Anyone can put together a basic college football top 25 poll, but I’m going to approach my weekly rankings a little differently. After Week 9’s games, we’re taking a look at who the best teams in each P5 league are, the best G5 team and we’ve also got our own Top 10 ranking.
By the way, if you want to see my last set of rankings, you can check them out here.
Top of the Big 12: TCU Horned Frogs
I resisted putting the Frogs at the top of my list after my last post but I couldn’t help myself this time. After tearing down West Virginia on Thursday night, Trevone Boykin and TCU proved to me that they are the best team in the league and still could be the best in nation. Boykin torched the Mountaineers (and received a high-five from WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen for his efforts) and cemented himself as the best player in the Big 12. I firmly believe that right now, with as well as Coleman is playing at Baylor, as good as his own teammate Josh Doctson has been this season, Boykin is the player of the year in the conference and, what a surprise, the best player is leading his team to the top of the polls. Football is a QB-driven game, and in a conference with pathetically low amounts of quality defense, I’m happy to hitch my wagon to a QB who is netting 431.4 total yards from scrimmage per game on his own like Boykin is.
The Horned Frogs have a rough road ahead, as their final four games (alternating away/home) consist of Oklahoma State, the unstoppable juggernaut that is the Ryan Willis-led Kansas Jayhawks, Oklahoma and Baylor, the other team who could make a claim as the best team in the conference. That is going to be the biggest matchup of the season and will likely determine who heads to the College Football Playoff, but for now I’m taking the better coached, more athletic, starting quarterback-having team that is TCU.
Top of the SEC: LSU Tigers
The Tigers didn’t actually play this week, but that doesn’t hurt their spot in the rankings at all, since no team that did play this week was going to pass them, despite all the quality losses they gave one another. The same points ring true for LSU this week that did two weeks ago when the last edition of these rankings were released. They have the nation’s top running back and arguably top player overall, a quarterback that is progressing and improving every week and a defense that can contain anyone. Alabama is a hell of a team as well, as they always are these days, and the F/+ rankings as of October 31 actually have them placed above LSU (I’m fine utilizing these rankings since neither team played this week), but considering they lost to an Ole Miss team that has since lost to Florida, Memphis (which is a legit team, by the way) and has struggled with Auburn. Yes, I’m reaching to discredit that Bama loss, but it’s enough to push them down when LSU is still undefeated. Next week’s matchup between the two in Death Valley will determine the conference’s top dog for good.
Top of the Pac-12: Stanford Cardinal
The Cardinal barely survived the Washington State Cougars in Pullman this week in the latest edition of Pac-12 After Dark. More specifically, they won thanks to a kicker missing a 43-yard field goal attempt after he had already made 5 kicks in the game. Such is life late night in the Pac-12. On a positive note for Stanford though, they bounced back and played well after a very slow start, thanks in large part to veteran quarterback Kevin Hogan making good decisions and picking up big yardage with his legs (also WSU’s Luke Falk made a few terrible decisions with the ball but let’s leave that alone for now). It’s hard to bump Utah down, despite their loss last week against USC. They’re still a very good team with just one loss, although that loss was a bad one against an under-performing Trojans team. Stanford has a slightly better offense than Utah while the Utes have a superior defense, but frankly the eye test lends credence to the notion that Stanford is playing better football right now. Utah is close, but I’ll go with the Cardinal this time around.
Top of the Big Ten: Ohio State Buckeyes
It was really hard for me to not place Iowa in this spot this week. Sure, Ohio State (and Michigan State for that matter) is still undefeated too, but an undefeated Hawkeyes squad that pounds teams into submission is just so thrilling. No, I’m serious. But it’s hard to take the top spot in the conference away from the defending champs, even after they had a bye week and their starting quarterback was arrested for an OVI. The combination of JT Barrett and Cardale Jones is incredibly efficient regardless of who starts, considering OSU is tied in second in the Big Ten in passer rating (with also-undefeated Michigan State). The Buckeyes also have the conference’s top rushing attack in terms of yards per game. Oh and they have the top scoring offense in the league and the fourth best scoring defense as well, allowing just 22 points per game. Finally, to be frank, I’m not knocking Ohio State down until someone beats them, plain and simple. Michigan State is still really good, Iowa is really good, but until they’re defeated, Ohio State reigns in the Big Ten.
Top of the ACC: Clemson Tigers
Of all the P5 conferences, this was the easiest one to choose. Clemson has been dominant this season but has also proven that they can win close games, exemplified by wins over Louisville and Notre Dame by a combined five points. They’ve also shown that they can score at will when needed, such as in their embarrassing, Al Golden firing-inducing 58-0 win over Miami and their win this week over NC State 56-45. The F/+ rankings have Clemson as the best team in the nation (by a wide margin, I should add) and when you take the eye test into account, it’s honestly difficult to dispute that. Allowing 17.6 points per game while scoring 40.6 per game, the Tigers could beat anyone in the country right now. Next week the Fightin’ Dabos head to Tallahassee to face off with Florida State, and a win could solidify Clemson as not just the best team in the conference, but the best in the country bar none.
Top of the G5 Conferences: Memphis Tigers
Too many teams nicknamed the Tigers in the top of the rankings this week. Why can’t a school with a sweet, unique name like “Jayhawks” make some noise? (Don’t answer that, it will just make me sad and disappointed). Anyway, Memphis cruised to another victory this week, outlasting a brief scare from Tulane and putting up a 28-point margin of victory. Paxton Lynch is a goddamn animal of a quarterback, putting up more great numbers this week (343 passing yards, completions to 9 different receivers, 43 rushing yards) to go up with the rest of the outlandish numbers he’s racked up this season. He’s leading the offense while Jackson Dillon is leading the hard-hitting defense, which actually should be the team’s biggest concern; they’ve allowed over 40 points 3 times this season (at Bowling Green, against Cincinnati and at Tulsa).
It’s been a banner year for the G5 conferences, specifically the American Athletic Conference. Houston is a very close number two in the G5 rankings this week after they took down Vanderbilt in emphatic, dominating fashion by a score of 34-0 to remain undefeated (they’re now the third still-undefeated G5 team to defeat an SEC opponent this year, the others being the aforementioned Memphis Tigers against Ole Miss and the Toledo Rockets against Arkansas). And let’s not forget Temple, who does now have a loss but put up a hell of a fight against Notre Dame in what was arguably the biggest game in program history. Memphis still has to face Houston, Temple and a dangerous Navy team led by by stud, record-setting quarterback Keenan Reynolds and the triple-option this season; they’ve been incredibly impressive thus far, but if they can remain undefeated down the stretch then they are undeniably one of the best teams in the country, regardless of conference. They hold on to the top G5 spot this week, but the Houston Cougars are breathing down their necks.
Top of the Charts – The Top 10:
- LSU Tigers
- Clemson Tigers
- Ohio State Buckeyes
- TCU Horned Frogs
- Baylor Bears
- Michigan State Spartans
- Stanford Cardinal
- Alabama Crimson Tide
- Memphis Tigers
- Iowa Hawkeyes
Just missing the cut: Oklahoma State Cowboys, Notre Dame Fighting Irish (join a conference, assholes).
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Featured photo courtesy of Fansided.