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California Golden Blogs College Football Top 25 Poll: Week 12

California Golden Bloggers talk college football and vote for this week's Top 25! How does our top 4 compare to the playoff committee's top 4??

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

This week's Top 25:

SB Nation BlogPoll Top 25 College Football Rankings

California Golden Blogs Top 25 - Week 12

Rank Team Delta
1 Mississippi State Bulldogs --
2 Oregon Ducks Arrow_up 1
3 Florida State Seminoles Arrow_down 1
4 TCU Horned Frogs --
5 Baylor Bears Arrow_up 4
6 Arizona State Sun Devils Arrow_up 1
7 Alabama Crimson Tide Arrow_up 1
8 Ohio State Buckeyes Arrow_up 8
9 Auburn Tigers Arrow_down 5
10 UCLA Bruins Arrow_up 7
11 Arizona Wildcats Arrow_up 2
12 Kansas State Wildcats Arrow_down 6
13 Mississippi Rebels Arrow_down 1
14 Nebraska Cornhuskers Arrow_up 5
15 Michigan State Spartans Arrow_down 6
16 Clemson Tigers Arrow_up 8
17 Duke Blue Devils Arrow_up 5
18 Georgia Bulldogs Arrow_up 5
T-19 Colorado State Rams Arrow_up 6
T-19 Marshall Thundering Herd Arrow_up 2
21 Notre Dame Fighting Irish Arrow_down10
22 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets NEW
23 Wisconsin Badgers NEW
24 LSU Tigers Arrow_down 10
25 Utah Utes Arrow_down 7

Teams dropped from last week's Top 25: Oklahoma Sooners, West Virginia Mountaineers

Others receiving votes: Minnesota Golden Gophers, USC Trojans, Boise State Broncos, Texas A&M Aggies, Memphis Tigers

California Golden Blogs College Football Top 25 Rankings

atomsareenough: Before we get started, I just want to point out that our top 4 (which we voted on and put together on Sunday and Monday) is exactly the same top 4 as the College Football Playoff Committee released last night! So, go us. Also, go Playoff Committee! Good job, everyone.

FiatLux: Well that was a fun Saturday!!! So I watched the entire Alabama / LSU game on Saturday night. Let me say outright, that was BAD football. Yes, there was some solid run defense but that is only because the pass offenses of both teams were SO awful, save for Alabama's last drive in regulation when LSU inexplicably went into its prevent defense mode. We need to be clear about this, it wasn't the offenses were bad because of the defense it was because of the astounding number of poorly and overthrown passes and all of those dropped passes. So many dropped passes. That was some manly pass dropping!!

As much as I want to rank Oregon 1, I do believe in respecting results on the field. So I am going to keep FSU #1 because their OOC is definitely better than Mississippi State's. They beat Oklahoma State who, while not great, is "good" with their only losses coming to ranked teams. On the other hand this is Mississippi States OOC - Southern Miss, UAB, South Alabama and Tennessee-Martin. I'm not even inclined to have Mississippi State #2 as their quality wins were against a clearly over-ranked aTm whose OCC was Lamar, Rice, SMU and UL Monroe.

I'm a broken drum on this, but this is where all this preseason rankings bakes in the results down the road. It is clear that with few exceptions, not only do the SEC teams play almost nobody good out of conference. They get those 3 or 4 wins baked in, they all get ranked high preseason, so then when they beat each other they can say "well yeah, but we lost to another tough SEC team..." I mean look at Alabama. Their best win is against West Virginia who just got blown out by Texas.

Now Nick just loves Sagarin. You know what happened after yesterday? Auburn MOVED UP to #2 and Alabama, after that awful game moved up to #1. Oh, and Auburn moved up to #2 even though the team that counts for their best OOC win, Kansas State, got obliterated yesterday too. And Oregon moved DOWN to #8. Nick, you are from this point out forbidden to ever use Sagarin in your defense again.

I think it's basically impossible to figure out the various 2 and 3 loss teams and argue with conviction about their order. Sooo, here you go. I struggled with including Mizzou or Memphis. Finally went with Memphis because, why not?

atomsareenough: I had Oregon #1 last week, and I didn't see anything to change my mind this week. Miss State played a cupcake, FSU had a non-dominant win against Virginia. Alabama's offense looked lousy. There just aren't any better candidates for #1 in my opinion.

I guess FSU's non-conference schedule is decent enough with Oklahoma State and Notre Dame, with Florida coming up... but let's be clear, neither of those OOC wins so far were achieved in particularly impressive fashion, and none of them are top-10 opponents. And there's no two ways about it, their conference schedule sucks compared to other top teams. Their most impressive conference win is what, an 11 point margin against a no-longer ranked Louisville team? I know they're undefeated, but they just don't have the win quality that a top team should. That's why I just can't put the Seminoles at #1.

Anyway, I didn't have too much trouble getting to a top 8-10, but there was much bloodshed in the 15-20ish range on my ballot (mostly due to those teams playing top 10 teams), so I had a hard time figuring out who should go where. I think I was able to come up with something reasonable without having to reach for a 6-3 American Athletic Conference team (seriously, Memphis?). I had a hard time figuring out if I should keep Notre Dame, but they only have 2 losses, both to top-10 teams, so I kept them in for now.

I moved Marshall up a bit again. Not only were there a bunch of losses ahead of them, but Rakeem Cato continues to be beastly, possibly the best non-Mariota QB this year. They demolished Southern Miss this week by similar margins to what Alabama and Mississippi State did against the Golden Eagles. The're still outside the top 10 for me, but I gave them some love this week. New additions on my ballot were Minnesota (first time they've had the Floyd of Rosedale and the Little Brown Jug trophies at the same time since 1967!), Wisconsin, and Georgia Tech. I booted West Virginia (lost big to unranked Texas), Oklahoma (got blown out at home by Baylor), and Utah (blown out at home by Oregon).

Nick Kranz: FWIW, I don't LOVE Sagarin. I actually prefer F/+. For whatever reason, Saturday's debate got focused just on Sagarin. But it's one datapoint out of many, and I try not to dismiss out of hand anything, even if it doesn't immediately match my perception.

Berkelium97: I dropped Florida State to 4th for another unimpressive performance against a middling team. Mississippi State stays at 1st, TCU rises to 2nd, and Oregon stays at 3rd. Apparent season-ending injuries to Hroniss Grasu and Pharaoh Brown kept me from moving Oregon to 2nd.

Arizona State is the next team in line for the playoff. Not many teams in the nation have been hotter than ASU over the last few weeks.

I don't understand Georgia. They seem like the SEC version of Arizona: really good or pretty mediocre depending on the week.

I feel like everything between 6-10 and 17-25 is pretty much interchangeable in my ballot.

FiatLux: I think you guys aren't giving FSU enough credit. That is a SOLID OOC. In fact, I'm going to say they play the best OOC in the country (I could be wrong, but I don't think so). So to me that more than makes up for their weak conference and they should be rewarded for scheduling that and not a bunch of cupcakes. Mississippi State is just the opposite. Now I'm going to give them credit for being undefeated, but the quality of their wins are inflated by, you guessed it, the SEC bias. LSU, not ranked. aTm, eh. Auburn, good, but not great. And then they had Kentucky when they were only up by 7 going into the 4th quarter (and only won by 14), Arkansas whom they barely beat....

And Nick, you're not fulling anyone. When you were a kid you had to hurriedly hide your Sagarin magazines under your bed when you're mom would come into your room!

Atoms, re Memphis... Really??? I have them at 25 because they're in fact having a good year and have played real teams, and have been close against a couple of them (who you have ranked) like losing to UCLA at the Rose Bowl by 7 or only being down by 4 going into the 4th quarter against Ole Miss.... unlike a certain team you have on your schedule who impresses you with their blowouts of Akron and Old Dominion and FIU... Don't be so Cugelesque in your dismissiveness!

Nick Kranz: I haven't gone back and compared my ballot this week with last week, but if I did it would probably look weird. I really tried to dig as deep into each team's resume, and as a result I've reevaluated a few teams as a consequence. My basic criteria? For every single power conference team with 2 or fewer losses, I wrote down either Big Wins (i.e., wins over teams in or near the top 25, with some leniancy if a team really crushed a borderline team) and I listed every loss. Then, I ranked the quality of each team's collection of big wins, and the quality of their losses, with teams tiered by how many losses they have suffered. A big criteria in ranking the quality of wins and losses includes location of the game and margin of victory.

This probably makes no sense. I should send over a photo, maybe that would make sense? Probably not.

After going through the entire exercise, teams from the SEC, Pac-12 and Big 10 strongly stood out from ACC and Big-10 teams, unsurprisingly. There's a reason that nobody from either of those conferences save Florida St. cracks the top 12. The really impressive teams are teams that have beaten 3+ impressive teams. TCU, Oregon, Arizona St., Auburn, and of course both undefeated teams.

I really wanted to reevaluate Mississippi St. and Florida St., because the former has a weak non-con schedule and the latter has a weak conference schedule. But in the end MSU is saved by the SEC and FSU is saved by scheduling three decent non-con teams. Their collection of wins don't quite match the collections put up by some of the best 1 loss teams, but not having that loss says something too. If either of them pick up a loss, the consequences will likely be heavy.

I'm not particularly pleased with the last third of my poll, but once you get that far in, nobody cares anymore.

atomsareenough: Okay, well let's talk about Memphis then, since Fiat included them. You're talking about a team that is coming off a 3-point victory against mighty Temple. A team that lost to Houston. A team that got dominated by Ole Miss. Their lone decent win is against Cincinnati. I'm not saying Memphis is a bad team, but... top 25? I just don't see it. Certainly not over undefeated Marshall, or Notre Dame. Yet you didn't rank either of those teams.How is 7-2 Notre Dame's blowout loss to ASU any worse than 6-3 Memphis' blowout loss to Ole Miss? Plus the Irish have better quality wins, they went toe-to-toe with one of the best teams in the country in FSU. I don't think the Irish are any great shakes (I had them at the bottom of my poll), but they're certainly better than Memphis. And again, undefeated Marshall. Undefeated. Just about all blowout wins. The Herd are not worth even being ranked, but Memphis is? I get that Memphis has faced some good teams and Marshall hasn't, but the Tigers didn't come away with wins in those games. Marshall has a soft schedule but has pretty much left no doubt in any game.

Anyway, this week's results are pretty interesting. There's obviously considerable disagreement about Notre Dame. As mentioned, FiatLux didn't rank them at all, and I had them down at #25 myself. Nick and Berkelium had them up at #15 still despite getting dominated in Tempe. Marshall had a similar result, with Berkelium and I putting them in the 12-13 range, and FiatLux and Nick remaining unmoved.

There were a few teams where 3 of us had similar opinions, but there was 1 outlier. Nick appears to be an Ohio State skeptic. Berkelium is an Arizona skeptic. FiatLux is a Kansas State skeptic. I'm the only one who left Utah off his ballot. FiatLux put Clemson up at #12, while the rest of us had them closer to #20. Nick was the only one who didn't rank 8-2 Georgia Tech.

FiatLux: Saying Memphis got blown out by Ole Miss is a totally unfair characterization. It was a 7-3 game going into the 4th quarter. I would not call that getting blown out. They also barely lost at UCLA. I'm not sure Marshall does any better, or as good, in those games. Memphis has beat the patsy equivalent to Marshall like Austin Peay 63-0, SMU 48-10, a tougher team Cincy 41-14... and you're right they had a tight game against Temple, you know the Temple team that beat one of your darlings East Carolina just the week before. I feel perfectly comfortable saying people should take a look at Memphis.

My thinking on Notre Dame was a gifted victory against Stanford, bad game against Navy, getting blown out by ASU (though they briefly made it a game)... I like K-State, but that was a bad loss.

atomsareenough: Notre Dame made a game of it against ASU, but they still got blown out. Utah made a game of it against Oregon, but they got blown out. Heck, if Oregon had wanted to, they could have won by 4 touchdowns, but they took a knee in the red zone at the end. I'm pretty comfortable saying that losing 24-3 is getting dominated. There's no shame in a lower conference team getting dominated by a ranked SEC school, but not if you're trying to rank them. I'll tell you what, if they had beaten UCLA I wouldn't have any qualms about ranking them. I think playing a close game can be an indicator, but you need at least a close victory over a good opponent or a number of blowouts against bad opponents to justify being ranked, especially 12 weeks in.

Nick Kranz: Re: Notre Dame - Basically, I'm giving them credit because their losses are 'good' losses - relatively close, and both true road games. It's concerning that Stanford is their best win, but they haven't lost to anybody but some of the best teams in the country on the road, which is more than you can say for other 2 loss teams like Clemson and Georgia Tech. Really, Notre Dame's resume is virtually identical to Michigan St.'s resume (two reasonable losses to great teams and nothing else impressive) and everybody put the Spartans at about 15.

Re: Ohio St. - One impressive win (Michigan St.), one embarrassing loss (V. Tech). I suspect that Ohio St. could be very good (much in the fashion that I suspect Marshall might be very good) but ultimately it's not fair to other teams that have proven their worth on the field to trust my own subjectivity over the objective facts of Ohio St.'s resume.

Re: Georgia Tech: When your best win is over a 3 loss Miami team and you also lost to 4-5 UNC, you're probably not going to get much traction. Georgia Tech has only beaten two teams with a winning record at the moment. Frankly, looking again at Georgia Tech's schedule, I'm almost tempted to replace them with Oklahoma even after the Baylor debacle.

Full ballots below for transparency: