UK & Ireland Top 25 College Football Rankings: Week 10
By Simon Carroll
If the AP and the College Football Playoff committee can’t get it right, then perhaps we can!
Week 10 might have been the most exciting slate of games to date. We had a shootout in the PAC-12, a defining game in the SEC West, and Iowa managed to outdo themselves by winning with just TEN points. Not to mention Clemson getting back on track, Texas winning in overtime, and bedlam in, well, possibly the last ever Bedlam. But how has that affected the UK & Ireland Top 25? Read on to find out:
It was a disappointing week for LSU, Air Force and Notre Dame, who all saw their respective hopes take a fatal blow in Week 10. The Irish incurred their third loss of the year, going down to Clemson program who had some serious bulletin board material this week. ND will be looking to 2024 in a hurry.
Similarly, LSU came unstuck after being despatched by Alabama, rather comfortably in the end. Any chance of pipping the tide to the SEC West evaporate with this defeat. Meanwhile, Air Force’s shock humbling at the hands of Army might not have affected their hopes in the Mountain West, but a New Years 6 bowl is looking more and more unrealistic.
Kansas’ fine season continued, as they reached bowl eligibility in back to back seasons for the first time in 15 years. Lance Leipold has the Jayhawks cookin’, with just defeats to ranked Texas and Oklahoma State on the resume. Oh – and UNC sneak back in to the top 25 thanks to a raft of losses and a comfortable win over Campbell. The Tar Heels will rue those two consecutive losses to poor division opponents Virginia and Georgia Tech.
Two more losses in this group in Week 10 – Oklahoma go down in what might be the last ever Bedlam game, certainly for some time. That’s two defeats on the bounce for the Sooners, whose big win over Texas is fading into memory. Meanwhile, Missouri’s fine season wasn’t quite fine enough, although a 31-20 loss to the two-time defending national champions is no digrace. Eli Drinkwitz can be proud of what the Tigers have achieved this year, after suggestions he was on the hotseat entering the season.
Liberty & Tulane continue their fine form with wins over LA Tech and ECU respectively. Jamey Chadwell’s undefeated debut season in Lynchburg possibly the most underappreciated story of the year. Both these two Group of Five programs can expect consideration for decent bowl games come December.
Tennessee SMASH UConn to stay relevant in the rankings, if not the SEC – two tough conference losses shouldn’t diminish another good year for Josh Heupel in Knoxville.
After losing back to back games against South Alabama and Iowa State in September, Oklahoma State have gone on a tear, racking up five wins on the bounce – all in the Big 12. The latest win over in-state rivals Oklahoma will no doubt be the sweetest of them all considering ‘big brother’ is leaving for the SEC after this season. Mike Gundy has overseen quite the turnaround in Stillwater…
This whole group enjoyed wins on Saturday; Oregon State and Utah both remain dark horses in the PAC-12, and could yet be a factor in the conference’s race for a playoff spot. James Madison being undefeated in just their second year as an FBS team is simply incredible, and it’s a tragedy that the Dukes cannot compete for a bowl game this season due to NCAA rules when they stepped up a class.
Is Louisville flying under the radar? They shouldn’t be. One silly loss to Pitt aside, the Cardinals have knocked off some fairly big programs in and out of the conference, including Duke, Notre Dame and NC State. If they run the table and beat Florida State in the ACC Championship Game, they will be worthy of consideration for a playoff spot. Now THAT would be something in Jeff Brohm’s first year in charge…
11-6 host a collection of Power 5 teams that have one loss on their resume – and sorting out their order depends really on how you view those losses. We’ve already mentioned Louisville who have come up on the outside, but they perhaps have the most disappointing loss of the group.
Both Oregon and Penn State have losses to undefeated teams currently sitting in the top five. The Nittany Lions’ woeful performance against Ohio State has the panel favouring the Ducks’ close loss to Washington – and considering how Oregon have played since then, it’s probably a reasonable stance.
Ole Miss lost to Alabama, who in turn lost to Texas, so their pecking order should be straightforward. Or should it? The Longhorns lost to Oklahoma, muddying the waters. This is the joy of rankings folks, it’s seldom cut and dried. Needless to say, with plenty of opportunity for ALL the one loss teams to pad their resumes with big wins between now and the end of the season, there’s plenty to be playing for. Nobody wants to face one of these programs down the stretch.
Picking four playoff participants from five undefeated, big time programs is an unenviable task, made only easier with the knowledge that at least one of these teams will have a loss by the time the dust has settled. With Ohio State & Michigan set to face each other at the end of the month, that will at least sort out the top contender from the Big Ten – something that will help the voters in this instance.
Whilst it doesn’t actually matter at this point, it probably helps readers to understand that some of the panel base records on strength of resume alone – perhaps explaining why Michigan currenty sits outside the top five. Compared to the rest of the group, the Wolverine’s slate has been more akin to Florida Atlantic’s rather than Florida State, with maybe Nebraska their biggest win to date.
Others value just how good Michigan have looked taking down inferior opposition – Jim Harbaugh’s team have won every game by 3 scores or more, and never looked uncomfortable. A lot of questions about their legitimacy will be answered in the next three weeks as they face both Penn State and Ohio State. Will the sign stealing fiasco affect their run-in? Stay tuned to find out!
PLayers of The Week
Offense: Dillon Johnson, RB, Washington
Defense: Jeremiah Trotter, LB, Clemson
PREVIOUSLY THE FOUNDER OF NFL DRAFT UK, SIMON HAS BEEN COVERING COLLEGE FOOTBALL AND THE NFL DRAFT SINCE 2009. BASED IN MANCHESTER, SIMON IS ALSO CO-CREATOR & WEEKLY GUEST OF THE COLLAPSING POCKET PODCAST.