Tagged with "LSU"
Week 6 College Football Rankings 2014
Category: NCAA
Tags: LSU FLORIDA OLE MISS ALABAMA AUBURN COLLEGE FOOTBALL PENN ST. OHIO ST. NOTRE DAME ARIZONA MICHIGAN ST. MISSISSIPPI ST. TCU FLORIDA ST

LSU plays Florida this week, so if youíre interested, here is my LSU/Florida Rivalry blog.

Dak Prescott evades an Auburn defender last year.  I rank the two teams #1 and #3 going into their game Saturday.

Dak Prescott evades an Auburn defender last year. I rank the two teams #1 and #3 going into their game Saturday.

Rank/team/previous
1 Auburn 1
2 Florida St. 2
3 Miss. St. 6
4 Ole Miss 11
5 Arizona 15
6 Notre Dame 12
7 Ga. Tech 13
8 TCU 23
9 UCLA 9
10 Alabama 3
11 Marshall 24
12 Oregon 4
13 Nebraska 10
14 TX A&M 8
15 Oklahoma 5
16 Mich. St. Ė
17 Baylor 17
18 Missouri 25
19 Penn St. Ė
minnesota
20 Minnesota Ė
21 Ohio St. Ė
22 Arizona St. Ė
23 Louisville 20
Cal-Football-Golden-Bears
24 UC-Berkeley Ė
25 Florida Ė

Full computer rankings 1-128 (as I will explain, these are not in agreement with the top 25 given above)

Out of rankings: (7) BYU, (14) LSU. (16) E. Carolina, (18) Georgia, (19) S. Carolina, (21) Okie St.. (22) NC State

Explanation and future rankings

I only made two adjustments to my computer ratings to make this top 25. One was to keep Florida St. at #2. They actually were #2 in the computer rating last week, but the big points by undefeated Ole Miss, Miss. St., and Arizona teams them all ahead of the Seminoles. I still think itís too early to put any of them #2 though.

If the Bulldogs win next week, I may even put them #1. If Ole Miss and Auburn win, they may be 1 and 2, but then Florida St. would have a chance to get back in the top 2 with a win over Notre Dame the following week. In that scenario, I may again keep Florida St. #2 pending the outcome of the game against the Irish.

The other adjustment was to keep UCLA at #9. It just doesnít look right to lose to an unranked team and move up. They were #1 in the computer ratings last week.

I may make similar minor adjustments next week (I mentioned one possibility), but after the following week, I plan to just follow the computer rating to the letter.

In total, 7 of my top 11 teams lost of the 9 possible. There were three games where top-11 teams were playing one another, so thatís why there were only 9 possible losses. The only survivor against a team ranked below #15 was Florida St. Auburn was also a survivor, but LSU was #14 going into last week. (More on LSU below.)

Iím going to talk about new teams in the top 25 and old teams that fell out. I think itís pretty obvious why South Carolina (losers to Kentucky) and North Carolina St. (losers to Clemson) fell out. Some teams only moved into the rankings because 12 teams ahead of them lost.

BYU fell all the way out after losing to Utah St. That wasnít based on past opponents so much (although Texas didnít help), but Utah St. (#87 going into the week) is a bad loss at this point, so having a bad loss this early makes you sink like a stone. Virginia is still a quality win though.

East Carolinaís loss to South Carolina continues to drag them down. Also, the Pirates essentially have zero points to show for the last two weeks (a bye and a win over SMU). Virginia Tech won, but they beat North Carolina (another prior opponent of East Carolina), so that didnít help much.

Georgia also lost to South Carolina, so that is hurting them as well. Also, Tennesseeís loss wasnít helpful either.

Oklahoma St. is having issues with prior opponents, and Saturdayís win over Iowa St. (which only has one win) didnít help much. Texas-San Antonio has struggled, and Texas Tech lost yet again as well. Florida St. is still a respectable loss, but itís not really more respectable than it was already.

Michigan St. is back after finally getting a good win over Nebraska, nothing controversial there. Their land grant rivals (Penn St.) might be more of a mystery, but Akron, Rutgers, Northwestern, and Central Florida all won last week, and of course some higher teams suffered losses.

There isnít much analysis required for Minnesota, Ohio St., and Arizona St. Minnesota was idle, so they didnít really have points added, but it still helped a lot that TCU (the team they lost to) beat Oklahoma. The other two also had fairly decent wins.

Cal is probably the worst 4-1 team, but their only loss is to undefeated Arizona. Even though the Colorado and Washington St. wins werenít pretty and the Bears have allowed 144 points in their last 9 quarters, a win is a win. The Pac-12 schedule is a decent boost as well. Iíll mention Florida below.

I donít factor in margin of victory, so you might wonder why LSU fell so far. The Tigers had two wins over otherwise-unbeaten teams (ULM and Wisconsin) going into the week, but both lost. LSU does still have an extremely good schedule (#12 in FBS average), but itís very difficult to be in the top 25 with two losses this early, and the ULM and Wisconsin losses made it impossible. Also, an average FBS opponent would have given more points than Sam Houston St.

Iíve already given my thoughts about LSU in the past few blogs, but this was a very good article about what is important in this season at this point.http://espn.go.com/blog/sec/post/_/id/90273/developing-talent-the-key-now-for-lsu?ex_cid=espnapi_public

Forget winning the SEC West. Sure, competitive divisions like that can theoretically have a two-loss champion, but they need to just put it out of their minds completely. It should be a relaxed atmosphere where if you can upset Alabama, Ole Miss, or whoever, thatís great, but just play a good game. We didnít do that against Auburn, it was like the worse it got the more afraid LSU was of making it even worse. Even though Auburn is in playoff position and could easily be overshadowed with just one slip-up, they played more like a team with nothing to lose than LSU did.

My one disagreement with the author in the piece above is I donít think you settle on one quarterback. If one of them plays a bad half, take him out. The only decent drives were orchestrated by Jennings in the last game (the touchdown drive was essentially one good play rather than a well-orchestrated drive) and by Harris in the previous game. Neither one should have stayed in. We donít have to pick next yearís quarterback until next year. If they both get an equal number of snaps this year, then you have even more to go on in picking the quarterback for next year.

I think itís far worse to wrongly settle on a quarterback and stubbornly refuse to make a change. Thatís what happened in the 2012 title game. Maybe they wouldnít have gotten any points with Lee (who had struggled in the first game against Alabama), but you canít do worse than 0. Saturday was only one of two times since then (the other being @Alabama last year) that LSU lost by more than one possession.

As mentioned, LSU plays Florida next week. They also have two quarterbacks. Will Muschamp benched one of them to provide an offensive spark, and it worked. I donít know if he put a better QB in the abstract in, and he probably doesnít either, but he made a change to see if it would help against a given team in a given situation and it did. I suspect the second quarterback will do better against LSU based on his skill set (at least they might not be shut out for three quarters); but if not, Iím sure Muschamp will put the other guy back in.

The Gators snuck into my top 25 because the Kentucky win was strengthened when the Wildcats beat South Carolina. The one-point win at Tennessee got them some points as well. I think beating a team like that on the road would be something for LSU to be proud of. There will be a lot of unhappy people if they donít win; but like the ESPN article says, there is a lot of potential for the future either way.

Earlier rankings:
Preseason
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
Week 5

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What Happened: LSU-Auburn Reaction
Category: NCAA
Tags: ALABAMA AUBURN COLLEGE FOOTBALL FLORIDA GEORGIA LSU MISSISSIPPI ST. NEW MEXICO ST. OLE MISS SEC TEXAS A&M WISCONSIN

Iíve added to and updated my LSU-Auburn Rivalry blog.† Also, my new computer ratings are up.† Of the teams in my top 11 last week who weren't playing another team in my top 11, only Florida St. survived.† I'll post my official top 25 with discussion later in the week.

I guess I should start by giving credit to someone I talk to who goes by scurds. He predicted Auburn would win easily. Iím glad no one offered me LSU +21 (that was his predicted margin of victory for Auburn), because I would have taken it. There is a bit of a caveat to that: he seems to enjoy picking LSU to do poorly, and as you might guess has been wrong a few times. Broken clocks should be congratulated when they are nonetheless correct.

Iím disappointed. Not because it was a loss, which I expected. I ranked Auburn #1 for good reasons, and they were playing at home against a young team that hadnít really traveled before. I was disappointed that the young men on the field from LSU werenít given a fair chance to at least make it interesting.

Iím mostly just going to talk about the first half, because Auburn was able to kind of cruise through the second half; and to be honest, I skipped parts of it anyway. Other than losses to Alabama in January 2012 and November 2013, this was the first game where LSU lost by more than 10 since November 2008 against Ole Miss.

I was hopeful after seeing a couple of the upsets and especially seeing how well Mississippi St. handled Texas A&M. At kickoff though, they mentioned that four top-six teams had already lost. This made me even more skeptical about a fifth.

I thought LSU would play a bit better early on. There were a couple of minor mistakes typical in any college game, but the only real criticism I have of the early going (which was mostly just good plays by Auburn) was I thought LSU should have been more aggressive on offense.

They tried all these different looks and were able to execute the previous week (I know it wasnít a good team, but you could tell the plays had been practiced well), but then they didnít carry forward anything interesting into this game. Whatís the worst that could have happened? Falling behind early and the game being over at halftime? The runs were less up-the-middle and there were a couple of different blocking schemes, but it wasnít anything creative.

You donít give a team like that easy running plays to defend. Harris had some early jitters to put it mildly, so Iím not sure if different plays would have kept it from being 17-0 at some point. On the other hand, had they worked, he might have lost those jitters. I just thought they could have tried to use an element of surprise. Playing conservative in the first few possessions hadnít worked in the games against Wisconsin and Mississippi St. and didnít work yet again. It was also more of a problem since this was a road game. Auburn, on the other hand, did call plays to keep LSU unbalanced, such as the flea-flicker, which was successful.

Other than that, I donít blame LSU much for having trouble out of the gate against Auburn (one touchdown resulted from basically a jump ball that Auburn caught; I mentioned the flea-flicker). After LSU scored to get on the board, it was a manageable 17-7 score.

There were then two crucial defensive errors after the LSU kickoff. One was an easy interception that the average senior citizen in a walker could have caught that was dropped. LSU would have most likely gotten at least a field goal had the pass been intercepted (defenses on quick turnarounds after a touchdown drive usually donít have a three and out). So instead of maybe 17-10, it was 24-7 after a few more plays. Another error was a defensive hands to the face that gave Auburn first and goal around the 5 instead of 3rd and 10 at the 11. That may have made the difference between a field goal for Auburn and the touchdown.

The pieces to the puzzle seem to be on the field, but theyíre just not being put together very well, at least not where it does any good. When there is a sense of urgency, Harris has done well. So there needs to be some kind of tempo on the field, but they just canít get out of the traditional pocket passing type of setup, along with this thing that colleges do way too much where they look to the sidelines for directions and use almost the entire play clock before each play.

For instance, Harris completed a few passes (one was called back) and also ran for 32 yards to put LSU in field goal range at the end of the first half. Donít ask me why they didnít call a timeout or try a field goal, but playing like that makes him about 10 times better for some reason. It also seemed to help Jennings both in this game and against Wisconsin. It wasnít a hurry-up when they put Jennings in this game (late in the third quarter), but they did play with a focus on looking for openings downfield. I continued to be baffled as to why the coaching staff waits for there to be a significant deficit before changing the style of play.

The final Auburn touchdown of the half was poorly defended, but it wasnít drawn up poorly. I think thatís entirely the result of the defense not getting off the field. In both the Wisconsin and Mississippi St. games, when LSU established a productive offense, the defense shut everything down. Also, even in this game, Auburn only scored 3 points in the first 20+ minutes of the second half. They were trying to get that final touchdown at that point, so I think thatís relevant.

Anyway, LSU should have been behind no more than 14 going into the half and instead they were behind 24. Thatís a dramatic difference. Look how quickly Ole Miss came up with the last two touchdowns against Alabama. Thatís no joke of a defense either, but three or four scores? Thatís not even a game really. (People say itís three scores, but who goes 3/3 in two-point conversions?)

I knew we had a young team this year, and Iíve expressed disappointment (but not shock) in how slowly both quarterbacks are coming along. It happens though. Experience can do a lot of good and its absense can be clear. The coaches have to give the team a better chance to win though, even if a win still would have been unlikely had things been done well. The halftime score was ultimately the result of a lack of good strategy and leadership.

LSU did have scoring opportunities in the second half, but rather than kicking field goals, they went for it on fourth downs. I would have probably kicked field goals personally just to try to build some momentum, but thatís the least of my complaints.

Trivia and Looking Ahead

Tommy Tuberville remains an unpopular person in Baton Rouge for smoking a cigar on the field after the big Auburn win in 1999.

Tommy Tuberville remains an unpopular person in Baton Rouge for smoking a cigar on the field after the big Auburn win in 1999.

Likely due to those decisions, this is LSUís worst loss sinceÖ Auburn in 1999. LSU lost by an identical score that year when the Fighting Tigers started 0-7 in conference before Gerry DiNardo was relieved of his duties (leading to the hiring of Nick Saban in the following offseason). LSU won by 35 in 2011, so thatís still the biggest win in the series by either team. This is the fifth time Auburn has beaten LSU by more than 20 (49 games dating back to 1901), but it is only the third time since 1938. The closest of the three was by 24 in 1993.

LSU did have five losses of 28 or more since then, but only once was under Les Miles. They were Florida 2000, Florida 2001, Alabama 2002, Georgia 2004, and Florida 2008.

Miles will try to win his 100th game since coming to LSU at Florida next Saturday.

Since the SEC expanded to 12 teams in 1992, LSU has traveled to both Auburn and Florida in every even year. LSU has never won both games and not coincidentally has never won the SEC West in an even year, so this pretty much assures it wonít happen this year either.

Auburn is now the only undefeated SEC team outside of Mississippi, but they have what should be an interesting trip to Starkville next week. Ole Miss will travel to Texas A&M, so there may be only one SEC undefeated after next week.

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LSU @ Auburn and SEC West Notes
Category: NCAA
Tags: ALABAMA ARKANSAS AUBURN COLLEGE FOOTBALL LSU MISSISSIPPI ST. OLE MISS SEC SEC WEST TEXAS A&M

This is more just trivia and information than analysis.† I went into more detail about x's and o's here.

No SEC West team has a loss outside of the SEC West yet. That may not change in the next few weeks, but one thing is certain: the number of undefeated teams in the division will be reduced considerably from the current number (5).

Below are the upcoming intra-divisional games. Two games in each of the next two weeks are between pairs of currently unbeaten teams.

October 4
Texas A&M @ Miss st.
Alabama @ ole miss
LSU @ Auburn

October 11
Ole miss @ Texas A&M
Auburn @ Mississippi st.
Alabama @ Arkansas

October 18
Texas A&M @ Alabama

I thought of one scenario where there could be no undefeated teams and a 5-way tie for first at one loss apiece.

LSU beats auburn, who beats miss st., who beats A&M, who beats Alabama, who beats ole miss. That would assume wins in other conference games.

LSU has won 15 of 28 (going back to 1982) and 4 of 7 games (going back to 2007) in the state of Alabama. The last game (in Tuscaloosa last November) was of course a loss though.

When LSU travels to the state of Alabama, we are generally talking about close games though. Last year wasnít close, but the few times before thatÖ (Even years are Auburn, odd are Alabama)

Spencer Ware was one of the few offensive play-makers when LSU last visited Auburn in 2012.  Over his right shoulder is Gene Chizik.

Spencer Ware was one of the few offensive play-makers when LSU last visited Auburn in 2012. Over his right shoulder is Gene Chizik.

2012: LSU, 12-10
2011: LSU, 9-6, o.t.
2010: Auburn, 24-17
2009: Alabama, 24-15
2008: LSU, 26-21
2007: LSU, 41-34

Auburn only has one recent single-digit game at Tiger Stadium, the 30-24 LSU win on a touchdown right before the final gun in 2007. That had been the fourth straight LSU-Auburn game decided by less than 7 points.

Another interesting thing I read was that Les Miles is just one win short of his 100th victory at LSU (in his 10th season).

LSUís ďScrimmageĒ Game in Preparation for Auburn
Category: NCAA
Tags: AUBURN COLLEGE FOOTBALL LSU MISSISSIPPI ST. NEW MEXICO ST. WISCONSIN

Before I get to the main topic, Iíll mention a couple other things. Once again, please check out my LSU-Auburn Rivalry blog. Iím apprehensive another streak will come to an end. Itís much shorter than Mississippi St. was though: LSU has won three in a row and six of seven. Also, I had an observation about the computer ratings that I didnít notice at first. Even though Nebraska is #3 right now, if you average it by playing week, the Huskers fall to 8th. So when Nebraska has a bye week on the 11th, theyíll have a more accurate rating after that point. Not that I expect theyíll have an easy time of things this weekend.

Iíll start with the good news from the LSU-NMSU game.

Brandon Harris didn't have a lot of rushing yards, but he took advantage of his opportunities.

Brandon Harris didnít have a lot of rushing yards, but he took advantage of his opportunities.

Brandon Harris obviously came in and did very well for the second week in a row. 11/14 for 178 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions. He also had five rushes for 36 yards and two touchdowns. His yards per carry probably would have been better without the touchdown runs, but I like how he showed he can run into a guy bigger than him and keep going. I think Les Miles admires that ability more than anything, so hopefully Harris made a persuasive enough case to start the next game.

Other freshmen of note were RB Leonard Fournette, WR Malachi Dupre, and WR/PR Trey Quinn.

Not much to say about special teams, but just about all the kickoffs went through the endzone (and no miscues on extra points), and our punter had 147 yards in three kicks. We only allowed 7 yards in punt returns.

The defense was put under a lot of pressure with four turnovers and a three-and-out in the first quarter. Kendall Beckwithís interception return for a TD (while a good thing) also added to pressure on the defense. They didnít allow any points during that stretch (until the final minutes of the second quarter, which Iíll get to).

New Mexico St. did miss a 40-yard field-goal attempt in the first quarter, but that was when the Aggies had good field position after a turnover (and then a 15-yard penalty). They only obtained one first down in that drive.

I liked some of the different looks on offense. LSU HAS to be able to get the ball outside for short-yardage situations. When itís a run and everyone knows itís a run and they go up the middle, itís not happening. It didnít even happen against New Mexico St., which isnít a good team in general and is especially bad against the run.

So even though the diamond formation resulted in a fumble, it wasnít the fault of the formation, it was a good hit/bad holding onto the ball after the line of scrimmage. There was nothing wrong with the play itself. I would not be surprised if they at least tested it on Auburn once or twice.

There were also a couple of good (more conventional) option and pitchout plays that LSU understandably got away from with Mettenberger in the last couple of years, but why they werenít there against Mississippi St. I have no idea. I think if LSU had just one of those plays and executed it (either for a touchdown or for the purpose of spreading out the field) during that goal-line stand, they would have won the game against the Bulldogs.

Three-and-outs are nice, but something else I like to see is a stop after giving up a first down or two. Against Wisconsin and Mississippi St. at times, it seemed like if they got that first first down, it was all over. I mentioned the missed field goal, but there were too additional stops at the LSU 47 in the first half while it was still only 14-0. The LSU offense had a three-and-out of its own between those two drives.

So there were a couple of situations that you donít like to happen, but I like how they responded anyway.

Say what you will about the defense (although I noted they can catch the ball when you throw it to them and can also pick it up when itís on the ground), New Mexico St. does have an offense that can produce points and yardage, so to keep them from even having scoring opportunities on all but two plays the whole game is good work.

There were some bad things, especially in the early going. It was another slow start on offense. Seven offensive points in the first quarterÖ no wonder they had zero for the first 20 minutes against Mississippi St. and only 7 for the first 2 Ĺ quarters against Wisconsin.

Of course, a big contributing factor to that was turnovers. You just canít do that. In this case, you canít give hope to the other team when theyíre in a hostile environment with the odds stacked against them. Next week, when LSU is in that situation, itís just asking to lose by 30 points or more if you start turning it over early. Iím not just talking about field position and points off of turnovers. Even if you donít give the other team good field position, that means you had good field position yourself and squandered the field position and the momentum you were lucky to have.

I mentioned how LSU should try to spread out the field when they have the ball. If Cam Cameron would watch the LSU defense, maybe that would register in his mind a little more clearly. They gave up a play of almost 80 yards for a touchdown because they had too many people spread from sideline to sideline and no one had an angle after the runner went through the line of scrimmage. There were at least three similar plays between the Wisconsin and Mississippi St. games. A couple of them might have been short passes, but it was a similar issue with no one having any kind of angle on the ball-carrier. I know, one scoring play, but I think the Auburn offensive line might just be able to create more openings for plays of that nature.

New Mexico St. still had 274 yards (although it would have been fewer than 200 without the touchdown play), still completed more than almost half of its 33 passes, and still gained 4.6 yards per rush. Thatís not as good as I was hoping for. The final score was great, but it does matter somewhat how you got there.

Also, third-down defense in the first half was not satisfactory. In two of the Aggiesí first three drives, they converted from 3rd and 6. There was another third-down conversion in the second quarter (from 1 yard) and nearly a fourth for the half before a fumble on that same down.

There is no excuse for LSU to have had five penalties in this game. They were only for 35 yards, but it creates similar types of issues to the turnovers I mentioned. I didnít see the hands to the face. I saw the hand to the LSU playerís face on the same play, but there was some unnecessary sloppiness. Giving them a first and 5 toward midfield (for example) was not good.

I touched on this with the turnovers, but Jennings was bad. He ran himself (first drive only) and set up a couple of good running plays, but that was it. He only completed two passes for 11 yards, and none of the incompletions looked like good passes that I remember. One of the passes was for 7 yards and a first down, so it was really just one good passing play. Jennings threw two interceptions, was sacked once, and lost a fumble (on a separate play from the sack).

Conclusion

The hesitation with Harris was that he was liable to commit turnovers. Well, I think this should settle that (since I originally wrote this, Harris was named the starter). I know they want to give Jennings respect for his hard work as a backup and for practicing better and so forth, but next game will be game 6 of the season and most importantly game 2 of the SEC season.

I wish Jennings all the best and I hope heís able to contribute to the team, but weíre past the time to be nice. He doesnít need to start the next game, and I donít think you even take Harris out unless heís proven to be overall ineffective or mistake-prone in multiple possessions (or, God forbid, hurt). If Jennings canít handle the pressure at home against New Mexico St., I donít want to see him in the early going at Auburn. Heís a capable athlete, but Iím not comfortable with him at this point.

I want to say something about the boos. Someone said this about the NFL once: ďWe boo because we care.Ē If Iím in a stadium, especially paying an arm and a leg to be there, Iím going to voice my displeasure with certain coaching decisions. Everyone understands that when you want the coach to go for it and he sends out the punter, no one is booing the punter as a person. But somehow where quarterbacks are involved, people donít seem to get it. There probably were some people who wanted to express displeasure to Jennings for the turnovers, but I believe the majority of the people were making clear that they didnít like seeing the same guy come out and throw the same type of pass with the same result. The message wasnít, ďWe donít support you.Ē

Iím sure Auburn worked on improving some areas this week as well, so Iím still expecting it to be very difficult for LSU to win the game next week. Iíve been surprised by enough Les Miles teams in the past not to despair too much until the game is over and we have fewer points though. Or at least until weíre more than 20 points behind midway through the fourth quarter.

Also, no matter what happens, I donít envy Auburn fans too much. Their next five games after LSU are Mississippi St., South Carolina, Ole Miss, Texas A&M, and Georgia. Every other one of those is on the road. I didnít even mention the game in Tuscaloosa the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

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Week 5 College Football Rankings 2014
Category: NCAA
Tags: ALABAMA AUBURN COLLEGE FOOTBALL FLORIDA ST. LSU MARSHALL MICHIGAN ST. MISS ST. NEBRASKA OHIO ST. OKLAHOMA OREGON TCU TEXAS A&M

Let me know if any of you would be interesting in participating in a poll. I may start one next week if there is sufficient interest.

LSU plays Auburn this week, so if youíre interested, here is my LSU/Auburn Rivalry blog.

Rank/team/previous
1 Auburn 1
2 Florida St. 3
3 Alabama 5
4 Oregon 4
5 Oklahoma 2
6 Miss. St. 10
7 BYU 7
8 TX A&M 6
9 UCLA 16
10 Nebraska 23
11 Ole Miss 8
12 Notre Dame 12
13 Ga. Tech 17
14 LSU 13
15 Arizona 22
16 E. Carolina 14
17 Baylor Ė
18 Georgia 15
19 S. Carolina 9
20 Louisville Ė
21 Okie St. 20
22 NC State 24
TCU
23 TCU Ė
lgo_ncaa_marshall_thundering_herd
24 Marshall Ė
25 Missouri Ė

Full computer rankings 1-128 (as I will explain, these are not in agreement with the top 25 given above)

Out of rankings: (11) Penn St., (18) Rutgers, (19) Arkansas. (21) Washington, (25) Virginia

Explanation and future rankings

As I mentioned last week, this is my transition week into adopting all or most of my computer rankings.

I would have liked to have kept Arkansas, after its very good game against Texas A&M, and Virginia, which lost to two top-10 teams above and beat a top-20 team. I didnít keep them because they were not in the top 35, and I didnít want to deviate more than 10 spots.

The team where I deviated the most was East Carolina. I couldnít justify putting them behind a Baylor team whose best win is Iowa St. Georgia has one win over an ACC team, but East Carolina has two.

South Carolina is the only two-loss team that made it, but the Gamecocks did so on the strength of their wins. Virginiaís just werenít strong enough to merit consideration.

I donít like ranking Missouri, but they have three wins over FBS teams. Obviously one of them is a very good win. I consider Indiana a bad loss, but it will take some time for them to show up that way even if the Hoosiers are in fact bad. Indiana is 2-2, including an FCS win; but the FCS team they beat is Indiana St., who is otherwise undefeated and has a win over an FBS team. So for right now itís just sort of a mediocre loss. I do have Missouri a few spots below where the computer put them though.

I certainly didnít want to put USC (the loss to Boston College isnít looking so good) or Minnesota (who was destroyed by TCU) in the top 25 even though the computer had them there.

The only other team I was really reluctant to rank was Marshall, but theyíre undefeated, and I couldnít justify putting anyone else ahead of them.

I tried with Michigan St. and Ohio St., because I certainly think either would beat Marshall; but there just isnít a good argument being that Iím trying to transition into the objective system. Michigan St. was the best available team; but they were 10 spots lower than Marshall, so there was really no way to justify bridging that gap. Ohio St. was even lower.

Michigan St.ís only wins are Jacksonville St., Eastern Michigan, and Wyoming, so I donít think thatís good enough. At least Marshall beat Akron (who beat Pittsburgh). I know that isnít much to go on, but itís more than Michigan St. has; and again, the formula is something to go on as well.

Itís also more than Ohio St. has to go on. Navy and Cincinnati are just not looking like good wins right now. Cincinnati only beat Miami U. and Toledo, and Navy now has three losses after losing to Western Kentucky. Even if the Buckeyes do have better wins than Marshall does, that still doesnít address the loss to Virginia Tech, whose only other wins are William and Mary and Western Michigan.

Cincinnati travels to U. Miami (the one in Florida) in a couple of weeks and also plays East Carolina in November, so if they win a string of games, that will help Ohio St. of course. Two byes and two wins over MAC teams (with two FBS wins between them) doesnít help much right now though.

Ohio St. and Michigan St. both have decent opportunities to join the top 25 next week.

I moved the top 25 teams an average of four spots each. There are only four teams that I moved 7 or more spots up or down. I moved Arizona down 8, North Carolina St. down 7, East Carolina up 10, and Louisville up 7. I am trying to avoid any larger jumps next week.

Note that I still moved East Carolina down two spots compared to last week, I still moved Arizona up 7 spots as compared to last week, and I moved North Carolina St. up two spots as compared to last week despite a loss.

I want to go back to the teams I skipped over for a second, Iíll have no problem ranking USC if they beat Arizona St. next week and are still in the computer top 25. I just think they need that additional quality win in light of Boston College losing to Colorado St.

Minnesota has a bye week, so theyíll probably fall slightly on their own. If their past opponents are still good enough for them to stay in the top 25, I will probably still put them there. TCU plays Oklahoma, and Michigan travels to Rutgers, so we shall see. The Gophers are 22nd in the computer formula right now, so if they stay 22nd, that wonít bother me anyway.

Iím not 100% sure that next week wonít be another transition week, but Iím leaning toward going to the computers exclusively or almost exclusively (sometimes I slightly rearrange the very top teams in early October) next week. I take serious issue with a relatively small number of the results for this point in the season.

I predict I will stick to the computer rankings in full after the games of October 18. Alabama plays Texas A&M that day. Auburn is idle, but in the two weekends before their bye (i.e., this coming weekend and the following weekend) they play LSU and Mississippi St. Mississippi St. is idle the week of the 18th as well, but not before playing Texas A&M and Auburn. Florida St. plays Notre Dame on the 18th. Oregon plays UCLA on the 11th (which could also make or keep UCLA #1), followed by Washington on the 18th.

Nebraska plays Michigan St. this Saturday, but I doubt they can get enough points in the next three weeks under any combination of wins and losses by the other teams I mentioned. The Huskers are idle on the 11th and play Northwestern on the 18th.

Oklahoma is back at #10, but they have a decent combination of games in the next three weeks: TCU, Texas, and Kansas St.

Earlier rankings:
Preseason
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4

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