Once again, if you're curious about methodology, I'm sort of following what I understand of the committee logic (and, refresher, remember from last year's ranking series that I'm more or less on board with the committee) and as a tiebreaker using a completely subjective "who would win on a neutral field" test.
Our Playoff Teams
- Ohio State - The Buckeyes gave up 28 points to Maryland the week after Michigan shut them out. Does it mean anything? Maybe, maybe not, but for now the train rolls on. They host Penn State next week.
- Utah - Knocked off a game Cal squad to add the pelt of another ranked foe to their resume. They'll host Arizona State this week as they try to move to 6-0 overall and 3-0 in the Pac 12.
- LSU - Made the biggest move of anyone in these rankings after demolishing South Carolina in an away game in Baton Rouge. Weird, but necessitated by flooding back east. Can anyone stop Leonard Fournette? As the Magic 8 Ball would say, signs point to no. They host Florida this week.
- Clemson - If you really believe Notre Dame is a quality team, and of course here at OFD we do, Clemson has one of the strongest resumes in the country. They clobbered Georgia Tech, who's in the midst of an impressive fall from grace, and will host Boston College this week.
Our Near-Future Playoff Teams
Because, let's be honest, we all know this thing is going to eight teams sooner rather than later.
- Florida - Tough year to be Will Muschamp - Jim McElwain comes into the Swamp and starts the year 6-0, while Auburn circles the drain. Back-to-back convincing wins over Ole Miss and Missouri get them this spot. They'll face LSU next in the premier matchup of the week.
- TCU - I don't feel great about their chances head-to-head with #7 Baylor, but they've played a better schedule to date and that gives them the edge here. They finished off Kansas State in another high-scoring dogfight and will be on the road in Ames this week - the city, not the department store.
- Baylor - I still don't know how legitimate they are, but they've scored at least 56 points in every game this year and they're 6-0, which deserves recognition. Their latest effort was a 66-7 demolition of hapless Kansas. They'll travel to West Virginia this week.
- Ole Miss - Not surprisingly, they manhandled New Mexico State. They'll go to Memphis this week, who is not surprisingly decent and sitting at 5-0.
The Best of The Rest
- Alabama - Knocked off Arkansas, but not easily - the Tide trailed 7-3 at the half and led only 10-7 through three quarters. Forgive me if I'm skeptical that this Alabama team is the same juggernaut we're used to. They travel to Texas A&M this week in another huge SEC matchup.
- Notre Dame - Much like CJ Sanders's late first-half punt return touchdown against UMass, the 29-second scoring drive to close out the first half seemed to set momentum squarely with the Irish and enable them to finally pull away from pesky Navy. They'll take on crisis-mode USC this week (more on that later).
- Texas A&M - After a week off, they'll host the Crimson Tide. Alabama's defense looks a couple of notches below what we're used to, which could be bad news agaisnt the Aggies' high-powered offense - but will A&M be able to slow Derrick Henry enough for that to matter?
- Florida State - Pushed again, this time by Miami, but again they did enough to win. I don't think they're all that good, but they just keep winning. The Noles host the Louisville Cardinals this week.
- Michigan State - Why
are they our lowest-ranked Power 5 undefeateddid they drop so far this week? They were very fortunate to escape with a win against Rutgers, a week after Purdue took them to the wire. Oh, and their signature win, Oregon, who got obliterated by Utah a few weeks ago? They lost at home to Washington State. The Spartans will get a big chance to prove how non-shaky they are this week against Michigan.
- Stanford - Benefited from some cheeseburgers to move up a couple of spots here. They'll host UCLA this week with a chance to seize some serious momentum in the Pac 12 race.
- Michigan - I'm still not entirely sold on them - Northwestern is easily their best win to date, and each passing week makes the Wildcats' win over Stanford look more and more like a fluke. Still, three straight shutouts are impressive. If they beat Michigan State at home this week, I'll start taking them a lot more seriously.
- Oklahoma State - Took out West Virginia in overtime. They'll enjoy some tasty cheeseburgers this week.
- Iowa - Giving them a big bump here because, even though they only beat lowly Illinois, they are 6-0 and it's time I give them a nod for that. They'll be on the road in Evanston this week to take on a Northwestern team that is reeling after getting embarrassed by Michigan.
- Arizona State - After sitting idle, they'll travel to Utah with a chance to play spoiler for the Utes' playoff aspirations. And what, pray tell, is a Ute?
- UCLA - Another cheeseburger-muncher who has a tall order this week; in the aftermath of Myles Jack's decision to jump to the NFL, the Bruins will play Stanford on the road.
- Oklahoma - Very fortunate indeed to be in here, since I almost dropped them out of the Top 25 altogether. Is Bob Stoops the John Cooper of Oklahoma football? They'll go on the road to Kansas State, who just gave TCU everything they could handle. Stay tuned.
- Temple - Destroyed Tulane and will host UCF this week. This isn't entirely fair to them, but I actually dropped them this week; I do think they belong here but I think I had them too high before, and I won't let my previous rankings have any bearing on where I think a team really should be.
- Boise State - Since a low-scoring win against Washington and a close loss to BYU in the first two weeks, the Broncs have gone 4-0 while outscoring their opponents 204-24. Yikes. Colorado State was the latest roadkill, and Utah State is up next.
- Memphis - Debuting here this week on the strength of a 5-0 record. They'll host Ole Miss this week in a big opportunity to prove themselves.
- Toledo - Another Group of 5 school making its first appearance in our rankings. They face Eastern Michigan this week.
- Duke - Clobbered Army to move to 5-1 and will travel to Virginia Tech this weeknd.
- Cal - Hung tough with Utah, which was enough to keep them in the Top 25. They have a week off to rest up for UCLA.
The Walk of Shame
USC. Steve Sarkisian is obviously dealing with some very serious life issues right now, enough so that I don't even really have the heart to make fun of him about it. With Sark presumably heading for rehab and the school looking worse and worse as more details of his behavior and their handling of it leak out, their upset loss to Washington is starting to look like the least of their problems. And they have to go on the road to Notre Dame this week.
Georgia. Speaking of the "John Cooper of School X" - Mark Richt has had a good career at Georgia but has never quite been able to get over the hump. Losing to a very shaky Tennessee team to drop to 4-2 overall and 2-2 in the SEC is not a good way to make people forget that. His seat is definitely heating up, but how hot is it?
Northwestern. To be honest I'm not entirely sure why they're ranked in the big polls - aside from their season-opening home win against Stanford that kicked off at 9:00 AM PT, the Cats have looked decidedly mediocre. And they just got their pants ripped off and run up the flagpole by Michigan in a game that was supposed to give them a chance to prove themselves. Oops.