Weekly national rankings don’t really matter all that much since the advent of the College Football Playoff. If you’ve spoken to be about college football for five minutes, you’ll quickly learn I’ve always felt the rankings were pointless until conference schedules are underway. Since we’re several weeks into things, I thought I’d weigh in.
I’ve been keeping a spreadsheet of all the undefeated, one-loss and two-loss teams in the Power 5 conferences; although I’m not sure why I care about two-loss teams since none of them will ever sniff the CFP. I also included a handful of non-Power 5 teams to watch; teams like Navy, Western Michigan and Boise St. No, they won’t make the CFP, but I do feel they’re worthy of Top 25 status over most two-loss teams. If you have three losses, you’re out. Period. That means no more three-loss SEC teams get unfair consideration.
Anyway, I’ve been keeping track. As of the conclusion of Week 8, there are a total of 33 teams on this list. My Top Ten probably won’t look much differently than what you see from the AP or the Coaches Poll.
Here’s my Top 10:
1. Alabama (8-0)
After last night, there’s no doubt in my mind they’re the consensus No. 1 team in the nation, until someone else says otherwise.
2. Michigan (7-0)
As impressive as the offense is, Michigan’s defense is even more impressive. Thus far, they’ve lived up to expectation. From this point forward, the season only gets tougher with three important road games (Michigan State, Iowa, Ohio State).
3. Clemson (7-0)
The Tigers have been flirting with disaster all season long, yet continue to find ways to win. Florida State this weekend will be their biggest test since Louisville.
4. Washington (7-0)
The Huskies are quietly putting themselves into CFP contention, thanks to high-powered offense and solid defense. The’ve got a tough road game at Utah this weekend, which could end up being a Pac-12 championship game preview.
5. Texas A&M (6-1)
As strong as the Aggies are, they are a distant second in the SEC right now. Unless something happens to ‘Bama, the Aggies are playing for the Sugar Bowl or something.
6. Nebraska (7-0)
This year’s Iowa. The Cornhuskers have had a similar ride as Michigan, thus far. Road games at Wiscy and Columbus over the next two weeks will be the ultimate tests for Nebraska.
7. Louisville (6-1)
That loss to Clemson means the Cardinals are relying on help from Clemson’s upcoming opponents the rest of the way. Even if they win out, Louisville needs Clemson to lose twice to have a chance at the ACC championship.
8. Ohio State (6-1)
No one—and I mean NO ONE!—anticipated Ohio State losing at Penn State. I still don’t know how it happened. But it hurt. The Buckeyes’ season is hardly over, though. They control their own destiny. Of course, The Game is going to decide the B1G championship.
9. Baylor (6-0)
This is not a great year for the Big XII. But Baylor has established itself as the top of this weak, weak heap. West Virginia might move its way past Baylor soon, but for now…who cares. Neither team has really distinguished itself this season yet, if you ask me.
10. Utah (7-1)
Don’t fall asleep on the Utes. This is a rising program amidst a tumultuous period for the Pac-12. UCLA, USC, Oregon and Stanford or vulnerable these days and Utah has moved to supplant them. No, they haven’t really played anyone yet, but they are undefeated. In my book, that does count for something (but don’t be surprised if they’re not here next week).
Games of Ultimate Consequence
Clemson (7-0) at Florida State (5-2)—The Seminoles are playing for pride. The Tigers are playing for a second consecutive ACC championship. I expect this to be a close game with the Clemson defense dictating the outcome.
Alabama (8-0) at LSU (5-2)—Since firing its head coach, LSU has been rejuvenated, winning three straight games in convincing fashion. But they won’t have enough to take out Alabama.
Michigan (7-0) at Michigan State (2-5)—I’ll admit, this is a sentimental pick for me. On the surface, it looks like a gimme for the Wolverines, who have only had a couple serious challenges all season long. But who could forget last year’s finish between the two in Ann Arbor? Sure, Sparty has fallen hard and fast this season, but it’s a rivalry game. Anything can happen in rivalry games. Mark Dantonio will have his team fired up to play the role of spoiler once again in a series that’s become insanely personal for him. On that same turn, Jim Harbaugh has kept his Wolverines hungry, intense and prepared for every challenge. I doubt he’ll let his team look past a rival.
That’s my two cents. You may think I’m a complete idiot, but that’s okay. Disagree? Leave it in the comments.