2010 College Football Rankings: Why Stanford Should Be Ranked Ahead of Wisconsin
With Week 5’s college football polls being released on Sunday evening, September 26, it’s time to take a look at the latest results.
And, in particular, why Stanford should be ranked ahead of Wisconsin.
In the latest AP Poll, Stanford comes in at No. 9—two spots above No. 11 Wisconsin—while in the Coaches/USA Today Poll, the Cardinal currently sits at No. 13—four spots behind the No. 9 Badgers.
So, why is the AP Poll right; and why does Stanford deserve to be ranked higher than Wisconsin?
Here are 10 reasons the Cardinal is absolutely worthy of its No. 9 ranking…
No. 10: The Cardinal Has Its Highest National Ranking Since 1992
Stanford hasn’t been ranked in the top 10 of college football polls since 2001, and has attained its highest national ranking (No. 9) since 1992 with Sunday’s latest votes.
And regardless of the Coaches/USA Today Poll shafting Stanford from being a top 10 team, the AP poll is right on the money by placing the Cardinal at No. 9.
Why? Let’s continue…
No. 9: Opponents Averaging a Mere 13.8 Points Per Game
The Stanford secondary has been phenomenal throughout the first four games of 2010, holding it’s opponents at bay.
In fact, the Cardinal's opponents are averaging a mere 13.8 points per game—with the Stanford defense limiting opposing teams to just 256 total yards per game.
Good enough of a reason to be ranked No. 9, and ahead of Wisconsin?
No. 8: Wisconsin’s Wins Have Come Against Easier Opponents
When looking at the big picture, it’s really quite simple—Stanford’s first four opponents have been much tougher than those Wisconsin has faced thus far, regardless of both teams being undefeated.
Here are the four teams the Badgers have beaten in 2010 en route to its perfect record: UNLV on the road (41-21); San Jose State at home (27-14); Arizona State at home (20-19); and Austin Peay at home (70-3).
We’ll talk more about Stanford’s opening season opponents shortly…
No. 7: Offense Averaging 457.5 Yards, 48 Points Per Game
The Stanford football team is averaging 457.5 total yards of offense per game and scoring an average of 48 points per contest as well.
Pretty damn impressive if you ask me.
In fact, Stanford is ranked No. 4 in the nation in points per game according to ESPN; Wisconsin, meanwhile, is ranked No. 15 (39.5 points per game) in the same ESPN poll.
No. 6: Defeated Notre Dame 37-14 in Week 4 Victory
Stanford’s latest win, a 37-14 steamrolling victory over Notre Dame in Week 4, is what truly propelled the team into the top 10.
In addition to receiving a fitting placement at No. 9 in the latest AP Polls, it was a well-deserved "W."
Now, Stanford looks to a tough road ahead.
No. 5: Stanford Remains Perfect, Undefeated at 4-0
Yes, I understand Wisconsin is also undefeated at 4-0, but Stanford has reached this mark with style, accuracy, and pure precision on both sides of the ball.
Stanford, despite playing tougher opponents, has been defeating the teams it faces by much larger margins than Wisconsin (except for the Badgers latest 70-3 thrashing of Austin Peay at home).
Does the Cardinal deserve a No. 9 nod for its perfect start?
Personally, I believe so.
No. 4: True Test Awaits No. 9 Stanford Saturday at No. 4 Oregon
No. 4 Oregon, likely Stanford’s biggest test of the 2010 season, awaits next Saturday for the Cardinal on the road.
The game will be televised on ABC and is slated to kickoff at 8 p.m. EST.
And with two undefeated top 10 Pac-10 teams facing off next weekend in Oregon, expect a barn-burner from start to finish.
I can’t wait…
No. 3: Team Is 100 Percent (4-for-4) on Fourth-Down Conversions
Another amazing statistic that sticks out—Stanford’s 2010 football team has a 100 percent conversion percentage on fourth-downs.
That’s remarkable, as Stanford has successfully converted on all four of its fourth-down attempts this season.
Can you really beat that?
No. 2: Score Red-Zone Touchdowns 69 Percent of Time (18-for-26)
Oh yeah, those eight times they failed to score a TD resulted in a successful field goal—meaning Stanford has scored in the red-zone 100 percent of the time this season.
Yes, you read that correctly: The Cardinal have scored in the red-zone 100 percent of the time in 2010.
And of those 18 times Stanford connected for successful touchdowns, the Cardinal is averaging 234.2 passing yards per game.
Need more proof that Stanford deserves its No. 9 ranking in this week’s AP Poll?
No. 1: Tough Opening Season Wins, Especially for QB Andrew Luck
Okay, here’s one more reason—and it’s probably the best one yet: Stanford has faced an extremely tough opening season slate, and the 4-0 start has been extremely trying for the Cardinal quarterback Andrew Luck.
Regardless, Luck has completed 64 of 102 pass attempts this season while racking up 912 yards and garnering 11 touchdowns.
Stanford’s first four opponents, and its victories, have come as follows: Sacramento State at home (52-17); UCLA on the road (35-0); Wake Forest at home (68-24); and Notre Dame on the road (37-14).
After all that’s said and done, I highly agree with the latest AP Poll—and Stanford absolutely deserves its No. 9 ranking.
Denton Ramsey may be reached via email at email@example.com