Tuesday, October 4, 2011

HTR's Top 25: Week 6

Starting with Pitt's beatdown of USF on Thursday, this was a bad weekend in college football for many ranked teams. Many hit the big stage and flopped, choked, or flatout out revealed themselves to be unworthy of a top 25 ranking in the first place. It was a good run while it lasted, but it wasn't difficult to make yourself believe that some of these teams had flimsy resumes, and that one loss would be enough to boot them from the top 25. Above all, however, this week seemed to further the general opinion that college football is somewhat "down" this year, although I will say that the upper crust of the college football hierarchy is quite royal indeed: for yet another week, King Miles and the detestable Tsar Nicholas of Alabama reign supreme, the latter staring down the former's Cajun fiefdom across the way to assess it for possible weaknesses, the former thinking about ways to cajole his serfs into mass producing better-tasting grass.

Onward and upward:

Oklahoma State
Boise State
Georgia Tech
South Carolina
Virginia Tech
Texas A&M
Kansas State
Michigan State

  • TCU, USF, and Iowa State say goodbye to the top 25; the only one of those three that might have a shot at re-entering the rankings is USF, and it doesn't even look too bright for them after they got beatdown by a team that lost to Notre Dame a week prior (a ND team that USF of course beat...college football, it makes no sense. But, again, this is a world in which Les Miles exists and thrives so nothing will ever make sense). 
  • Once again, Alabama looked dominant on the road, only this time they did it against a team that isn't struggling to beat the Hoosiers. The Gators aren't going to be elite until they upgrade at the quarterback position, but even the best of quarterbacks will have a tough time against the eleven merciless Terminators that Nick Saban puts out onto the field. Trent Richardson continues to look every bit as world-destroying as Mark Ingram, so questions vis a vis McCarron can be dismissed just as easily as they can re: LSU and Lee. Alabama and LSU are essentially interchangeable, but for now LSU occupies the top spot. Both of those defenses are so close, but the general impression I get is that while LSU's defense might be a touch more athletic than Alabama's the Crimson Tide defense might be a little more fundamentally sound. That is definitely a blatant generalization but it's what I can tell so far. 
  • I honestly don't feel too strongly about any of the teams from the 9 spot on down; that includes Michigan. However, I will say that I find the "oh no Michigan is ranked too high!" concerns a little bit amusing. What is the worst thing that can happen if Michigan gets ranked "too high?" I guess losing becomes a little more embarrassing but does that even matter? I don't think so. Assuming the wins keep on coming, you want to continue to climb up the rankings regardless, which is what we are currently doing. Obviously I don't think that anybody would say we are in national title contention, but if we were or were expected to be then being ranked where we are is nothing but a good thing. Michigan would probably get spanked by most if not all of the teams in front of them in the rankings but that's not Michigan's fault. The rankings are relative this year more than any other; Michigan doesn't fit the absolute historical value of a #12 team but it doesn't matter. Just keep winning. 
  • As DERP as MSU-OSU was, I'm willing to slot the Spartans in at 25 because shutting down OSU in the Horseshoe is a feat regardless of OSU's offensive ineptitude. Also, I didn't really know who else to put there. I'm still not convinced that Cousins is anything but slightly above average, but his OL is certainly not doing him any favors in the run game or in pass protection. I trust that Coach Mattison will figure out a way to exploit that after Michigan hopefully gets out of Evanston with a win this week. 
  • Auburn reappears in my top 25, as they continue their strange run of insane luck in winning on the road at USC. The Gamecocks probably should've had one more play but they never got the chance and the Tigers escaped with the W; they face off against a game Arkansas team coming off a re-energizing win against the Aggies. If Auburn wins that one then this will have been a pretty epic coaching job by the Auburn staff given what they had returning this year (which is essentially a couple of talented backs, OC Gus Malzahn, and a glass of Toomer's Lemonade). 
  • My confidence in Illinois took a pretty huge hit this week, enough to get me to put Michigan above them despite predicting a Michigan loss to them before the season. Northwestern really should have had that game, but they didn't and the Illini stay put for now. 
  • Clemson...wow. If Dabo Swinney isn't the Forrest Gump of coaches right now then I don't know who is. Every week I think this is the week that Clemson finally shows their true colors but every week the Tigers have escaped with an impressive win. Are they for real? I don't know, but with the Georgia Tech game in four weeks, the stretch of BC-Maryland-UNC provides three possible chances for one or multiple iterations of the Clemson DERP we've come to expect. Barring a ridiculous collapse, Clemson should be going to the BCS for the first time. Dabo continues to shoot my "RR to Clemson" prediction into the sun on a weekly basis. 
  • Texas A&M absolutely needs to win the next four before heading to Norman, otherwise a complete and utter collapse is completely possible for the Aggies. It is evident that the Aggies lack what people call a "defense" (how nice is it to be able to say that about other teams for once?), but even so the last two weeks have been completely inexcusable losses. A&M goes to Lubbock this week to face a team that is averaging 47 points a game...good luck with that, guys!

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