A new week brings a new set of college football rankings. And though the top five didn’t change, there was some important shuffling in the bottom half of the top 10.
How about the Georgia Bulldogs? UGA jumped four spots to No. 7 after mashing Mississippi State, which had just blown out LSU, by 28 points. The Bulldog defense is legit – it allowed just three points and 280 yards against a hot offense. In an SEC East that’s confusing at best and underwhelming at worst, Georgia clearly looks like the best team in the division.
Jake Fromm only threw 12 times on Saturday, but he still managed to pass for more than 200 yards. The true freshman is going to be a good one. Nick Chubb and Sony Michel are two of the best running backs in the conference. For years, the issue with Georgia was this: they could just never put everything together at the same time. If the offense was rolling, the defense stumbled, or vice versa.
This season, both units have looked great against quality competition. What a job Kirby Smart has done in Athens.
The same thing could be said about No. 9 TCU, which scored the most impressive victory of the weekend, hanging a 44 spot on Oklahoma State in Stillwater. Of course, temper your expectations – Kenny Hill dominates every September. Remember his game against South Carolina when he was at Texas A&M?
But this was a total team effort. Darius Anderson ran for 160 yards and three touchdowns. The Horned Frogs ran for 238 as a team. The defense was good – teams aren’t usually doing cartwheels after allowing 31 points, but when the opponent is Oklahoma State on the road, cartwheel at your leisure. Mason Rudolph threw for 398 yards, but he barely completed half of his passes and threw two picks. TCU held Justice Hill to 4.1 yards per carry.
TCU and Oklahoma have the two best defenses in the Big 12 – by, like, a lot. Obviously, this one stings for the Cowboys, who slipped to No. 15. The Pokes were a sneaky Playoff candidate. While we knew TCU would be tough, at home, that’s a game Oklahoma State should win. Bedlam was supposed to be the roadblock.
The Cowboys aren’t done yet. But their margin for error the rest of the way – in Playoff terms – is zero.
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A lot of college football discussion revolves around conferences. Which one is the best? Is the SEC overrated? Is the ACC underrated?
This season, we may have to cool off the takes a few degrees. Because frankly, there’s a lot of parity among Power 5 conferences. Here’s the breakdown of schools in the top 25.
|Conference||Number of teams|
While the SEC has the edge, two of its teams are No. 24 and 25, so ‘6’ doesn’t tell the whole story. Truth is, every conference is pretty good this season. None are dreadful. None are dominant. That’s made for an interesting early portion of the year. There should be some intriguing league battles the rest of the way.
A few new schools joined the fray this week. Notre Dame comes in at No. 22 after dominating Michigan State on Saturday night. The Fighting Irish backfield continues to dazzle, combining for 182 rushing yards as a team. Brandon Wimbush wasn’t asked to do much, but he delivered when necessary. The first-year starter threw for 173 yards on just 20 attempts.
Meanwhile, West Virginia returned to the Top 25 for the first time since the preseason rankings, coming in at No. 23. The Mountaineers took care of business against Kansas. Their lone loss came against No. 12 Virginia Tech, which is rolling. As usual, West Virginia has an explosive offense. The question marks are all on defense. They allowed 34 points to the Jayhawks, which doesn’t bode well for their chances against Oklahoma, TCU or Oklahoma State. Regardless, it’s nice to be ranked again. The the ‘Eers are a blast to watch.
A game that promises to shake up next week’s rankings is Clemson vs. Virginia Tech. A win for Clemson would mean victories over Auburn, Louisville and the Hokies — which is far more than any other team has on its resume. While Alabama has done nothing to deserve relinquishing its top ranking, a Clemson win would have to make voters think about it.
If Tech can pull off the upset, they could land in the top five. The game is in Blacksburg. You have to love such meaningful action in late September.
This week was tame, in college football-adjusted terms. Just prepare yourself for the craziness. It’s coming.