theknightswhosay

Posts Tagged ‘Miami’

LSU Football: The Big Picture

In College Football, General LSU, History on September 24, 2014 at 1:47 PM

I had a couple more LSU thoughts. I never fully process everything the first night. As you may know, LSU has not had an undefeated season since 1958. Now that I’ve seen two national championships, really my long-term hope as a fan is to see another, so the first loss will always be somewhat frustrating.

There has been a game or two every season going back as long as I remember where I get intensely frustrated with the coaches and so forth. I was going to detail several of them, but I decided it would be pointless griping to do so. Hopefully it won’t happen again this season even if there are losses. I think I gave an adequate explanation of why I felt that way in the post-game blog.

I do have some hope that this season can turn out well. Some of the prognosticators have already written LSU off as a contender, but how many one-loss teams have been written off for the two-team playoff (aka BCS) only to come back into the picture or even to play in the title game? There was a one-loss team just about every year.

Of course, in 2007 we had a one-loss team many did write off at #1 (Ohio St.) and a two-loss team at #2 (LSU) going into the championship. If they have to finish with one loss to make the playoff, that means they have to win nine in a row to do so. I certainly wouldn’t put money on that, but I would be less surprised by that than I was by everything that happened in the 2011 calendar year.

Les Miles and LSU after the Tigers won the SEC Championship in 2011.

Les Miles and LSU after the Tigers won the SEC Championship in 2011.

To paraphrase the Mark Twain quote, the reports of LSU’s long-term demise are greatly exaggerated.

I’m not worried about it yet. The last time I was worried about it was 2009 when LSU lost to Houston Nutt’s unranked Ole Miss Rebels. Disastrous time management and Les Miles’ instructing quarterback Jordan Jefferson to spike the ball had caused time to run out on LSU’s final possession at the Ole Miss 6-yard line (Final score: Ole Miss 25, LSU 23), not that they really deserved to win anyway. That was LSU’s 8th loss in 20 games. Rather than spiraling downward from there, LSU has gone 47-10 since the 2009 season ended. If you’re winning over 80% playing the type of competition LSU typically plays, you’re doing something right.

However, a long-term decline is inevitable. I don’t think a single early-season loss to a veteran dual-threat quarterback is a sign it’s all going to hell in a hand-basket, but at some point LSU is not going to be a serious title threat for a while. It will even happen to Alabama. Saban may have to retire, but it will happen. It wasn’t that long ago that Alabama had no serious national-title-contending teams for a decade or so. When they did win in 1992, it was their first national championship since 1979.

Anyway, if LSU has peaked, it has still been a period of success to be extremely proud of. Compare the Tigers to other top programs from around 2003 (the year of LSU’s first national championship since that 1958 undefeated team I mentioned).

Seasons with losses of four games or more since 2003 (inclusive):
LSU 2, with two BCS championships, one runner-up in the same period.
Ohio St. 2, with two BCS runners-up
Oklahoma 2, with two BCS runners-up (I initially forgot to count 2003)
Oregon 4, with one BCS runner-up
USC 4, with one BCS championship, one runner-up (and one AP title)
Texas 4, with one BCS championship, one runner-up
Florida 5, with two BCS championships
Auburn 6, with one BCS championship, one runner-up
Florida St. 7, with one BCS championship
Michigan 7
Miami 8
Nebraska 9

LSU has won two national championships since the last time either Oklahoma or Ohio St. won one, so I wouldn’t switch places with them either.

Tennessee had won a national championship in 1998, just 5 years before LSU won in 2003, but the Vols haven’t had a season with fewer than four losses since 2004. They had a decent run in 2007, but the loss to LSU in the SEC championship game (after Les Miles told everyone to have a great day) was Tennessee’s fourth. That’s certainly an example of a program I hope LSU is not similar to in the foreseeable future.

Alabama wasn’t really a relevant team in the early 2000s, but they’ve had 4 seasons with four losses or more in case you wanted to know, all from 2003 to 2007. Of course, since then the Tide has had three BCS championships and two Sugar Bowl berths.

Tennessee and Alabama were the only programs that won a major national title from 1992 forward that I did not include on the list above. I included Oregon, which hasn’t won any, but they arguably should have made the BCS championship game in 2001 and have been a consistently strong program since, so I thought they deserved inclusion.

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LSU/Alabama Pre-Game + Projected Top 10

In College Football, General LSU, Post-game, Rankings Commentary on November 8, 2013 at 4:46 PM
LSU has won 5 of their last 6 games at Bryant-Denny Stadium and is 8-4 there since 1988.

LSU has won 5 of their last 6 games at Bryant-Denny Stadium and is 8-4 there since 1988.

A lot of people are going to be looking for this (and I give more information about the things I’m going to discuss here): LSU/Alabama Rivalry blog.

I also wanted to list the other posts this week in case you missed any (I usually don’t post so much in a short period of time):
My Top 25
Week 10 Conference Report
All-Blogger Poll Week 10

As to how I feel about this game, I’m not going to sugarcoat it. LSU really needs a big win right now, and I’m not all that optimistic (though a close win would not shock me). I think the win over Alabama in 2010 was what eventually kick-started 2011. Before the game, a lot of people thought Alabama could knock off Auburn that year (which they nearly did) and return to the championship game.

Alabama has only beaten LSU two in a row, the same number LSU had won before that, but it doesn’t feel that way. The bowl game in 2011 was a punch to the gut. I don’t know if LSU has ever had that kind of win over Alabama. I guess I can see an argument for 1993, when LSU was mediocre on a good day and Alabama lost its first game in almost 2 years. I can’t even think of any other candidates though, and that’s not quite the same thing anyway. When you win the year before, it’s not such a disaster. If LSU had won in 2011, the 2012 season wouldn’t have bothered me at all. But it wasn’t just that it took away the national championship that seemed so well within reach, it was also that it basically erased the regular-season win. So that was like two wins in one for Alabama, not to mention that the Tide had another national championship to brag about at LSU’s expense.

Then last year, LSU was probably one first down (or one fourth-down stop) away from beating Alabama. I think that just further cemented a feeling of helplessness that we could outplay them for that much of a game and still lose. It was a flashback to how people older than me described the series before I was born. It didn’t seem to matter how good of a team the Tigers had or how well they played, Alabama seemed to find a way to win. LSU hasn’t snatched away a victory like that anytime recently from Alabama. So the circumstances of those games were so much worse than just happening to lose to a big rival two games in a row.

During the early to mid-2000s, LSU mostly just tried to keep anything exciting from happening and wore out the Tide. Alabama was never in a position where they should have won in the first place (with the possible exception of 2007—more below). The Tide did lead 10-0 in 2005, but LSU tied it with over 20 minutes left in regulation. So other than that overtime game where a three-point deficit is normally considered a good thing (absent some kicking mishap or a ridiculous loss of yardage, the worst that happens is generally another OT), you have to go back to 1988 to find a game where Alabama was leading in the closing seconds only to lose. LSU won that game by a point with a 34-yard field goal following a 68-yard, 149-second drive. The winning points were scored with only 29 seconds left in the game.

Interestingly enough, 2011, 2005, and 1988 were all at Alabama. LSU’s loss last season and the OT loss in 2008 were both at home. Also, that 1993 game I mentioned was at Alabama. Alabama has dominated the series generally, but even when they kept LSU winless at home in the series from 1969 to 2000 (exclusive), the Tigers still won 7 times at Alabama during that time span.

The 2010 game was at LSU, but a similarly crucial game for the Tigers was at Alabama: 2007 after the overtime loss to Kentucky. Had LSU lost that game, it’s actually possible that Les Miles wouldn’t have made it past the 2008 season. I doubt the Tigers would have handled Arkansas (their second triple-overtime loss that season) any better by losing to Alabama, and the season before was good enough for Tiger fans to suffer through a losing conference record in 2008 and four losses (including the clock-management blunder against Ole Miss) in 2009.

2008 might have been an example of what would have happened. When LSU lost in OT to Alabama that season, they barely beat Troy the next week (after rallying from a 31-3 deficit) then lost big to Ole Miss and lost a close game against a losing Arkansas team.

Alabama ended up being the one whose season fell apart instead in 2007, but the Tide had entered that game ranked #17, and didn’t go down easily. Alabama scored 24 unanswered points to take a 10-point lead with just over 16 minutes left in the game and led with as little as three minutes remaining. I guess that’s the closest LSU came to doing what Alabama did last year since 1988.

I’m not saying LSU is not going to show up the rest of the season if the Tigers lose this one or that all hope will be lost for the future, but it could be a sign of the program starting to go downhill: maybe something along the lines of what happened to Tennessee in the last 10-15 years, or what happened to Alabama between Stallings and Saban, or what happened to LSU between 1989 and 1999. Alabama getting a third win in a row in this series would really give them the upper hand going forward, in momentum, with fan and alumni support, and in recruiting. You’re never safe in this conference. At some point, it becomes, “What have you done lately?” The Alabama program, in teenage recruits’ minds especially, is being seen as more and more of a national championship program, and the LSU program is being seen as less and less of one.

Regardless of what LSU does, the national championship probably won’t be on the table like it was in 2007 — even a BCS bowl (what will we even call them next season?) might be hard to accomplish — but having 3 losses (however close) before even playing Texas A&M or going to a bowl game is going to be hard to swallow.

Also, on a lighter note, Oregon wants Bama according to their T-shirts, so we should do our best to make sure the Tide aren’t in the BCS championship game.

Projected Top 10

With the significant top-10 results yesterday, I decided to project the top 10 at the conclusion of the week. I just computed my formula with bye weeks for the teams who haven’t already played and who would not be (or play) a top-10 team. Part of the projection is the teams who are in the top 10 lists and who do play tomorrow would win. Since Alabama is playing a somewhat highly rated team, I did another projection of what it would probably look like with LSU winning.

Projected top 10 if the remaining top 10 teams all win:
1. Florida St.
2. Stanford
3. Alabama
4. Auburn
5. Ohio St.
6. Baylor
7. Missouri
8. Miami
9. Clemson
10. Notre Dame
(LSU would probably fall out of the top 25.)

Projected top 10 if LSU beats Alabama and remaining top 10 teams win:
1. Florida St.
2. Stanford
3. Auburn
4. Ohio St.
5. Baylor
6. Missouri
7. Miami
8. Alabama
9. Clemson
10. Notre Dame
(LSU would probably be #13 behind Fresno St. and Oregon.)

Keep in mind Notre Dame has a bye week next week, so their place in the top 10 would probably be highly temporary if they win Saturday in the first place. Remember also that Pitt was about a 30-yard field goal attempt away from beating the Irish last year. Also, another Michigan loss (they play Nebraska) would hurt the Irish, possibly enough to allow Fresno St. and Oregon to remain ahead of them. Oregon is very close to Fresno St., so it’s also possible that other results would keep the Ducks ahead of both Fresno St. and Notre Dame. Miami will most likely be in the top 10 with a win regardless of other games, but Clemson could get passed up

South Carolina and Michigan St. (as well as Ohio St., Clemson, and Fresno St.) are idle this week and obviously Oklahoma has already played, so absent a slew of losses, they won’t be able to jump over many teams. There is a somewhat sizeable gap between 15 and 16, so I don’t expect any team who is not currently in the top 15 to have much of a shot at the top 10.

Don’t cry for the SEC too much if it doesn’t have a team in the top 2. Alabama plays Auburn, which should help out the winner a lot, and one of them will in all likelihood play for the SEC title.

Conference report after Week 10

In College Football, Conference Reports on November 6, 2013 at 1:37 PM
LSU isn't particularly relevant to this discussion, but I still thought it was a cool picture to go with the SEC logo.  It was taken after LSU went 9-0 against the SEC in 2011.

LSU isn’t particularly relevant to this discussion, but I still thought it was a cool picture to go with the SEC logo. It was taken after LSU went 9-0 against the SEC in calendar year 2011.

Background/Intro

It seems like every year when a bunch of teams make it into the top 25 from the SEC that the claim is made that it’s just SEC hype. These are three common arguments: “They play too many FCS/Sun Belt/CUSA teams,” “All but a few teams are having down years,” “SEC fans only argue the middle of the conference is good because the top of the conference has a bunch of losses.”

I’m not one to argue that you can tell anything by conference records. If one conference has 4 teams with one loss or fewer and another has none, that gives you absolutely no information about which conference is strongest. So we have to look at non-conference records.

Every week with my computer poll, I publish a page called “Conferences & Divisions“. This is an attempt to rank the conferences according to top 10/25/40 membership in my unbiased computer poll. What I’m going to look at here, however, is how the conference as a whole has fared against other conferences.

The next section is how I arrived at #1; the discussions go a lot more quickly (usually with less depth) after that.

1 vs. 2

The best conference record against other conferences, at least by my tally that I keep throughout the year, is the SEC’s at 39-6. Admittedly, that includes 10 FCS wins, which is tied for second-most with the MAC and behind the ACC. Consider that the Pac-12, for instance, has played 10 games against FCS schools, but one was a loss. The ACC, SEC, and Big Ten are the only conferences that are perfect against the FCS this year. Keep in mind that the ACC and SEC each have two more teams than the Big Ten(+2) does. The Big Ten has 9 wins over FCS opponents.

If we take those games completely out, the Pac-12 is slightly better with an 80.8% winning percentage as compared to 80.6%. I think the SEC should still be considered better, all things being equal, due to the lack of an FCS loss. But all things aren’t equal, so we can explore further.

I have Notre Dame as a stand-alone category because they used to have special provisions in the BCS formula as one of the original signatories. Also, I think a program that played in the national championship game last season should qualify for that category anyway.

Anyway, other than that one-team category, the lowest number of losses overall (6 apiece) belong to the SEC and Pac-12. As mentioned, the Pac-12 has the one FCS loss (Oregon St. to Eastern Washington). Cal lost to Northwestern and Ohio St., Notre Dame beat Arizona St. and USC, and Washington St. lost to Auburn. The SEC has nonconference losses by lower teams to Rutgers (by Arkansas), Louisville (by Kentucky), and Western Kentucky (Kentucky again).

Western Kentucky is not a good team, but I think they might beat Eastern Washington. Even if they wouldn’t, I think it’s more understandable for possibly the worst SEC team (the Wildcats are winless in conference) to lose such a game. Western Kentucky only has two more losses than Eastern Washington does. In contrast with Kentucky, Oregon St. is 4-2 in the Pac-12.

I don’t think there is anything to take away from Tennessee losing to Oregon or Washington St. losing to Auburn. Georgia lost to Clemson, and Florida lost to Miami, but Georgia and Florida are probably the 6th and 7th SEC teams right now. That was against the ACC’s #2 and #3, and the ACC is having a relatively strong year, at least at the top.

I guess with Notre Dame’s loss to Michigan, you can be a little more critical of the two Pac-12 teams for losing to the Irish, but Arizona St. is the only one where it looks a little bad so far. USC is more the equivalent of Florida and Georgia in terms of in-conference strength.

The SEC is 8-5 against BCS conferences (+Notre Dame), and the Pac-12 is 6-5 against that same group. The AAC is only barely a BCS conference, so if you take that out, the SEC’s 7-4 is still better than 6-5.

So I think the SEC is fairly #1 and the Pac-12 is fairly #2. Both are over 80% against FBS, and no other conference is over 80% even if you include all opponents including FCS.

Nos. 3 to 7

I’m going with the ACC next. Even though their winning percentage dips to 68% when the FCS wins are taken out, they have fairly big wins. Among the BCS, the Big Ten has beaten Notre Dame (good win, don’t get me wrong), Iowa St., Cal twice, and Syracuse twice, along with a few insignificant AAC teams. The Big XII only has Notre Dame and Mississippi St., along with two wins over SMU.

I think based on Michigan’s position in the Big Ten, the Big Ten’s win over Notre Dame is more significant. Cincinnati and Syracuse twice is better than SMU twice. The bad losses of Rice and Navy are roughly equal, but the Big XII has the two FCS losses.

The AAC is the sixth conference at least, so it shouldn’t be too painful to watch its champion in a BCS bowl. It has a better Division I and FBS record than the Sun Belt, the surprising #7. The Sun Belt is very balanced though, and notably has no teams in my computer ratings above ULL at #49.

Nos. 8 to 11

If I counted Notre Dame as part of the independents, that would make the independents 6th, but apart from playing Navy, the Irish aren’t really in the loop with the other independents, who are now three Western teams along, two service academies, and Old Dominion, which has hardly played any other FBS teams anyway. So I think it makes more sense to just leave them out of that group. Anyway, without Notre Dame, I would put them at #8. BYU has been the only impressive team (despite the baffling loss to Virginia), but Navy’s win over Indiana was another plus.

The MAC and the Mountain West are pretty even. The MAC has a few more wins over BCS teams, but really they each have one meaningful win: Northern Illinois over Iowa and Fresno St. over Rutgers. Against the FBS, the MWC has won 25%, the MAC has won 24.4%. I’m just going to call that a tie.

The CUSA was pretty similar to those two, but I put them last because of some ugly games. Also, they had losing records against the MAC, Mountain West, and Sun Belt. One of their better teams by record is Tulane, which lost to South Alabama. The one major win was East Carolina over North Carolina, which isn’t impressive. There is a loss to Kansas and a loss to Arkansas, the two teams only having 3 FBS wins between them all season. There are also bad losses to New Mexico, Colorado St., Troy, Army, and Bethune-Cookman.

Rankings list

1. SEC
2. Pac-12
3. ACC
4. Big Ten
5. Big XII
6. AAC
7. Sun Belt
8. Independents (excepting Notre Dame)
9 (tie). MAC
9 (tie). MWC
11. CUSA

All-Blogger Poll Week 9

In Blogger Poll, College Football, Rankings Commentary on October 31, 2013 at 1:16 PM

top-4-week-9b

I’m going to try to post something tomorrow about inter-conference games, but it might have to wait until next week. For now, I’m just going to post and discuss the All Blogger Poll.
We have one new voter taking the place of one we had the last couple of weeks, so we’re staying at six. I’ll just say that the voter who happens to be a Michigan fan didn’t submit a proper ballot and was probably not being serious anyway. Anyway, we have a new voter who’s not particularly a fan of any team, but he’s from Texas and now lives in the Los Angeles area, if that means anything.
The returning voters, if you’re not familiar, are an LSU fan, a Texas fan, an Oklahoma fan, a Notre Dame fan, and I (I’m an LSU fan who almost exclusively relies on my computer formula). I’m still open to allowing new voters, I think one with allegiances on either coast might be a nice addition. I think we all try to be reasonably fair, but there are some cases where bias creeps in a bit.

I’ll just make a few comments about the changes to the rankings in this poll and will post them below.

Although Florida St. is 6 points behind for #1, they could challenge if not overtake Alabama with an impressive performance this weekend. They are third, fourth, and fifth on three of the ballots, so they could become #1 by passing up the Tide in two of them or even by being second in all three. Alabama is idle this week after winning by 25 points or more in the last 6 consecutive weeks. On the other hand, none apart from Ole Miss are top 25 candidates in the near future (and Ole Miss hasn’t even gotten any votes here yet). Oregon and Stanford are also idle before facing one another on Nov. 9.

Oklahoma went from #15 into the top 10 after beating Texas Tech, which only fell 4 spots. South Carolina improved from #19 to #13 by beating Missouri, which fell from #4 to #8.
Virginia Tech and UCLA went from Nos. 13 and 14 to barely staying in the top 25 after losses.

There are less clear reasons, other than the change in voters, but there were also notable ranking improvements for Miami, Northern Illinois, Michigan, Michigan St., and Louisville.

BYU, Duke, and Texas St. are all receiving a vote for the first time this week. Houston received votes after not getting any last week. 33 teams got votes this week, and a total of 6 others have gotten votes in prior weeks.

rank/team(first place votes)/total points[last week’s rank]
1 Alabama (4) 146 [ 1 ]
2 Florida St. (2) 140 [ 2 ]
3 Oregon 139 [ 3 ]
4 Ohio St. 134 [ 5 ]
5 Stanford 120 [ 7 ]
6 Miami 115 [ 9 ]
7 Baylor 111 [ 6 ]
8 Missouri 106 [ 4 ]
t9 Oklahoma 95 [ 15 ]
t9 Auburn 95 [ 8 ]
11 LSU 84 [ 12 ]
12 Clemson 82 [ 11 ]
13 S Carolina 74 [ 19 ]
14 Texas Tech 62 [ 10 ]
15 N. Illinois 58 [ 20 ]
16 Fresno St. 52 [ 17 ]
17 TX A&M 46 [ 16 ]
t18 UCF 45 [ 18 ]
t18 Michigan 45 [ 24 ]
20 Okie St. 43 [ 21 ]
21 Mich. St. 36 [ ]
22 Louisville 21 [ ]
t23 Texas 18 [ 25 ]
t23 Va. Tech 18 [ 13 ]
t25 UCLA 14 [ 14 ]
t25 Wisconsin 14 [ ]

Others receiving votes: BYU 10 [ ], Houston 10 [ ], Notre Dame 10 [ ]. Arizona St. 3 [ ], Duke 2 [ ], Texas St. 1 [ ], Oregon St. 1 [ 23 ]

No longer receiving votes: Georgia, Nebraska [22], Florida

Previous rankings:
Week 6
Week 7
Week 8

My Top 25 Week 9

In College Football, Rankings, Rankings Commentary on October 27, 2013 at 1:49 PM

top 4 week 9

I think I can anticipate the first question that most have, and that’s probably something like, “How are Ohio St. and one-loss Stanford ahead of Oregon and Florida St.?”

Put simply, if the season ended right now (without Oregon playing Arizona, Stanford, Oregon St., Pac-12 championship and without Florida St. playing Miami, Florida, ACC championship game), I think the right 1 vs. 2 match-up would be Stanford and Alabama.

Stanford has 7 wins against FBS teams to Oregon’s 6. They’ve beaten Arizona St. and Oregon St., neither of which have played the Ducks (yet). Oregon has their best two wins, Washington and UCLA, in common with Stanford.

Florida St. also only has 6 wins against FBS opponents. After the win over Clemson, the Seminoles’ best win is over #47 Pittsburgh.

Like Stanford, Ohio St. also has an “extra” FBS win, but without the loss of course. The Buckeyes have been rightly criticized for their schedule, but they’ve beaten four teams that are rated higher than Florida St.’s #3 win, Maryland.

Just keep watching in the next two weeks when Ohio St. has approximately 0 points to earn (Purdue doesn’t count for anything at the moment), while Oregon could potentially beat Stanford, and Florida St. could potentially beat Miami and Wake Forest.

Ohio St. could get a lot of points with Michigan, which is another team whose ranking will probably be criticized, but if Michigan isn’t at least a decent team, then they’ll probably lose one or two of their pre-Ohio St. stretch: @Michigan St., Nebraska, @Northwestern, @Iowa. Also, if Ohio St. beats Michigan twice, the second win would end up taking away from the value of the first win.

If Oregon beats Arizona St., for instance, in the Pac-12 championship, they won’t have that problem. Florida St. could have to face Miami again, but Miami is apparently a better team that Michigan and could possibly pick up a couple of top-25 wins (and maybe three top-40 wins), depending on other results) between the two games.

As South Carolina shows (by going from #18 to unranked and back up to #16 in just three weeks), the teams are a lot closer together lower down in the top 25, so that’s something else to keep in mind. The gap between Alabama and Michigan is 0.4. To get to a team that far below Michigan, you have to go all the way down to #45. So don’t think that Ohio St. will necessarily beat a top-15 team in Michigan. The Wolverines may not even be ranked with a couple of losses down the stretch. On the other hand, Florida might be ranked in the top 20 when Florida St. plays them.

Top 25

rank / team / prior

1 Alabama 1
2 Stanford 4
3 Ohio St. 5
4 Florida St. 3
5 Oregon 6
6 Auburn 7
7 Missouri 2
8 Miami 9
9 Oklahoma 11
10 Clemson 8
11 Fresno St. 14
12 Baylor 12
13 Michigan 15
14 LSU 16
15 N. Illinois 17
16 S Carolina —
17 Va. Tech 13
18 TX Tech 10
19 TX A&M 25
20 Mich. St. —
21 Houston —
22 Notre Dame 21
23 UCF 18
24 Louisville 22
25 Arizona St. 19

Out of rankings: (20) Oregon St., (23) UCLA, (24) Georgia

All 126 teams

Prior rankings:
Preseason
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
Week 5
Week 6
Week 7
Week 8

All-Blogger Poll Week 7 and Week 8 Preview

In Blogger Poll, College Football, Rankings Commentary on October 17, 2013 at 2:43 PM

This week, the submissions are from two LSU fans (myself included), one Texas fan, one Oklahoma fan, one Michigan fan (new participant), and one Notre Dame fan. All the contributors from last week have returned.

All-Blogger Poll Week 7

rank/team(first place votes)/total points[last week’s rank]
1 Alabama (5) 149 [ 1 ]
2 Oregon (1) 138 [ 2 ]
3 Clemson 137 [ 3 ]
4 Ohio St. 129 [ 5 ]
5 Florida St. 125 [ 6 ]
6 LSU 119 [ 8 ]
7 Missouri 102 [ 21 ]
8 Miami 96 [ 11 ]
9 UCLA 94 [ 13 ]
10 Baylor 91 [ 19 ]
11 Stanford 86 [ 4 ]
12 Louisville 83 [ 12 ]
13 TX A&M 81 [ 10 ]
14 S Carolina 74 [ 14 ]
15 Va. Tech 66 [ 23 ]
16 Texas Tech 59 [ 17 ]
17 Oklahoma 51 [ 9 ]
18 Fresno St. 42 [ 20 ]
19 Georgia 41 [ 7 ]
20 Auburn 29 [ ]
21 Florida 27 [ 18 ]
22 N. Illinois 25 [ 24 ]
23 Nebraska 18 [ ]
24 Mich. St. 14 [ ]
25 Texas 13 [ ]

Others receiving votes: Okie St. 12 [ 25 ], Houston 11 [ ], Washington 11 [ 15 ], Michigan 11 [ 16 ], Wisconsin 6 [ ], Oregon St. 3 [ ], Utah 2 [ ], Notre Dame 2 [ ], N’western 2 [ 22 ]

Oregon edged Clemson on the last ballot, which also kept Alabama from being perfect. It will be interesting to see what happens if Clemson wins on Saturday. If you were wondering, Texas’s only points come from the two Big X(II) participants. The Missouri/Georgia game caused the most movement, as Missouri shot up 14 spots and Georgia fell 12. The Bulldogs did not appear at all in two of the rankings.

Stanford only fell 7 spots, and Oklahoma only fell 8 spots. Auburn’s jump into the top 25 was a bit of a mystery. We’ll see how well they can defend their position against Johnny Football and the Aggies, who fell three spots after a lackluster performance at Ole Miss. Baylor made a significant jump (9 spots) despite a relatively unspectacular win over Kansas St. Virginia Tech also moved up considerably (8 spots) after beating an unranked Pitt team, also by 10. Washington and Michigan both fell dramatically after losses.

Previous ranking

Week 8 Preview

I referenced a couple interesting games this week above. This was the hardest week for me to pick so far, at least among the top 25. I could see Auburn upsetting Texas A&M, being dominated, or anywhere in between. I think Florida will beat Missouri, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Gators’ offense can’t score enough points to accomplish that.

I have no idea who’s more likely to win the FSU/Clemson game. I picked Clemson since they’re at home and I think they proved a lot in the Georgia game. That team we saw in Athens last week was not the team Clemson beat. But none of that means that Florida St. isn’t better, they just haven’t shown it yet. They blew out Maryland, but I’m skeptical Maryland deserved to be ranked (or even come close) in the first place.

If Ole Miss plays the same game they played against Texas A&M, I’m going to be a little worried for my Tigers. Games against Ole Miss (apart from the disaster of Houston Nutt’s last season) are usually pretty close. Hopefully, they used all their energies on the Texas teams, as they also did pretty well against the Horns.

Arizona St./Washington is an interesting contest as well. Arizona St. seems to get preseason hype fairly often before it fizzles. Washington could well be a top-10 team as far as quality, despite the two losses (to Stanford and Oregon). I wouldn’t go by these rankings. Keep in mind that we have no one with a West-coast cheering interest. If you have any suggestions of how to change that, let me know.

There are a couple other major Pac-12 games of note. Utah faces Arizona, which may be another case of hype going up against on-field accomplishments, although the Utes had a couple of questionable performances before upsetting Stanford last week. Speaking of which, UCLA travels to Stanford. I guess we’ll see if there are any serious challengers to the superiority of the Pac-12 North. Seems incredible, but with a win, UCLA could be in the top 5 in the initial BCS standings. There is one other major game involving a Pac-12 team, and that’s USC travelling to Notre Dame. Both teams have two losses already, which takes a little bit away from the rivalry, but either could return to the top 25 with a couple more good wins. Oregon plays Washington St., but I don’t expect that to be close for more than a half (if it’s even close beyond the first few minutes).

There are a couple of non-major games of note, both involving AAC teams. The AAC is a BCS conference this season, but I think few people take them seriously in the national-title hunt. Houston plays an enigmatic BYU team (which has lost to Virginia, blown out Texas, nearly beat Utah, and looked better against Georgia Tech than the U. of Miami had). Louisville puts their undefeated record on the line against Central Florida, but there will be more pressure because it’s a conference game. The Cardinals have won every game by at least 14 so far. Houston has looked shaky a couple of times.

College Football Top 25 Week 2

In College Football, Rankings on September 9, 2013 at 1:22 PM

Top 25

rank / team / prior

1 Alabama 1
2 Ohio St. 2
3 Stanford 3
4 Oregon 4
5 LSU 5
6 Clemson 6
7 Georgia 7
8 Louisville 8
9 S Carolina 9
10 TX A&M 10
11 Oklahoma 13
12 Washington 16
13 TCU 17
14 Florida St. 18
15 Miami —
16 Michigan 24
17 Ole Miss 20
18 N’western 21
19 Wisconsin 22
20 Okie St. 23
21 Mich. St. 19
22 Nebraska 25
23 Auburn —
24 Baylor —
25 Florida 12

Out of rankings: (11) Texas, (14) USC,
(15) Notre Dame

Prior rankings:
Preseason
Week 1