(Editor’s note: All ratings used in this article come from the AP Top 25 poll and all team ratings used are from Sagarin, the gold standard among ratings services.)
In the world of college football there are suitors and contenders. Nine of the AP’s top 25 teams and 3 of the top 5 received reality checks over the weekend.
Was this annual event surprised me? Hardly. When you start looking at how some of the teams started the week 4-0 and finished it 4-1, it’s so easy to see your face in a mirror. Reality has a way of revealing all the wrinkles and weaknesses.
Opening up there are the No.3 Oklahoma Sooners who lost a Big 12 Conference game 27-24 by a last second field goal in Colorado against the Buffalos. Oklahoma fell to No. 10 in the Top 25.
The Sooners reached their lofty No. 3 ranking by beating No. 170 North Texas, No. 145 Utah State, No. 58 Tulsa and No. 44 Miami (FL). Their offense scored big on all of them, but their schedule was only the top 100 in the country.
Urban Meyer and his defending national champion Florida Gators fared no better. They lost 20-17 by a field goal at home to Auburn in an SEC Conference game. Florida trailed 17-3 entering the fourth quarter.
The loss snapped an 11-game winning streak for the Gators, who suffered their first loss at home to Urban Meyer. Meyer’s team had won 18 straight at home, 17 since Meyer took over in 2005.
The Gators reached their No. 4 ranking by getting the best of No. 110 Western Kentucky, No. 85 Mississippi, No. 77 Troy and No. 32 Tennessee, an SEC opponent. Beating Tennessee is what pushed Florida up the rankings. Florida fell to No. 9 in the rankings.
No. 5 West Virginia collided with No. 18 South Florida in a Big East matchup in South Florida and lost 21-13. Coach Jim Leavitt and his South Florida Bulls are quickly becoming the team no one wants to face and the history of the college football season.
West Virginia fell from No. 5 to No. 13 in the rankings, while South Florida rose from No. 18 to No. 6.
West Virginia reached its No. 5 ranking by defeating No. 129 Marshall, No. 94 Western Michigan, No. 74 East Carolina and No. 51 Maryland. Mountaineer fans who expected West Virginia to go undefeated this year and win the national title need to regroup.
No. 7 Texas was actually found out and embarrassed at home against Kansas State in another Big 12 game as the Wildcats defeated the Longhorns, 41-21. I’ve been questioning the stature of Texas since the beginning of the year, and now my suspicions have been validated.
Texas got to 4-0 by defeating No. 162 Rice, No. 100 Arkansas State, No. 73 Central Florida and No. 54 TCU. Particularly telling was Central Florida, which Texas beat by a field goal and allowed 32 points. Texas, which is ranked 25th by Sagarin, dropped to 19th, a much more realistic place for the Longhorns to rest.
No. 10 Rutgers, the darlings of the Big East, were beaten at home by Maryland 34-24 and relegated to No. 21. I think Rutgers will soon drop out of the Top 25 as two 5-0 teams in the Big East. -No. 20 Cincinnati and unranked Connecticut are being overlooked.
Rutgers moved up to No. 10 by whipping No. 208 AA Norfolk State, No. 142 Buffalo and No. 68 Navy. Good complaint, he talks about a lame schedule. They have what they deserve.
Sagarin ranks Rutgers 38th; even that seems high to me right now.
No. 11 Oregon played host to No. 6 California in a Pac 10 matchup and led 14-10 going into the fourth quarter, but the Bears scored three touchdowns in the final 15 minutes to put them out, 31-24.
Worse yet, the Ducks’ Cameron Colvin scored what appeared to be the tying touchdown in the final seconds, but fumbled and the ball went out of the end zone, giving California a touchback and a win when reviewed. the play. Duck fans at Autzen Stadium realized that the errant play could have cost them a national championship down the road.
Oregon fell to No. 14 in the Top 25 and California rose from No. 6 to No. 3.
Number 13 Clemson traveled to Georgia Tech and watched his dream season begin to unravel as the Yellow Jacket defense held the Tigers to a game-winning field goal, 13-3. Clemson dropped to No. 22.
The Tigers broke into the Top 25 by managing No. 154 AA Furman, No. 133 Louisiana-Monroe, No. 87 North Carolina State and No. 21 Florida State. Clemson moved up the standings by beating No. 21 ranked Florida State 24-18 in its opener.
Sagarin ranks Clemson 34th, far out of the Top 25. Clemson could drop out of the Top 25 in a heartbeat.
Joe Paterno’s No. 21 Penn State Nittany Lions started the season 3-0 before losing to a rejuvenated Michigan in the Big House, 14-9, and now loses its second Big 10 game to Illinois 27-20 in Illinois.
Going on the road in Big 10 Conference games has suddenly become difficult for Penn State as it fell out of the Top 25.
Once again, Penn State began their season by racking up scores at the worst Division 1-A school in college football, No. 171 Florida International, the seventh-worst team in Division 1-A, No. 142 Buffalo. and the seemingly unlucky No. 95 and winless Notre Dame. What were those fans in Happy Valley thinking? A national championship? Think again.
No. 22 Alabama was the ninth of the top 25 teams to lose when first-year coach Nick Saban and his Crimson Tide visited Florida State and lost 21-14. Alabama dropped out of the Top 25 after coming in just a week earlier. Sagarin now rates Alabama 39th.
I thought Saban might have made Alabama go up; Now I have to readjust my expectations for the Crimson Tide.
And so the nasty 9-Oklahoma, Florida, West Virginia, Texas, Rutgers, Oregon, Clemson, Penn State and Alabama-all went down but the No. 1 USC Trojans managed to escape narrowly defeating Washington at Husky Stadium by one goal. field 27 -24.
USC committed 16 penalties, threw 2 interceptions, lost a fumble and suffered a blocked punt and yet prevailed to maintain its perfect 5-0 record. The 2-3 Washington Huskies aren’t exactly a powerhouse, but Sagarin ranked them 27th, not bad.
Being so unimpressive, USC slid to No. 2 as the LSU Tigers took the top spot.
LSU edged out rival No. 144 state rival Tulane 34-9 after tearing apart No. 57 Mississippi State 45-0, No. 28 Virginia Tech 48-7 and No. 125 Middle Tennessee 44-0. LSU’s best win came at home against No. 17 South Carolina 28-16. Sagarin rates LSU No. 1 in the country.
Only one other game really stood out to me and that was No. 9 Wisconsin which saw Michigan State score 34 points then win by a field goal at home. The Badgers moved up to No. 5 among the Top 25.
I still think Wisconsin isn’t that great. Sagarin rates Wisconsin 24th. The Badgers still have road games at Illinois, Penn State and Ohio State, and then host Michigan. After those 4 games, I doubt Wisconsin will go 11-0 going into their last game in Minnesota.
Teams in the Top 25 start to lose at this point in the season because they purposely schedule weak teams early on to give their players confidence, move up the Top 25 rankings, give their boosters hope, and draw attention to their programs.
Once conference play starts, it’s game over, as the Nasty 9s found out over the weekend.
Copyright © 2007 Ed Bagley