What a wild week in college football - and we're just getting started! There was the usual early-season portion of tomato cans, but for some teams their can's lid turned out to a have a rather sharp and tetanus-laden edge. Oops...
If you're curious about methodology, well, there isn't really one. I'm sort of following what I understand of the committee logic (and, refresher, remember from last year 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 returned an awful lot of talent from last year and seem to have carried over all their momentum as well, steamrolling the Fighting Rainbows a week after a second-half flattening of Virginia Tech. Hawaii may have lost the game, but they easily won the uniform war. In fact, they may have won the entire season. Meyer will muster his coaching acumen to face Northern Illinois this week, which should be a solid tune-up for Western Michigan before they open conference play against Indiana. Not a joke. Well, it is, but not that way.
- Alabama - Saban's crew had a bye this week as they prepare to open their SEC slate against Ole Miss next week... Oh wait, no, they played Middle Tennessee State. Well, sort of the same thing. They're basically up here by default, which perhaps says more about early season polls than about Alabama.
- Michigan State - I'm actually not really sold on Sparty yet - if Vernon Adams could've hit water falling out of a boat, they probably would've lost to Oregon for the second straight year. Still, they didn't lose to Oregon, and this early in the season it's one of the better-quality wins anyone has posted thus far.
- TCU - Again, sort of up here by default, but they get some credit for going on the road to Minnesota in week 1 and some carryover from last year. They get absolutely no credit for hammering poor Stephen F. Austin this week, nor will they for Southern Methodist next week. We might not know what they really are until week 6 at the earliest, when they travel to Kansas State.
Our Near-Future Playoff Teams
Because, let's be honest, we all know this thing is going to eight teams sooner rather than later.
Notre Dame - Yeah, I put us here. We needed a tremendous two-minute drill from our backup quarterback to put away an overmatched opponent, but still, just look around the rest of the scoreboard to see how difficult it can be to get a win. I'd also put our schedule so far behind very few others; Texas and Virginia aren't much, but they're a country mile stronger than the dross most teams have faced. Ohio State (Virginia Tech and Hawaii), Michigan State (Central Michigan and Oregon), Tennessee (Bowling Green and Oklahoma), BYU (Nebraska and Boise State), and Utah (Michigan and Utah State) could make a case.
This week's matchup with #10 Georgia Tech obviously looms very large.
- USC - I almost put USC ahead of us with the neutral-field test, but they're getting dinged for schedule here; they should be ashamed of themselves, opening the season with nominal FBS members Arkansas State and Idaho. Tsk tsk. They'll get Stanford at home this week, which will tell us nothing unless they struggle. Which doesn't seem likely.
- Georgia - Man, I would not want to face Nick Chubb; Georgia may well go as far as the true sophomore will carry them. After dispatching Vandy they'll continue their SEC slate with South Carolina next week.
- Florida State - The Seminoles, especially the offensive line, sleepwalked through the first half against South Florida before coming out blazing in the second half and putting the game away. They'll open conference play in Chestnut Hill this weekend.
The Best of The Rest
- UCLA - Kudos to them, I guess, for the non-putrid early games against Virginia and UNLV. They draw upstart BYU, who is on a roll. Memo to Mora: make sure you practice Hail Mary defense this week.
- Georgia Tech - They've also played no one of consequence - Alcorn State and Tulane - but they've played those teams particularly well. As you may have heard, they'll travel South Bend to take on the
- Oregon - Falling down a couple of pegs after that loss to Michigan State, Oregon still looks good enough to belong this high. Put another way, who among the teams below definitively looks better? They'll (probably) have the chance to straighten themselves out agains Georgia State this week.
- Clemson - Speaking of embarrassing early-season slates, Clemson has so far played Wofford and Appalachian State. The only redeeming part of that is that due to the presence of Appy I get to link to this again. Which reminds me, #RememberThe6.
- Baylor - Obviously I'm not near as high on Baylor as the AP and Coaches' polls are. Consider that they've given up 21 and 31 points to Southern Methodist and Lamar, and the consider the pinball-machine offenses in the Big 12. Could be interesting. They have a bye and then they'll face Rice.
- LSU - Much like Michigan State, they probably should've lost to Mississippi State - but they didn't, and in fairness that should be recognized. Somewhere, though, there's a picture of Les Miles that keeps getting uglier and uglier. They draw partially-disgraced Auburn this week.
- Texas A&M - The Aggies are getting a big boost here from an excellent week one win against Arizona State. They'll get Nevada next week.
- Oklahoma - The Sooners did a very impressive job, going into Knoxville and taking out Tennessee in overtime right when the Vols were pretty high on themselves. They get Tulsa next weekend.
- Ole Miss - The Rebs take a slight step up in competition this week; they travel to Tuscaloosa, after taking on Tennessee-Martin and Fresno State in the first two weeks.
- BYU - With back-to-back dramatic wins over Nebraska and Boise State, the Cougars are off to a great start in a quest to upset the Power 5 apple cart. If they somehow manage to knock off UCLA this week, look out.
- Utah - Wins over Michigan and Utah State combined to get the Utes off to a good start this year. They'll visit Fresno State next week.
- Northwestern - The red-headed stepchild of the brainy football schools has made some noise to start this year, upsetting Stanford in week 1 and pummeling Eastern Illinois. Is there a brainiac trophy we don't know about or something? They're traveling to Duke this week.
- Temple - Yeah, they're here too. Results matter in this poll - and they manhandled Penn State and beat Cincinnati on the road. Not your granddaddy's Temple, which is good, because your granddaddy was probably drinking buddies with Temple alum Bill Cosby and we all know how that turned out. They'll travel to UMass this week.
- Arizona - The Wildcats have had two relatively uninspiring games against Texas-San Antonio and Nevada, but they did win both. The play Northern Arizona this week before opening Pac-12 play.
- Oklahoma State - With comfortable wins over Central Michigan and Central Arkansas, they'll play this week at Central Texas - I mean, Texas-San Antonio. Got a little hung up on all the centrals.
- Missouri - OK, so maybe I have a little bit of an agenda here. But like I said, results and strength of schedule matter for me, and Mizzou is 2-0 at the expense of Southeast Missouri State and Arkansas State, who they only beat 27-20. You can shut up now, Gary.
- Auburn - If not for a shanked punt, Auburn would have gown down in infamy for losing to FCS Jacksonville State - who, incidentally, outgained them comfortably and held the ball considerably longer. And Auburn only beat Louisville by seven the week before. Yawn. They're lucky they're in these rankings at all.
The Walk of Shame
Arkansas. My goodness, Hogs - and right after Bret Bielema ran his mouth about the strength of schedule for Ohio State, who has never lost to a MAC team. I haven't checked, but I'd bet there were some tweets coming out of the Madison area that looked something like this: "16-12 #karma."
Mississippi State. A bad delay of game penalty causes the game-winning field goal attempt to come from 52 yards out instead of 47. And, because it's Les Miles on the other side, they missed the kick. Ouch.
Auburn. Yeah, they won, but...