There is a flip-flop at the top of the rankings after a pretty good ‘Showdown Saturday’. Unless you haven’t heard, maybe the biggest news week was a QB change at Ohio State. About time. That was at the top of the rankings. At the bottom of the rankings, Memphis made the biggest strides. They enter the rankings for the first time after their huge win over Ole Miss at the Liberty Bowl. The Tigers are 6-0 and rolling in a much better than advertised AAC.
STOCK UP – The AAC
AAC stands for American Athletic Conference. In case you didn’t know. The AAC is having a great season. In some cases, probably better than the ACC. That’s the Atlantic Coast Conference. Not too hard to get those two mixed up. The ACC is a Power-5 conference, but even though they have Playoff contenders in Clemson and FSU the AAC looks like the better league from top to bottom. There are several teams very deserving of being ranked due to the league having some very impressive wins. They’re going out and proving that they can play with anyone. Just ask Ole Miss or Penn State. However, even though teams like Memphis and Temple are undefeated it’s almost a certainty even if they run the table, they don’t stand much of a shot at being in the College Football Playoff. It would take most of the top teams having two losses before any of those teams would get a look. That just doesn’t seem likely to happen. A New Year’s Six Bowl is the more likely destination for the league champion. Still, they’re stock is definitely up right now.
What looked like a weakness coming into the season all of a sudden looks like a strength. Bama’s secondary is playing lights out with guys like freshman Minkah Fitzpatrick and junior Eddie Jackson looking like they’re running a two-by 100 relay with all the pick 6’s they’ve pulled off. Most of them coming off of Georgia and Texas A&M. Bama still needs help to get to Atlanta and maybe another College Football Playoff, but that road looks a little easier now with this revamped secondary.
STOCK DOWN – Ole Miss and Hugh Freeze
It’s not just that they lost to Memphis. In reality, the loss to Memphis wasn’t that much of a shocker. The fact that they never seemed to be in the game was the shocker. The Rebels were playing catch up all afternoon. Were they not prepared? Probably not like the Tigers were. This is actually a rivalry game. The two schools are separated by only an hour’s drive, and the city of Memphis is full of Ole Miss alumni. The split in Memphis is probably 1/3 Tennessee Vols, 1/3 Ole Miss, and the rest go to Memphis. Since beating Alabama, the Rebels have been less than stellar suffering a blow out loss at Florida and this loss to the Tigers. This looks like an instant-replay from last season where things seemingly fell apart after Ole Miss beat Bama. Look no further than head coach Hugh Freeze, for the blame. This team doesn’t seem as focused. That falls squarely on the coach. His in-game coaching is also questionable. Why is phenom defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche, having plays run for him on offense in the middle of a game the Rebels are losing? Sure, we’ve seen Nkemdiche pull off some nice plays that resulted in touchdowns. But, this is also your primary defender. An injury to him while playing offense would be inexcusable, but is also quite possible.
This week’s game at home against Texas A&M is humongous. Freeze, cannot afford to lose as this promising season could spiral out of control. The Rebels still control their own destiny to get to their first SEC Championship Game. Now, they better start acting like it.
Now, on to the rankings
1. OHIO STATE: As, the Buckeyes continue to wait for their two-game season to begin Urban Meyer, finally came to his senses in regards to the QB situation in Columbus. The move is big enough to move Ohio State back to number one. The Buckeyes still have some other issues, but they are simply a better team with J.T. Barrett at the controls. Especially, in the redzone.
2. UTAH: We’ll move the Utes back a spot to number two. They really did nothing wrong. They struggled some, but they did beat Arizona State. DeVontae Booker, is a beast and continues to try and stick his nose in the middle of the Heisman race. A trip to The Coliseum against USC is up next. Could this be the week the Utes finally go down? Possibly. The Trojans played an inspiring game against Notre Dame, only to come away with the loss.
3. TCU: The Frogs are still in my eye the best team in the Big 12. We’re not far away now from seeing the Big12’s big dogs start to play each other. Right now, it’s clearly a three-team race and maybe four with Oklahoma State. Should be a great month of November to sort out who might be worthy of a playoff bid from this conference. Oh by the way, there’s still no championship game. But, they don’t need one. Right?
4. CLEMSON: The Tigers are handling their business, even if they didn’t cover the 17 points as I thought they would against Boston College. The game ended up being a push at 34-17. Still, it’s quite easy to make a case for Clemson being number 1 or 2 at this point. Big games are upcoming. Notably, the game against Florida State. Again, this looks like it should be the Tigers’ year. At this point, anything less than an ACC title and College Football Playoff berth looks like a failure.
5. Baylor 4-0
6. LSU 6-0
7. Michigan State 6-0
8. Alabama 6-1
9. Florida State 6-0
10. Stanford 5-1
11. Notre Dame 6-1
12. Iowa 7-0
13. Florida 6-1
14. Oklahoma State 6-0
15. Texas A&M 5-1
16. Oklahoma 5-1
17. Memphis 6-0
18. Michigan 5-2
19. Toledo 6-0
20. California 5-1
21. Duke 5-1
22. Houston 6-0
23. Pittsburgh 5-1
24. Temple 6-0
25. Ole Miss 5-2
Saying Goodbye: UCLA, Northwestern, Boise State
Saying Hello: Memphis, Pittsburgh, Temple
Next in Line: North Carolina, Wisconsin, Miami (FL), UCLA, Texas Tech, Western Kentucky