By: Jimbo X
The Associated Press? The USA Today's Coaches Poll? Whatever jibber-jabber is being puked out over at ESPN and Bleacher Report? Puh-leeze, we all know those alleged "Top 25" countdowns are pathetic jokes penned by homers, Power Five loyalists and Notre Dame nuthuggers. That's why I decided to release my own weekly rundown of the best FBS college football squads in the States, completely devoid of all the usual fanboyism and corporate malarkey that makes lists of the like elsewhere so unbelievably annoying.
Throughout the regular season, a new installment will go up every Wednesday morning, so you may want to bookmark this sucker for future reference ... and to show to all of your fellow NCAA football lovin' chums, so they can know that -- at least somewhere out in the tangled, endlessly frustrating World Wide Web -- there's someone on the Internet with some goddamn horse sense when it comes to ranking college 'ball teams.
Ohio State (4-0)
In a fairly uneventful week in college football, it's pretty difficult to pick a team who stood out. While no one is ever going to consider the Buckeyes'38-12 victory over non-factor Western Michigan a "statement game," Ohio State's start-to-finish performance over the weekend was nonetheless the most consistent of any top 25 team in the land. Ohio State gets arguably their first real challenge of the year this Saturday, however, when they go cleat-to-cleat with an undefeated Indiana Hoosiers squad in Bloomington.
Michigan State (4-0)
The running game was the big variable in the Spartans' 30-10 victory over Central Michigan on Saturday, as Michigan State ball carriers scuffed up the endzone thrice and accumulated 181 total yards on 36 rushing attempts. The passing game, however, did look a little anemic (the no-name Chippewas team actually out-tossed the Spartans 285 yards to 143.) That's not exactly a reason to sound the upset alarm for this Saturday's home stand against the 1-4 Purdue Boilermakers, but its nonetheless something to worry about as the season continues.
The Golden Bears put on an absolute air show over the weekend, as QB Seth Russell lobbed six touchdown passes (three of which went to receiver Corey Coleman) and racked up 366 yards in Baylor's 70-17 beatdown on Rice. Amazingly, the Bears looked even better running the ball, as the team posted a stellar 427 yards on the ground. The fun may be short-lived, though: this weekend, the squad plays host to a Texas Tech team that most certainly wants revenge for this weekend's oh-so-close loss to Big 12 adversaries TCU.
Ole Miss (4-0)
The Rebels looked surprisingly lethargic in their groggy 27-16 win over Vanderbilt. Although Chad Kelly racked up 321 yards in the air, he only hit the endzone once and tossed two costly interceptions. Running back Jaylen Walton looked OK (he had a touchdown and 133 yards on the day) as did receiver Laquon Treadwell (135 yards on eight receptions), but the defense looked half asleep throughout the affair. Needless to say, Ole Miss can't afford to dial it in this weekend, as they head to the swamp for a dangerous duel against fellow undefeated SEC squad Florida.
Leonard Fournette is definitely Heisman Trophy material. In the Tigers' 34-24 win over Syracuse, he had two touchdowns and 244 yards on 26 carries, a sum nearly doubling the total number of rushing yards put up by the Orangemen. That said, the rest of the offense has definitely looked better, especially QB Brandon Harris, who had just one touchdown and 157 yards on the day.
The Horned Frogs' last-second victory in a back-and-forth offensive slugfest with Texas Tech was easily the most entertaining game of the weekend. While the defense gave up over 600 yards(!), the team also racked up some stellar yardage, too, with Trevone Boykin dialing up nearly 500 yards and the Horned Frogs rushing attack (led by Aaron Green with two TDs and 162 yards) racking up close to 250 additional yards. This weekend, they host a 1-3 Texas team that direly wants retribution for their own last second loss on Saturday. TCU would be wise to not take them lightly.
The Bruins knocked Arizona from the list of unbeatens over the weekend, besting the Wildcats 56-30 in a game in which UCLA recorded no less than six rushing touchdowns. Of course, the Bruins' defense also gave up a considerable amount of ground to Arizona's rushing attack -- to the tune of 353 yards, to be exact.
The Utes surprising success (not to toot my own horn, but guess who called it back in August?) continued over the weekend, as they drubbed Oregon 62-20. The offensive MVP had to be QB Travis Wilson, who tossed four TD passes and walked it in for a fifth, ultimately accumulating 227 passing yards and another 100 with his own two feet.
Notre Dame (4-0)
Backup QB DeShone Kizer has looked pretty good for the Irish, racking up 207 yards and two touchdowns in Notre Dame's 62-27 win over UMASS. Then again, it was the Irish rushing attack that clinched that little contest; led by C.J. Prosise (two TDs and 149 yards), the team accumulated 457 total yards on the ground Saturday. In quite possibly the weekend's second most anticipated match-up, the Irish travel to South Carolina for a primetime shindig against fellow unbeaten Clemson.
Sure, the Bulldogs 48-6 win over Southern was fun, but the cupcake parade comes to a screeching halt this weekend, as the dreaded Alabama Crimson Tide return to the Peach State for the first time since the Tide chucked UGA out of the 2013 National Championship Game. Expect productivity in both states to come to an absolute standstill as soon as 3:30 rolls around on Saturday afternoon.
The Tigers had a bye this week, which is certainly welcomed, considered the Fighting Irish are coming to town on Saturday night. Can Deshaun Watson and the boys outgun Notre Dame in what should certainly be an offensive-oriented barnburner? We'll just have to wait and see, looks like.
Florida State (3-0)
Like Clemson, FSU took a breather this weekend. While it's easy to give the Seminoles a free pass against a 2-2 Wake Forest squad this weekend, that may not be the wisest thing in the world. After all, just ask Auburn what happens when you fail to take "sub-par" teams seriously...
Yet another week three inactive re-emerges this weekend, as Oklahoma hosts an undefeated West Virginia Mountaineers squad at home. The upset potential here is quite high -- when it's all said and done, Norman might just be the saddest little town in the Midwest once Saturday's come and gone.
Texas A&M (4-0)
The Aggies struggled in their 28-21 win over Arkansas, even as QB Kyle Allen chucked the pigskin for 358 yards and two touchdowns. The run game, however, looked incredibly impotent, as the halfbacks could barely muster 65 yards all day against a Razorbacks team that is far from being the most dominant defensive squad in the SEC West.
It was a close one, but the Wildcats still came out triumphant in a 24-19 slugfest against Ball State. Clayton Thorson had three touchdowns and one interception, while the Northwestern running back corps, despite failing to score a single TD, nonetheless carved up the turf to the tune of 290 yards. The Wildcats play host to a Minnesota Golden Gophers team that definitely has potential to wreck their undefeated aspirations ... and on Northwestern's home turf, no less.
The other undefeated Golden Bears squad had a scare on Saturday, but Cal nonetheless managed to hold off Washington for a 30-24 victory. This weekend, they do battle with a tough Washington State team; pending California escapes from that one with a W, they then have the unenviable task of heading into Utah for a conference skirmish against a red hot Utes squad on Oct. 10.
While the Hurricanes have played very inconsistent thus far in the season, they've still been able to weather whatever storms (pun, regrettably, intended) have come their way. After sitting idle in week four, they have an away game against Cincinnati this week ... and after that, a crucial, and perhaps season-determining, clash with the Seminoles in Tallahassee in week 6.
Oklahoma State (4-0)
If not for truly horrid special teams play from the Longhorns, there is a very good chance the Cowboys would've lost Saturday's tilt against Texas. Alas, fate shined favorably upon Oklahoma State, and they walked out with a razor thin 30-27 victory. Despite racking up nearly 300 yards for the day, QB Mason Rudolph also struggled at times, throwing two picks and finishing the game with a 52.0 quarterback rating. The Big 12 championship picture will clear up considerably this weekend, as the Cowboys do battle with fellow conference unbeaten Kansas State.
Kansas State (3-0)
After winning their first two games of the season by a 64-3 margin of victory, the Wildcats almost got bumped in week 3's epic overtime duel against Louisiana Tech. Needless to say, we're going to figure out what kind of team KSU really is this weekend, when they go toe-to-toe with the 4-0 Oklahoma State Cowboys on their own turf.
The Gators' extremely close 28-27 win over the Vols has to be one of the biggest upsets of the college football season so far this year. The undefeated Florida team gets yet another opportunity to shock the hell out of the SEC, as the play host to offensive juggernauts Ole Miss down in Gainesville this Saturday.
West Virginia (3-0)
The Mountaineers are playing tremendous offensive and defensive ball, scoring no less than 41 points in any of their first three games of the season while allowing opponents to accumulate no more than 17 points against them. Their noon showdown against the Sooners in Norman this weekend -- at the beginning of the season, a seeming throwaway game -- is now one of the most intriguing, and important, conference games of the young season.
After pummeling North Texas 62-16, the Hawkeyes have their first real challenge of the year when they face the Badgers in Madison this Saturday. The rest of the month ain't getting any easier, either; they follow up an Oct. 10 game against Illinois with a road game at Northwestern on Oct. 17.
Two weeks in a row, the Hoosiers have escaped extremely close games against B-level teams, such as Wake Forest and Western Kentucky. The good news for Indiana fans? This weekend, your team has a home game. The bad news? It's against Ohio freaking State.
NC State (4-0)
The ACC is still wide open, and pending Clemson and Florida State take a few lumps, the Wolfpack -- against every shade of empirical reasoning you can think of -- very well could find themselves in the championship hunt. The undefeated team takes on an underachieving Louisville squad on Saturday, with an away game against Virginia Tech scheduled just six days later.
The high-scoring Tigers are the belle of the AAC at the moment, averaging about 50 points per game. Unfortunately, Memphis is also giving up a ton of points, as well, as indicative as indicated by their nail-biter 53-46 win over Cincinnati. Every year, there seems to be that one overachieving non-Power Five team that makes a run for the national title; could tenants of the Liberty Bowl be 2015's Marshall?