Written by: David Parks – Staff Writing Intern (@_Parskie)
25) West Virginia
Getting into the meat of the Big 12 schedule for West Virginia. They’re currently ranked tenth in the coaches poll which I disagree with vehemently. The Mountaineers have a couple of nice wins in BYU, Kansas State and TCU but still not entirely sold. Winning in Austin would shut idiots like me up pretty quickly.
Hats off to Arkansas for exposing Florida for the frauds they were. This game was a microcosm of how just how far the gap between the SEC West and East are. After being thoroughly embarrassed by Auburn several weeks ago, Arkansas has a chance to knock off Florida and LSU in back-to-back weeks with a win this coming Saturday.
Addition by subtraction? The narrative around UT’s handling of Jalen Hurd’s situation is negative, but I’m not so sure this isn’t going to work out well for the Vols. Kamara and Kelly are better fits for this system and his teammates aren’t going to miss any sleep about a guy that walks out on them midseason.
22) Western Michigan
Nice stage for Fleck last week and they didn’t disappoint. Corey Davis is a legit NFL receiver. Interested to see which jobs Fleck gets tied to once the season ends. Don’t see him settling for a school like Purdue, but also don’t see him at LSU/Texas level. Oregon? Houston? Arizona?
Maybe the biggest game of Charlie Strong’s tenure to date this coming Saturday. A fifth loss this year likely spells the end of him in Austin. A win keeps an 8-4 regular season alive as well as his prospects for a fourth year of employment. BYU laid the blueprint for how to run on West Virginia earlier this year. Expect Texas to try and get D’Onta Foreman going early.
20) Penn State
Still not quite sold on the Nittany Lions. I know they beat Ohio State but the deeper stats tell a different story. The Buckeyes – specifically their special teams – cost them that game. I do love Barkley. Probably the most underrated back in the game right now.
19) Washington State
That’s six in a row for the Fighting Leaches. As someone who’s on east coast time, I was very dismayed at the fact the Cougars were not the 10:30 p.m. EST game. “Chris Petersen late night” is fun, but it’s not weird. Fortunately the Earth starts spinning again this Saturday when Cal’s garbage defense comes into town for a 10:30 est kick fresh of giving up a cool 66 to Washington.
Who would’ve thought the most compelling weekends in the Pac 12 race would feature Washington, Washington State, Colorado and Utah? These last weeks are going to be fun. Buffs travel to Zona this weekend before hosting the Cougs and Utes to close this season.
17) Texas A&M
Congrats to the committee for ranking these bozos four just to create conversation – it worked. We had them nine last week, and it turns out that was far too high. Looking back, should’ve known better considering the fact they needed two overtimes to beat Tennessee when they turned it over seven times. To make matters worse Trevor Knight’s status is iffy. Luckily for the Ags – Swag Kelly is worse than iffy.
16) Oklahoma State
Made mention of it last week – they should’ve been ranked before last week. They’re a blown call away from being 8-1 and a likely fringe top ten team. Pokes welcome Texas Tech to town who will provide one last tune up for their offense before travelling to TCU and Oklahoma to end the season.
15) Florida State
Probably a little too high off their near disaster at NC State last weekend but there’s still too much talent ignore. Barring a loss to BC, Syracuse or Florida to end the season, the Noles won’t have a loss to a team with less than ten wins.
They’re historically a much different team at home vs. the road and their line at Arizona State this Thursday has me worried they might be going down. As it stands, they’re just -5.5 against one of the worst teams in the Pac 12. I’d imagine the rationale being A) the Devils are good at home B) Weird stuff happens Thursdays and C) The one thing ASU struggles mightily at – pass defense – the Utes don’t necessarily do well enough to take advantage…. Welp.
In the latest edition of “Why polls are a f**king joke,” the Trojans still aren’t ranked in the top 25. This despite five straight wins by an average of 21 points per game. Despite the head-to-head loss at Utah earlier this season I firmly believe they would win if they played this coming Saturday on a neutral field.
One of the more bizarre losses as the season has played out is Georgia over North Carolina to start the season. Yes it was pretty much a home game for the Dawgs, but I’m not so sure UNC wouldn’t be close to a double digit favorite if the two met this coming Saturday. ACC repping strong with five, top 15 teams.
11) Virginia Tech
Another week another win for Fuente’s crew. If people were curious as to why the ACC and Big Ten have narrowed the gap with the SEC look no further than coaching. Fuente, Fedora, Richt, Petrino, Cutcliffe, Dabo, Jimbo and Brian Kelly is about as good as it gets.
Tough loss but it still shows just how much talent this team has. Outside of maybe Clemson, Ohio State or Louisville, that’s the closest a team will come to playing with Alabama all year. Unfortunately not confident in their prospects this coming Saturday after that physical slugfest. The last two years LSU has played Arkansas the week after playing Bama. The result? Two 17-point losses. Hawgs +7 will make the Picks column.
Will need to win out and have complete chaos happen in order to have a chance to back into the Playoff, but crazier things have happened. Joe Mixon returns from a one-game suspension and should feast all over the pretender Bears’ 101st ranked rush defense.
Tough win against maybe the most underrated unit in the SEC, Vanderbilt’s defense. With a road trip to rival Georgia this weekend, a lookahead was easy to see coming. The Dawgs represent Auburn’s last remaining hurdle from making the Iron Bowl a top ten clash.
Another week, another impressive win. Very much looking forward to the prospect of the Badgers getting a rematch against either Michigan or Ohio State in the BIG Championship.
Lock of the weekend was Louisville laying 25 at BC. For the teams still in the playoff picture, style matters. And against Virginia two weeks ago, Louisville lost style points. Petrino made sure both he and his quarterback got some much needed points in their respective races.
Don’t necessarily hate the committee’s decision to rank a one-loss team over Washington. The Utah win was very good, but it’s going to take more than a blowout win at Cal to convince me this team would beat Ohio State if they played on a neutral field this coming weekend.
4) Ohio State
In addition to Louisville, Ohio State was mortal last weekend as well. Poor Maryland – after getting dismantled by Michigan by 56, they turn around and host Ohio State – fresh off a 59-point win over a 7-1 Nebraska team.
Another week, another domination. Can we just fast-forward to Ohio State/Michigan please?
Defense has really impressed me in the last weeks. I think they’re clearly number two behind Bama.
Best defense of all-time? It’s certainly in the running. LSU never had a chance. The only teams I can see giving Bama a game are those with mobile quarterbacks; Clemson, Ohio State, Louisville and Washington.