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Joe's Week 10 Top 25

Well that was a fun weekend for college football wasn't it? All but two top-25 teams in action struggled in their games. Many barely escaped, and several didn't. Trying to get this out before the CFP releases theirs but I suspect they'll have some marked differences from the AP poll just like myself. I really don't know WTF AP voters are doing after this weekend. Some of their rankings make little sense given what we've seen on the field. We are starting to see things normalize around certain teams though. There's a clear top 9 that the entire country agrees is the top 9 and then from there it gets tricky.

01. Tennessee (8-0) SEC (N/A) - Anyone who has put a 1st place vote anywhere but Tennessee simply does not watch the games. There's no way you could say anyone has even remotely close to the same resume as them at this juncture. Georgia up next for all the marbles. I think they're up to the task.

02. Ohio State (8-0) B10 (N/A) - Penn State kept it interesting up until the final quarter but Ohio State put their foot down and ended that. They had 249 yards in the 4th quarter and 28 points. Their strength of schedule has improved a little bit with Notre Dame's recent surge but is still pretty soft when you look over all the other opponents. I almost moved Georgia ahead of them but decided to leave it be as Georgia also struggled with Florida.

03. Georgia (8-0) SEC (N/A) - They continue to have head scratcher results against lesser competition that are closer than they should be. Don't let the final score of the Florida game fool you - It was 28-20 with 18 minutes left in the game. Florida is 4-4 (1-4 SEC). The win column says top 3 team but the eye test says top 7'ish. Similar to Ohio State, with the exception of their week 1 opponent, their schedule has only looked softer as the season has progressed.

04. Alabama (7-1) SEC (N/A) - They had a bye week and now they get LSU in Death Valley. Remarkably this will only be the second best game of the week. Who had Tennessee/Georgia as the season's best matchup this year? Expect the game against LSU to be a close one and the Tide may even lose it. They just don't look like the dominant Alabama teams we've come to expect.

05. Michigan (8-0) B10 (N/A) - A win against Michigan State changes nothing for their season. Just cruising along with a cupcake schedule until they play Ohio State. Michigan has intentionally removed P5 opponents from their non-conference schedule to get easy wins and 8 home games. I hope the committee punishes them for it.

06. TCU (8-0) B12 (N/A) - The game against West Virginia was close throughout but they put it away when it mattered on a 4th quarter TD drive with 20 seconds left. I did say they'd be on upset alert in every game and so this went exactly as expected.

07. Clemson (8-0) ACC (N/A) - They had a bye to get ready for a road trip to 5-3 Notre Dame who easily beat Syracuse this week. Last chance for them to pick up one of those losses I predicted in their tough 3-game stretch. After that it's Louisville, Miami, and South Carolina at home. SC is actually pretty tough so we'll keep an eye on that.

08. O****n (7-1) P12 (+1) - Had a pretty standard game on the road at Cal. The backup Cal QB was able to put some points on them which is no surprise given how they've played on defense this year. They move up mostly because USC moved down and not because of anything they did last week.

09. USC (7-1) P12 (-1) - An extremely bad personal foul penalty helped them continue a drive that resulted in the deciding touchdown. That's offset a little bit by how terribly the end of the 1st half was managed though. Arizona took them to the wire in a game that featured over 1,100 yards of offense. They move down one spot because they shouldn't have struggled that much with the Wildcats.

10. UCLA (7-1) P12 (+2) - I'm not sure if their stadium gave the entire Stanford team epileptic seizures or they just dominated them straight up but the light show after touchdowns is one of the dumbest things in football. The game went roughly according to plan for UCLA. They get the Arizona schools the next 2 weeks before closing with USC and Cal. I'd be shocked if they finish 4-0 and expect they will finish 2-2. DTR looks like the grind of the season and all of his running is getting to him as he had trouble getting up several times after plays against Stanford.

11. LSU (6-2) SEC (+3) - They had a bye week after their dismantling of Ole Miss. Great chance to finish 3-1 with a 9-3 record in Kelly's first season. I expect they'll make a great game of it ag ainst Alabama and maybe even win that. Kind of surprising after losing their opener to FSU.

12. Illinois (7-1) B10 (+4) - I continue to know nothing about this team. All of their power-5 opponents are sub .500 in their own conferences and many of them are bottom dwellers. If UW had this schedule we'd be 8-0. Of that I have no doubt. They moved up only because other schools ahead of them moved down. Don't be surprised if Michigan State beats them this week and also don't be surprised if I never rank them again after that.

13. Kansas State (6-2) B12 (+7) - Well that was an interesting result wasn't it? I don't think anyone expected Oklahoma State to lose that game let alone get blanked 48-0. A huge re-assessment of the strength of some Big-12 teams is required now. Unfortunately I don't think this conference is very good and they're one TCU slipup away from being out of the CFP discussion.

14. Tulane (7-1) AAC (+1) - Had a bye. Just read what I put last week. Not much to say about them since they're not going to play anyone else in my rankings the rest of the way. They do have UCF and Cincinnati remaining though so they could finish strong, finish flat, or anything in between.

15. Ole Miss (8-1) SEC (+2) - I did call it last week that they could lose all but one of their remaining games. They almost did but managed to just barely hang on against Texas A&M. They finally get their bye week to prepare for Alabama.

16. North Carolina (7-1) ACC (+2) - Pitt was leading them to start the 4th quarter before they rattled off three straight touchdowns. The loss to Notre Dame is forgivable now that they're 5-3 but they don't have any strong wins on the season. Their biggest wins are 5-3 Duke and 4-4 Miami and Pitt. Their non-conference schedule is stupid soft (FAMU, App State, and Georgia State). I'd be shocked if the CFP committee had them top 15.

17. Utah (6-2) P12 (+4) - How much does that opening season loss to Florida hurt now? What I really don't understand is how Utah managed to lose 4 starters during their bye week. I get that Rising was probably hurt after the USC game but to come into Pullman missing that many players off a bye was a shock. They need to get healthy or Arizona will upset them. If Rising remains out it's hard to justify them as a ranked team.

18. Penn State (6-2) B10 (-3) - Everything for Penn State going exactly how I predicted it. They are the epitome of name recognition over actual results.

19. Liberty (7-1) IND (+5) - How about this for a closing schedule - @Arkansas, @UConn, vs. Virginia Tech, and vs. New Mexico State. That's a pretty damn good schedule for an independent mid-major program. Maybe the Big-12 should pick these guys up? If they finish 4-0 I don't see how anyone could leave them out of the top 10.

20. Texas (5-3) B12 (+5) - Had a bye week and move up because of all the bad losses that other teams took. There is a very clear path ahead of them to a classic Seven Win Sark season and it starts with a loss to Kansas State in Manhattan this week. Gotta love Texas fans though - They're clearly "back".

21. Syracuse (6-2) ACC (-8) - Well Notre Dame turns out to be slightly better than expected given their 0-2 start so while Syracuse hasn't looked like world beaters they can still hang on in my top 25. The 24-9 NC State victory is their best. They have 3 road games to finish the season so the ND loss is really going to hurt them. Expect a 2-2 finish at best.

22. NC State (6-2) ACC (+1) - Ranked below Syracuse because of the head-to-head. They get Wake and UNC in their final four games to prove they're worthy of remaining in the top 25. I almost dropped them from the rankings for needing a 4th quarter two touchdown comeback to get ahead of Virginia Tech. Did I mention they missed the 2-pt conversion on both of those? This is not a great football team but they're squeaking by.

23. Wake Forest (6-2) ACC (-12) - What the crap was that? There was a clear case to be made that Wake deserved to be in the CFP discussion and then they get blown out by Louisville? The close loss to Clemson is the ONLY reason I kept them ranked ahead of other 2 loss teams. That Louisville loss was bad bad bad. It was 48-14 entering the 4th quarter.

24. Washington (6-2) P12 (New) - Through no feat of our own we are back in the rankings! What's there to say? The Huskies are a road loss to ASU away from being a top 15 team and instead are unranked in the AP and Coaches polls. We're also not even the next team out in either poll we're the 6th and 4th team out, respectively. For the second time this season UW is a home favorite while unranked and playing a ranked team. How bizarre is that? I can't think of the last time that's happened, if ever. But Vegas agrees with me that we should be ahead of OSU (-3.5) just barely (typically home advantage is considered -3; in the Pac-12 it's more like -6 in reality). Were this in Reser I'd expect the line the opposite way but maybe half a point closer.

25. Oregon State (6-2) P12 (New) - Welcome back to my rankings and welcome to the AP top-25 for the first time in forever Beavers! Sadly I think you get knocked right back out this Friday. The Beavers should roll into the season finale against O****n at 8-3 and they have a real shot at knocking them off. While I don't expect a blowout in Husky Stadium I really hope we can find a way to put these guys away early so both teams can escape fully healthy. We'll be huge OSU fans the rest of the way.

DROPPED:

10. Oklahoma State (6-2) B12 - One does not get blanked 48-0 and remain in the top 10. If we dropped O****n for their week 1 no-show it would stand to reason that Oklahoma State gets the same treatment. I've had a hard time getting a reason on the Cowboys and last week's game was quite the shock. Like I've said in the past their non-conference schedule was a joke (ASU was their P5 opponent) so while they may yet be a bottom of the top-25 caliber team they aren't in the rankings for me this week.

22. Kentucky (5-3) SEC - I don't know why the Coaches still have them ranked. They've lost 3 of their last 4 and their non-conference schedule was Miami OH, Youngstown State, and Northern Illinois. Their other wins are @Florida and vs. Mississippi State which are decent but are still against opponents with a combined 3-7 conference record and 9-7 overall. Similar to how Oklahoma State and O****n lost - Kentucky was blown out 44-6 (missed PAT). If, like O****n, it was their only loss we could forgive it. But given that it's loss number 3 they are out of the rankings for the foreseeable future. Beat Georgia and maybe they can jump back in.

---------------CONFERENCE---------------
AAC - 1
ACC - 5
B10 - 4
B12 - 3
IND - 1
P12 - 6
SEC - 5