Every undefeated team is in the Top 25 and this year is shaping up to be very different from the past few years since 2005. It’s a weak year for mid-majors with only two teams (Boise State and TCU) that remain viable BCS busters, but we have two unbeatens each in the Big 12 and SEC in opposite divisions, plus one in the Big Ten… and two in the back-to-prominence Big East, including a Cincinnati team that looks very, VERY strong right now. Combine that with the fact that the Big Ten team isn’t Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan, or even Wisconsin, but Iowa, as well as the fact that the second Big 12 team is Kansas, and this year is looking like the Revenge of the Ignored BCS Teams, one of the major themes of 2006 and 2007. And then there’s the ever-present possibility that we’ll need to put a one-loss team in the national championship game…
Of course, those “lesser” teams are still staying behind in the C Ratings to the Big 3 teams widely considered the national championship favorites, which finally line up at 1-2-3 this week. But to leapfrog Alabama over Texas this week, as the AP poll did, may just be giving the Longhorns bulletin board material. Even Florida’s big win over LSU, while significant for beating a good team, was against a team on the downslope and wasn’t by much, meaning Texas still stands in the way of anointing a Florida-Alabama SEC Title Game as a national title game before the title game like last year. Colt McCoy gets his opportunity at the national spotlight, and possible biggest test before the Big 12 title game, this week against an Oklahoma team that finally has Sam Bradford back. But what’s the biggest game of the week, the Red River Rivalry or the battle of unbeatens between Cincinnati and South Florida?
Meanwhile, at the bottom of the rankings there’s chaos as teams move into the Top 25 despite not playing (Notre Dame) or even losing (Michigan)… yet some of the teams that had to lose to make that possible still stay in the Top 25 and even move up. Instead among the teams leaving the Top 25 is Clemson, who also didn’t play – and Auburn, who had been in the top ten! Talk about this week’s California! Are we sure we’re a full six weeks into the season?
How the C Ratings are tabulated: First, A Ratings are tabulated by multiplying the total score ratio, which is expressed by (points-opponents’ points)/points, by the winning percentage. Score ratio minimizes the effect of running up the score. Next, B Points for each game are tabulated by (margin of victory)/(opponent’s A rating)+/-1 for wins, and -(margin of loss)/(1-opponent’s A Rating)+/-1 for losses. The “+/-” is + for road games and – for home ones. The total number of B Points is multiplied by the A Rating to get the B Rating. Conference Ratings are tabulated by averaging the B Ratings of all teams in the conference. (Independents are counted separately, and Army and Navy are counted as one conference.) Finally, the C Rating is tabulated by taking the difference between the team’s B Rating and his conference’s rating, taking a fraction of that equal to the fraction of Division I-A the conference makes up, and taking the result off the B Rating. The three ratings go A, B, C across. Click here to see the complete ratings.
Big 12 Leader
||Sure they had a slow start and let Colorado take the lead in the first two quarters, but everyone takes a while to wake up sometimes, and the Longhorns were able to rectify that problem in the second half. But no slow starts against OU.
||Urban Meyer’s cautiousness with Tim Tebow’s concussion may have cost the Gators a return trip to #1. But now the path seems clear to another SEC East title – but don’t have a letdown game! Arkansas looks very strong now.
||Penalized in the C Ratings for playing two Sun Belt teams and relatively tight pull-outs over V-Tech and Kentucky. But beating Ole Miss like that is a statement that announces with LSU gone, the West is yours to lose.
Big East Leader
||They took a week off and Florida and Alabama still needed to make major statements to leapfrog them. The Bearcats still won’t go away – but now they face their biggest game of the season Thursday against fellow unbeaten USF.
||Virginia Tech (5-1)
||If Alabama takes a couple of stumbles – a very real possibility with how tough the West is – V-Tech becomes a national title contender. But think of the respect they’d bring to the ACC – in losing – if they turn out to be ‘Bama’s biggest test.
||Like Texas, they got off to a slow start against Missouri (a better team than Colorado) before pulling away to a big win late. With the one loss against V-Tech, do they become national title contenders if unbeatens start losing?
||Oklahoma with Sam Bradford is one of the top two teams in the Big 12, and the Baylor game was an announcement: he’s back, and the Sooners look to overturn the Longhorns’ road to the national title game – and preserve their own slim hopes.
Big Ten Leader
||Pulling out a win that close at home, even against Michigan, may have dashed whatever national title hopes the Hawkeyes had, but Iowa City remains firmly in the national spotlight. Now on to Wisconsin.
||Ohio State (5-1)
||People seem to have forgotten about this year’s choke in a big regular-season game, especially after the big win over Wisconsin. Will they be reminded this November? No need to worry about that now – focus on Purdue this week.
||Boise State (5-0)
||The Broncos’ schedule held up so well that because of losses and other weeks off, Boise State moves up despite taking a week off. But there’s a reason the Tulsa game was scheduled for national television…
2006 Boise State Title
||Who could have predicted this would happen after the debacle that was the Boise State game? You think part of the reason they’re considering reinstating LeGarrette Blount is for similar reasons to the 49ers finally signing Crabtree?
||TCU ruined CBS College Sports’ service-academy weekend with a win over Air Force that, while tight, was still a win over the third-best team in the Mountain West. Now Colorado State will serve as a warm-up for BYU in two weeks.
||Iowa State is an awfully mediocre team to get that far into the game, and Southern Miss and especially UTEP losing didn’t help. The Nebraska in the fourth quarter of the Missouri game should put a scare in the Jayhawks’ Big 12 North hopes.
||Something’s different about this year’s letdown game: the Trojans have fallen completely off the map, which didn’t happen even in 2007. They slip for a week off, but they desperately need to beat Notre Dame to get back on the radar.
||The win over UConn wasn’t much, but it was still a major, major win over a very good team, and other teams took weeks off or lost – so why is Pitt still not ranked in either poll, given the Big East’s nonconference success?
||Florida is great, but the way their defense handled the Tiger offense such that Tebow didn’t have to do much should be deeply troubling. Now they’ll slip for a week off before playing… Auburn. Well, at least they had their own bad loss.
||South Florida (5-0)
||So, has Florida’s Big 3 become a Big 4? The Bulls are better than the others except Florida and though they have no conference titles, if they beat Cincy the Big East is theirs to lose. But Florida State is the only team worth a damn they’ve played.
||Texas Tech (4-2)*
||What the heck? Texas Tech is still winless on the road and Kansas State is the best team beaten so far yet still on the last page of the complete rankings, but it was a blowout they needed, and give them credit for staying in their losses.
||Penn State (5-1)
||Don’t slip too far for blowing out FCS Eastern Illinois, but do fall behind freaking Texas Tech. They get back to playing real teams this week against Minnesota.
||For Arkansas, this is the opposite of 2006. That year, everyone fell in love with them after they beat Auburn, but the C Ratings didn’t trust them. This year, they move into the Top 25 in the Ratings but not the polls. Now comes… Florida.
||Notre Dame (4-1)
||The Cardiac Domers move into the Top 25 for the first time since 2006 despite not playing because of losses by, among others, Arizona to the last team they played. But now comes a major, major test against USC.
||So much for the “Forcier for Heisman” campaign. Even the big win over Notre Dame seems like a long time ago. But they still move back into the Top 25 despite losing because they kept it close against possibly the best team in the Big Ten.
||UConn couldn’t get the job done against Pitt, though they put in a valiant effort. Time to get back on the winning track this week against Louisville.
||By all rights, Arizona should have won that game against Washington, but lost on the flukiest of fluke plays – and I live within walking distance of the UW campus. But if they want to prove they deserve this ranking, they better beat Stanford.
||Virginia’s presence on the Top 25 might be more explicable than Clemson’s last week – I keep meaning to correct it so FCS losses actually penalize you in more than A Rating! But they kept it close against Southern Miss and have won their last two.
38 teams total with positive C Rating (none with negative B Rating)
Off Top 25: #26 Clemson (was #24), #29 Mississippi (was #20), #32 Auburn (was #6), #38 Stanford (was #23), #39 Missouri (was #22)
Watch List: #26 Clemson, #27 West Virginia, #28 Utah, #29 Mississippi, #30 Georgia Tech*, #31 Oregon State*, #32 Auburn, #33 Florida State
Other Positive B Ratings: #34 Duke*, #35 Wake Forest, #38 Stanford, #43 Fresno State*, #46 Northern Illinois (*=Newly Positive)
No Longer Positive: #37 South Carolina, #39 Missouri, #49 UCLA
>If there were a watch list for becoming positive, it would include #36 Tennessee, #37 South Carolina, #39 Missouri, #40 Miami (FL), #41 Wisconsin, #42 Oklahoma State, #44 Arizona State, #45 Rutgers, #47 Navy, #48 Air Force, #49 UCLA, #50 Iowa State, #51 BYU, and #52 Minnesota. And shockingly, #53 is Idaho, which has been AWFUL in past years. With a lot of intra-Top-25 matchups, next week could be at least as volatile as this one.
Bottom 10: #111 UNLV, #112 Tulane, #113 Memphis, #114 Toledo, #115 Eastern Michigan, #116 Washington State, #117 Western Kentucky, #118 Miami (OH), #119 New Mexico, #120 Rice
Conference Rating: #1 Big 12 (-.125), #2 SEC (-.274), #3 Big East (-.285), #4 ACC (-4.113), #5 Big 10 (-5.664), #6 Pac-10 (-6.366), #7 Mountain West (-17.842), #8 WAC (-18.012), #9 C-USA (-22.948), #10 Sun Belt (-23.478), #11 MAC (-27.291)
Best game of week: Oklahoma v. Texas, 9am PT, ABC
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