If we’re going by just respective CVs, I don’t think you can question that Clemson is the best team in the country. Three ranked opponents; three wins; two on the road. Georgia probably can stake a claim to the second spot, then. Quality win over App. State, and two victories over ranked teams, including a tough road win against a very good Notre Dame team.
Unfortunately, eyeballs do matter, and Alabama is terrifyingly good. The offense, in particular, is playing some of the best, most balanced football in the nation (though a highly inefficient first game against FSU has the Tide ranked 4th on that side of the ball in the S&P+ to go with its No. 1-ranked defense).
Having cleared two-thirds of its most demanding conference games, much still stands between Clemson and another playoff run: a hoard of solid, but-not great teams populate the back half: Wake, NC State, Georgia Tech, and potentially FSU (if the ‘Noles can shore up the special teams and find an answer at QB — Blackman is killing that offense.) The last remaining elite opponent is likely? possibly? Miami in the ACCCG.
It’s a long way off, of course, but these two are firmly on course for another meeting...and hopefully not another nail-biting classic.
Week 6 Blogpoll.csv
|1||Alabama Crimson Tide||1|
|4||Penn State Nittany Lions||4|
|7||Washington State Cougars||8|
|10||TCU Horned Frogs||10|
|11||Oklahoma State Cowboys||12|
|15||West Virginia Mountaineers||15|
|17||Notre Dame Fighting Irish||19|
|18||San Diego State Aztecs||20|
|20||Virginia Tech Hokies||11|
|21||Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets||18|
|24||Texas Tech Red Raiders||25|
|25||Ohio State Buckeyes||13|
|Texas A&M (god help us)|
Errata: I inexplicably misread the final of the SDSU-AFA game last week. When I tuned out late in the 4th, the game was tied. SDSU actually did prevail 28-24, not lose as I had read. So, I have restored the Aztecs to their position at No. 19, and then I gave them a bump for the tough road win (the hardest in the country after Hawaii) and another solid win over a much-improved NIU squad.
Positional changes at the top: I like Washington over Oklahoma simply because the Huskies are a much more consistent team than the Sooners, though lacking the big-ticket win that OU has. Clemson-UGA have changed places because, as good as UGA has looked the past two weeks, the ‘Dawgs don’t have the resume that the Tigers do. Wisconsin was moved up over Michigan because the more I watch the Wolverines try and pass, the less I trust this team.
Demotions: Georgia Tech did absolutely nothing this week to justify dropping -- it’s what they did the first week. That loss to Tennessee looks worse and worse with each passing breath. Virginia Tech: that game was not as close as the score indicated. The Hokies were never a threat. They were smothered, harassed, and mistake-prone all night on both sides of the ball. USC did not drop as much as the Cougars rose. The defense needs to find answers. Darnold looked very mortal in the loss. Ronald Jones is the most overlooked man in America and should be the focal point of the USC offense. Playing like crap was eventually going to catch up to USC. The talent is no doubt there. But, do they wake up, or is this the same Lane Kiffin-era Trojans with a more humble head man?
Big Leaps: Call it the eyeball test: I’m not sold that Auburn is an elite team, but the front seven is good enough to keep it in games and win 9 or so of them. Though the offense doesn’t scare anyone, Stidham is just good enough to exploit mistakes for quick scores. Washington State -- excellent home win over the Trojans. There’s no reason, with that line item, for the Cougs to not be in the Top 10 -- and they’ve done as much or more than the teams they’re ahead of. Florida enters the fray. Somehow, this team has cobbled together three wins over teams with winning records. They may not last long in here with the loss of Luke Del Rio (and the fact that they’re generally putrid at times on both sides of the ball,) but for now the scoreboard dictates the Gators receive some consideration. The more Miami plays, the more data points we accrue, the more this team looks like the Top-10 unit I pegged them to be in the preseason WNaBP. This is the fastest Miami front seven in almost a decade and the offense is supremely efficient. Richt is still a boss. While not a big leap, I bumped Texas Tech and Oklahoma State up by one each. Last week, I opined that the Red Raiders were the best they’ve been under Kliff. Only some late minute heroics prevented it from a huge upset of Oklahoma State. The Raiders affirmed that they are Top 25 material.
Whence? Louisville — Still unranked. Still haven’t beaten a team with a winning record. They’re a Top 25 team, sure. But, the schedule has been atrocious to date. The Cards’ backloaded slate is either going to vault them into playoff consideration, or relegate Petrino to also-ran...again. Ohio State is not the 25th best in college football. But, they’ve not beaten a team with a winning record either. Look at the schedules of everyone above the Buckeyes and tell me who should take a backseat to Meyer’s squad?