An UnAssociated College Football Poll: Week Three

Michael CollinsAnalyst ISeptember 16, 2008

Here is the third of my UnAssociated Polls. The first two weeks, I gave out points to teams based solely on their strength of schedule for opponents in general categories, then how they did against those teams.  Teams that have begun the season with FCS opponents have been least rewarded for wins.

Strength of Schedule Points are awarded in the following way:

1.0 point for winning against a BCS opponent

0.5 points for win against non-BCS Division I opponent  

0 points for win against Division I-AA opponent

This week, I’m awarding Quality Win Points, which are retroactive to the beginning of the season.   

1.0 points for winning an away game against an opponent ranked in the top 10.

0.75 points for winning a home game against an opponent ranked in the top 10.

0.5 points for an away win against an opponent ranked in the top 20. 

0.25 points for a home win against an opponent ranked in the top 20. 

Neutral sites will split the difference in points. 

This week, you’ll see some once-beaten teams at the bottom of the poll may have more strength of schedule points than higher ranked team. Losses, however, will subtract 0.5 points, if to a Top 20 team, 1.0 points to non-Top 20 team. Total points will determine the rankings.   

As the season progresses, BCS teams whose egos are massaged by non-conference wins against lesser opponents will begin to accumulate points with conference wins (attention Red Raider and Seminole fans). Teams that start with a BCS opponent and then two FCS opponents will slip. Non-BCS teams will be up to my personal judgments.

By the end of the year, the poll will consist of those teams who have won over a stronger schedule. This poll is totally unrelated to any popularity or regional bias poll.  

As most non-BCS teams are beginning their conference schedules, for which they could only win 0.5 points for a win, I shall be separating them from the BCS teams next week. Only one non-BCS team could qualify for a BCS bowl per year. Total points will still be listed. 

(Strength of Schedule points listed first + Quality Win points = Total Points) 

1. East Carolina University (vs. Tulane 28-24): 2.5 pts + 1.25 pts = 3.75 points.

SOS – 22nd. Record 3-0 against Virginia Tech, West Virginia and Tulane.

Nearly voodoo on the bayou for the Pirates, who avoided walking the plank with a touchdown pass by Patrick Pinkney with 1:41 left in the game. Against the defenses of Virginia Tech, West Virginia, and Tulane, Pinkney has the 21st-best passer rating in the nation and is tied with Colt Brennan for the fifth highest completion percentage with 75.9 percent. ECU gained 316 total yards.  

Next: NC State 

2.  Alabama (vs. Western Kentucky 41-7): 2.0 pts + 0.875 pts = 2.875 points.

SOS – 88th. Record 3-0 against Clemson, Tulane and Western Kentucky.

Tulane held Alabama to 172 total yards last week. Alabama did much better against Western Kentucky, with 557 yards, highest since 1989. Next up: the battle between two NFL coaching flops. 

Next: Arkansas

3.  USC (vs. Ohio State 35-3): 2.0 pts + 0.75 pts = 2.75 points.

SOS – 17th. Record 2-0 against Virginia and Ohio State.

The Trojans had the edge in star power. Joe McKnight, Mark Sanchez and that defense with Rey Maualuga took advantage of Buckeye mistakes and penalties. Sanchez is fifteen in passer rating and completing over 68% of his passes. 

Next week: Off

4. Oregon (vs. Purdue 32-26 OT): 2.5 points

SOS – 84th. Record 3-0 against Washington, Utah State and Purdue.

Jeremiah Johnson returned from a shoulder injury to run for 96 yards. The Ducks overcame a 20-6 deficit, beginning with a 87 yard punt return by Jairus Byrd. Justin Roper, who was knocked out of the first game of the year, quarterbacked until he injured his knee late against Purdue. The Ducks will take on Boise State with two backup quarterbacks. 

Next: Boise State

5. Oklahoma (vs. Washington 55-14): 2.0 points.

SOS – 94th. Record 3-0 against Chattanooga, Cincinnati and Washington

The Hapless Huskies in the first half lost three fumbles and missed two field goals while allowing the Sooners to score the game’s first seven touchdowns. The last time Washington started 0-3, they finished 1-10 and hired Tyrone Willingham. The usually for stoic Willingham was demonstrative in frustration as his record at Washington fell to 11-28.

Next: Off


6. Penn State (vs. Syracuse 55-13): 2.0 points.

SOS – 131st. Record 3-0 against Coastal Carolina, Oregon State and Syracuse.

Syracuse did not get a first down until early in the second quarter when they were behind by four touchdowns. Who is playing the worst teams—Paterno or Bowden? FSU’s SOS ranks 201st.

Next: Temple


 7. BYU (vs. UCLA 59-0): 2.0 points

 SOS – 59th. Record 3-0 against Northern Iowa, Washington and UCLA.

BYU quarterback Max Hall threw seven touchdowns in a romp over UCLA. Against three opponents that include two Pac-10 teams, Hall has amassed the third highest passing yardage and the third highest completion percentage (77.8%) in the nation. UCLA won their only other game this season over Tennessee, 27-24. Could BYU be 62 points better than Tennessee? 

Next: Wyoming


 8. Vanderbilt (vs. Rice 38-21): 2.0 points.

 SOS – 73rd. Record 3-0 against Miami (O), South Carolina and Rice.

Tied at the half, the Commodores scored the last seventeen points of the game, outrushed Rice by almost two hundred yards, though they allowed 238 more passing yards to the Owls. 

Next: Mississippi

 9. Utah (vs. Utah State 58-10): 2.0 points.

 SOS – 61st. Record 3-0 against Michigan, UNLV (who beat ASU) and Utah State.

Utah coach Kyle Whittingham has the third best record of coaches hired in 2005 behind only Urban Meyer and Les Miles. Utah State coach, Brent Guy, summed the game up best: “We did not have any chance to win; they physically dominated us.”

Next: Air Force

10. Auburn (vs. Mississippi State 3-2): 2.0 points.

SOS – 71st. Record 3-0 against La.–Monroe, Southern Mississippi and Mississippi State.

Against a team that went 0-for-14 in third-down conversions, made 38 yards in 30 carries rushing, and had total yards of 116 in a game, don’t ya think the score would be a little more lopsided than a soccer game? Good luck against the Bengal Tigers. Auburn has one game this year against a team outside the South—West Virginia. Miss St. has none.

Next: LSU

11. Wake Forest (Off): 2.0 points

SOS – 64th. Record 2-0 against Baylor and Mississippi. 

(Against Mississippi) Riley Skinner calmly led the Demon Deacons on a last-minute drive for the winning 41-yard field goal in response to the Rebels' go-ahead touchdown.   Wake is the ACC flagship for now. Another SEC team bites the dust, right?

Next: Florida State


12. Missouri (vs. Nevada—69-17): 1.5 points + 0.375 pts = 1.875 pts.

SOS – 170th. Record 3-0 against Illinois, S.E. Missouri State, Nevada.

The Wolfpack gave up 35 points to Graham Harrell and Michael Crabtree last week.   Chase Daniel, Jeremy Maclin and company scored 69 points, almost doubling that. Mizzou scored on it first ten possessions. The Big 12 has six of the top 13 quarterbacks in Passer Ratings. Todd Reesing and Harrell are seventh and ninth. 

Next: Buffalo

13. South Florida (vs. Kansas 37-34): 1.5 points + .25 pts = 1.75 points.

SOS – 108th. Record 3-0 against UTenn-Martin, U. of Central Florida and Kansas. 

In the best game this weekend, both quarterbacks shredded good defenses. The game seemed to have turned when the Bulls held Kansas to nine yards in the third quarter. But Reesing led his team back from a fourteen point deficit. The game seemed to be headed to overtime until a last minute pass by Reesing was intercepted by Nate Allen, leading to a dramatic field goal to win. 

Next: Florida International


14. Florida (Off): 1.5 points.

SOS – 62nd. Record 2-0 against Hawaii and Miami.

(From Miami game) Halftime score was 9-3. With 17 points in the fourth quarter, Florida puts the game away. Meyer: “Our defense played outstanding. I thought they played great." Miami gained 140 total yards. Tebow was pressured all night by the Miami defense but was still 21 of 35 for 256 yards with two touchdown passes.

Next: Tennessee


15. Georgia (vs. South Carolina 14-7): 1.5 points.

SOS – 66th. Record 3-0 against Georgia Southern, Central Michigan and South Carolina. 

Both teams had poor offenses and blew their chances. South Carolina fumbled away on the Bulldogs 1-yard line. Georgia had to settle for a field goal after third down on the Gamecocks’ 1-yard line. Chris Smelley threw for 271 yards out of his team’s 289 total yards. Matthew Stafford threw for 146 yards.

Next: Arizona State

16. Oklahoma St. (vs. Missouri State 57-13): 1.5 points.

SOS – 139th. Record 3-0 against Washington State, Houston and Missouri State.

Tried of running? Not Oklahoma State, who amassed 450 rushing yards with three runners over 100 yards. This year quarterback Zach Robinson throws for almost 200 yards per game.

Next: Off

17. Wisconsin (vs. Fresno State 13-10): 1.5 points.

SOS – 75th. Record 3-0 against Akron, Marshall and Fresno State.

Wisconsin’s only points in the second half came on a field goal after A.J. Jefferson fumbled a punt on the 23 yard line. This proved to be the difference in the game. Wisconsin was 3-13 in third-down conversions. Bulldog kicker Kevin Goessling missed three field goals. 

Next: Off

18. TCU (vs. Stanford 31-14): 1.5 points

SOS – 119th. Record 3-0 against New Mexico, Stephen F. Austin, and Stanford.

Tied at the half, TCU held Stanford scoreless the rest of the game. TCU has won 11 of  13 against BCS teams. Stanford was the first team to score more than seven points against the Horned Frogs’ defense, which is second in the nation giving up 174 yards per game.

Next: SMU

19. Kentucky (vs. Middle Tennessee State 20-14): 1.5 points.

SOS – 136th. Record 3-0 against Louisville, Norfolk State and Middle Tennessee State.   

Look for the Wildcats to tumble when they play someone. Middle Tennessee’s scoring offense is ranked 98th in the nation. Kentucky saved a win by tackling Eldred King on their 1-yard line as time expired. Will this non-conference strength of schedule prepare Kentucky for SEC battles? Mike Hartline, Wildcats quarterback, was booed by fans for his play against Norfolk State.    

Next: Off

20. Texas (vs. Arkansas – postponed due to Ike): 1.0 points.

SOS – 142nd. Record 2-0 against Florida Atlantic and UTEP.

(Against UTEP) El Paso threw a party, celebrating a game with Texas. The crowd set a Sun Bowl record. The Miners went up by two field goals but then saw the Longhorns score four touchdowns. Colt McCoy celebrated with four touchdowns and 282 yards.   

Next: Rice

21. Texas Tech (vs. SMU 43-7): 1.0 points.

SOS – 133rd. Record 3-0 against Eastern Washington, Nevada and SMU.

The score looked good, except that SMU had given up 56 points to Rice and 47 points to Texas–San Marcos. Mike Leach criticized his team afterward: “Five of the best catches were on defense....You can’t drop balls. If you want to complete a ball, you’ve got to throw it. You can’t just point it. You can’t just aim it. You can’t wait for the perfect throw.” We’ll find out how good Texas Tech is when they face someone ranked better than Nevada, its highest-ranked opponent at 94th.  

Next: UMass (101st, and ranked 20th in FCS)

22. Cal (vs. Maryland— 27-35): 2.0 pts minus 1.0 points = 1.0 points.

SOS – 42nd. Record 2-1 against Michigan State, Washington State, Maryland.

Maryland stuffed Cal’s vaunted rushing attack. Kevin Riley’s 33-for-58 performance with three touchdowns and 423 yards passing could not compensate. Jahvid Best, who had 311 yards in his first two games, posted just 25 yards on 10 carries. 

Next: Off


23. LSU (vs. North Texas 41-3): 0.5 points

SOS – 145th. Record 2-0 against Appalachian State and North Texas.

The Tigers running game was again their strength with two new quarterbacks, Andrew Hatch and Jarrett Lee splitting time. Auburn will test that. LSU averages 241 yards per game, 14th in the nation. Auburn’s defense gives up 53 yards per game, 10th in the nation. 

Next: Auburn  


24. Kansas (vs. South Florida 34-37): 1.0 points minus 0.5 points = 0.5 points.

SOS – 105th. Record 2-1 against Florida International, Louisiana Tech and South Florida.

The Jayhawks played well, but lost their only non-conference test. (See South Florida.) This year’s schedule ends severely from Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Kansas State, Nebraska, Texas to Missouri. 

Next: Sam Houston State (ranked 156th, and 41st in FCS)


25. Ohio State (vs. USC – 3-35): 0.5 points minus 0.5 points = 0.0 points

SOS – 52nd. Record 2-1 against Youngstown State, Ohio and Southern Cal. 

Each game has gotten tougher for the Buckeyes, who were owned by the Trojans.  Perhaps Troy and Minnesota will get them back on track, though both are much tougher than Ohio.

Next: Troy


Conference totals (Top 25 only)

SEC: 11.875

Big 12: 8.875

Pac-10: 6.25

Mountain West: 5.5

Conference USA: 3.75

Big 10: 3.5

ACC: 2.0

Big East: 1.75

BCS vs. FCS statistics

Week 1: BCS teams 18, FCS 0

Week 2: BCS teams 15, FCS 0

Week 3: BCS teams 5, FCS 0

Total:  BCS38, FCS0

FBS  vs. FCS statistics (formerly called Divison I-A, Division I-AA)

Week 1: All FBS 28, FCS 1 (Cal-Poly over San Diego St.)

Week 2: All FBS 18, FCS 1 (New Hampshire over Army)

Week 3: All FBS 9, FCS 0

Total: All FBS55, FCS2

BCS vs. Non-BCS statistics

Week 1: BCS 13, non-BCS 5

Week 2: BCS 25, non-BCS 4

Week 3: BCS 14, non-BCS 4 (All Mountain West teams over all Pac-10 teams)

Total:  BCS52, non-BCS13 (6 Mountain West, 5 Sun Belt, 2 MAC wins)

In the end, no excuses and no whining will be tolerated. Feel free to comment. Tell your team to "Just win, baby." 

(Rankings from Jeff Sagarin and Dunkel Division I-AA Index)


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