game.)

Boise State (5-0)
Next Opponent: vs. Colorado State (Oct. 15)

The Broncos remain undefeated following their 49-21 win over New Mexico. Quarterback Brett Rypien had arguably his best performance to date in the victory, accumulating 391 yards and five touchdowns on 21 completions, with receivers Thomas Sperback and and Cedrick Wilson both catching at least two touchdown passes and racking up 160-yards plus apiece.

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

The unbeaten Mountaineers took a breather this weekend, with the Red Raiders next up on the schedule. With 29 points and 505 yards per game, they are the 95th ranked NCAA offense. Allowing 20 points and 419 yards per game, they also possess college football's 18th ranked defense.

Western Michigan (6-0)
Next Opponent: vs. Akron (Oct. 15) 

The Broncos improve to 6-0 on the season after beating Northern Illinois 45-30. Zach Terrell recorded three touchdowns and 327 passing yards on 18 completions, with back Jarvion Franklin chalking up 169 yards on 31 carries. Before you pencil in W. Michigan as a non-power five gatecrasher, however, keep in mind their defense still has quite a few kinks to work out - after all, they did let the Huskies drop 484 all purpose yards on them in the contest.

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

Lamar Jackson and pals, having tasted defeat for the first time two weeks ago against Clemson, sat last Saturday out. They reemerge this weekend to go toe-to-toe with a dangerous Duke team eager to score the upset of the year. When it comes to overall offense, the Cardinals are no. 1 in the nation, posting an average of 659 yards and 58 points a game. Defensively, they are 13th in the NCAA, allowing adversaries to average 234 yards and 26.4 points against them per outing.

Virginia Tech (4-1)
Next Opponent: vs. Syracuse (Oct. 15)

And with a 34-3 throttling of UNC, the Hokies all of a sudden find themselves in the thick of the ACC title hunt. While VT's offensive stats really aren't much to flaunt (although Jerod Evans did collect two passing touchdowns, plus another rushing score, for a 134-yard total offensive showing), their defense is unmistakably awesome. Want numerical proof? In last Saturday's contest, they held the Tar Heels to just 73 yards rushing and only 58 yards passing.

Miami (4-1)
Next Opponent: vs. North Carolina (Oct. 15)

When this season is all said and done, it very well could have been that missed extra point late in the fourth that kept Miami out of the ACC championship. Brad Kaaya (214 yards, two touchdowns and one interception on 19 completions) looked good enough in the devastating 20-19 loss to Florida State, but the Seminoles clearly controlled the tempo in this one, outyarding Miami 240 to 214 by air and 167 to 62 on the ground.

Tennessee (5-1)
Next Opponent: vs. Alabama (Oct. 15)

The Vols tasted defeat for the first time this season, dropping a heart breaker to Texas A&M 45-38 in double O.T. Joshua Dobbs had a quasi-decent afternoon (398 aerial yards on 28 completions, but with a 1-to-2 TD-to-INT ratio), but Alvin Kamara was pretty bad ass as a dual threat back; he wrapped up the game with an impressive two touchdowns and 127 yards on 18 carries, and an even more impressive 161 receiving yards - plus another TD - on eight catches.

Florida (4-1)
Next Opponent: vs. Missouri (Oct. 15)

Thanks to Hurricane Matthew, we didn't get our regularly scheduled LSU vs. Florida match-up last weekend. As such, the Gators remain 4-1 heading into their showdown with fellow SEC East rival Mizzou. Five games into the season, the Gators possess division I college ball's 91st ranked offense. However, allowing an absurd 11.6 points per game and only 1,152 total offensive yards this season, they also possess the absolute best defense in all of the NCAA.

Utah (5-1)
Next Opponent: vs. Oregon State (Oct. 15)

Down 14-10 at halftime, the Utes quickly dumped 17 points on Arizona in the third quarter en route to a 36-23 victory. While Utah's defense allowed the Wildcats aerial offense to carve them up all day (the total count is 348 yards, if you were wondering), Utah's run game definitely bailed them out with 210 rushing yards and three ground-based scores - including two TDs ran in by QB Troy Williams himself.

Arizona State (5-1)
Next Opponent: vs. Colorado (Oct. 15)

The Sun Devils just barely squeaked by UCLA, but they nonetheless managed to pick up the narrow 23-20 win, thanks in no small part to the Bruins lobbing three interceptions. It's also a fairly historic game in the pantheon of the NCAA kicking football game, as Sun Devil's kicker Zane Gonzalez booted his 89th career field goal ... a new all-time Division I record.

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

The Badgers took the weekend off, and they'll have a hell of a challenge waiting them this Saturday when they return to play against the Buckeyes. Five games into the season, the Badgers possess the 117th ranked offense in college football, averaging 360 yards and 26 points a game. They fare much better defensively, ranked no. 8 in the country and allowing opposing teams to average 291 yards and 12.2 points per game.

Navy (4-1)
Next Opponent: vs East Carolina (Oct. 13)

In what may very well be the biggest upset of the college football season so far, the Midshipmen shocked the ever-loving dog shit out of Houston, possibly derailing the non-power five favorite's National Championship aspirations via a 46-40 win. Never mind Navy QB Will Worth only racking up just 76 yards of aerial offense (although two of his three completions did result in touchdowns), the stellar Midshipmen run game was definitely the difference maker in this one. The final rushing tally? Houston, 125, Navy, 306.

Houston (5-1)
Next Opponent: vs. Tulsa (Oct. 15)

The Cougars' National Championship campaign took a potentially fatal hit this weekend, as the highly touted ACC crew dropped a close one to Navy, 46-40. Still, Greg Ward, Jr., had a pretty great day, stats-wise, recording 359 yards and three touchdowns (along with - ouch - two interceptions) plus another 94 rushing yards in the losing effort. Receivers Linell Bonner and Steven Dunbar also looked solid in defeat, racking up 117 and 112 yards, respectively.

N.C. State (4-1)
Next Opponent: vs. Clemson (Oct. 15)

The Wolfpack bested the Irish last Saturday 10-3 in one of the sloshiest, rain-soaked football games you'll ever see in your life. Considering the field conditions, offense was at a premium in the affair, but N.C. State nonetheless managed to outdo free-falling Notre Dame. While the Writhin' Irish only posted 59 yards of rushing offense, the Wolfpack managed to collect 157 running yards, despite the turf, effectively, being a Slip'N Slide.

Wake Forest (5-1)
Next Opponent: vs. Florida State (Oct. 15)

The Demon Deacons had no trouble getting past Syracuse, defeating the men of Orange 28-9. Quarterback John Wolford posted lackluster numbers (140 total aerial yards and an INT on 13 completions), but the Wake Forest run game was definitely effective; at the final bell, they had amassed 190 yards - and three touchdowns - on the ground, with Wolford himself ambling in two of 'em.

Air Force (4-1)
Next Opponent: vs. New Mexico (Oct. 15)

The Falcons tasted defeat for the fist time this season, dropping a fairly close contest to Wyoming 35-26. QB Nate Romine was very inconsistent in the matchup - he lobbed the ball just six times during the entire game, and although two of those passes resulted in aerial touchdowns, three of them got intercepted.

San Diego State (4-1)
Next Opponent: vs. Fresno State (Oct. 14)

The Rebels were no match for the Aztecs, as SDSU topped UNLV 26-7. While San Diego State QB Christian Chapman had a pretty good game (215 passing yards and a TD on 15 completions), perhaps the bigger story is just how stellar Aztecs' passing defense is - after all, they did manage to hold UNLV to just nine aerial yards throughout 60 minutes of play.


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