Some rather significant match-ups over the past weekend may have helped us clear up some of the rankings… for now. More big games in this final month of the regular season may further clarify, or perhaps cloud, who the top teams are. For now here are my top dogs.
1) ALABAMA (9-0) They pretty much handled LSU like a stepchild. Their Defense has matured and is becoming dominant. There Offense has so many weapons to throw at opponents. The only thing that concerns me right now is the health of the QB duo of TUA & HURTS.
2) CLEMSON (9-0) Just like ‘Bama, they toy with most of their opponents. But in the Tigers case the Defense is dominant with the Offense getting better. Like Alabama they are in deep trouble if their QB depth is tested because of injury to LAWRENCE.
3) NOTRE DAME (9-0) The final Power 5 unbeaten is not burying their foes each week, but then again they have the toughest schedule amongst the big boys. HC KELLY needs to play more guys to build up more roster depth experience.
4) MICHIGAN (8-1) has come a long way since their opening Loss at Notre Dame. Their Defense is still stifling, and now that QB PATTERSON is running more, and passing a bit less, they are scoring more points on a weekly basis.
5) GEORGIA (8-1) They have clinched the SEC East title, and have the most balanced attack in the Top 5. Job one now is to nurse their injured back to health without stumbling against a mediocre final 3 opponents.
6) OKLAHOMA (8-1) If there has been a marked improvement in their Defense since the Stoops firing then I have missed it. But oh my, what an Offense! With my current Heisman choice, KYLER MURRAY at QB they have scored more than 50-points in 5 games this season.
7) LSU (7-2) They are the only team with 2 losses in my top 14 teams. Their Defense is elite but their Offense overall is typical LSU, and that is not a compliment. The Crimson Tide just squashed the LSU Offense. Coach O has a big task at hand convincing his Offense that they are not as inept as they have looked in their 2 losses.
8) WASHINGTON STATE (8-1) The surprising Cougars are the PAC-12’s last hope for a CFP Game. They are tough to contain with Mike Leach and his bag of offensive tricks, but the pleasant surprise in Pullman is their swarming D. Barring a big upset, their finale against intra-state rival WASHINGTON should be a classic.
9) OHIO STATE (8-1) This team is not even close to clicking on all cylinders. Yes they miss NICK BOSA, but they still have more talent than most of their opponents. And I happen to think that QB DWAYNE HASKINS is really special. But they don’t play special for anything close to 60 minutes per game. Watch out this weekend for a trip to East Lansing.
10) CENTRAL FLORIDA (8-0) This team still wins without their star QB MILTON being anywhere near 100%. The big one now is Nov. 17th against one-loss CINCINNATI. The Defense is better than you think, but their O has so much speed they remind me of Oklahoma.
11) WEST VIRGINIA (7-1) I hate to disrespect the Mountaineers, but they tend to play down to their opponents. I also think Oklahoma will run them into the ground later this month. They will certainly move up if they somehow win out.
12) UTAH STATE (8-1) This team lost its opener (barely) at Michigan State and is just pummeling opponents since. They also have Wins in which they have scored over 50-points and allowed less than 20, 5 times. They likely will be in a big showdown with Boise State to end the regular season.
13) FRESNO STATE (8-1) Their big test comes this week against Boise. But they have faced poor competition up until now. I thought I should put them in this spot to acknowledge what they have done before they lose a couple and disappear.
14) BUFFALO (8-1) The Bulls have a nice team in a very weak MAC this season. They also have some serious pro prospects on their roster. But they don’t impress me at all when I think of them facing Big Ten or SEC teams.
15) BOISE STATE (7-2) Boise has stumbled in losing to Oklahoma State and San Diego State, but we will see what they are really made of when they face Fresno State and Utah State in the coming weeks. Luv their QB BRETT RYPIEN. He has NFL talent ala his uncle MARK.
In trying to compile these latest rankings I was almost astonished at the number of teams with 2/3 Losses this season. In fact I really think that only 11 of these top 15 are legit major Bowl contenders. Welcome to almost parity in D-1 College Football. Now go tell that to the teams being steamrolled weekly by ALABAMA & CLEMSON !