Hello everybody! A bit late in getting this out due to work. It'll be a little less descriptive than the prior ones since the teams don't have anymore games. For this one let's start off with a little bit on my philosophy in ranking the teams. I didn't start my rankings until after week 3 I believe so there wasn't a pre-season ranking that I went off of (I might do one next season, we'll see). Beginning with that first top-25 I looked at each team's schedule and their results against that schedule up to that point. They were then slotted around based upon the perceived strength of their victories/defeats. I don't operate off of a ladder system the way most voters do. That means I don't drop teams beneath XYZ other teams because of a loss and then raise all those teams up one spot. Instead I assess each team's entire schedule, determine if their full body of work warrants them being above or below the teams I have around them, and then move them accordingly ahead or behind those teams. I do this for EVERY team EVERY week which is why my poll has had a lot more movement week-to-week than a lot of AP voters.
01. Georgia (14-0) SEC (N/A) - I think we all agree this is obvious and unanimous at this point.
02. Alabama (11-2) SEC (+4) - I know there's at least one guy out there in UWDP who is going to be pissed at this but I can't find any reason to not have Alabama as the 2nd best team. Their two losses are by 4 total points on the road at my #6 and #10 teams. At a neutral site with a 10 game series they'd win 6 or more against everyone except Georgia.
03. TCU (13-2) B12 (N/A) - TCU played in a conference that was difficult to read all year and then they lost that conference. They're a good team but they weren't anywhere near prepared to face Georgia. They had negative yardage on 9 of 48 plays and turnovers on another 3. That's 25% of their (meaningful) offensive snaps going backwards or to the other side.
04. Michigan (13-1) B10 (-2) - I wish I could punish them more for their crap non-conference schedule still but they earned a top-4 spot by having an undefeated regular season and finishing 2-1 against my top-10. I still can't figure out how they managed to lose to TCU after destroying Ohio State.
05. Ohio State (11-2) B10 (-1) - This is a tough one. They look like the 3rd best team in the country but results have to matter, especially head to head and conference. They're 1-2 against my top-10 so here they sit at 5 instead of 3.
06. Tennessee (11-2) SEC (+1) - The Vols had a consistently outstanding offense through almost the full season until losing their starting QB. Unfortunately they had an inconsistent defense paired with it. I'm not sure if Washington or Penn State would be able to take them in their end of season form but they certainly wouldn't be able to before Hooker went down.
07. Washington (11-2) P12 (+1) - Top 4 quality coaching, top 4 quality offense, top 25 quality roster, average defense. That combination is enough to be the 7th best team in the country but if I had to bet my house on a matchup with anyone above this I'd bet for us to lose. We're a few defensive pieces away from being a CFP caliber team where I'd give us a puncher's chance to advance out of the semifinals.
08. Penn State (11-2) B10 (+3) - This has to rate as a fairly pedestrian season for Penn State. They lost big to both of their conference rivals, won their bowl game in convincing fashion, and didn't really do much of anything else. They finish 1-2 over teams in my top-25. The Big-10 was a down conference this year and Penn State was the best of the non-Michigan/Ohio States.
09. Clemson (11-3) ACC (-4) - I'm not sure how they've dropped to 13th in the AP poll when their losses are to Notre Dame, Tennessee, and South Carolina. They're 1-3 against my top-25 and won the ACC. That's good enough to be in the top-10. What's interesting to me is I think they've played at about the same level as TCU all season but had a more difficult schedule. If you swap those two teams' schedules I wouldn't be surprised if they duplicated each other's records.
10. LSU (10-4) SEC (+2) - Much like UW's loss to ASU I really don't understand how LSU managed to drop a game to Texas A&M. Let's just chalk it up to "shit happens" and move on. Best 4-loss team in the country and capable of beating anyone at home.
11. Tulane (12-2) AMR (+7) - This feels a bit high for beating an overrated USC team but the way that they beat them was impressive. USC looked like they were going to run away with that game and then Tulane came storming back to shock the Trojans. Should I have used some kind of wave pun there instead? Oh well. Best Go5 team in the country this year hands down. Did I mention they beat the Big-12 champion on the road back in September too?
12. Utah (10-4) P12 (-3) - I don't know if anyone outside of Washington is thinking it but Utah had no business being in the Rose Bowl. This was as much the Pac-12's fault as it was USC's. Both USC and Utah missing Washington and then playing for the conference title was a traveshamockery.
13. Florida State (10-3) ACC (+1) - It's kind of ironic that after an entire season of me giving tons of credit to Florida State for their results against a very tough schedule while the AP voters largely ignored them they are somehow ranked higher in the AP poll than my rankings. Give FSU the award for best team nobody talked about. And let's also tip our cap to them for making Oklahoma finish with a losing record!
14. Oregon State (10-3) P12 (+1) - This year's Beavers were reminiscent of some of Riley's best squads. They're going to be a problem for people going forward and will likely spoil a season or two each year for a while. They might even play for the conference once or twice over the next 10 years. I don't think they'll ever rise to the level of a national championship contender but if they can maintain the level of play from this year they'll be a perennial 15th-25th ranked team.
15. USC (11-3) P12 (-5) - This was your typical USC team - All of the talent in the world and none of the discipline. One more year of listening to their f***king band and then they're gone. I won't miss them.
16. O****n (10-3) P12 (N/A) - I was really hoping they'd lose their bowl game but North Carolina is just average so that was maybe just a bit too much to ask. Don't let the D**k narrative about Nix's injury fool you - This was middle to bottom top-25 team at best. Georgia showed it. WSU showed it. UW proved it. Utah showed it. And OSU cemented it.
17. Kansas State (10-4) B12 (-4) - Winner of a bad conference but still a decent team. Alabama destroyed them exactly as we expect Alabama teams to do.
18. Notre Dame (9-4) IND (+3) - There hasn't been a top-25 team that's more Jekyl and Hyde than Notre Dame. How do you square the bad home losses to Marshal and Stanford with their big wins over Clemson and South Carolina?
19. Troy (12-2) SUN (+3) - A solid season marred only by road losses to Ole Miss and Appalachian State. Strongest win is against UTSA in their bowl game.
20. South Carolina (8-5) SEC (-1) - I take it back - South Carolina is WAY more Jekyl and Hyde than Notre Dame. Wins over two top-10 teams and then losses all over the place to bad teams.
21. Mississippi State (9-4) SEC (New) - We're getting into the realm of just throwing darts at a board to pick the rest of the teams. Defeated Ole Miss and Illinois to close out a 9-4 campaign. 0 wins over ranked teams.
22. Pittsburgh (9-4) ACC (New) - Who didn't enjoy watching them beat DTR and UCLA in their bowl game? We saw down the stretch that DTR is pretty classless and the bowl was no exception. Usually I back the conference but that was a fun result to see. Pitt finished a net 4th in a reasonably tough ACC and gave full strength Tennessee a run for their money early in the year. This was a solid team.
23. UCLA (9-4) P12 (-6) - And you thought Washington had a lot of one-score games? UCLA lived on the edge all year and it bit them in the bowl game. We all wish it had bit them just a bit earlier in the Cal game instead but oh well. As DTR went, so went UCLA.
24. UTSA (11-3) USA (-1) - This was a pretty strong year for the Roadrunners. Their losses were a triple OT thriller to open the season at home against Houston, a blowout road loss against Texas, and a bowl loss against Troy. No quality wins but they still were able to go 8-0 in their conference and win their conference title game. It's a shame Troy and UTSA had to face each other in a bowl because it would have been nice to see each of them get a shot against a power-5 school there instead.
25. Duke (9-4) ACC (New) - 0 wins against top-25 teams but all their losses were close (8 @ Kansas, 3 in OT @ Georgia Tech, 3 vs. UNC, 2 @ Pitt). This was a decent football team and just couldn't get over the top to find a quality victory.
ACC - 4
AMR - 1
B10 - 3
B12 - 2
IND - 1
P12 - 6
SEC - 6
SUN - 1
USA - 1
18. Texas (8-5) B12 (N/A) - I debated for a while having Texas replace one of the 22nd to 25th teams but decided against it due to how bad I think their head coach is. For as much crap as Kwiatkowski has gotten down there at Texas he has done a fine job coaching their defense. Sark, on the other hand, is a mess. He just doesn't have it and I don't know how anyone can't see it. This wasn't a good hire by Texas and I expect at some point during the 2023 season they'll give him his walking papers. We saw it here at Washington for years - Sark's teams play to the level of their opponents. With the talent on this roster they had no business losing to Texas Tech and Oklahoma State this year. Anyways, I digress. If the Big-12 was a tough, but average conference then Texas played a tough, but average schedule. Going 8-5 against that does not a top-25 team make.
24. Cincinnati (9-4) AMR - Not much to say about this. Getting blown out by Louisville in your bowl game should drop you from the top-25. Period.
25. South Alabama (10-3) SUN (-1) - There isn't enough room in the top-25 to hold them in over some of the other teams. They're good but I'd pick them to lose to all of the 25 teams above them. The 1-point loss at UCLA remains their best result.