College Football Rankings Week 10: Which Teams Got Absolutely Screwed?
As expected, Alabama is at the top, followed by Oregon and Florida State. All three teams have shown a level of dominance unmatched anywhere else, and debating their relative merits is pointless.
But with the changing of the guard in the SEC East, the numerous injuries that have plagued the entire sport and the head-scratchers taking place on a weekly basis in the Big 12 and Big Ten, the polls are bound to create some confusion and, let's be honest, downright anger.
Which teams got screwed this time?
All stats via ESPN.
If you're an Auburn fan, you have an understandable beef with the latest version of the USA Today Sports Coaches Poll, which has your team sitting at No. 11.
The AP poll is more generous, putting the Tigers at No. 8, but any set of rankings that has Gus Malzahn's squad outside its top 10 is making a serious mistake.
Take a look at the resume and you'll see one loss, a 35-21 defeat to LSU in Death Valley. But let's remember that nobody has come within a touchdown of the Tigers in their building, and this Auburn team is a whole lot better than it was a month ago.
That much is perfectly clear when you look further down the schedule and see wins over Ole Miss and Texas A&M. Comparing common opponents is an imperfect exercise, but the Tigers beat the Aggies in their own stadium by four points. Alabama beat 'em by seven.
Yes, the games were very different, and no, that isn't suggesting Auburn is neck-and-neck with the Tide, but it should give you an idea about how impressive the victory was.
The Coaches Poll also gets it wrong because Clemson and Oklahoma are ranked ahead of the Tigers. No team that loses by 37 at home, as Clemson did, should be in the Top 10. And Oklahoma, which is playing good football at the moment, was smoked by Texas in the Red River Rivalry,
But not to fear, Auburn fans, because with upcoming games against Georgia and Alabama, your team will have a chance to set things straight.
Northern Illinois has won every game on its schedule thus far, and the reward is being placed no higher than No. 20 in either poll.
Despite a nice win over Iowa and a blistering of Purdue, the Huskies are once again disrespected by voters around the country.
Part of the consideration in determining who got screwed is looking at teams higher up in the rankings and then comparing resumes.
You mean to tell me that Louisville, a team that lost a three-touchdown lead at home to UCF, deserves to be ranked ahead of an undefeated Northern Illinois squad?
In the Cardinals' only game against a team with a pulse, they choked away a huge lead. All the Huskies have done is take care of business week in and week out, which includes the aforementioned victories over BCS-conference teams.
Is this an egregious error? Maybe not, but Northern Illinois certainly deserves more credit than it's being given at the moment.
AP voters, for some crazy reason, feel that UCF is merely one spot better than Louisville, a team it beat on the road.
That's not the most ridiculous thing we've ever seen, but the Coaches Poll having the Knights five spots lower than the Cardinals might be.
There, George O'Leary's team is ranked No. 22, and that just doesn't make much sense. Again, let's head to the resume.
The Knights have a road win over Penn State as well as the win over Teddy Bridgewater and company. Their lone loss came at the hands of South Carolina by a score of 28-25. Remind me how much better a top-10 Missouri team looked against the Gamecocks?
Unfortunately for quarterback Blake Bortles and his squad, their current place in the rankings, coupled with an abysmal level of competition over the next month, means moving up in the polls will take place very slowly, perhaps not at all.
Wisconsin has lost twice this season—a 32-30 controversial defeat at Arizona State and a 31-24 loss on the road against Ohio State.
In their five other victories, the Badgers have outscored opponents by a combined total of 225-48.
Considering that teams with two losses, like LSU, are as high as No. 11, Wisconsin in the 20s is a crime.
The Badgers effort at Ohio State won't be matched by anybody else this season, and the team itself isn't likely to lose again. The unfortunate part of winning out is they are in the same division as the Buckeyes, so an appearance in the Big Ten title game with a chance to prove their worth is unlikely.
Still, you can't say with any sort of confidence that Wisconsin is significantly worse than a number of teams that rank in the top 15. For that reason, the Badgers were officially screwed in the latest versions of the polls.
It feels odd showing so much love to the Big Ten because the conference as a whole isn't very good.
But Michigan State is certainly better than its No. 24 ranking (in both polls) would indicate.
Why? Well for starters, the Spartans are playing a lot better football now than they were even a few weeks ago. On Saturday, Mark Dantonio's team beat Illinois 42-3 in the most complete performance of the season.
The lone loss on the year was a 17-13 defeat to Notre Dame in South Bend, but 7-1 is an impressive mark regardless of where the wins are coming from, and it's a mark that deserves more recognition that its being given.
This isn't to say that Michigan State belongs in the top 15, but voters are letting a pre-conceived notion about how good this team is affect where they're being ranked.
However, as with most teams on this list, the Spartans will get plenty of opportunities to prove themselves to the nation, starting next week when they play host to Michigan.
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