By: Chris Dyer (Dirty)
“The Dirty Dozen” College Football Rankings — 2014 Week 2
The Dirty Dozen is unlike the media and the coach’s polls. I like to wait until after the last weekend of September to try to even try to start ranking college football teams. There are so many things that can happen during the off-season and early season. With injuries and other issues there is no reason to even think about saying who the best football team in the country is.
Some teams play tough schedules and some play sisters of the blind the first few weeks of the season. At least by the 4th or 5th week all teams have played at least 1-2 quality opponents.
I limit it to the top 12 as that realistically is all that have a chance to play in BCS bowls. They may have a shot at the 4 team playoff at any time in the season for the most part. The top 25 is just the media’s way of pumping mediocre football teams and keep the money train going.
They have to say we have the 23rd Ranked “Jacklegs” against the 17th ranked “Hobnobbers” live from “Who Cares University”. This is so they can make fan bases happy and sell television ads. Bottom line is teams outside the top 12 most likely will not play in a BCS Bowl or even New Year’s Day games. The only way is if they are in a weak conference with a tie-in.
Those teams are most likely to by playing on the “Smurf Turf” in Boise or many other cities that have inconsequential bowl games are were created by ESPN just for the revenue TV brings. It is a good thing for us gamblers though as we have more football to watch and bet on.
Let’s get to this week’s rankings as we had some serious shakeups this week.
1. Mississippi State Bulldogs (6-0) –No reason to drop the Bulldogs from #1 after an off week. They travel to a dangerous Kentucky team this week in Lexington than have Arkansas and Tennessee-Martin at home before a season ending stretch of playing at Bama, home against Vandy and at Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl. This stretch is by no means easy but may be the easiest of the 4 teams that comprise the top 5 teams in the nation to win out.
2. Ole Miss Rebels (7-0) – The Rebels did what top teams are supposed to. They manhandled a decent SEC team (good rest of the nation) 34-3 that could have been a look ahead game loss as they travel to probably the toughest place in the nation to play. LSU’s “Death Valley”. I am sure ABC will pick this game up for it Sat Night Football game and LSU at night is brutal. Then they have Auburn at home the next week with two should be wins against Presbyterian and at Arky. Then they finish the season off at home in the Egg Bowl. This team has the toughest road to go to win out.
3. Auburn Tigers (5-1) – After an off week Auburn has a hungry South Carolina team at home. Spurrier is in must win mode with UGA keeping on winning. They then go to Ole Miss and host A&M. The A&M game will be interesting as we don’t know how they will react to their 59-0 shellacking against Bama this past weekend. Then they travel to Athens to play the Dawgs (who should have Gurley back by then) then play Marist and finish up with Bama in Tuscaloosa in the Iron Bowl. They have almost as hard of a road as Ole Miss to win out.
4. Florida State Seminoles (7-0) – FSU played a hell of a 2nd half this past week to beat a better than expected Notre Dame, 31-27. Winston finally played to his potential for most of the game. Now the question is can they turn around on a short week and produce at Louisville and the nations #1 defense? FSU has the easiest schedule of any of the top teams to end the season as after Louisville they have UVA, at Miami (Fla) and then play BC and a bad Florida team at home. If they get past this Thursday game there is no reason for the Noles’ not to be undefeated going into the ACC Championship game.
5. Alabama Crimson Tide (6-1) – Saban has a statement game every year and this past weekend they took full advantage of a bad A&M defense and whipped their asses like a yard dog 59-0. Football Johnny was even putting “HAHA wow. Make it Stop” on twitter. When Blake Sims plays well at QB for the Tide they are as good as anyone in the nation. That is why they are not undefeated right now. Bama travels to Tenn, who always plays them tough it seems, and LSU the next two weeks then hosts Miss. State, Western Carolina and Auburn to end the season. Another brutal stretch where they can’t afford to lose another game.
6. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (6-1)) – This team deserves to be #6 after the game they played against FSU this past weekend. Brian Kelly has this team back and is recruiting football players now. This is the first time ND has had a solid team that the media hasn’t over-hyped in damn near 30 years. Golson has turned into a good QB and showed it against top talent. The Irish are off a week before playing a dangerous Navy team so we don’t have to worry about a letdown. Then they travel to play a dangerous Arizona State team then host Northwestern and Louisville before ending the season at USC. Notre Dame has a legitimate shot at finishing the season 11-1 if they play anywhere like they did on Saturday night.
7. Georgia Bulldogs (6-1) – I wonder if Todd Gurley got a Chubb(y) this past weekend as Nick Chubb rushed for 200 yards and 2 TD’s in the UGA 45-32 win over Arkansas on the road. The score was 38-6 at the half when Mark Richt pulled most of his starters and got some experience in there. Richt will never run up the score on a team intentionally. The Dawgs have just gotten better each week since Gurley Gate and will be better when he comes back. He will be on the field most likely when the Dawgs play Florida on November 1st in the “Worlds Larges Cocktail Party” in Jacksonville. Losing Gurley has made QB Hutson Mason throw well and everyone rally around and open gaping holes up for Chubb. The D is still playing very well like it has all year except the Tenn game. They travel to Kentucky and then host Auburn before playing Charleston Southern before hosting Georgia Tech in the match up called “Good Ole Southern Hate”. No reason the Dawgs can’t legitimately win out this season as well if they get past Auburn.
8. TCU Horned Frogs (5-1) – All Gary Patterson and the TCU Horned Frogs do is play well and usually win. This team gets no national respect and after a heartbreaking 61-58 loss on the road to Baylor the Froggies bounced back with a 42-9 kermie kicking of the Oklahoma State Cowboys. The game was over midway thru the 1st quarter. They have a bad Texas Tech team next week then travel to play a dangerous West Virginia team who beat Baylor easily at home Saturday. The problem here for TCU on top of WVA playing well at home is TCU has KState at home the following weekend. The Frogs can’t look ahead or they could get put in a blender. Then they end the season with 3 winnable games at Kansa, Texas and at home against Iowa State. If TCU gets past WVA and KState they should end the season with 1 loss as well.
9. Michigan State Spartans (6-1) – Michigan State didn’t do anything of their own volition to drop several spots in this week’s poll other than play a bad football team. They struggled in the first half with a bad Indiana team but pulled away to kick them in the ding-ding 59-17. After watching teams in better conferences beat better teams the Spartans had to fall in the rankings. They play a bad Michigan team at home this week and have an off week before hosting an Ohio State team that is playing well right now. Then they have 3 winnable games on the road at Maryland, at home against Rutgers and on the road at Penn State. If they get past the Buckeyes we have another team that could end the season with 1 loss.
10. Kansas State Wildcats (5-1) – Bill Snyder has his unknown players at KState flying under the radar once again. They should probably be higher than this, but there is just nowhere to put them with the strength of the SEC West this season and then UGA playing as well as they are with the schedule they have. The Wildcats only loss was to top #3 ranked Auburn and they could have won that game. It came down to the final minutes. They went into Norman and beat the Sooners this past weekend 31-30 but OU was lucky to be in that game. KState had a couple of turnovers that allowed them to stay in it. They host Texas and Okie State the next two weekends and should win those and then travel to play TCU and WVA in back to back weekends. They then Host Kansas and then end with a road game at Baylor. Will be tough for them to get out of that with only 1 loss.
11. Ohio State Buckeyes (5-1) – Ohio State have finally started to play like we thought they would have with Braxton Miller under center. Their only loss was at home to mediocre Virginia Tech, but we have to understand they were getting used to a new signal caller in J.T. Barrett. He has come into his own. The only problem with these Big 10 Schools is you don’t really know how good they are as for the most part of the last 15 years when they play top teams from other conferences (especially the SEC) they get beat. They have manhandled basically everyone they have played this year after their loss to VaTech. They travel to Penn State and host Illinois and should be 7-1 when they travel to East Lansing to play Mich. State. Then they end with two wins against Indiana and Michigan at home. Here is another team that could have only 1 loss at season’s end.
12. Baylor Bears (6-1) – Baylor almost fell out of the rankings this week after going to Morgantown and getting whipped physically by West Virginia. The game wasn’t as close as the 41-27 score. I understand with these high powered offense like this you will have off weeks but you have to a defense that at least acts like a small speed bump in the road and not a little pebble that wouldn’t even wreck a Schwinn. Baylor is still a dangerous team and when things are clicking can beat anyone in these rankings. They play Kansas and then go to Oklahoma and then have Okie State at home, go to Texas Tech and finish with KState at home. If they get any defense we have yet another team that could end with one loss.
Teams that just missed: Oregon (6-1), East Carolina (5-1), Arizona (5-1), Arizona State (5-1)
I will be back next Monday with Week #3. As we can see the way this season is shaping up we can expect this season college football’s first playoff to be a clusterfuck. The first year is going to prove we needed at least an 8 team playoff as we could not have any teams go undefeated the way the SEC West is shaping up and then you have Conference Championship games to worry about in most conferences if you get thru the regular season unscathed. The Big XII will not have one so they have an advantage over the other Conferences.
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