Author Archives: dudeyoucrazy
Tua is a good football player. He’s a great player. He’s probably going to win the Heisman. But I think a lot of quarterbacks could put up video game numbers against the passing defenses Alabama has faced this year. But first, a look backwards…
Most people (Georgia fans in particular) seem to think Tua Tagovailoa finished last year’s national championship game 1-for-1 for 41 yards and a TD. Well fine, that’s technically how he finished the game. But prior to that moment here’s how his game was going:
- 13 of 23 (56.5% completion rate)
- 125 passing yards
- 5.4 yards per attempt
- Two TDs (one thrown to someone other than the guy who caught it)
- One INT (into a field of red jerseys)
- Two sacks for combined losses of 20 yards
He finished the game (in its entirety) with a QB Rating of 149.4. That’s a good number. Maybe even a really good number. But that’s not what we would now consider a TUA NUMBER. You see, this season Tua has posted a year-long QB Rating of 212.5. That’s not only tops in the country, it’s the highest by nearly 6 points (Kyler Murray is second at 206.8). Further, here’s 15 years’ worth of historical context. These aren’t just random dudes. These are the national leaders in each of the past 15 seasons.
Nobody is even close!
Tua is not human!
Except…when he is.
Remember, against Georgia in January his QB Rating was actually 149.4. That figure wouldn’t have been anywhere close to leading the country at any point over the past 15 years. Further, it would rank 32nd this year.
“But that was last year,” you may be saying to yourself. “That was true freshman Tua against a much better Georgia defense.”
Well, Tua has looked human a few times this year as well—against LSU and Mississippi State in particular. Here are his lines from those games:
- LSU: 25 of 42 for 295 yards, 2 TDs and 1 INT (rating: 129.5)
- Mississippi State: 14 of 21 for 164 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT (rating: 138.5)
What do LSU and Mississippi State have in common with last year’s Georgia squad as it relates to passing defense? Well, all three defenses are pretty darn good against the pass. Case in point: the 2017 Georgia Bulldogs and both the 2018 LSU Tigers and 2018 Mississippi State Bulldogs all gave up fewer than 6.0 yards per pass attempt. That’s pretty damn good.
- 2017 Georgia – #2 nationally, 5.6 yards allowed per pass attempt
- 2018 Mississippi State – #3 nationally, 5.4 yards allowed per pass attempt
- 2018 LSU – #14 nationally, 5.9 yards per pass attempt
Tua has been relatively ho-hum against three top-15 pass defenses. What’s that have to do with this Saturday’s game? Well, Georgia (this year’s Georgia!!!) ranks 12th in the country at 5.8 passing yards allowed per attempt. By that measure, these Bulldogs are more alike than different from the past three teams that have brought Tua down to earth. But what’s wild is this: Tua hasn’t really seen any other defenses anywhere close to this—at least not this season. Here’s how the rest of his 2018 FBS opposition shapes up.
- Arkansas State – #49 nationally, 6.9 yards allowed per pass attempt
- Auburn – #51 nationally, 7.0 yards allowed per pass attempt
- Tennessee – #87 nationally, 7.6 yards allowed per pass attempt
- Missouri – #92 nationally, 7.7 yards allowed per pass attempt
- Ole Miss – #100 nationally 7.9 yards allowed per pass attempt
- Arkansas – #114 nationally, 8.5 yards allowed per pass attempt
- Texas A&M – #117 nationally, 8.5 yards allowed per pass attempt
- Louisville – #119 nationally, 8.5 yards allowed per pass attempt
- Louisiana – #121 nationally, 8.5 yards allowed per pass attempt
Tua has played exceptionally awful passing defenses. Period. Even with Mississippi State and LSU included, the cumulative average of these figures is that Tua has played eleven FBS defenses this year who have, on average, given up 7.5 yards per pass attempt. For what it’s worth, Georgia Tech’s passing defense has allowed exactly 7.5 yards per pass attempt and ranks 81st in the country. This has nothing to do with Tua, but Jake Fromm posted a passer rating of 255.6 vs. Tech last week. Good quarterbacks have good games against bad pass defenses. That’s a tale as old as time.
This is what matters:
- Tua Tagovailoa is a really good quarterback.
- He looks unapproachable because he’s played terrible defenses.
What’s that have to do with this game? Again, Georgia’s pass defense is not terrible. Further, if you’re looking for Tua to be worth a 14-point spread by himself because he has put up crazy numbers, you’re looking for a false indicator. For even more context, consider Georgia’s passing game. When adjusted for context, Tua becomes a bit more relatable – even to a Georgia QB (Jake Fromm) that some Bulldog fans don’t want starting (shoutout to the Fields Fanboys).
Why does Fromm lag Tua so much in national perception? A few reasons:
First and foremost, Fromm doesn’t pass as much as Tua. Much has been made of Tua “never playing four quarters.” Fromm doesn’t always play four quarters either. But irregardless of how much either player plays, the fact remains that Tua has attempted 269 passes this year and Fromm has attempted 233. That 36 pass gap may not seem like a lot, but Tua has thrown about 15.5% more times than Fromm. Put another way, Fromm has never attempted 36 passes in a game – so he’s more than a full game behind Tua in attempts. In fact, in his last two games Fromm has attempted just 21 total passes. Further, since the loss to LSU, Georgia has five games (all against FBS competition, three against Top 25 teams, two away from home against Top 25 foes). Fromm has averaged just north of 15 pass attempt per contest over that period. Why? Because Georgia’s average margin of victory in those contests has been north of 23 points per game. For what it’s worth, Fromm is a combined 62 of 85 (73 percent) for 827 yards (9.7 YPA) 11 TDs, 1 INT and a rating of 195.02.
But sure, it’s Tua whose numbers suffer because his team crushes opposition so badly.
If you throw more (as Tua does), you should throw more completions (and Tua does). But the completion percentage of these two is roughly equivalent. Fromm has hit on 69.1 percent of his attempts. Tua has an edge at 70.3 percent. Where Tua runs away with this thing is that he has a lot more touchdowns (36 to 24), fewer interceptions (two to Fromm’s five) and a higher yards-per-attempt average (11.9 for Tua; 9.6 for Fromm).
But let this be perfectly clear: Fromm has played MUCH better passing defenses. Here is where his foes stack up by the same measure as above (yards allowed per pass attempt):
- LSU – #14 nationally, 5.9 yards per pass attempt
- Florida – #19 nationally, 6.1 yards per pass attempt
- Kentucky – #31 nationally, 6.4 yards per pass attempt
- MTSU – #39 nationally, 6.7 yards allowed per pass attempt
- Auburn – #51 nationally, 7.0 yards allowed per pass attempt
- Vanderbilt – #68 nationally, 7.3 yards allowed per pass attempt
- South Carolina – #76 nationally, 7.4 yards allowed per pass attempt
- Georgia Tech – #81 nationally, 7.5 yards allowed per pass attempt
- Tennessee – #87 nationally, 7.6 yards allowed per pass attempt
- Missouri – #92 nationally, 7.7 yards allowed per pass attempt
- UMass – #124 nationally, 9.0 yards allowed per pass attempt
Fromm’s 11 FBS foes boast an average defensive YPA of 7.1. Another way to think about it is through the lens of common opponents. Tennessee is the fifth-best passing defense Tua has faced but the ninth-best faced by Fromm. Missouri is the middle-man (number 6 of 11) for Tua. Mizzou is the next-to-last defense Fromm has faced.
Also, I didn’t include FCS opponents because neither QB should really care about showing out against those folks. Tua, predictable, padded his stats (18 of 22 for 340 yards, 3 TDs and 0 INTs) against the Citadel in late November. Fromm did little more than a warm-up against Austin Peay, hitting on 12 of 16 passes for 157 yards 2 TDs and 0 INTs. If you remove those games, Tua’s season-long rating falls from 212.5 to 208.6. Fromm basically stays the same—in fact taking out the cupcake moves him up from 179.4 to 180.8.
I’m not saying Fromm is as good as Tua. I’m certainly not saying he’s better. I’m just driving home the point that the quality of opposition played should matter. So, what’s the statistical prediction for Tua in this game?
I’m expecting something like this: 22 of 36 for 290 yards, three TDs and 1 INT. That equates to a rating of 150.7.
How about for Fromm? Last year he was 16 of 32 for 232 yards 1 TD and 2 INTs. He’s a better player and I think Georgia’s offense is better. But I don’t think he’ll throw 30 passes. So give me: 15 of 24 for 225, 2 TDs and 0 INTs. That’s a rating just shy of 169. Nice.
That’s all I got/
I didn’t grow up a die-hard Georgia fan. I watched any and every SEC game I could get my googly eyes on as a kid, and I rooted aggressively against the University of Tennessee. But I did not really dive into Georgia football until I enrolled at the University as a freshman in 2006. In fact, even after being accepted to UGA I didn’t totally commit. Truthfully, I didn’t know where I wanted to take my academic talents. I applied to tons of schools—Georgia, Tennessee (lol), Vanderbilt, Clemson, Samford, you name it. I even applied—and almost went—to Auburn. Ultimately, I chose the University of Georgia over Auburn (my backup school…sorry!). And ever since that day, the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry hasn’t been much of a rivalry.
You see, rivalries are supposed to be competitive. Frankly, Georgia/Auburn hasn’t been. Since 2006, Georgia is 10-3 against Auburn. To be sure, this period has featured some pretty decent Georgia teams (and some good Auburn teams as well), but 10-3 isn’t exactly competitive. In fact, Georgia’s winning percentage against the Tigers/War Eagles (.769) is actually higher than Georgia’s winning percentage as a whole over that time period (.728).
My beloved Bulldogs have absolutely dominated Auburn by practically every measure in head-to-head competition. And that makes me wonder: Is this even a rivalry anymore?
Georgia is notorious for having too many rivals. Florida and Tennessee are longstanding SEC East rivals, but South Carolina gets rival-like treatment as well. Georgia Tech is an in-state rival to some and Clemson was once a bitter rival and may someday soon return to the schedule and heat things up. Some would argue that Alabama is becoming a rival given the heated battles on the field, within coaching staffs and on the recruiting trail. Either way, there are too many rivals!
I’ve long advocated for removing the Georgia Tech “rivalry” from the schedule, because it’s just not competitive. Frankly, Georgia/Auburn is even less competitive.
Since 2006, the only team Georgia has defeated more than Auburn is actually Kentucky (lol).
We don’t really consider Kentucky and Vanderbilt (the only other teams Georgia has beaten at least 10 times since 2006) rivals do we?
Further, among teams Georgia plays somewhat frequently (meaning in this case, at least five times since 2006), Auburn is clearly not in the “rivalry” pool.
Missouri, Kentucky, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt and Auburn. What do these teams have in common? For starters, they’re the only teams Georgia has played at least five times since 2006 while posting a winning percentage of better than .750. That’s actually it. Which of these things is not like the other? Auburn. Why? Because Auburn is allegedly a rival.
What’s even crazier is the cumulative impact of these games. If we look at Georgia’s combined scoring advantage since 2006, Auburn is once again in elite company—right alongside Vanderbilt and Kentucky.
And that number isn’t just a byproduct of playing Auburn a lot of times. Since 2006, Georgia has played 27 different Power-5 opponents (this includes independent Notre Dame cuz duh). Auburn has been the 22nd-most competitive opponent from this pool as measured by average scoring differential vs. Georgia. Woof!
I said this heading into the SEC Championship Game last year, but let’s stop pretending Auburn against Georgia has a chance on Saturday. And when it’s done, we probably don’t need to celebrate.
That’s all I got/
Here is this week’s poll. As a reminder, this is based on resume and projected resume only. Only teams featured in the AP Top 25 poll are counted and ordered. This week, I’m splitting into the following pods:
- The Established Monsters: Undefeated Teams with 2+ Wins vs. Ranked Foes
- The Emerging Monsters: Undefeated Teams with 1 Win vs. a Ranked Foe
- Texas: Texas
- The Unknown Potentials: Undefeated Teams with No Ranked Wins
- The Yeah-Sures: Teams with Losses
THE ESTABLISHED MONSTERS: UNDEFEATED TEAMS WITH 2+ RANKED WINS
1. LSU (Previous Rank: 1)
LSU’s resume looks stronger on the top-end than it did a week ago. Miami and Auburn continue to take care of business outside of losses to LSU and both teams were steady in my poll. October 13th will be a separation game one way or the other against Georgia.
2. Stanford (Previous Rank: 5)
Ugly and unlikely as it may have been, Stanford won against Oregon to pick up its second win over a ranked foe this year. If the Cardinal gets past Notre Dame this weekend it will claim my poll’s top spot next week.
3. Kentucky (Previous Rank: Not Ranked)
Welcome to the show, Wildcats. Quietly two teams have emerged as actual contenders out of seemingly nowhere: Kentucky and Texas. We’ll get to the Longhorns later, but for now Kentucky’s two wins over ranked opponents and no losses puts Mark Stoops’ squad in truly elite company.
THE EMERGING MONSTERS: UNDEFEATED TEAMS WITH 1 RANKED WIN
4. Georgia (Previous Rank: 3)
Georgia isn’t downgraded here for an ugly (albeit, 14-point) win at Mizzou. But the Dawgs don’t have two ranked wins. I still think the win at South Carolina was better than anything the rest of this tier has done though.
5. Ohio State (Previous Rank: 2)
Stanford and UK leapfrogged Ohio State on account of now having two ranked wins (vs. the Buckeyes’ 1). Georgia made a move up because the TCU win is now less impressive.
6. Notre Dame (Previous Rank: 6)
No change here for the Irish. A win vs. Stanford this week means a big move up though.
7. Alabama Previous Rank: 8)
Bama finally got a win over a ranked opponent in Texas A&M but it wasn’t enough for a huge needle swing.
8. Texas (Previous Rank: Not Ranked)
Texas has one of the ugliest losses of any top 25 team (season-opener to Maryland), but the Longhorns are 2-0 vs. the Top 25 thanks to wins over USC and TCU. Ultimately, I view this as two positives and one negative and that’s better than the host of teams with no positives in the form of wins over ranked foes.
THE UNKNOWN POTENTIALS: UNDEFEATED TEAMS WITH NO TOP 25 WINS
Honestly, it’s tough to differentiate these teams so let’s just list ’em off:
9. Oklahoma (Previous Rank: 9)
10. West Virginia (Previous Rank: 10)
11. Penn State (Previous Rank: 11)
12. Clemson (Previous Rank: 15)
13. UCF (Previous Rank: 16)
14. Duke (Previous Rank: Not Ranked)
15. California (Previous Rank: Not Ranked)
THE YEAH-SURES: TEAMS WITH LOSSES
16. Auburn (Previous Rank: 17)
The loss to LSU is still the “best” loss in the country and the win over Washington is one of the best wins this category can claim.
17. BYU (Previous Rank: 18)
BYU handed out what has arguably been the ugliest loss of the year two weeks ago against Wisconsin. That counts for something.
18. Texas Tech (Previous Rank: Not Ranked)
I guess we just forget about the season-opening loss to Ole Miss?
19. Oregon (Previous Rank: 14)
The Ducks should be sitting in the top 4, but the Stanford game escaped. Either way, they’re still in a good spot if they can put it back together with only two ranked opponents remaining.
20. Miami (Previous Rank: 20)
Tough to move up from the bottom of the Top 25 when you have a slew of unranked teams (Texas Tech, Cal, Duke, Texas, Kentucky) moving in.
21. Washington (Previous Rank: 21)
UW could and should make a statement this week vs. BYU. But they need to put somebody away at some point.
22. Michigan (Previous Rank: 22)
23. Wisconsin (Previous Rank: 24)
24. Mississippi State (Previous Rank: 12)
25. Michigan State (Previous Rank: 25)
This team is butt.
That’s all I got/
I released my Top 25 yesterday, so what’s it imply about the playoff?
First, I think there are ultimately 21 contenders. The clear-cut group comes from the undefeateds:
- Ohio State
- Oklahoma State
- Notre Dame
- Virginia Tech
- West Virginia
- Penn State
- Mississippi State
- Boston College
I also think these schools have a shot with some help:
- Auburn – Winning out may be enough to win the SEC West.
- BYU – Winning out with two Top 10 Wins (Wisconsin, Washington) and another Top 25 Wins (Boise State) does it.
- Texas A&M – All we know at this point is A&M isn’t better than Clemson. So there’s a shot.
- Miami – Can still win the ACC.
- Michigan – Can still win the Big Ten.
- TCU – Needs to leapfrog three Big 12 schools, but that’s no more unlikely than Auburn’s odds.
I think Wisconsin and Michigan State are out on account of awful losses. I think UCF is out because of its schedule. There are a slew of undefeated schools lurking outside of the Top 25 that could make moves. I’m thinking specifically of Cal (3-0 start with a win over BYU) and Mizzou (undefeated entering admittedly weak SEC East play).
DYC Poll Implied Playoff:
Right now the top four seeds are:
- LSU – LSU has two Top 10 wins away from home. When will someone else be able to say that? It could be a while. The Tigers’ schedule is brutal but they’ve done everything you could ask of them thus far.
- Ohio State – I think LSU may have the two best wins in the country. Ohio State’s win over TCU may be the third-best. Michigan State and Michigan do not appear to be what some expected (both languishing at the bottom of every Top 25 poll), and Wisconsin seems conquerable yet again if the Badgers represent the other division in the Big Ten title. So Ohio State needs to do two thing: 1. Beat Penn State and 2. Not step on its own manhood along the way (against one of the Michigan schools or anyone else). That’s probably the most straight-forward and navigable to-do list of any contender.
- Georgia – The Bulldogs should enter a date with LSU undefeated and if the Tigers do the same (equally likely), the Dawgs will get real points for that win. It’s hard to see Kirby’s team missing the SEC Championship and I think they have a one-game window of grace (be it a loss to Auburn in the regular season or a loss in the conference championship game).
- Oklahoma State – The Big 12 is wide open but the Cowboys looked more impressive than Oklahoma (narrow win vs. Iowa State) and TCU (loss to Ohio State) this past weekend and have earned the right to be the Big 12’s representative. What changes that? Well, losing to a combination of TCU, Oklahoma and West Virginia. Or, a rally by another conference. Put bluntly: If Stanford beats Oregon next week, they’ll be in this spot.
DYC Adjusted Playoff Projection:
- Alabama – As strong as LSU has looked, the Tiger hype has mostly been built upon scheduling. Alabama would be 3-0 by much wider margins against the LSU schedule. Alabama looks as good as ever at this juncture.
- Ohio State – All of the above applies.
- Oklahoma State – I think the Big 12 is wide open and I’ve been wrong about Oklahoma so far this year, but I think some folks were wrong about OK State too. Thus far, they look every bit as deserving of a playoff spot as the Sooners.
- Georgia – Again, LSU has looked strong but I don’t feel any differently about Georgia’s trip to Baton Rouge than when the season began. I just think Georgia will get a hell of a lot more credit for the win.
That’s all I got/
DudeYouCrazy Top 25 – September 18: Georgia Checks In at No. 3, Ohio State Jumps Big, Auburn Crashes and Wisconsin Craters
At this juncture, you could probably break any Top 25 poll into 5 tiers:
- Undefeated teams with multiple wins vs. Top 25 opponents.
- Undefeated teams with one win vs. Top 25 opponent.
- Undefeated teams with no wins vs. Top 25 opponents.
- Teams with a single quality loss vs. the Top 25, but otherwise unblemished records or a Top 25 win paired with a bad loss.
- Teams who are ranked (because polls need 25 spots) despite losses to unranked teams.
For this week’s edition of the DYC Top 25, I’m going to use those tiers. Understand, that my methodology has not changed in terms of evaluating each team. But, I think adding those frameworks will make things interesting.
Also, I’m moving my Playoff Predictions to a second post. That will go live Wednesday morning.
THE MONSTERS: UNDEFEATED TEAMS WITH MULTIPLE TOP-25 WINS
1. LSU (Previous Ranking: 1)
If you pretend to care about resumes, I don’t know how the hell you could have anyone else at the top of your poll. LSU is the only team in the country with more than one Top 25 win, and that only tells part of the story. Both of LSU’s opponents were actually ranked in the Top 10 when they played. Both teams are still ranked and are likely to remain ranked for some time (Miami won’t play another ranked team until October 26, assuming Boston College remains ranked. Auburn seems built to stay relevant). Further, both big wins came away from the cozy confines of Death Valley. No one can touch that! These are literally the two best wins in the country so far. What would be the Tigers’ greatest threat (four more ranked opponents on tap during the regular season) could be a real quill in the cap so long as they keep winning. And for now, the Tigers get a bit of a breather (LA Tech, Ole Miss and Florida) before taking on Georgia in what should be a matchup between undefeated Top 5 teams. Oh, and that game is at home for LSU.
THE ESTABLISHED CONTENDERS: UNDEFEATED TEAMS WITH ONE TOP-25 WIN
If you had to start a pool of College Football Playoff Contenders, you’d want to look at two things: 1. Who has accomplished a lot already? and 2. Who hasn’t eliminated themselves and still have upside based on schedule strength? I would argue that the first two tiers of this analysis (LSU above and the teams below in this section) have established good enough track records through three weeks (remember, that’s 25% of the season) to tout established track records and answer the first call based on the first prompt: Who has accomplished a lot already? After all, these are teams on track for 12-0 seasons with 3-4 wins over quality opponents. Obviously, much of that will change, but for now all we can go off of is the season’s first three weeks.
2. Ohio State (Previous Ranking: 11)
There are a number of rankings here that seem to justify my stance that this poll is unbiased. Ohio State is the first one of them. I hate Ohio State. But I can’t argue with the quality of their win over TCU. Saturday’s victory (at a neutral site) was probably the best non-LSU win of the year. I’m not going to sing a sad song for Urban Meyer or pat the program on the back for overcoming adversity that was self-created and not adverse enough, but the team kept on trucking without Meyer and there’s something to be said for that (as it relates to the players).
3. Georgia (Previous Ranking: 3)
Georgia should have jumped Clemson in the AP Poll after Week 2 but somehow there was a lag there. Either way, I still think Georgia’s win vs. then-ranked South Carolina on the road was the fourth most impressive win of the season by a currently-undefeated team. Stanford’s win vs. USC looks devalued based on the Trojans’ collapsing as does VA Tech’s win over Florida State. Notre Dame’s win over Michigan wasn’t more valuable than Georgia’s win over South Carolina in my poll last week, and the Irish aren’t getting helped by a narrow win over Vandy. The fifth-best win this year by an undefeated team is actually OK State over Boise State, but the home-field advantage there slightly cheapened it compared to UGA’s win on the road.
4. Oklahoma State (Previous Ranking: 15)
At this juncture, all Oklahoma State has done is beat Boise State. But the Cowboys absolutely demolished the Murder Smurfs. A 44-21 win vs. Boise State just doesn’t happen. That’s the sole reason why the Cowboys propelled so high. This win could be cheapened if Boise State falls out of the Top 25 or fails to pan out, but the Broncos have a very manageable schedule and I think this game will look even better (if BSU keeps winning as expected) before it looks worse. Further, the Cowboys are in a good spot until November when they finally play another ranked team. They’re only going to go down as a result of other teams’ wins. That’s an OK spot to be in if you’re already in the Top 5. Make other teams work to supplant you.
5. Stanford (Previous Ranking: 4)
Look, it doesn’t help that USC is trash and that win has been devalued. But the real reason Stanford fell this week was because OK State had a better win. The Oregon game this week could vault Stanford into elite company with LSU as the Cardinal could be one of just two teams with two Top 25 wins.
6. Notre Dame (Previous Ranking: 5)
The close game to Vandy didn’t help, but again, this was about OK State moving up more than it was about the Irish falling.
7. Virginia Tech (Previous Ranking: 6)
Same thing as ND. This is less about the FSU win looking like nothing of note and more about OK State putting up a huge win.
POISED CONTENDERS: UNDEFEATED TEAMS WITH NO TOP-25 WINS
So far we’ve hit on seven contenders for the College Football Playoff. Through 25% of the season, those seven teams have two things in common: 1. Undefeated Records and 2. Top 25 wins. These teams hit on one of those qualifications: undefeated records. All of them, with the exception of #16 UCF, should be considered CFP contenders because they have enough Top 25 meat on their bones down the line.
8. Alabama (Previous Ranking: 9)
Bama’s thrashing of Ole Miss was impressive, but is not ultimately a tie-breaker or a reason why the Crimson Tide is at the top of this list. In reality, the Tide was at the top of this list last week too. Nick Saban’s squad is just up a spot because two teams (Auburn and Arizona State) lost and one team (Oklahoma State) jumped up a category. The Tide is in a perfect spot right now with a damn-good team (duh!) and a sweetspot of 4 ranked opponents lurking (all from the SEC West). Bama controls its own destiny in every way.
9. Oklahoma (Previous Ranking: 8)
Bama has done more than OU this season. It’s just that simple. There’s not a discernible spread between where either team would ultimately end up if they both balled out from here on out, but Bama has the tougher schedule ahead. Further, Bama’s best win (Ole Miss) is probably better than OU’s best win (UCLA) and Bama’s worst win (either the 50-point route of Ark. State or the 37-point win vs. Louisville) is better than OU’s worst win (10 points vs. Iowa State).
10. West Virginia (Previous Ranking: 10)
Coincidentally, West Virginia didn’t play last week and the Mountaineers didn’t move in the rankings. That’s not by design but it worked out that way.
11. Penn State (Previous Ranking: 12)
The Nittany Lions move up solely on the basis of other teams’ losses. What a terribly Big Ten thing to do.
12. Mississippi State (Previous Ranking: 16)
This is another one where my own personal views are not reflected. Do I think Mississippi State should have moved up this week? Hell no. Do I think Miss State is a Top 12 team? No way. But here they are. And they’ll probably hover around here (or higher) until they lost to Auburn on October 6.
13. Boston College (Previous Ranking: NR)
Do I think BC is a Top 15 team? Nope. But to the Eagles’ credit, they’re 3-0 and actually have a schedule that could support them if they somehow win against #21 Miami, #13 VA Tech and #3 Clemson. My gut is Boston College goes no better than 1-2 in those games and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them lose to an unranked team and disappear altogether. This week’s game vs. Purdue is only a 7-point line, which isn’t all that broad and NC State seems like a game to circle on October 6. But for the time being, the process puts BC here and I can’t argue with it,
14. Oregon (Previous Ranking: 20)
This seems a little bit high to me, but not offensively so. ESPN’s FPI gives the Ducks a 43.5% shot at upsetting Stanford and the spread is somewhere between a pick-em and 1 point in favor of Stanford. So if that bears out, Oregon could potentially jump to a Top 5 spot next week. That’s a lot of conjecture, but if Oregon is a stretch as a Top 15 team at this point, I’d argue that Stanford is an even bigger stretch to be in the Top 5. So both resumes seem a bit inflated.
15. Clemson (Previous Ranking: 19)
Why is Clemson below Oregon? Well, that Texas A&M win (and it was a win) just doesn’t help Clemson. A&M was unranked at the time Clemson won by two points. Hell, A&M was unranked the week after. Oregon has thrashed un-ranked opposition and the same can’t be said for Clemson at this juncture. The best thing that happened to Clemson this week is that Boston College moved into the Top 25. So now, Clemson could play a ranked team this regular season. Yes, just one. And no, it doesn’t seem likely that BC will remain ranked into mid-November.
16. UCF (Previous Ranking: 20)
At this point, UCF can still move up in the rankings because other teams can still lose games without beating a Top 25 team and remain in the Top 25. It happened to Wisconsin and TCU this week. It previously happened to Michigan State, Michigan, Washington and Miami. As mentioned before, Texas A&M has no Top 25 win and has a loss and somehow moved into the Top 25 this week. As long as teams with losses and no quality wins can remain ranked, they will continue to be ranked below undefeated teams in my poll. But as soon as those teams start getting some Top 25 wins, UCF will fall again. Why? Because UCF still has zero ranked opponents on its schedule this year. And if you think that’s everyone else’s problem and not UCF’s, ask yourself which programs were scared to schedule UCF after the Kinghts posted a 6-19 record from 2015-2016? And remember most games are scheduled 2-3 years out. Or just read my thoughts from last week.
THE GOOD LOSERS: TEAMS WITH TOP-25 LOSSES or TOP 25 WINS PAIRED WITH NON-TOP 25 LOSSES
17. Auburn (Previous Ranking: 2)
Auburn fell hard, but the Tigers have to based on my methodology. That being said, this poll is proving to be much more agile than the standard AP Poll and Auburn remains in a really good spot for three reasons. First, the Tigers’ win over Washington remains one of the best wins in the country. Secondly, the Tigers loss to LSU is the single-best loss in the nation — it was a one-point loss to the top team in my poll, the team that was ranked 12th at the time by the AP and the team currently ranked 6th by the AP. Third, Auburn has a slew of big games that can make up ground and the Mississippi State matchup looks incredibly winable in a few weeks. Auburn is a contender still in the real world, just not right now in this poll.
18. BYU (Previous Ranking: NR)
Auburn sits atop this group because its loss wasn’t that bad. BYU sits atop this group despite a bad loss (21-18 to Cal). They’re here, though, because the beat an allegedly elite Wisconsin team. That’s not a shot at BYU. The Cougars deserved that win. Stats are a mixed bag from the contest (Wisconsin led in total yardage and time of possession), but these three things are true: 1. The best running back in this game was not Jonathan Taylor (26 carries for 117 yards); it was Squally Canada (11 carries for 118 yards and 2 TDs). 2. BYU was more clutch on the road: fewer turnovers, fewer penalty yards, better kicking. 3. ESPN is fake news. First, the network tried to tell me that BYU hoped to be Wisconsin someday as the clock ticked down on a BYU win over Wisconsin. Now, ESPN.com says Rafael Gaglianone didn’t miss any field goals against BYU. I saw it happen. He. Missed.
19. Texas A&M (Previous Ranking: NR)
Yeah. Sure. The Aggies should have been ranked after the close loss to Clemson IMO but I guess that win over Louisiana-Monroe put voters over the top. Either way, what A&M lacks in quality of wins (hence, trailing BYU) it has in spades in terms of quality losses (the Clemson loss is the second-best loss this year behind only Auburn’s loss to LSU).
20. Miami (Previous Ranking: 23)
A loss to LSU is increasingly excusable. The Hurricanes are above Washington simply because LSU is so far (disproportionately at this juncture) above Auburn (the team that beat Washington).
21. Washington (Previous Ranking: 21)
The BYU game looks a little bit more interesting now, assuming BYU keeps it together against McNeese State. So the Huskies should bounce back up. The win over Utah was half-way respectable.
22. Michigan (Previous Ranking: 22)
I really don’t have anything to say. This is right for what the Wolverines have and have not accomplished. They can prove a lot of haters (myself included) wrong if they win some games against some good football teams. But they won’t play a ranked team for four more weeks.
23. TCU (Previous Ranking: 14)
I think TCU is a better football team than Michigan, but a 12-point loss to Ohio State (my #2 and the AP’s #4) is slightly worse than a seven-point loss to Notre Dame (my number six and AP number seven). Further, Michigan has more shots (four games vs. ranked teams as opposed to three for TCU) to make up ground sooner (next ranked foe for TCU is 10/20).
GOTTA HAVE SOMEBODIES:
Somebody has to be ranked. In fact, 25 somebodies have to be ranked. Based on year-to-date performance that is the only reason these teams are in the Top 25.
24. Wisconsin (Previous Ranking: 13)
The loss to BYU was ugly. Period. Ranked teams, particularly teams ranked 6th by the AP, should not lose home games to unranked teams who were .500 heading into the contest. Wisconsin was favored by 23 points. This loss all but eliminates Wisconsin from the playoff in my opinion. That may seem harsh, but I’d bet anything that BYU doesn’t end the year ranked above where they currently are, and I think the Cougars will drop out of the Top 25 with a loss to Washington in two weeks. This loss will damage Wisconsin the way the Iowa loss damaged Ohio State last year. Sure, the Buckeye loss to the Hawkeyes was by a wider margin, but that game was on the road against a team that was 6-3 and went on to win eight games, and Ohio State had three quality wins over Top 25 foes. Wisconsin lost at home to a team that is 2-1 and BYU plays a distinctly non-Power 5 schedule. Based on current rankings, Wisconsin would need to run the table and win the Big Ten to have three Top 25 wins. Why on earth would anyone expect that?
25. Michigan State (Previous Ranking: 25)
The Spartans still have the worst track record of any team in the Top 25. The loss to Arizona State looks even dumber now that the Sun Devils are unranked again.
Here’s the poll summary:
|AP Rank||Team||Dude’s Rank||Previous Week|
That’s all I got/