Florida St. moves into #1 in the computer rankings for the first time this season.
My Top 25
1 ( 2 ) Florida St. 2
2 ( 1 ) Alabama 1
3 ( 7 ) Ohio St. 4
4 ( 3 ) Oregon 3
5 ( 4 ) Miss. St. 5
6 ( 8 ) UCLA 8
7 ( 19 ) Marshall 9
8 ( 5 ) TCU 7
9 ( 9 ) Georgia 10
10 ( 12 ) Arizona 15
11 ( 14 ) Auburn 11
12 ( 26 ) Boise St. 12
13 ( 6 ) Baylor 16
14 ( 17 ) Ole Miss 6
15 ( 18 ) Ga. Tech 13
16 ( 21 ) Colo. St. 14
17 ( 10 ) Mich. St. 17
18 ( 15 ) Wisconsin 20
19 ( 11 ) Kansas St. 21
20 ( 16 ) Missouri 22
21 ( 13 ) Arizona St. 18
22 ( 20 ) Oklahoma 23
23 ( 22 ) Clemson 24
24 ( 30 ) Nebraska 19
25 ( 23 ) Minnesota Ė
(Louisville and LSU are the two Mock BCS top 25 teams who are not in my top 25.)
Full Rankings 1-128
Out of top 25: (25) USC
There are a total of 44 teams that got some level of points in the Mock BCS standings linked to above.
Earlier top-25 blogs:
Florida St. moved into #1, although I think another reminder that I donít factor in margin of victory is in order. Alabama could move back into #1 by beating better opponents in the coming weeks, but something else to keep in mind is Florida St. isnít the only ACC team playing an SEC team this weekend. If the ACC does significantly better, thatís an even stronger argument in Florida St.ís favor, which my system is designed to recognize.
I thought some of the commentariat brought up some interesting points about the committeeís #4-7 teams.
I want to mention something Jeff Long, a member of the committee, said first though. He said they look at where a team was ranked when you played them. I hope thatís not true, but it would explain why LSU was seemingly penalized so much as compared to other two-loss teams before the Alabama game.
I just donít think itís right if they donít consider that a loss to a top-five team. Itís not LSUís fault people didnít yet know they were going to be one of the top teams this season. If anything, the team who is the first to go down should get a break since theyíve had more time to recover from the loss. Also, later teams have more ability to anticipate problem areas and can possibly benefit from injuries. Of course, what they should do is consider how good the opponent is without the loss. For instance, had LSU won the last two games, it may be worth noting in the Bulldogsí favor that taking out their win over LSU, the Tigers would be in the conversation for the top 4.
I do think there are some unique challenges to beating a previously unbeaten team several weeks in, but I also hope Florida St. isnít being given credit for a top-five win when Notre Dame isnít even in the top 25 now. A top-25 win maybe, if you consider the Irish could well be in the top 25 had they simply not played the Seminoles. It is very important to consider those teams just outside of the top 25. Iíll talk more about them at the end.
There was some grumbling about Mississippi St., but I think if they beat Ole Miss, they have a good argument. I do think a one-loss Ohio St. team winning the Big Ten championship game (especially if itís over Wisconsin) should go ahead of an idle Mississippi St. team, assuming Alabama wins the SEC West anyway, though.
I penalize for bad losses and yet I still have Ohio St. in the top 4, so that tells me that Ohio St.ís 8-game conference schedule + Wisconsin (if the Badgers win) is going to be better than either TCUís or Baylorís, assuming weíre going to be comparing one-loss teams. Ohio St. also has respectable wins over Navy and Cincinnati.
Baylor didnít beat anyone worth mentioning out of conference, and TCU only beat one team, albeit a good one (Minnesota).
Obviously, if Minnesota beats Wisconsin, thatís going to be even better for the Horned Frogs and you could have an argument theyíre more deserving in that scenario.
I donít see any scenario, however, where one-loss Baylor should go ahead of one-loss TCU or one-loss Ohio St.
ďB-but head to headĒ isnít an argument.
Beating TCU is just a high-quality win.
I know the way tie-breakers work, they donít care how bad the loss is. For instance, if Alabama had lost to Arkansas or Texas A&M instead of Ole Miss, they still would win the tie-breaker over Mississippi St. if the two finish with the same SEC record.
I do care how bad the loss is. In fact, I think that should be the most important game to compare when you compare two one-loss teams.
So before we even get to Minnesota, I think TCU goes ahead of Baylor. Playing well enough to lose to Baylor by three (my system doesnít look at the margin, but that doesnít mean my arguments canít) is playing well enough to beat all but maybe 10 teams in college football. Playing at that level could be good enough to win a semifinal playoff game.
Itís hard to be complimentary about a 14-point loss to WVU though. It is tougher to play them on the road, but TCU did that and managed to win.
I know not everyone will credit Ohio St. for having a couple of mid-level non-conference wins instead of one good one like TCU, and thatís fine. I can accept that. I could not accept Baylor going ahead of either team though, assuming one loss apiece.
I think the Big Ten is slightly better than the Big XII, but even if theyíre equal, consider that when youíre in a 10-team conference you play the worst teams as well as the best. Ohio St. did not play Purdue, and thatís one of the two worst teams in the Big Ten. TCU played Kansas (barely beating them) and will play Iowa St. during championship week.
My hope is Ohio St. is given significant credit for beating a tougher opponent on that weekend. If they are and they come up short, thatís fine. I like TCU better anyway.
A lot of these conversations could become even more muddled if you add in a possible two-loss SEC team. I think Mississippi St. is out with two losses, but a two-loss SEC champion Georgia team, Iím not so sure. They would have wins over Auburn, Georgia Tech, Arkansas, and Missouri, not to mention whoever the SEC West champions will be (most likely Alabama but possibly Mississippi St.)
Also, unlike last year, a loss to Auburn doesnít necessarily knock Alabama out of the divisional race. Most people predicted Alabama to come out of Oxford with a win, and that didnít happen. The same thing could happen to Mississippi St.
Alabama beat that West Virginia team mentioned above. They also beat Mississippi St., LSU, and Florida and could possibly beat Georgia in the SEC Championship.
Georgia isnít guaranteed to win the East though. In fact, they need Arkansas to beat Missouri for that to happen. That may be the key to any two-loss SEC team being included.
Nothing down the list was too interesting. Minnesota actually jumped up 10 spots, so even though they beat Nebraska, they still got pretty significant credit for that even though it wasnít quite enough to most past the Huskers. When two teams are separated by 16 spots going into a game, itís not always enough for the lower team to get ahead in the ratings.
Also, it was nice to see Boise St. and Marshall finally get included in the committeeís top 25. Iím generally against ďmid-majorĒ teams being in the top 10, but the committee went too far in excluding them for so long.
I donít know what theyíre thinking keeping Utah in there though. Losing to Washington St. is pretty bad. If you want to pick a team with four losses, here are some better suggestions: LSU, Texas A&M, Notre Dame, and USC. Apart from Notre Dame againstNorthwestern, none of the rest lost an embarrassing game like that. Since Notre Dame is playing USC and LSU is playing Texas A&M, hopefully the winners will get some strong consideration for that last spot. I would even take Arkansas as a five-loss team given their schedule (In addition to the SEC West, they will have played Georgia and Missouri, the best two teams in the East, as well as Northern Illinois and Texas Techout of conference).
The LSU defense did about as well as could be expected against Johnny ManzielÖ
But as a more traditional passer, Kyle Allen presents a very different test.
LSU was the only team that went 2-0 against ďJohnny FootballĒ, but as the captions above indicate, thatís not necessarily a reason for confidence going into this game. If you missed it, I wrote about LSUís quarterback situation last week.
For the last few weeks, Iíve been waiting until I can compute the Mock BCS standings before writing a blog about my rankings. Unfortunately, (when I first wrote this) one of the formerly BCS computer rankings still ha[d] not been released for this week, so this could not be done on time.
You can still access my ratings for all 128 teams here, but youíll have to wait until tomorrow or the next day for the blog that I write to accompany them.
I updated my LSU-Texas A&M ďRivalry SeriesĒ blog after last seasonís game, but I thought of a few more possibly interesting tidbits.
From 1989 to 1995, LSU lost 4 consecutive games at Texas A&M. The Tigers did not travel to the state of Texas again until 2002, when they lost to the Longhorns in the Cotton Bowl. The last five trips to the state have gone fairly well, however:
2014 Ė Wisconsin (Houston), 28-24
2013 Ė TCU (Arlington), 37-27
2012 Ė @Texas A&M, 24-19
2011 Ė Oregon (Arlington), 40-27
2010 Ė Texas A&M (Arlington), 41-24
In trips West of the Mississippi River since that 2002 Texas game I mentioned, LSU is 11-3, with all three losses coming against Arkansas (just in case of confusion, when I put ďLittle Rock,Ē that means thatís where the game was played, not that LSU played the University of Arkansas-Little Rock):
2014 LOSS Ė @Arkansas, 0-17
2012 Ė @Arkansas, 20-13
2010 LOSS Ė Arkansas (Little Rock), 23-31
2009 Ė @Washington, 31-23
2008 LOSS Ė Arkansas (Little Rock), 30-31
2006 Ė Arkansas (Little Rock), 31-26
2005 Ė @Arizona St., 35-31
2004 Ė Arkansas (Little Rock), 43-14
2003 Ė @Arizona, 59-13
Since joining the conference, Texas A&M is only 4-6 in SEC play at home. By comparison, when the Aggies beat South Carolina in late August, they ran their SEC road record to 7-2 but have since fallen to 8-4. (If that doesnít quite seem to add up, they beat Arkansas at a neutral site in 2012.)
In addition to the blog and website linked above, you can also find me on Facebook (link) and on Twitter @TheBayouBlogger
Nick Saban and Jimbo Fisher when Fisher was Sabanís offensive coordinator at LSU.
There are 40 teams total that got at least some level of ďMock BCSĒ points, so you can follow the link below to find them all.
My Top 25
1 ( 2 ) Alabama 4
2 ( 1 ) Florida St. 3
3 ( 3 ) Oregon 2
4 ( 7 ) Ohio St. 10
5 ( 4 ) Miss. St. 1
6 ( 8 ) Ole Miss 5
7 ( 5 ) TCU 9
8 ( 10 ) UCLA 6
9 ( 19 ) Marshall 13
10 ( 9 ) Georgia 21
11 ( 14 ) Auburn 7
12 ( 28 ) Boise St. 15
13 ( 17 ) Ga. Tech 22
14 ( 23 ) Colo. St. 11
15 ( 15 ) Arizona 20
16 ( 6 ) Baylor 14
17 ( 11 ) Mich. St. 24
18 ( 13 ) Arizona St. 8
19 ( 22 ) Nebraska 12
20 ( 16 ) Wisconsin Ė
21 ( 12 ) Kansas St. 19
22 ( 18 ) Missouri Ė
23 ( 21 ) Oklahoma Ė
24 ( 30 ) Clemson 23
25 ( 24 ) USC Ė
(Utah and LSU are the two Mock BCS top 25 teams who are not in my top 25.)
Full Rankings 1-128
Out of top 25: (16) Notre Dame, (17) Duke, (18) LSU, (25) TX A&M
I have serious reservations about both Alabama and Florida St.; but itís the right thing, at least at this point, for both to be the top 2 teams. Alabama has had major issues with playing on the road (one-point win over Arkansas, virtual loss to LSU, actual loss to Ole Miss), although they donít have any road games left. Florida St. has too; but itís been a more general pattern of slow starts on both sides of the ball, followed by quick scores that the opposition offenses canít keep up with.
Last week, I mentioned that it was possible for both Mississippi St. and Alabama to be in the top 4 with a Tide win over the Bulldogs. This would have happened were it not for another team I didnít anticipate making the top 4, Ohio St.
A few things came together to help this happen. Even though the Gophers were unranked, that still counts as a good win. The fact that TCU escaped against Kansas on Saturday helped that to continue to count as a good win. (TCU beat Minnesota out of conference.) As I discussed last week in reference to Arizona St./Notre Dame, the effects of those out-of-conference results are huge.
If Minnesota lost to Michigan St., for instance, that would be positive for some Big Ten teams and negative for others, but it wouldnít have a huge impact on the conference overall. Out-of-conference results have a uniformly positive or negative effect though. If 8 or 9 games you play are made to look better or worse, that makes a big difference.
Ohio St.ís strength of schedule was also assisted by Virginia Techís win over Duke. Losses hurt more than wins help, so if another loss had been added to Virginia Tech, that would have continued to weigh Ohio St. down. Instead, the Hokiesí ability to beat another pretty good team makes the loss not hurt so much.
Another factor that helped Ohio St. was Navyís win over Georgia Southern. Iím not going to pretend Georgia Southern is a great team, but they have 7 FBS wins, so thatís a positive for Navy, which Ohio St. beat earlier in the year.
A big game for the Big Ten in general was Notre Dame/Northwestern. Not only was that a big win for a Big Ten team, but it also damaged what had been a quality opponent for Pac-12 and ACC teams.
Despite Northwestern taking even more of the luster off of Florida St.ís win over Notre Dame, the Seminoles were still able to move into #2 after a quality win that coincided with an Oregon bye week. Ohio St. was a little too far behind to challenge the íNoles either.
The winner of Ole Miss and Mississippi St. still has a good chance to move into the top 4, particularly if Alabama loses to Auburn. If Ole Miss (@ Arkansas) and Mississippi St. (vs. Vanderbilt) win next week, this would mean that Alabama would be shut out of the SEC championship game.
The way my system operates, itís a disadvantage not to be in the conference-championship game at the end of the year. This is one reason Alabama did not rate as highly in my system as it did in the BCS in 2011, for instance.
I mentioned TCU earlier. Itís not looking good for the Big XII in my system.
It would take a major group of losses by top teams for the Horned Frogs (currently #7) to move up significantly. Theyíre idle next week, then they play Texas during Rivalry Week, which is their last chance to get a decent number of points. During championship week, they play Iowa St., so thatís not going to help them out much. Even Marshall would get more points that week with a win. TCU is just a whisker ahead of UCLA, who can get a lot of points by winning out, especially if the Bruins win the Pac-12 South.
Kansas St. plays Baylor during championship week, but Kansas St. has two losses (and Auburn isnít helping them by losing) and Baylor doesnít have the prior wins. Their non-conference schedule was just awful.
No one outside of the top 10 has much of a chance of making the top 4, but teams like Georgia Tech, Arizona, and Wisconsin could move up significantly by winning their respective conferences.
As we learned in 2007 though, you never want to say itís impossible for either a team like TCU or one of those lower teams.
LSU, Notre Dame, and Duke fell out. I think theyíre all top-25 teams in ability (although none played like it Saturday), but teams in the 20s are packed pretty closely together, and all have at least one good chance for points coming up.
There were 11 losses or bye weeks in the top 18 last week, so that accounts for a lot of the movement. Any team that went into the week in the top 18 and won a game is now in the top 12. All but two (Marshall and Boise St.) are in the top 7.
Pac-12 teams are moving up, in part due to Arizona St.ís win over Notre Dame.
Just like last week, there are no newly-ranked teams for the season, so there are no team logos. There are 39 teams total that got at least some level of ďMock BCSĒ points, so you can follow the link below to find them all.
My Top 25
1 ( 1 ) Miss. St. 1
2 ( 4 ) Oregon 5
3 ( 2 ) Florida St. 3
4 ( 3 ) Alabama 6
5 ( 10 ) Ole Miss 4
6 ( 12 ) UCLA 7
7 ( 8 ) Auburn 2
8 ( 7 ) Arizona St. 8
9 ( 5 ) TCU 12
10 ( 9 ) Ohio St. 15
11 ( 23 ) Colo. St. 14
12 ( 11 ) Nebraska 9
13 ( 21 ) Marshall 17
14 ( 6 ) Baylor 22
15 ( 29 ) Boise St. 18
16 ( 15 ) Notre Dame 13
17 (†20 ) Duke 23
18 ( 17 ) LSU 10
19 ( 13 ) Kansas St. 11
20 ( 19 ) Arizona 21
21 ( 16 ) Georgia 25
22 ( 27 ) Ga. Tech Ė
23 (†18 ) Clemson 20
24 ( 14 ) Mich. St. 16
25 ( 22 ) TX A&M Ė
Full Rankings 1-128
Out of top 25: (19) Oklahoma, (24) Missouri
It makes me sick to have to give Alabama credit for a win and to penalize LSU for a loss, just so you know. At least now I donít have to cheer for the Rammer Jammers in any of their remaining games.
I havenít forced myself to cheer for Alabama since Thanksgiving Day of 2010 (I was neutral when they played Notre Dame in January 2013); but if LSU had kept winning, I would have had to cheer for them in one or possibly both of their remaining games.
Anyway, Oregon is #2 for the moment, but things will even out when the Ducks have a bye week next week. If I were to account for the extra week now, Oregon would actually be #4.
I was pleased that my rankings gave some credit to the Pac-12. I didnít make a rankings system to favor one conference (and neither did any of the widely-recognized systems). So while itís not quite as strong as the SEC West (everyone but Arkansas has no losses outside the division), the Oregon/Arizona St./Arizona/UCLA group of teams has played well enough to help one another out, especially with ASUís win over Notre Dame. UCLA did lose to Utah, and Arizona did lose to USC, so thatís why itís not quite the same as the top of the SEC West.
I explained the circumstances, but the fact that Oregon is close enough to Alabama in the first place shows that itís not impossible to break into the group of SEC teams even if they werenít beating each other constantly. The best Pac-12 team with two losses isnít ahead of the best SEC team with two losses (Ole Miss), but they are ahead of the second-best (Auburn).
Arizona St. only has one loss; but unlike UCLA, they wonít play Oregon until the Pac-12 championship (if at all) and they havenít played Arizona yet. UCLAís win over Texas is also looking better after the Horns beat WVU.
I skipped Florida St. They should be a somewhat comfortable #2 next week if they win.U. Miami is possibly the best three-loss team (after LSU anyway). One of the Hurricanesí losses is to Nebraska, and they are the only team to beat Duke.
Auburn/Ole Miss is not a mistake or oversight. Even though Auburn beat Ole Miss, I still think the Rebels belong ahead. Ole Miss is 1-0 against the top two teams in the West, and Auburn is 0-1. Also, the loss at LSU is more forgivable than the loss at home againstA&M.
TCU and Ohio St. are where they belong. Basically, the wrong teams won. Either conferenceís best chance was for the teams that were undefeated in conference with respectable out-of-conference losses (Michigan St. to Oregon and KSU to Auburn) to win out.
TCUís best win is the one they just had over Kansas St. The Oklahoma win is looking less impressive now. The Frogs beat Minnesota out of conference, but their games againstSamford and still-winless SMU donít help them out much.
Of course, Ohio St.ís loss to mediocre Virginia Tech is going to be difficult to overcome, but they may have an outside shot if they can beat Nebraska (preferably if they donít incur any further losses) in the Big Ten championship.
There is then a huge gap before getting to #11, Colorado St. The Rams have a bye week, followed by New Mexico, so there will be plenty of opportunity for teams to pass them. Marshall already had its bye weeks, but the best team on their schedule right now (pending whoever wins the other division) is Rice.
Nebraska is between the two mid-major/group-of-five teams, but as I indicated, they can find their way to move up by winning.
Baylor only has the one loss, but the Bears played SMU, Northwestern St., and Buffalo out of conference. Also, they have yet to play Kansas St. Thatís on championship week, so I guess it will be a good chance to make one last statement if the Bears keep winning.
Boise St. is not likely to move up very much. Notre Dame can move up a little bit, but neither of those will be particularly relevant with two losses.
Duke certainly still has some potential for points being that they may earn a rematch in the ACC title game with Florida St., but there isnít too much before then.
Everyone else is mostly just jockeying for non-CFP bowl consideration.
Georgia, LSU, and Texas A&M donít want to fall too far down the list of SEC bowls (I donít think the Bulldogs want to see Jacksonville again, for instance). Michigan St. looks like it may be playing an SEC team somewhere in Florida.
I mentioned Kansas St. and Arizona earlier. They look out of their respective conference races for the moment, but there are big games left.
Georgia Tech and Clemson will square off for best two-loss ACC team.
I didn't wait†for the committee this time. Itís LSU/Alabama week, so I want to give my rankings and move on. Iím going to include the mock BCS standings as I calculate them. They will be the number in parentheses. There are no team logos below because there is only one ďnewĒ ranked team (Missouri, which replaces West Virginia), and they were ranked earlier this season.
LSU/Alabama is just one of the big games before the Iron Bowl, but there is a good chance it will be an important game for the national title race once again.
My Top 25
1 ( 1 ) Miss. St. 1
2 ( 3 ) Auburn 3
3 ( 2 ) Florida St. 4
4 ( 10 ) Ole Miss 2
5 ( 5 ) Oregon 6
6 ( 4 ) Alabama 5
7 ( 16 ) UCLA 14
8 ( 12 ) Arizona St. 19
9 ( 15 ) Nebraska 8
10 ( 11 ) LSU 7
11 ( 7 ) Kansas St. 18
12 ( 6 ) TCU 17
13 ( 8 ) Notre Dame 11
14 ( 26 ) Colo. St. 16
15 ( 13 ) Ohio St. 13
16 ( 9 ) Mich. St. 10
17 ( 22 ) Marshall 9
18 ( 30 ) Boise St. 21
19 ( 17 ) Oklahoma 23
20 ( 19 ) Clemson 20
21 ( 20 ) Arizona 15
22 ( 14 ) Baylor 22
23 ( 23 ) Duke 24
24 ( 25 ) Missouri Ė
25 ( 18 ) Georgia 12
Full 128 computer ratings
Other teams who would have at least some BCS points:
42 ( 21 ) Utah Ė
31 ( 24 ) W. Virginia 25
29 ( 27 ) Wisconsin Ė
32 ( 28 ) TX A&M Ė
28 ( 29 ) USC Ė
26 ( 31 ) Ga. Tech Ė
33 ( 32 ) Florida Ė
30 ( 33 ) Minnesota Ė
35 ( 34 ) Louisville Ė
43 ( 35 ) Iowa Ė
49 ( 36 ) Stanford Ė
48 ( 37 ) E. Carolina Ė
50 ( 38 ) Cincinnati Ė
27 ( 39 ) U. Miami Ė
Once again, Iím going to have to ask for some patience in Ole Miss going down in the rankings. They have Presbyterian next week and a bye the week after that, so theyíll possibly fall several spots in that time. (LSU, for instance, fell three spots after taking off this past weekend alone. Marshall and Michigan St. fell much more.) The following week, the Rebels play Arkansas, so someone else could also pass them after that week as well.
Why are they so high right now? Other than only having had one bye week, Ole Miss has the 4th-best schedule right now.
The Rebels beat Alabama, which rates as the second-best win by any team this season right now. The best win is Mississippi St.ís win over Auburn. As you might guess, apart from Mississippi St., the best (or least-bad) team to lose to is Auburn.
Speaking of Auburn, if youíve ever said to yourself, ďIíd like to watch Gus Malzahn break dance,Ē today is your lucky day:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jFvqdQnWu9I
Anyway, if I were just making it up from scratch, Ole Miss would be somewhere around #10, so Iím going to go through the top 10 and explain why Ole Miss is higher than each team in my ratings at the moment.
Iím not going to comment on every teamís prospect for moving ahead of Ole Miss, but the first two are particularly relevant.
LSU isnít one of the top few teams to lose to, but theyíre much better than Arizona, which beat #5 Oregon. Oregon is very close to Ole Miss in points though, so I would expect them to easily pass up the Rebels with a win next week.
#6 Alabama has beaten none of the top 5 teams of the West yet, so thatís why they canít be ahead of Ole Miss right now. Beating LSU would change that. Not only would it be a decent increase in points, but it would hurt Ole Miss more for losing to LSU. (Losses hurt more than wins help.)
#7 UCLA also has two losses (one of them to Utah), so they certainly donít have a strong argument to be ahead of Ole Miss.
#8 Arizona St. only has one loss, but when your best win is over USC, you donít belong ahead of a team with Ole Missís rťsumť.
#9 Nebraska is another one-loss team that just doesnít have the wins to compete with Ole Miss right now. The Huskers did beat Miami (which is no Alabama), but the quality of wins decreases rapidly from there.
#10 LSU needs another big win. They have Ole Miss (which counts for less than Alabama) and Wisconsin (which counts for less than Boise St.) but really not much after that. Kentucky and Florida donít rate very highly due to their records, and itís harder to have the same strength of schedule playing in the East, especially when neither team has played a good out-of-conference opponent yet. Ole Miss beat Texas A&M, for instance, which has a better record than either of LSUís SEC East opponents and rates a good bit higher. The Aggies wouldnít necessarily beat the Wildcats or Gators, but it makes sense that they have a higher rating right now.
Ole Miss went from being ahead of Mississippi St. in my ratings to being 0.25 behind the Bulldogs in the last two weeks, it just so happens there werenít many teams in between ready to move up. Rating-wise, theyíre as close to Mississippi St. as they are to Colorado St. now. Itís just not translating from ratings to rankings yet.
Along with the top teams of the Pac-12 (mentioned above), the top teams of the Big XII are moving up. Kansas St. plays TCU next week, so the winner will probably find itself well into the top 10. The Big XII doesnít have that much depth in my formula though, so if itís TCU, theyíll probably go down from there (Kansas, bye, Texas, Iowa St.). Kansas St. can still finish undefeated in the Big XII (they lost to Auburn out of conference) and still has WVU and Baylor to play, so I believe they would be the stronger candidate for the top 4 by winning out.
Notre Dame finally has a chance to make a move by beating Arizona St. Louisville and USC (later this month) wonít be bad additions to the resume either.
Everyone lower down lacks a great schedule at this point. I know this because there are no 3-loss teams in my top 25.
Colorado St. has a better rating than Marshall or Boise St., but the Broncos (with two losses overall) hold the tie-breaker in the Mountain West, so picking the ďbest of the restĒ team might be tricky.
Like the TCU/KSU game, Ohio St. and Michigan St. should produce a team that can move up and do well. Unlike that game, both teams have competitive opponents coming up and neither has a bye week. If Nebraska keeps winning, that would help the winner of the Big Ten East even more down the road if they end up winning the Big Ten title game.
Oklahoma would get a big boost by beating Baylor, but there is not much left for the Sooners points-wise after that.
I donít expect a big move upward by Clemson. Other than Florida St., the ACC Atlantic doesnít have much to offer as far as potential points. Georgia Tech and a South Carolina team that will probably finish .500 are the best left on the purple and orange Tigersí schedule. I certainly donít see Florida St. losing twice, which Clemson would need to happen to make the ACC title game.
Arizona can still influence things with game against Washington, Utah, and Arizona St. Making the Pac-12 title game certainly isnít out of the question. It seems like apart from Colorado, anyone in the Pac-12 South can easily beat anyone else.
I mentioned Baylor. The Bears still have Oklahoma and Kansas St. left, so they can still win the Big XII.
Duke looks like a good-but-not-great divisional winner again.
Lastly, no one wants to win the SEC East, it seems, but Missouri has a one-game advantage right now. The black and gold Tigers would lose the tie-breaker if itís a two-way tie with the Bulldogs though. Texas A&M appears to be Missouriís toughest test left, while Georgia still has to play Kentucky (on the road) and Auburn before closing the regular season with non-conference games.
In addition to the blog linked to above, I'm now on twitter @TheBayouBlogger and at www.facebook.com/BayouBlogger