Sunday, November 15, 2015

Poll Position: November 15

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 eleven 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. I apologize for not giving my thoughts on the poll last week, but I was busy and the poll was relatively unchanged from the week before.

Iowa (6th) - With the laws of polls, I guess you have to move these guys up as they keep winning. Feel like they are destined to lose to Nebraska on Black Friday.

Oklahoma (7th) - They moved up five spots after their win in Waco, and I am still 'all in' on the Sooners bandwagon. 

Leaving the Poll:
UCLA - Bruins still have a chance to get to the Pac-12 championship game, but it will take consecutive road wins (Utah and Southern Cal) to do it.

Mississippi State - They moved the ball their first few drives against the Tide, but had no points to show for it. Then, the avalanche came.

Temple - Such is the life of a mid-major. One upset undoes a season of great work.

Memphis - See Temple comment. Although, the Tigers did blow a great chance to get back in the division race in the American West.

Joining the Poll:
Southern Cal (22nd) - Trojans survived a Friday night in Boulder. Their next two are against Oregon and UCLA. If they win them both (or split and get some help), they will be in the Pac-12 Championship Game.

Oregon (23rd) - Ducks have won four straight and their latest likely keeps the Pac-12 out of the playoff picture.

Washington State (24th) - Congrats to the Cougars who are in the poll for the first time since a brief stay in 2006. The upset over UCLA also clinched their first wining season since 2003!

Ole Miss (25th) - I guess with four open spaces, they had to add an SEC team.

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. Houston (13th) and Navy (19th) are the only mid-majors remaining in the poll. They will face off on Black Friday with the American West division on the line. Barring an upset this week or a loss in the American Athletic Championship Game (Temple is the likely opponent), the Midshipmen or Cougars are your likely Group of Five representative in the New Year's Six Bowl games. In the MAC, Bowling Green has clinched the East division for the third straight year (and received a handful of votes in the latest poll). The Falcons opponent is TBD as Northern Illinois, Toledo, and Western Michigan are all 5-1 in league play. Northern Illinois hosts Western Michigan on Wednesday while Toledo travels to Bowling Green on Tuesday. By Thursday morning, Northern Illinois could clinch a spot in the MAC Championship Game. In the Mountain West, Boise State and Utah State both lost over the weekend. Boise fell as a huge home favorite to New Mexico (congrats to Los Lobos who are bowl eligible for the first time since 2007) and Utah State lost at Air Force. The Aggies are out of division contention after their third loss in four games, and Air Force is alone in first place. The Falcons travel to Boise on Friday night with a chance to clinch the Mountain Division. In the West Division, San Diego State is quietly unbeaten in league play and can clinch the division with another win and make plans to host the Mountain West Championship Game. The Conference USA storyline is the same as it has been for most of the season. Marshall and Western Kentucky will decide the East on Black Friday while Louisiana Tech ans Southern Miss will decide the West the following day. In the Sun Belt, Arkansas State remains unbeaten in league play and with New Mexico State and Texas State left on the docket (combined 4-14 record), an outright league title seems a foregone conclusion. Independent BYU blew their chance to join the poll as they lost to an inspired Missouri squad on Saturday.

Ranked Matchups This Week:
Michigan State (9th) @ Ohio State (2nd) - GameDay will be there. Hopefully the game is competitive even though Michigan State has been far from elite this season.

Baylor (10th) @ Oklahoma State (4th) - A win by the Cowboys will have them set up for perhaps the biggest Bedlam in history.

TCU (11th) @ Oklahoma (7th) - See previous comment.

LSU (17th) @ Ole Miss (25th) - The AVB (Arkansas Victims' Bowl).

Northwestern (20th) @ Wisconsin (21st) - Wisconsin has faint division title hopes and Northwestern has a shot at ten wins in the regular season.

Southern Cal (22nd) @ Oregon (23rd) - A month ago, these two were huge disappointments. Now, the winner has a chance to finish in the top-ten of the final polls.

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