The college football play-off (CFP) rankings aren’t due out until October 30th the way things are looking at the moment, based on the various media polls, college football has a very familiar look to it.
Alabama look imperious. Their main rivals seem to be once again Clemson (despite quarter back drama) and Ohio State who once again have domestic abuse facilitator Urban Meyer back on the side lines.
AP Poll Top 10 (number in brackets denotes 1st place votes)
1 Alabama (60) 7-0
2 Ohio State (1) 7-0
3 Clemson 6-0
4 Notre Dame 7-0
5 LSU 6-1
6 Michigan 6-1
7 Texas 6-1
8 Georgia 6-1
9 Oklahoma 5-1
10 UCF 6-0
The only non power 5 teams are the independent Notre Dame, whose name always is worth a few votes. They have found themselves a QB, Ian Book, who is a run pass threat, and has transformed the Irish offence since being named starter. With the strongest opponent left being a hit and miss USC team an undefeated Notre Dame would surely be in the end of season playoff.
UCF currently have the longest undefeated streak in FBS. They were undefeated last season but may well not play a ranked opponent all season. The very best they can hope for is a another undefeated season and maybe a new year’s bowl game. Ironically last season’s head coach, Scott Frost, left in the off season to return to his alma mater Nebraska who are currently 0-6.
The Big 10 other than Ohio State have struggled to live up high expectation. Penn State played the Buckeyes close in one of the college football’s games of season, but Ohio State would appear to be left with only Michigan as a major obstacle between them and a CFP appearance.
The rest of the Big 10, considered the only conference that could truly give the SEC a run for its money, has been underwhelming. The traditional big hitters of Wisconsin, Michigan State and Penn State have had some major banana skins. Michigan may be showing signs of life and were impressive disposing of Wisconsin this week.
Penn State, who lost Saquon Barkley to the NFL, are the only team who have seemed capable of challenging Ohio State but they blew a glorious chance to beat them, losing a close game at home. Could Jim Harbaugh and Michigan finally get his first win over the big rival?
The ACC is Clemson and everybody else, Florida State’s implosion has been mentioned in previous weeks they have staunched the bleeding but watch this space to see what happens to one of college football’s biggest names. Miami, the U, are competitive once again but unlikely at a level to challenge Clemson.
Clemson aren’t the team they were of a couple of seasons ago, but they will likely be back there. They have had drama at QB with starter Kelly Bryant being benched in favour of hot shot freshman Trevor Lawrence. Bryant immediately declared he would take advantage of a new rule which allows him to sit out the rest of the season and transfer to another University and be eligible the next year, providing his coach agrees not to play him.
Coach Dabo Swinney agreed to Bryant sitting. The drama occurred when in the very next game Lawrence was concussed but true to his word Swinney did not play Bryant or look to start him the following week thus preserving his eligibility to transfer.
There are 2 other stories from the ACC
1 The Positive – and that is the continued rise of Syracuse under coach Dino Babers. Those of you who have been to New York will have seen merch for ‘New Yorks University’ on sale. Although primarily a basketball school, it is the college that produced Jim Brown, Donovan McNabb and Marvin Harrison. They have beaten FSU this season and were undefeated before losing to Clemson, they look legit again.
2.Negative – Wake Forest freshman kicker
Of course he missed it!
The Pac 12 is struggling. Washington had bounced back from the season opening loss to Auburn, however a classic game at Oregon’s Autzen stadium on Saturday saw Washington miss a late field goal, then lose in OT. This ends Washington’s playoff hopes which were already slim, but makes Oregon a strong contender for the Pac 12.
An interesting side bar from the game was that two potential future NFL quarterbacks went head to head. Jake Browning of Washington and Justin Herbert of Oregon. Strong rumours abound that the Giants were at the game scouting Herbert apparently not for the first time.
The rest of the Pac 12 is underwhelming at the moment, although this coming weekend should see somebody make a move as Washington plays 5-1 Colorado and 5-1 Oregon goes to Pullman to play 5-1 Washington State. These are potentially great games but the Pac 12’s late West Coast kick off times and lack of either of the two big LA teams being relevant is damaging them at the moment.
Speaking of LA teams, UCLA under new head coach and offensive messiah Chip Kelly, are 1-5. The jury remains out on whether Kelly is simply reinforcing the old adage of never go back, in this case to college.
The Big 12 has been Oklahoma’s to lose for the last few seasons, however after losing to their most bitter rivals Texas in a typical Big 12 shootout they slipped out of the top 10 and were usurped by a resurgent Texas.
Oklahoma subsequently fired their defensive coordinator Mike Stoops, brother of former Head Coach Bob, in a move seen as current Coach Lincoln Riley saying categorically this is his team. Despite the psychological imagery the truth is that OU’s defence has been piss poor for a while and potentially cost them the national championship game last season.
The highest rated Big 12 team after OU’s loss was West Virginia, they have a spectacular offence keyed by QB Will Grier and outstanding WR David Sills, both NFL prospects, they have a recent record of fast starts and limp finishes and this week lost to Iowa State who are one of the stories of college ball the last couple of seasons.
The Iowa State bands half time show against is… well you decide
The SEC is, as was said before is all about Alabama, the battle behind them is excellent LSU handled Georgia this weekend and on different weekends different SEC teams have shone, although none of them consistently. After this week maybe LSU with new star running back Nick Brossette and Ohio State transfer Joe Burrow at QB could be the challenger, Alabama will come to Tiger stadium in 2 weeks time let’s hope the Bayou Bengals can put on a show.