Below is Chris James’s 3rd ranking for the FBS. He’ll have each team ranked in descending order with their record, their next opponent, the result against the next opponent, and his expected end of season (EOS) positional movement. He has also added a synopsis for each of the top 10 teams in the rankings. Here are some things to note about the rankings:
Rank Team Record Opponent Result (EOS Change)
25. North Carolina 7 – 1 Duke UNC 27 – 24 (Up)
24. Navy 6 – 1 @ Memphis Memphis 44 – 35 (Even)
23. Northwestern 6 – 2 Penn State NW 23 – 20 (Even)
22. Mississippi State 6 – 2 @ Mizzou MSU 31 – 17 (Up)
21. UCLA 6 – 2 @ Oregon St UCLA 37 – 17 (Up)
20. Ole Miss 7 – 2 Arkansas Ole Miss 20 – 17 (Even)
19. Houston 8 – 0 Cincinnati Houston 45 – 38 (Up)
18. Temple 7 – 1 @ SMU Temple 34 – 21 (Even)
17. Oklahoma 7 – 1 Iowa State Oklahoma 31 – 20 (Down)
16. Florida State 7 – 1 @ Clemson Clemson 27 – 20 (Up)
15. Michigan 6 – 2 Rutgers Michigan 28 – 16 (Even)
14. Memphis 8 – 0 Navy Memphis 44 – 35 (Up)
13. Iowa 8 – 0 @ Indiana Indiana 31 – 28 (Down)
12. Utah 7 – 1 @ Washington Utah 27 – 24 (Down)
11. Oklahoma State 8 – 0 TCU TCU 52 – 42 (Down)
10. TCU 8 – 0 @ Ok State TCU 52 – 42 (Up)
TCU didn’t play like a top 10 team for 6 out of the first 7 games of the season. Much of this was due to defensive losses to graduation and injuries. They finally have things going on both sides of the ball and likely win the Big 12 especially with the Seth Russell (Baylor QB) injury. The unfortunate fact is that an 11 – 1 Big 12 champ won’t be in the playoff so they better win out.
9. Stanford 7 – 1 @ Colorado Stanford 42 – 31 (Even)
Stanford has been one of the hottest teams in all of FBS football since an opening weekend loss in Evanston, IL. The negative portion for them is a schedule with 3 tougher than believed games remaining (Oregon, Cal, ND). A 2 loss Pac-12 team is a quality team but they can’t/won’t play in the playoffs.
8. Notre Dame 7 – 1 @ Pitt ND 24 – 16 (Up)
No team in the country benefits more from a loss than ND with their ‘close’ road loss to Clemson. A tough test this week with Pitt puts them in a great position if they can get the W. The remaining schedule is manageable with Stanford being the only test. They will get the benefit of the doubt over ANY one loss team in the country, which is why their arrow points up.
7. Michigan State 8 – 0 @ Nebraska Nebraska 31 – 30 (Down)
The Spartans looked horrible at the start of the season but looked like a top 10 team with wins over Michigan & Indiana. The talent is there but they haven’t taken advantage of the competition. The likely result of the regular season is 10 – 2 which doesn’t spell championship. This week’s opponent has the most last season losses (3) in the country and is extremely dangerous. Can we say, TRAP GAME?
6. Florida 7 – 1 Vandy Florida 24 – 13 (Even)
The Gators have outplayed my expectations (I had them finishing 2nd in the East behind Georgia) and are a virtual lock to win the East. They look good enough to go 11 – 1 with a win against a game FSU squad. The unfortunate problem for them is the SEC championship with 2 out of 3 possible opponents (LSU & Bama) being tough match ups. They better pray for an Ole Miss victory against LSU, which will set up a rematch in Atlanta between the Rebels and the Gators.
5. Alabama 7 – 1 LSU LSU 24 – 21 (Down)
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…Nick Saban is the 2nd best coach in the country behind Urban Meyer. That’s also the reason for the high ranking for a team with way more flaws that the usual Bama squad. They are a quality squad BUT the perception isn’t the reality this season. Bama won’t make it to the playoffs this season because they don’t have a guy at QB to bring them there. And quietly, Nick Saban’s team has been suspect in post season games over the last few seasons.
4. Ohio State 8 – 0 Minnesota OSU 35 – 20 (Up)
The Buckeyes have the best coach in the FBS and starters in key positions that returned from a championship squad. That being said, they’ve looked out of sorts the majority of this season. Maybe it’s the changes in coordinators or its disinterest with the regular season but they don’t look like the best squad in the country. This is what’s scary about this team…it’s that they haven’t hit their stride yet. They will be dangerous in the playoff if they can navigate through the rest of this season’s schedule.
3. Baylor 7 – 0 @ Kansas St Baylor 42 – 35 (Down)
The initial playoff rankings were garbage in my opinion. I hate when a team’s schedule is brought into play more than how they’ve looked playing that schedule. There has been no team (including Clemson) that has looked as dominant in the first half of each game this season. Why is the first half important? It’s important because they call off the dogs in the 2nd half of games. The Iowa State game (Seth Russell was injured in that game) was the only one with a team in striking distance starting the 3rd quarter. The game would have been a blowout if the refs got a roughing call on a 3rd down right. Iowa State scored a TD on the next drive. Baylor will likely fall out of the playoff picture due to the Russell injury because the command necessary to beat OSU, TCU, & Oklahoma isn’t there for the backup.
(Please note: The final score was 31 – 24 last night but my rankings and prediction was done Wednesday morning)
2. LSU 7 – 0 @ Alabama LSU 24 – 21 (Even)
I’m going to get crap from people calling me a homer but the best team from top to bottom in the SEC is LSU. The issue last season and in 2011 was horrible QB play. Now, Brandon Harris is not a great QB but he gives LSU an added dimension. He makes Alabama (and other teams) keep 2 safeties high which allows Fournette to face a normal box. He also gives them an extra player to worry about as a runner…something that Mettenberger could not give them. The other X factor is a 252lbs. MLB named Kendall Beckwith, a name that will soon be known by all college football fans. This is a team with all the ingredients to contend for a championship.
1. Clemson 8 – 0 Florida State Clemson 27 – 20 (Down)
My initial ranking after week 1 had Clemson as the #3 team in the country (#1 Ohio State, #2 Bama) due to the talent on the flanks and the guy under center. I will make the statement right now….Deshawn Watson is the best NFL prospect at QB in the country this season EVEN THOUGH he isn’t eligible for the draft. He is calm under pressure with above average accuracy and anticipation. They’ll get back Mike Williams before season’s end which only makes that offense more dangerous. They’re also playing well on defense which was the biggest question mark before the season started. They are in a prime position to finish the season 13 – 0 and be a participant in the playoff. The negative for them is the ‘strength of schedule’ which will move them down a few spots if there is an undefeated Big Tem champ (Ohio State or Michigan State) or an undefeated SEC champ (LSU). In all honest, Tiger fans shouldn’t give a crap about the ranking as long as they win out. Get past FSU, stay healthy, don’t have a letdown against UNC/Duke in the ACC championship and you’ll be just fine.
1. Ohio State Buckeyes (1-0)
2. Alabama Crimson Tide (1-0)
3. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (1-0)
4. Clemson Tigers (1-0)
5. TCU Horned Frogs (1-0)
6. Georgia Bulldogs (1-0)
7. USC Trojans (1-0)
8. Oregon Ducks (1-0)
9. Baylor Bears (1-0)
10. Texas A&M Aggies (1-0)
11. UCLA Bruins (1-0)
12. Auburn Tigers (1-0)
13. Michigan State Spartans (1-0)
14. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (1-0)
15. LSU Tigers (0-0)
16. Oklahoma Sooners (1-0)
17. Arkansas Razorbacks (1-0)
18. Ole Miss Rebels (1-0)
19. Arizona Wildcats (1-0)
20. Missouri Tigers (1-0)
21. Boise State Broncos (1-0)
22. Tennessee Volunteers (1-0)
23. BYU Cougars (1-0)
24. Northwestern Wildcats (1-0)
25. Miami Hurricanes (1-0)