NCAA Football Top 25: Championship Week And BCS Projections; TCU No. 2
Tyler Stimson votes in the ESPN-U poll and the Bleacher Report poll.
(Team Records and last weeks ranking in parentheses )
We finish the regular season with five unblemished teams, and only two (Alabama and Texas) will compete for a national championship. We need a playoff, now!
This is my College Football Top 25 for end of the regular season and conference championship games.
Here is my newest Top 25:
1. (3) Alabama (12-0)— Even I can't justify ranking TCU ahead of Alabama at this point. The Tide demolished Florida 32-14 at a neutral site. They have played the toughest schedule among any of the undefeated teams, they have only had one close game all year (back when Tennessee was playing great).
Beating Virginia Tech, LSU, Florida, Ole Miss, Auburn, and South Carolina is just too impressive not to be ranked No.1. Even I'm not biased enough to vote TCU ahead of Alabama.
2. (1) TCU (12-0)—Demolished New Mexico at home, 52-10, and clinched the MWC championship; last week.
Two weeks ago, TCU's overall SOS was 16 spots higher than Texas (32 to 48). Now that TCU played New Mexico, a 1-11 team, their SOS has plummeted, and Texas' has gone up.
TCU has not dilly-dallied with clearly inferior opponents, even top 25 caliber ones. They have demolished them, jumping out to a 21-0 lead against BYU, and a 35-7 lead against Utah early in the second quarter. They have consistently jumped out to huge leads, and left no doubt as to who the better team is by the end of the first half.
Regardless of what you think about TCU vs. Texas, there needs to be an actual debate between the voters for having TCU or Texas in the National Championship game against the Florida/Alabama winner.
TCU is clearly the hotter team: Since Oct. 17th, TCU's closest game was a 55-28 beatdown of Utah, a game where they led 35-7 early in the second quarter.
Texas, on the other hand has struggled mightily, and was very fortunate to beat Oklahoma, Texas A&M, and Nebraska.
3. (5) Boise State (13-0)—Beat New Mexico State 42-7 at home, capping off a 13-0 season. I'd like Boise's chances against Texas. Boise State would've done what Nebraska couldn't have.
4. (6) Cincinnati (12-0)—Beat Pittsburgh 45-44. They came back from three TD's. This is a very good football team, but their defense has been gashed all year. Their offense might be the best in all of college football, but that will not be enough if they face an elite and balanced team.
Pitt is a good team, but the victory was not impressive enough for Cincinnati to pass Boise State, let alone TCU.
Boise State beat Fresno State 51-34, on the road. Cincinnati beat Fresno State 28-20, at home. Boise State beat Oregon, Cincinnati beat Oregon State. It's close, but no cigar for the Bearcats, who admittedly have played a tougher schedule but have given up 45, 21, 36, 44 in the last four weeks.
They won three of those games by a combined six points. Not impressive enough to pass Boise, in my opinion. But they deserve a title shot as much as any of the five undefeateds. And I think they would beat Texas.
5. (4) Texas (13-0)—Beat Nebraska in an ugly, ugly defensive struggle 13-12. Colt McCoy's best two plays were punts. Enough said. Not playing like a championship caliber team or the best team in Texas.
In back-to-back weeks we've seen what a good defense (Nebraska) and a good offense (Texas A&M) can do to Texas. Imagine what Alabama, who has a great offense and a great defense, will do the Longhorns?
Unfortunately, we all know that Texas will get their title shot, while more or equally deserving teams will not. Any of the other four undefeated teams would beat Texas on a neutral field.
6. (2) Florida (12-1)— Lost to Alabama 32-13. Wow, I thought Alabama would pull off a close upset victory, but that was not even close.
Alabama clearly benefited from playing a much tougher schedule than Florida. They were much better prepared and they were the clearly better and more explosive team.
Florida has been exposed, in my opinion, as having an average offense this year. They may have averaged 49 points a game against Charleston Southern, Troy, FIU, Georgia, Kentucky, and Florida State.
But, against the rest of their schedule? (Tennessee, LSU, Arkansas, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt, South Carolina and now Alabama) A measly 21 points a game.
7. Oregon (10-2)—Beat Oregon State 33-29 in a classic Civil War battle. Oregon is king of the second-best conference in the country, as well as the conference with the most parity. USC at 8-4, will finish in sixth place.
8. (13) BYU (10-2)—Beat Utah 26-23 in an Overtime thriller last week. I attended this game personally—there is no better moment for a college football fan than witnessing your team beat your bitter rival with a walk off OT TD win—and that's what happened. BYU trailed 23-20, and it was second and ten in the first overtime.
Max Hall squeezed short a bullet pass into Andrew George, who stayed on his feet, and ran into the end zone. The fans went absolutely nuts, and stormed the field. It was an awesome experience. In three out of the last four years, BYU has beat Utah in dramatic fashion.
This was the only game of the week where both teams were ranked.
Since getting upset by Florida State in week three, BYU is 8-1, with their only loss coming to No. 1 TCU. In a mishmash of two-loss teams, BYU rises to the top. They could easily be 15th. Oklahoma's demolition of Oklahoma State also strengthens BYU's case.
If Iowa and Penn State are still candidates for a BCS bowl, why isn't BYU? Their fan base would travel just as well or better.
Is the Big Ten really much better than the MWC? The MWC is pretty much unofficially a BCS conference at this point. They are just as good or better than the typical BCS conference.
9. Ohio State (10) (10-2)—Beat Michigan 21-10 a week ago. Ohio State is the class of a mediocre and (admittedly) deep conference, and Michigan gave that game away, with three red zone turnovers, and another turnover that went the other way for a touchdown.
This is a good football team, but I like the Oregon/Oregon State winner to beat them in the Rose Bowl.
10. Iowa (12) (10-2)—Beat Minnesota 12-0 three weeks ago. Iowa, with its rabid fan base, and Oklahoma State's loss, looks likely to nab an at-large BCS berth.
11. Georgia Tech (12) (10-2)- Beat Clemson for the second time, 39-34. Clinched a BCS berth, and a potential matchup with an undefeated team.
12. LSU (13) (9-3)—Handled the clock right this time, tied the game, and won 33-30 on a missed FG by Arkansas' kicker in OT (last week). 9-3 in the best conference in America? Good enough for 13th in the country, at least for me.
13. Penn State (15) (10-2)—Demolished Michigan State 42-10 two weeks ago. This is a team that has played an easy schedule. Their best victory is...over Northwestern. They lost convincingly to the only two good teams they faced. They still have a decent chance at a BCS at-large bid.
14. Utah (17) (9-3)—Lost to BYU 26-23 in an OT thriller a week ago. They trailed 20-6, before battling all the way back and tying the game with a FG with 39 seconds left...only to lose on a walk-off Andrew George TD in OT.
I can't imagine how they feel right now—they almost had a great comeback against their biggest rival, but came up just short.
I don't think they should be penalized too much for losing by three points, on the road to a top 10 team. Their three losses have come on the road to three top ten teams; TCU, Oregon and BYU. Two of those losses (BYU and Oregon) the Utes could've easily won.
15. Virginia Tech (18) (9-3)—Crushed Virginia 42-13 a week ago. Their only losses are to Alabama, Georgia Tech, and North Carolina; all games they could've won.
16. Miami (22) (9-3)—Beat South Florida 31-10 a week ago. Miami had a great year; after starting the season unranked, they have remained in the Top 25 since Week Two.
17. Oregon State (15) (8-4)— Lost to Oregon 33-29 in a heart breaker. They might be headed to Vegas, to play a top 15 BYU team in the Las Vegas Bowl.
18. Arizona (23) (8-4)- Beat USC 21-17. They are 6-3 in the Pac 10 - (perhaps) the best and certainly the most competitive conference top to bottom in the country.
19. Stanford (25) (8-4)— Beat Notre Dame 45-38 a week ago. Toby Gearhart deserves the Heisman: he has been the best player in college football this year. He ran for over 200 yards, three TDs and even threw a TD.
20. West Virginia (24) (9-3)—Upset Pittsburgh at home last Friday Night, 19-16. They have a tough game next week at Rutgers.
21. Pittsburgh (16) (9-3)—Lost to Cincinnati 45-44 in a heart breaker. They looked like the better team, but Cincinnati made the plays, and the extra point, when it counted. That's two heart breakers in a row for the Pitt Panthers.
21. Ole Miss (Unranked) (8-4)— Lost to Miss State two weeks ago.
22. Houston (11) (10-3)— Lost to East Carolina 38-33.
23. Nebraska (Unranked) (9-4)— Lost to Texas, 13-12. Their kicker cost them the game by kicking it out of bounds after they took a 12-10 lead. Also, several nefarious pass interference calls led to the Longhorns "victory."
Suh is the best player in America, and I'm putting him No. 1 on my Heisman ballot. They get credit for a good "loss," a game that the referees and (admittedly) Nebraska's own ineptitude won for Texas.
24. USC (18) (8-4)— Lost to Arizona 21-17.
25. Central Michigan (Unranked) (11-2)— Beat Ohio 20-10 in the MAC championship game.
1. PAC-10 (six)
2. SEC (four)
3. MWC (three)
3. BIG TEN (three)
3. BIG EAST (three)
6. ACC (two)
6. BIG 12 (two)
8. WAC (one)
8. C-USA (one)
8. MAC (one)
Conference Power Rankings
1. SEC —Is there really any doubt? Maybe the Pac-10 could challenge them, but honestly the SEC is clearly the best conference in college football.
They may have only three ranked teams, but they will have 10 bowl eligible teams this year. Not to mention they have the clear No. 1 team in the country, Alabama, and they have No. 6 Florida, and a top 15 team in LSU.
2. Pac-10 —There is so much depth and parity in this conference. They really have six excellent teams. If you took out Washington State.
3. MWC —Clearly best Non-BCS conference, actually better than most BCS conferences. I'm sure you may have doubts, but remember Utah-Alabama last year? TCU is better than that team, much better. Boasts an undefeated 2-0 record in BCS bowls (thanks to Utah).
4. Big Ten —Has depth, but overall is mediocre; they get credit for solid OOC wins over Arizona and Air Force.
5. Big East - Plays a ridiculously easy OOC schedule overall, but Cincinnati did beat Oregon State earlier in the year
6. ACC - Got absolutely owned by the SEC last week.
7. Big 12 —Only one good team; Texas. May be better than Big 10, ACC or Big East, but have they done anything to prove it? What is their best Non-conference win this season?
Projected BCS Bowl Matchups
No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 2 Texas - BCS National Championship Game
No. 5 Boise State vs. No. 9 Iowa - Fiesta Bowl
No. 6 Florida vs. No. 4 Cincinnati - Sugar Bowl
No. 3. TCU vs. No. 11 Georgia Tech - Orange Bowl
No. 7 Oregon vs. No. 8 Ohio State - Rose Bowl
What They Should Be
No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 2 TCU - BCS National Championship Game
No. 4 Cincinnati vs. No. 6 Florida - Sugar Bowl
No. 5 Texas vs. No. 3 Boise State - Fiesta Bowl
No. 7 Oregon vs. No. 8 Ohio State - Rose Bowl
No. 9. Iowa vs. No. 11 Georgia Tech - Orange Bowl
Please post any comments below! Let me know what you think about these rankings.
What do you totally disagree with? Please let me know!
Thanks for reading, everyone!
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