Sunday, October 25, 2015

Poll Position: October 25th

With the introduction of the College Football Playoff last season, polls are a superfluous endeavor. However, they still give us a rough approximation of the general consensus of teams. With eight weeks of the college football season in the books (frowny face), and with the internet being invented so that random people can bitch about trivial things they have no control over, here are my thoughts on the latest AP Poll.

Oklahoma State (12th) - The Cowboys move up two spots after their functional bye against Kansas. While they sport a 7-0 record, the Cowboys are probably below Baylor, TCU, and Oklahoma in the Big 12 pecking order. They should get a serious test in Lubbock this weekend.

Clemson (3rd) - I know they just beat a team that is likely playing for a lame duck coach, but 58-0 is still impressive. Their early season win over Appalachian State is one of the more underrated victories against a mid-major this season.

Oklahoma (14th) - For my money, perhaps the best one-loss team in the country. If they sweep their last three games, @ Baylor, TCU, and @ Oklahoma State, Sooners can still be a player in the playoff race. 

Leaving the Poll:
Texas A&M - Aggies will probably have a nice nine-win regular season, but they are playing fourth fiddle in the SEC West at best,

California - No shame in road losses to Utah and UCLA. Also, look at their wins (San Diego State, @ Texas, @ Washington, and Washington State). All quality teams. Bears probably deserve a spot in the poll and could return if they can beat the Trojans at home this week.

Joining the Poll:
UCLA (24th) - Bruins have a chance to go on a roll (Colorado, @ Oregon State, and Washington State) over their next three games. Outside of Utah, everyone in the division has at least two conference losses, so they are very much alive.

Mississippi State (25th) - Bulldogs have won three in a row to get to bowl eligibility. Probably out of the division race, but they host Alabama and Ole Miss, so will have a say in who goes to Atlanta.

Around the Mid-Major Universe:
I am an admitted mid-major apologist, so I always enjoy it when some non-traditional powers find their way into the poll. Memphis is still the highest ranked team from the Group of Five conferences as they avoided a letdown loss on a short week. Tigers host Tulane this week before a three-game stretch that will determine who wins the American West (Navy, @ Houston, and @ Temple). Speaking of Houston, the Cougars moved up three spots to 18th. The Cougars get a chance to beat a second Power Five school this weekend when they host Vanderbilt. With just one road game reaming on the schedule (@ Connecticut), I would favor the Cougars to overtake Memphis and win the division. Toledo dropped a spot to 20th after a harrowing first half against Massachusetts. They still won by more than two touchdowns, but pollsters don't need much of an excuse to drop a MAC team. Temple fought off East Carolina and moved up one spot to 21st. They face Notre Dame on Halloween night with a chance for perhaps the biggest win in program history. BYU dropped 70 points on Wagner over the weekend, and is currently just outside the top-25 (29th). Their toughest remaining game is likely a road trip to Utah State, so ten wins and an appearance in the top-25 is a distinct probability for the Cougars. Appalachian State, with six whole votes, is the only other mid-major receiving any pollster love this week. The Mountaineers are a good team (I hope you watched their game with Georgia Southern on Thursday), but will likely need to win out during the regular season before they can hope to be the first ever ranked Sun Belt team. San Diego State tightened up the Mountain West race on Friday night. The Aztecs are a virtual shoe-in to win their division (its the West in case you were curious), but their victory over Utah State means the Aggies have no margin for error to remain ahead of Boise State in the Mountain Division. If either the Aggies, Aztecs, or Broncos win out, they could find themselves in the poll at season's end, but the Mountain West is weak, so even that may not get the job done. Despite their loss in Baton Rouge, Western Kentucky appears to be on a collision course with Marshall to decide the East division in Conference USA. Neither team received any votes this week, but if they win out, that will likely change. In the West division, Southern Miss appears to be the biggest challenger to Louisiana Tech and their attempts to repeat as division champ. Like Marshall and Western Kentucky, those two will square off over Thanksgiving weekend with the division title likely on the line.

Ranked Matchups This Week:
Notre Dame (9th) @ Temple (21st): With Ole Miss @ Auburn, Georgia Vs. Florida, and West Virginia @ TCU, as some of the games on the slate, who had this matchup of the Irish as Owls as the only game between ranked teams in the preseason?

No comments: