THE SPORTS & SWAG REPORT

College Football – Week 8 Power Rankings: FSU and Clemson move up before battle in Death Valley

Wild Week 7 leads us into Florida St. at Clemson showdown and first BCS Rankings……

Week 7 of the college football season brought us the biggest changes to the BCS title landscape, yet. The Sixteen with Swag looks a lot different than last week. No team took a bigger tumble than Stanford. That trip to Utah can be a tricky one. UCLA almost found out how tricky it is a couple of weeks ago, but survived. The same can’t be said for the Cardinal. Fitting that the Bruins visit the Cardinal this weekend in a game that should be fantastic. While, there will be a lot attention on that game, the spotlight game is of course, Florida St. at Clemson.

This is the first top 5 matchup ever in the state of South Carolina, and the only the fourth ever top 5 matchup in ACC history. The magnitude of this game conference wise and especially nationally cannot be overstated. The game also pits two Heisman Trophy Award candidates against each other. FSU’s Jameis Winston, and Clemson’s Tajh Boyd aren’t at the top of the list, but the winner of this game at least stays in the mix. From there anything can happen.

Both teams have had a relatively similar path to this game. Clemson, by far has the best win, with their 38-35 victory over Georgia to start the season. Ironically, each team’s biggest struggle came against Boston College. FSU got off to a rocky start at BC, before pulling away in the 2nd half. Clemson had even more problems with the Eagles, as the Tigers trailed at home late into the 3rd quarter. The Tigers pulled away in the 4th to win 24-14. Quite possibly a look ahead to this game for Clemson. Other than Clemson beating Georgia and the Boston College games for both, there has been little to no competition for either team.

There are two huge questions I have about this game.

  • Has FSU really been tested? I would say, no. It remains to be seen, whether or not that will be a factor in this game. Clemson has already been in one titanic battle and they’re at home.
  • Does the winner of this game move ahead of Oregon? If Clemson wins, I think the Tigers deserve to be Number 2 next week. If not, its quite possible the winner of this game could be left out of the BCS Title game mix. If, Bama and Oregon keep winning, we could be headed for another 2004 scenario when undefeated Auburn was left out in favor of Oklahoma and USC. Which would be a shame. USC and OU, were ranked 1 and 2 throughout the season. Much like Bama and Oregon have been.

One things for sure, the hype surrounding this game is immense. From every hour, on the hour reports on ESPN, to Lebron reportedly attending the game. It gets no better. Let’s hope the game lives up to it. I’m sure it will! Now on to the Power Rankings (Sixteen with Swag).

Week 8 Power Rankings (Sixteen with Swag)

1. Alabama Crimson Tide – (This Week: vs Arkansas)  After slow start at Kentucky, the Tide looked more like the number 1 team in the nation, by scoring on 8 consecutive drives to blow out the Wildcats. Clear sailing ahead til LSU? Probably. Tide should handle the Hogs, but trip to Knoxville never a given.
2. Oregon Ducks – (This Week: vs Washington St.)  The Ducks take over the number 2 spot in the rankings after Stanford’s loss and their impressive win at Washington. Marcus Mariota, has been spectacular and right now looks like the Heisman leader right now.
3. Clemson Tigers – (This Week: vs 5 Florida St.)  Not much more can be said about this titanic matchup. It should be at least a slight advantage to the Tigers with the home field.
4. Ohio St. Buckeyes – (This Week: vs Iowa) Buckeyes were a beneficiary of Stanford’s loss, moving up a spot. However, with Michigan’s loss, the only marquee game left on the schedule is looking worse and worse. Tough to see Ohio St play for BCS unless they get a lot of help.
5. Florida St. Seminoles – (This Week: at 3 Clemson) Could FSU jump both Ohio St. and Oregon with a win in Death Valley? Probably in the polls, but not where it counts, the BCS rankings.
6. LSU Tigers – (This Week: at Ole Miss) Tigers looked impressive defensively against Florida. Surprisingly, that’s been the only question about LSU. Offense has been great under Mettenberger. Tough trip to ‘The Grove’ but the Tigers should be fine.
7. Texas A&M Aggies – (This Week: vs Auburn) Aggies just left ‘The Grove’ and had to have a last second field goal to survive. Auburn comes to town this week, and it could be another shootout for a while. Tigers don’t quite have the swag to stay with Manziel, just yet.
8. UCLA Bruins – (This Week: at 12 Stanford) It would be hard to argue against the Bruins being at least #2 in the BCS if they can handle the next two weeks. At Stanford and at Oregon. Bruins definitely control their own destiny.
9. Louisville Cardinals – ( This Week: vs UCF) The same can’t be said for the Cards. They need lots of help, but even with that, this team just doesn’t have the look of a championship contender.
10. Miami Hurricanes – (This Week: at North Carolina) The Canes have what can be a tough trip to Chapel Hill, but the Heels have easily been one of the biggest disappointments so far. Canes should be unbeaten going to Tallahassee in a couple weeks.
11. South Carolina Gamecocks – (This Week: at Tennessee) These are the Gamecocks I thought that we would see from the start of the season. Ok. So, it was Arkansas. I was still impressed. Mike Davis is the real deal and right now is the best running back in the SEC. At least until Todd Gurley gets back.
12. Stanford Cardinal – (This Week: vs 8 UCLA) Quite a tumble for the Cardinal but I’m not going to kill them for losing at Utah. Always a tough place to play. Focus must now be on UCLA. BCS seems out of reach but PAC-12 isn’t.
13. Missouri Tigers – (This Week: vs Florida) We welcome the Mizzou Tigers to the Sixteen with Swag! Who would have thought that? The Tigers were having an amazingly quiet season, then they went out and beat Georgia handily. The Tigers look for real. Georgia has lots of injuries, but not to the defense. Mizzou went up and down the field. Now, can they keep winning with James Franklin out?
 14. Baylor Bears – (This Week: vs Iowa St.)  The Bears got a nice win at Kansas State last week. The Wildcats held Baylor to 35 points, which is half of what they had been averaging offensively. Baylor is now the only unbeaten team in the Big 12, after Texas beat down Oklahoma. The Big 12 is simply not a good league and are pretty much out of contention for the BCS title as a whole.

15. Georgia Bulldogs – (This Week: at Vanderbilt)  The injuries finally came back to haunt the Dawgs, but what’s up with the D? They’re young, but they’ve haven’t really stopped anyone. Even with the injuries, if the defense shows up against Mizzou, it could have been a different game.

16. Virginia Tech Hokies – ( This Week: Idle)  Since losing to Bama, the Hokies have quietly gone about their business and are back in the Sixteen with Swag. I have a feeling they may stay for a while. The Hokies will be dangerous down the stretch and could play ACC spoiler, while helping themselves at the same time.

Lost its Swag: Oklahoma, Michigan, Florida..

 

Keeping my eye On:  Auburn, Oregon State, Texas Tech, Northern Illinois, and Fresno State.

 

As always comments are more than welcome. Feel free.

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