3 College Football Teams Who Seem out of Place in the Polls
It's just now past the midway point in the college football season and, as usual, there are a few teams who seem out of place in this week's set of rankings.
To be fair, it's been a particularly crazy football season. Huge upsets are happening almost weekly, and it's led to many teams shooting up and down in the polls. What with all of that mayhem, there isn't a set of rankings in the world that wouldn't lead to at least some griping among fans.
So while the polls, for the most part, seem pretty accurate this week, there are a few teams that don't quite seem like they're in the right place. Here are those teams.
Texas Tech Red Raiders
The 5-1 Texas Tech Red Raiders' spot in the polls is perhaps the strangest out of any team in college football.
Though they lost 41-20 against Oklahoma just one week ago, the Red Raiders bounced back to put a 49-14 whooping on the previously undefeated West Virginia Mountaineers. They dominated Geno Smith and company, looking better in virtually every aspect of the game.
But you would never know that after looking at this week's rankings.
Texas Tech sits at No. 18 in the AP polls and No. 20 in the USA Today Coaches Poll. That seems a bit low to begin with for the Red Raiders, whose only loss has come from an Oklahoma Sooners squad that is starting to look downright scary.
But the real problem is that the Mountaineers are ranked No. 17 and No. 15 respectively in those very same polls.
How on earth can Texas Tech, a team with the same 5-1 record as West Virginia, be ranked behind the Mountaineers? They just beat them by 35 points! Does that really not matter?
There's really not much of an argument against Texas Tech in this one. Both teams have the same record, and neither has a signature win under its belt. Furthermore, you can't claim that the Red Raiders' win over West Virginia was a fluke because their margin of victory was so enormous.
The Texas Tech Red Raiders deserve to be a few spots higher, and they certainly deserve to be ranked above the Mountaineers in both the AP and Coaches Polls.
The USC Trojans come in at No. 11 in the AP Poll and No. 9 in the USA Today Coaches Poll.
The problem with those rankings is that they're due much more to the Trojans' preseason hype than they are their actual play on the field.
The Trojans entered the season as the top team in the AP Poll and at No. 3 in the Coaches Poll. But to this point, USC has failed to live up to those rather lofty expectations.
The Trojans have only suffered one loss (a road game against the No. 22 Stanford Cardinals), but they haven't at all resembled the offensive and defensive juggernaut that they were cracked up to be entering the season.
Even worse, Stanford is the only really good team that USC has played this year. And though they've won their last three games, the Trojans haven't really clicked all season.
After USC's win against Washington, Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times wrote that the Trojans have looked unsettled and too conservative this season. And he's right—they've spent most of this year playing to not lose.
Wide receiver Robert Woods talked about the Trojans' conservative play-calling after the victory against Washington, saying (per the Los Angeles Times):
My take on it is, it was terrible for our offense, with all the weapons we have.
That doesn't exactly sound like a Top 10 team.
If USC had any big wins this season, then things would be a little different. But as it stands now, the Trojans have proven no more than fellow one-loss schools like Florida State or Clemson, or even undefeated schools like 6-0 Mississippi State.
And unlike the Trojans, those schools have (for the most part) looked convincing in their wins. Until USC begins to play up to its talent level, the Trojans simply don't deserve to be this close to the Top 10.
Boise State Broncos
The Boise State Broncos, much like USC, seem to be getting votes based on reputation rather than actual performance this year.
The 5-1 Broncos aren't ranked too highly in either poll—they sit at No. 24 in the AP Poll and No. 22 in the USA Today Coaches Poll. But honestly, even that seems a bit too high for Boise State.
The Broncos haven't met a good opponent all year. In fact, their one high-profile game was actually a 17-13 loss to Michigan State in the season opener.
To make matters worse, Michigan State has been a huge disappointment this season. Though they entered the season with national championship hopes, the Spartans are currently 4-3 and are in fifth place in the Big Ten Legends Division.
That's not to say that Boise State has been terrible, but its ranking definitely borrows more from past success than its play this year. As mentioned earlier, the Broncos haven't played anyone and have had to sweat out a lot of games this season.
They barely skated by BYU (a 7-6 win) and New Mexico (a 32-29 win) earlier in the season, and they even struggled at home this week against Fresno State (a 20-10 win).
The problem is that there are teams sitting behind Boise State with records just as good as or better than the Broncos, most of whom have faced stiffer competition this season (Arizona State, Ohio and TCU come to mind).
There's simply no reason that Boise State should be ranked ahead of teams like that at this time, and honestly, the Broncos probably shouldn't even be ranked.
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