College Football Top 10 After Week Three: The Way It Should Look

RunTellMattContributor ISeptember 23, 2009

BATON ROUGE, LA - SEPTEMBER 19:  Fans watch during the game between the Louisiana State University Tigers and the University of Louisiana-Lafatette Ragin' Cajuns at Tiger Stadium on September 19, 2009 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

The biggest problem I have with the current AP poll is a team like Mississippi sitting at No. 4. Not only have they continued to move up, but they have now jumped Penn State.


The only reason I can see PSU falling is their lack-of quality opponents (none of which were FCS teams, however), but then why reward Ole Miss? Their opponents (Memphis and SE Louisiana from the FCS) have been the weakest out of any of the top-25. The fact of the matter is Ole Miss is simply moving up to justify the ridiculous preseason hype and ranking.

Had Ole Miss been ranked outside the top 25 to start the season, would they be ranked No. 4 right now?

Of course they wouldn’t.

Likewise, had Michigan been ranked in the top-25 or even 15 to start the season, they’d easily be in the top 10 right now.

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There are 10 one-loss teams in the top-25, while several 3-0 teams, including Auburn, NC, USF, Pitt, Kansas, Missouri, UCLA, Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan and even Indiana—teams from BCS conferences—are either ranked behind them or not ranked in the top 25 at all. Granted some of these teams (USF, Missouri, Indiana, Kansas) have yet to face anybody.

The reason is, again, to justify preseason rankings and an inability or unwillingness to admit to being wrong, not to mention a general bias towards familiar teams.

Iowa started the season ranked in the top-25 yet, because of a close game with Northern Iowa in the first game of the season, they have been knocked out and have yet to return.


They’re 3-0 and have beat a Big 12 team (Iowa State) and now a Pac-10 team (Arizona). But, it’s okay to include Washington at 2-1, or even Kansas?

Where’s Kansas’ signature win? They’ve beat N. Colorado, UTEP and Duke.

Same goes to  TCU. I like TCU and think they’re a very good team, but ranked ahead of Michigan, Iowa, UCLA, Auburn, Pitt or even Wisconsin—all of which are 3-0 with at least one quality win—for beating Virginia and Texas State?

And speaking of UCLA, where’s the love? They’re also 3-0 with quality (but maybe not the prettiest) wins against Tennessee and Kansas State and they’re nowhere to be found.

Sure, no one (outside their respective fan bases) expected Indiana or UCLA to be 3-0, but then again no one expected Oklahoma or USC to lose either.

This is college football.

Things change, not only on a weekly basis, but also on a continuous basis every year with parity becoming more and more prevalent. Our rankings should be allowed to do the same.

After all, the rankings are unofficial at this point and what’s the harm in putting any undefeated team with at least one quality win so high? When and if they lose, they drop and the AP pollsters can go back to feeling comfortable again.

The Top 10:

10. LSU (3-0)
Last Game: 31-3 vs. Louisiana-Lafayette
Next Game: @ Mississippi State
Signature Win: Washington

After a slow start, LSU found a rhythm and the defense was able to keep the Ragin Cajuns out of the end zone, winning 31-3 at home. QB Jordan Jefferson went 16 of 25 for just 165 yards with two scores and one pick.

9. Iowa (3-0)
Last Game: 27-17 vs. Arizona
Next Game: @ Penn State
Signature Win: Arizona

Credit Iowa’s defense for the big win against the Wildcats as they allowed just eight first- downs and 253 yards of total offense. Arizona’s only score in the second half came via a 10-yard pass by Nick Foles with just 1:53 left in the game.

8. Michigan (3-0)
Last Game: 45-17 vs. Eastern Michigan
Next Game: Indiana
Signature Win: Notre Dame

Freshman QB Tate Forcier showed some growing pains, but RB Carlos Brown was able to get the job done on the ground rushing for a career-high 187 yards and two scores. Michigan has now put up more than 30 points in each of their three contests—something the Wolverines accomplished all of once last season.

7. Boise State (3-0)
Last Game: 51-34 @ Fresno State
Next Game: @ Bowling Green
Signature Wins: Oregon, @ Fresno State

Despite a total lack of defense—as they gave up 507 total yards of offense to Fresno State—the Broncos were able to outscore the Bulldogs 51-34. The rest of the schedule is way too easy for the Broncos to not go undefeated, and it looks like their only test will come in a BCS bowl.

6. Cincinnati (3-0)
Last Game: 28-18 @ Oregon State
Next Game: Fresno State
Signature Wins: @ Rutgers, @ Oregon State

Tony Pike threw for 331 yards and two TD’s and also ran for a score as the Bearcats beat another good team. The Bearcats deserve such a lofty position thanks to two signature wins against Rutgers—the preseason favorite to win the Big East—and now Oregon State, both coming on the road.

5. California (3-0)
Last Game: 35-21 @ Minnesota
Next Game: @ Oregon
Signature Win: @ Minnesota

Jahvid Best scored all five of the team’s TD’s as the Golden Bears escaped Minnesota with two 4th-quarter TD drives in the final seven minutes of the game. With USC losing to Washington this week, a PAC-10 title is even closer for Cal if they can just get by Oregon this week on the road.

4. Penn State (3-0)
Last Game: 31-6 vs. Temple
Next Game: Iowa
Signature Wins: None, but dominate against three FBS teams.

Evan Royster finally had a big game rushing for 134 yards on 19 carries with one score. Penn State didn’t allow Temple to reach the end zone and the Nittany Lions have still yet to allow any first half TD’s.

3. Alabama (3-0)
Last Game: 53-7 vs. North Texas
Next Game: Arkansas
Signature Win: Virginia Tech

Alabama looked very solid as they dominated a vastly inferior North Texas team, outgaining them 524 to 187 total yards of offense. Arkansas is up next and with the way the Razorbacks have been playing, this game looks better than it did before the season started.

2. Texas (3-0)
Last Game: 34-24 vs. Texas Tech
Next Game: UTEP
Signature Win: Texas Tech

Colt McCoy wasn’t quite as sharp as usual, totaling just 205 yards passing with just one TD and two INT’s. The Texas defense looked shaky again allowing Tech QB Potts to amass 420 yards and three TD’s. Nothing to be worried about, however, as it seems as though blowouts against decent teams by the league’s elite are a thing of the past. Parity continues to rule.

1. Florida (3-0)
Last Game 23-13 vs. Tennessee
Next game: @ Kentucky
Signature Win: Tennessee

Sure didn’t look like a 30-point favorite playing Tennessee, but then again it just shows how overrated Florida has been. Are they the No. 1 team in college football right now? Yes, but no team is invincible and a 30-point favorite is both a slap in the face to the Vols and an apparent exaggeration of Florida’s strength.

The rest of my top 25 as of right now is as follows:

11. UCLA (3-0)
12. Auburn (3-0)
13. Wisconsin (3-0)
14. Miami (2-0)
15. Mississippi (2-0)
16. North Carolina (3-0)
17. Pitt (3-0)
18. TCU (2-0)
19. Virginia Tech (2-1)
20. Ohio State (2-1)
21. Oklahoma (2-1)
22. USC (2-1)
23. Nebraska (2-1)
24. Notre Dame (2-1)
25. Oklahoma State (2-1)


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