(Logos are posted for teams that are new to the rankings for the year.)
1 Auburn 1
2 Oklahoma 3
3 Florida St. 4
4 Oregon 2
5 Alabama 5
6 TX A&M 6
7 BYU 10
8 Ole Miss 9
9 S Carolina 11
10 Miss. St. Ė
11 Penn St. 12
12 Notre Dame 8
13 LSU 7
14 E. Carolina 15
15 Georgia 13
16 UCLA 17
17 Ga. Tech Ė
18 Rutgers Ė
19 Arkansas Ė
20 Okie St. 25
21 Washington Ė
22 Arizona 23
23 Nebraska Ė
24 NC State Ė
25 Virginia 19
Out of rankings: (14) Pittsburgh, (16) Boston Coll., (18) Va. Tech, (20) USC, (21) Louisville, (22) Ohio St., (24) Missouri
Explanation and future rankings
Iím putting this at the bottom because itís probably too boring and technical for many of you, but I do get questions about these things often.
Just to get to the point, what Iím going to do is make next week (and possibly the following week) a transitional period. I will compute and publish my computer rankings, but I wonít use those for my official top 25 right away. Iíll try to ease into that. For instance, if I donít have a team ranked this week, but theyíre #10 in the computer ratings after next week, I will put them between #15 and #20, then maybe if theyíre still #10 the following week, it wonít be as dramatic to actually rank them #10. Or maybe theyíll lose, and it wonít be a seesaw from unranked to #10 to #20-something.
Iíve already made some changes in anticipation of what may happen in moving toward that system. I gave very little weight to any preseason preconceptions about given teams or their opponents.
I did my best to do the ratings above fairly, but it has gotten difficult, and thatís why I can no longer use a fully subjective system going forward. I continue to second-guess myself and remain unsatisfied.
There are a lot of conflicting motivations at this point. Iím still moving from ďAre you going to be a good team?Ē to ďWhat have you proven?Ē At the same time, I donít want to put a team in the top 25 based on an early-season scheduling quirk and have that team get blown out. It will take some time before the teams that look good in games and teams that look good based on objective measures line up.
There is a team like this every year. In 2011, Stanford didnít really play anyone until October 22, then they played three of the next four against ranked teams and the fourth game was against Oregon St. on the road (which is rarely an easy win). Then the Cardinal still had to play Notre Dame (who was also ranked at the time) later on in November. This was the year they played in the Fiesta Bowl despite losing big to Oregon.
Anyway, getting back to this year, Florida St. is a good example of some of the difficulties. The Seminoles are not even in the top 10 based on wins and losses that have happened so far this season (a loose description of what my computer rankings consider). They beat Clemson, who I really believe is a good team, and Oklahoma St., who might be a good team also, but that doesnít do it at this point. Clemson doesnít look any better than Northwestern because the Tigers are winless against FBS competition (but both Clemson and Northwestern have an FCS win). Florida St. doesnít get credit for beating an unsuccessful (so far against Division I anyway) FCS team, nor do they get credit for a bye week. So that leaves Oklahoma St. The Cowboys have a somewhat respectable win over UTSA, but beating the team who beat UTSA is hardly something to hang your hat on.
Oddly enough, Florida St. has a good chance to improve its rating by beating North Carolina St., who I do not believe is a good team, but three FBS wins at this point over teams with four combined FBS wins makes them look good for the moment. All three of those teams are probably well below average, but that wonít be clear until later.
There is a preliminary step in the process where I get initial ratings of teams between 0 and about 7. So if right now, North Carolina St. is 6 and Clemson is 1, maybe in a couple weeks, theyíll both be 3.5, and at the end of the season Clemson might be about 5 and North Carolina St. about 2. So Florida St. might get similar credit for the two wins combined for the rest of the season even if neither team ends up anything like what has shown up so far.
It helps Florida St. that Clemson will likely get a wins of some quality by playing North Carolina and North Carolina St. in the next two weeks. Oklahoma St. isnít playing a great team in Texas Tech, but that will be an opportunity for them to add some substance to their resume.
The other major contenders already rate highly. Alabama, Oklahoma, Auburn, and Oregon all rate in the top 7 of the current computer ratings. Florida St. is still in the top 20 though.
So what Iím going to do is release my first computer ratings next week (a week earlier than originally planned), but Iím still going to do subjective ratings for next week and possibly the week after that. They just wonít be purely subjective. Letís say the winner of Miss. St. and Texas A&M comes out #1. I might move Miss. St. up to #5 or A&M up to #3 or #4, but I wouldnít rank either #1, at least not for a couple more weeks.
Itís also possible Iíll do another transition week after October 4. In other words, the subjective ratings may overlap with the computer ratings for a couple of weeks, but what I feature here will be the subjective ratings.
Also, sometimes for the first few weeks of the computer rankings, I change the top 5 of what I post here. I always make clear what those changes are, and I never make any subjective changes on my ratings site. I try to keep any subjective preferences off of that site.
Although that Missouri had a good chance to win the SEC for a while in the championship game last year, Iím still glad I didnít take the leap and make them #1. They should never have been regarded as the top team to beat in the country last year. I also wouldnít want to take that step early on for A&M, Miss. St., Arizona, N.C. St., or UCLA. On the other hand, if one of those teams is undefeated and rises to the top a month from now or more, Iím not going to alter anything.
It will take me a little while to think of and compose my next ďcolumnĒ to write, so Iím just going to do the rankings now even though itís only been a few days since I released the last rankings.
Auburn hasnít really played anyone, but I thought they had enough coming back to leave them in the top 2 in preseason, then I moved them into #1 last week and have no reason to make a change again.
I also donít like to rank a new team #1 for the first time lightly. Iíve never rankedOregon #1. If Auburn loses and Oregon keeps winning by convincing margins, they may earn that spot soon.
I moved Florida St. below both Oregon and Oklahoma. I was surprised that Louisiana Tech, whom the Sooners beat in Week 1, won on Saturday. Tulsa also beat an FBS opponent in its other playing week. Oklahoma dominated both teams. So the Sooners have been about as impressive as possible being that they have yet to play a major-conference opponent.
LSU and Texas A&M each moved up a couple spots. Itís not because it matters to me whether they won by 40 or 70 this week; but Ohio St. lost, and USC had probably the most pathetic win over a ranked opponent Iíve ever seen.
I couldnít justify keeping anyone else ahead of the three big winners, Virginia Tech,Notre Dame, and BYU. I may have been wrong about them being competitive, but I canít imagine Texas and Michigan are as bad as Rice and Connecticut (whom Notre Dame and BYU beat by similar margins in Week 1), but their opponents deserved credit for making them look that way. I was a lot more confident in Ohio St. being a deserving ranked team, so thatís why I put Virginia Tech highest of the three (and why the Buckeyes are still in the top 20). I put Notre Dame second because I considered them a lot more strongly for the top 25 going into the season, but it was a close call.
Ole Miss went up a few spots. They still havenít had a true home game, and they did all you could have asked them to do on the road against rival Vanderbilt, which has has some success against the Rebels in recent years.
South Carolina didnít really do anything wrong this week, but the three new teams had to push some winning teams down. Same goes for Arizona St.
I was able to keep the next three in place after easy wins.
I moved Penn St. up a spot because Iím skeptical Northern Illinois is a top-25 team after that Northwestern performance. But at least itís not two extremely questionable games, which is what happened to both Washington and UCLA, two other undefeated teams that I ranked in the preseason and have since removed. Iím open to bumping the Huskies if a team like Tennessee (which plays Oklahoma) wins, but Iím thinking thatís highly unlikely. East Carolina (could be a let-down for the Hokies) and maybe Virginia (not saying thatís any more likely than Tennessee) are the only others I see that could get themselves ranked by beating a ranked team.
The winner of Central Florida and Missouri will be a strong candidate next week.
That UCLA-Texas game lost its luster in a hurry, but maybe an impressive UCLA win could get them back in the top 25. An impressive Texas win probably would not be enough for the Horns to return.
Yep...Monday comes running in like a boot to the head!
Seriously, when I saw this play, I laughed my ass off...This play, and well the play that followed pretty much some up the Cleveland Browns since 1999...
Now lets be honest...Brown could have easily cut left, and blown past Lanning, just as he did to ever other member or the Punt coverage team...But shit, what would make this highlight sweeter? Hurdling the damn punter...Dude had to go for it...But when he realized†he wasn't going to clear Lanning, or Lanning wasn't getting out of the way...Fuck, time to move that punter...BOOT TO THE HEAD!† Not a Steelers fan...Not Browns fan...But damn I loved this play!
So, they moved it back because the refs felt the boot to the head was "unnecessary roughness"...Okay, give it to Bell now that we see the Browns can't quite tackle! It's so damn Cleveland, us Clevelanders can't be mad...You just gotta laugh!
And I don't care fellow Clevelanders...So what the Browns came back in the second half, and tied it up...Way to go! Then they fell for a fake punt deep in the Steelers end...Totally got burned...Right then they lost the momentum...And eventually they gave up a big drive, followed by an easy game winning field goal wit h no time left...Sorry, no moral victory...They did what they do best...They lost!
Up next for the Browns...A pissed off New Orleans Saints team that got beat by the Falcons...
Hey, anyone see what happened in College Football this past weekend? Texas got abused, at home, by BYU...I forget the score, but it was BYU: a lot, and Texas: hey when is Texas showing up?
Ohio State lost in prime-time , at home, to unranked Virginia Tech...Urban Meyer admitted afterwards that the Hokies exposed their weaknesses...Like, apparently they stopped recruiting QB's when Braxton Miller signed there, and their young offensive line needs a fuck-ton of practice...
Oregon was down to Michigan State...But then they flipped the NIKE switch, and blew the Spartans out of the water in the second half...
But the best game, in my opinion, was the final matchup (for the time being) between Notre Dame and Michigan...If there is one thing I have in common with Ohio State fans, it's a pure hatred for Michigan...Well, folks...The Irish ended this rivalry in fucking style...The beat the shit out of Michigan 31-0....31-0!
[Logos in white boxes represent potential additions. †The red areas are the current South Division, and the blue areas are the current North Division.]
With BYU's success as an independent team (despite losses to Virginia and Utah, the latter a recent Pac-12 addition), I still think the Cougars would be a good fit for the Pac-12. †That's the real rival for Utah--not Colorado, who doesn't have a real rival in the Pac-12.
I know the conference is expressing reluctance to expand, but it wasnít too long ago that it was talking about 16 teams. †Also, it doesn't seem like that long ago that the Pac-10 and Big Ten didn't want to expand, didn't want a championship game, and didn't even want to be involved in the BCS. †Both wanted their champion to play in the Rose Bowl and for that to be the end of it. †A few conferences seemed happy at 12 but have expanded/are expanding anyway.†
I still donít understand why public ďresearch universitiesĒ is such a priority for Pac-12 admission, but people always bring it up. † I had never heard much about Utah or Arizona St. (or a couple of the more long-standing Pac-8/10/12 schools) being academic powerhouses. †Anyway, I do know BYU is a good school (without so much research maybe), and since theyíre unaffiliated and there are two schools in the Rockies unconnected with the rest of the conference, it seems it would fit. †
Although I donít know anything about its standing among other schools academically (promotional materials seem to make their research sound impressive: http://www.depts.ttu.edu/vpr/), Texas Tech would be a good way to expand into the pool of Texas talent since it is in Western Texas, actually not very far to the East (although significantly to the South) of Boulder, Colorado. †It was one of those potential additions to the Pac-12 when the Big XII nearly fell into pieces.
How to align the divisions would be a challenge, although I do have an idea of how that could be done. †Basically, take the 7 rivalry pairs and put all the more sophisticated schools in one division and the other schools in another. †Washington St. and Oregon St. seem a little grittier than Washington and Oregon, the latter two being rivals of one other anyway. †Stanford/Cal, USC/UCLA, and BYU/Utah are fairly obvious since the first one of each pair is private and the second public. †I donít think I have to elaborate on why Texas Tech is more rough-around-the-edges than Colorado. Just imagine Boulder, then imagine Lubbock. †By reputation, Arizona seems a little more buttoned-down than Arizona St., but Iím not sure that matters either way.
Colorado could have an even better rival in Air Force, although that doesnít really expand the recruiting base. †It may add to fan interest though. †The service academies have fans scattered all over. Of course, Air Force also regularly played BYU and Utah when all three were in the Mountain West and WAC. †The team right now is pretty bad though. †You don't always want to focus on the short term, but I think that would be a meaningful concern. †The Pac-12 doesn't want another doormat. †
Boise St. doesnít have much of an academic profile, but that would seem to make for an easy transition. †The Broncos already have the talent and interest to compete, and it would be natural to add them to the Pac-12 North and BYU to the Pac-12 South. †I still think teams in Colorado and Utah being in the South seems a little off, but my understanding is everyone not in California wants to play in California at least once a year.
Fresno St., UNLV, San Diego St., and San Jose St. could be other possibilities if academics arenít a priority. †UNLV and San Diego are big unexploited media markets for major college football (and in the case of UNLV, there are no major professional sports in the area either). †I'm not sure how much San Jose St. and Fresno St. would add, so they're probably least likely, but they make obvious geographical sense. †There are half a million people in Fresno and no major sports in the surrounding area, where arguably another half a million people or more live. †San Jose St. isn't very far from Stanford, but not everyone is a Stanford person. †
Another possibility I thought of was Hawaii, which apparently does have some research credentials, but that program has crashed and burned since June Jones and Colt Brennan left the islands, so it has some of the same problems as Air Force, except I think Air Force has better road fans. †Logistics arenít very favorable for Hawaii either, of course.
Nebraska is a long-shot, but I thought it worth mentioning. †I don't think the Big Ten is quite what the Huskers signed up for. If they have to play a 9-game conference schedule and travel to one of the coasts, why not the Pacific Coast instead? †With Colorado, at least they would get one of their traditional rivals back. †Maybe if they joined along with Texas Tech, that would be the best way of including new teams in a more logical way. †
As to how the divisional alignment would work, Utah could just be switched to the North and keep playing Colorado as a permanent opponent (or "protected series", as the Big Ten calls it). †Berkeley is about the same distance away as Tempe (Arizona St. is the second-closest Pac-12 South opponent for the Utes) is anyway. †Nebraska would also help out the competitive balance in the long-run. †I'm sure that would be a really expensive proposition though.