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California Golden Blogs College Football Top 25 Poll: Week 7

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How would the CGB writers vote if they were responsible for the national college football rankings?

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Here is this week's Top 25:

SB Nation BlogPoll Top 25 College Football Rankings

California Golden Blogs Top 25 - Week 7

Rank Team Delta
1 Utah Utes --
2 Baylor Bears Arrow_up 2
T-3 Clemson Tigers Arrow_down 1
T-3 LSU Tigers Arrow_up 2
5 TCU Horned Frogs Arrow_down 2
6 Ohio State Buckeyes Arrow_up 3
7 Michigan State Spartans Arrow_up 4
8 Alabama Crimson Tide Arrow_up 2
9 Florida State Seminoles Arrow_up 3
10 Stanford Cardinal Arrow_up 4
11 Memphis Tigers Arrow_up12
12 Oklahoma State Cowboys Arrow_up 1
13 Notre Dame Fighting Irish Arrow_up 2
14 Florida Gators Arrow_down 8
15 Iowa Hawkeyes Arrow_up 2
16 California Golden Bears Arrow_up 1
17 Michigan Wolverines Arrow_down11
18 Oklahoma Sooners Arrow_up 6
19 Texas A&M Aggies Arrow_down12
20 Temple Owls Arrow_up 1
21 Toledo Rockets Arrow_up 1
22 Houston Cougars NEW
23 Pittsburgh Panthers NEW
24 Duke Blue Devils Arrow_up 1
25 Wisconsin Badgers NEW

Teams dropped from last week's Top 25: UCLA Bruins, Ole Miss Rebels, Northwestern Wildcats

Others receiving votes: Western Kentucky Hilltoppers, BYU Cougars, Northwestern Wildcats, North Carolina Tar Heels, Mississippi State Bulldogs


atomsareenough:

There were some exciting games this week! Michigan State finally beat a legit opponent, though it took a near-miracle play at the end of a game they hadn't led all day. Utah finally pulled away from Arizona State to stay unbeaten. Florida looked okay without Will Grier, but Leonard Fournette and the Tigers tricked and trucked their way to a win. Alabama had 3 pick-sixes against Texas A&M. Baylor, TCU, and even Ohio State ended up winning big against conference opponents. In fact, there were a lot of not-close games this week among the top-25ish teams. Iowa blew out Northwestern. Oklahoma came back with a vengeance from a terrible Texas loss to post a 55-0 shutout against K-State.

Before I turn things over to you guys, I'll take a moment to give some credit to fiatlux and ragnarok. They both went out on a limb last week, putting Memphis and Stanford, respectively, quite a bit higher up on their ballots than frankly their resumes justified at the time (fiat had Memphis up at #14 and ragnarok had Stanford at #8, and then #10), and those teams went out and rewarded their confidence by notching big wins over legit opponents to make those rankings seem a lot more reasonable this week.

Okay, so what'd you guys see?

Nick Kranz:

There are only 23 teams that truly deserve a ranking. I threw a bone to BYU for gutsy scheduling.

Things that annoy me: the Big-12's insanely backloaded schedule. How is it that we're a little more than halfway into the season, and out of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU and Baylor, none of them have played each other?! Great, everybody's beaten the conference's bottom feeders - how am I supposed to distinguish between them? I put Baylor on the top of the heap because of their absurd margins of victory.

Memphis takes the biggest jump in my poll for obvious reasons, and you have to wonder how high an AAC team could climb if they went undefeated. If Memphis beats Houston and Navy, then Temple once and then again in the championship game? Probably not enough to justify playoff consideration, but who knows?

Berkelium97:

Ole Miss' loss to Memphis was a big blow to the SEC.  I have been skeptical of them all year because the league's best OOC win was Texas A&M's win over a mediocre Arizona State team.  It's easy to look like a strong conference when everyone's rankings are inflated and they beat up only on each other. The same Ole Miss that beat Alabama pretty soundly, despite what the final score says, lost to a non-P5 team and my skepticism is now validated.

I want to punish Baylor for playing a schedule that features only three Power 5 teams through seven weeks, but I am thoroughly impressed with their average margin of victory of 40 points.  It's tough to maintain that kind of dominance week after week, even against the dregs of college football.  It's too bad we'll have to wait nearly a month until they play a decent team.

mpeters10:

My top four remain unchanged. Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Western Kentucky and Duke replace Ole Miss, Boise State, Northwestern and UCLA in my rankings. Michigan State moved up quite a bit after finally beating a good team. Memphis jumps from 25 to 15 after an impressive win against a now reeling Ole Miss squad. If I could have cut this list off at 23 or 24, I would have. I'm only including Duke because it's a top 25, but I don't find their resume to be overly impressive.

fiatlux:

I laughed so hard at the end of the Michigan game... That poor kid, but it was so awesomely bad... the only way he could have made it worse is if he had dropped a photo of Harbaugh's naked wife in the process... But Harbaugh, being Harbaugh, seemed to be a dick after, as he took no weight off the kid's shoulders... Just prickish, imho.

First question is, what do we do with Iowa?  Iowa is going to annoy the hell out of me... I think I had them ranked decently last week - but have you guys looked at their schedule? Their schedule is ABSOLUTELY craptastic. They play NOBODY.  They somehow miss Michigan, Michigan State AND Ohio State in conf play this year. If they should go 12 - 0 the selection committee better hope they lose the Big10ish Championship Game or that will be a problem. Now, yeah, you can only play the teams on your schedule, but they knew what their conference schedule would like a while ago and did nothing to make up for that on OOC… so that 7-0 record is a joke, and they have no one tough left to play… It’s a joke of a schedule.  Reminds me of Kansas going to the Orange Bowl in 07/08 with the same sort of schedule. I really hope someone beats Iowa so we don’t have to keep them in the conversation. I’m keeping them low because I think that resume is so bad and any of the teams ahead of them would beat them (boy, I sure spent a lot of time on Iowa).
I see that Georgia is back in the Top 25 in the coaches' poll... I guess someone has to be, but again, talk about a laughable schedule...

Also, I want to thank atoms for the backhanded compliment My Christmas gift to you is going to be a Dale Carnegie course.  I’ve been talking about Memphis since end of last year. All the people they had coming back.  And, you know, their resume was just as flawed as anyone else’s (for the most part…). All you had to say was "FIATLUX WAS RIGHT" but, as I said, the course  should do wonders for you. And anyone who’s been watching Stanford (sigh) demolish its opponents can see how the Northwestern game has become a greater aberration (9AM PDT start…).

I kept the top of my poll pretty much the same.  I’m knocking TCU  down a bit for struggling this week... I might have rewarded Michigan State a little too much, putting them at #4.
How the national polls still have Ole Miss ranked is beyond me… not just losing but losing badly in their last two games.
Texas A&M takes a plummet for me, mainly because they got totally blown out and to a little degree because of a dickhead A&M shit talker I met in Austin when we were playing Texas… he was trying to talk smack about the Pac12 and I said "Last time we played you the score was 45-10" and he got his panties all in a bunch and blocked me… SO TAKE THAT RANDOM GUY I DON’T KNOW!!!!   That’ll teach him.

PerryScope:

LSU gets my #1 spot because they are the best undefeated team and have played like it.  That gritty fake field goal called by Les Miles was just awesome and it proved to be the game winning touchdown.  Big 12 needs to play each other before I can consider any of them legitimate Playoff contenders.  Pac 12 is and has been disappointing the entire season.  Utah is at #3 but they certainly are not the #3 team in the country.  Yes I know they are undefeated and they beat Michigan.  But they can barely take care of Cal and ASU at home.  Not to say that Cal and ASU are bad however the #3 team in the country shouldn't have as much trouble taking them down.  Stanford continues to look unstoppable.  Memphis' win was terrific; their QB Paxton Lynch looked like a legit prospect for the NFL.  A big body yet mobile QB who has good pocket presence has a spot for many teams in the league.  Once again Baylor looked amazing and people are probably going to be upset that I put them at #6 but they haven't played ANYBODY.

fiatlux:

Dude, seriously, LSU and Alabama at #1 and #4? You realize Alabama got SMOKED, at home, by a team no longer ranked... You sure you don't want to put Florida #6? [EDITOR'S NOTE: At this point, fiatlux submitted a revised ballot which I didn't notice until now after I've already tabulated everything, but it looked like he simply knocked Alabama down from #11 to #19 to spite PerryScope. Sorry, fiatlux!]

PerryScope:

As far as which team is playing the best football right now, Alabama looks better than anybody. The SEC is still #1 and for them to look that dominant is impressive, even if they had a "bad" loss at home.

atomsareenough:

Michigan and Wisconsin are my only 2-loss teams. Michigan we all know about; their losses are to highly ranked teams and their defense has been phenomenal, so they are the most credible 2-loss team in my opinion. Meanwhile, I put Wisconsin in over 1-loss North Carolina because the Tar Heels lost to a pretty crappy South Carolina team that forced Spurrier into face-saving retirement, whereas the Badgers have a loss to a top-10 team in Alabama and a very close loss to 7-0 Iowa, so those are at least plausibly quality losses.

Fiat, you're more than welcome for the compliment :) What I was saying was I definitely didn't think Memphis deserved to be #14 last week, but they had a very nice win over a decently strong Ole Miss team, and that certainly justifies a mid-teens ranking this week. So it's less that you were "right" last week, and more that your ranking reflected a bullishness on the Tigers that was vindicated by their subsequent performance. You seemed to have doubled down on that bullishness though; I think Memphis deserves to be the #7 team this week even less than they deserved to be #14 last week. I'll keep bumping them up if they keep winning, and if they win out, then I'll be happy to put them around the top 5 somewhere at the end of the season. I think non-Power 5 teams have a tougher road to get to the top, because their competition week in and week out isn't as stiff. So they have to be almost perfect, and a 3-point win against Bowling Green and 7-point wins against South Florida and Cincinnati don't scream "top 10" to me at this point. I do have them the highest of the undefeated non-power 5 teams though, ahead of Toledo, Temple, and Houston.

Anyway... moving on. I've finally come around on LSU a bit. Beating a Grier-less Florida is still a very good win, but I want to see them play Alabama. Also, their out of conference schedule is seriously lame. Eastern Michigan, McNeese State, Western Kentucky, and Syracuse. Hell, I even attended one of those schools and I still think that's a shitty out of conference schedule. I agree with fiat that Iowa's schedule majorly sucks too, by the way. Somewhat like Memphis, they're probably going to have to go undefeated or start blowing opponents out on the regular to ever crack the top 5 for me.

Also, if we're being honest, it's Stanford right now who looks better than anybody else, including Alabama. Texas A&M had some horrid QB play and no run defense for much of the game. I think the SEC has some quality teams at the top, but they've also got a ton of mediocre disappointments, like Auburn, South Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas, Georgia, in addition to regular cellar dwellars like Vandy and Kentucky.

fiatlux:

I agree with atoms! With all due respect, "The SEC is still #1" is ridiculous. "Still"??? Based on what? How they did last year when they were swept in the last week of the season by the ACC in rivalry games?  Or the west going 2-5 in bowl games?  What's the "Still" #1 part that you're putting forward?? And this year, you have seen their OOC games right?  Is the SEC good? of course. As is the Pac12. As is the Big10. As is the Big12....   Alabama BARELY beat a bad Arkansas team two weeks ago. Sigh.

atomsareenough:

AGREEMENT!!!!!! o/

fiatlux:

/o !!!!!


atomsareenough:

haha, okay 

PerryScope:

The teams in the SEC have more talent than any conference in the FBS and Alabama has the most talent in the country. Stanford has been blowing out teams but nobody good! The teams Bama beat are much better than the teams Stanford beat. I've been watching Bama and they look like the best football team in the country.

Who would you guys say is the best conference in college football??

Nick Kranz:

Determining conference strength is such a fickle thing. One plus for the SEC is that, perhaps Vanderbilt aside, they don't have any anchors weighing them down, while the Pac-12 has Oregon State and Colorado and the Big 12 has Kansas and Iowa State. But how much of a difference is there, really, between beating the 60th best team in the country (like, say, South Carolina) vs. the 90th best team (Colorado or OSU)? Should we just be measuring strength at the top and strength in the middle?

The Big 12 is probably the strongest at the top, the Big 10 is very top heavy, the Pac-12 has the deepest middle class, and the SEC benefits from just one true tomato can out of 14. The ACC . . . is probably pretty bad outside of Clemson and Florida State. My personal rankings of conferences?

SEC>Big12>Pac-12>>>Big 10>>>ACC. The differences between the top 3 are marginal and can't really be used to distinguish between individual teams for the purposes of rankings. I'll tend to give the benefit of the doubt to teams from those three conferences over everybody else as the season wears on and conference play becomes a larger part of everybody's resume.

mpeters10:

The top of the American Athletic Conference looks pretty good right now between Memphis, Temple, Houston and Navy. Honestly, the AAC might be better than the ACC!

fiatlux:

I think the AAC *is*  better than the ACC. Regarding the SEC and  anchors... what?? Auburn sucks.  Period. They BARELY beat Louisville... they had to go to OT to beat Jacksonville State. They are awful.

Arkansas - lost to Toledo... TO TOLEDO!!!

Kentucky - lost to the aforementioned Auburn and BARELY beat Louisiana Lafayette at home, on a last minute score. Barely beat woeful South Carolina. BARELY beat Eastern Kentucky

Vandy

South  Carolina

and so on....

PerryScope:

Those are the worst teams in the SEC.  You can argue the same thing for every conference's lower teams.  What about how the SEC produces the most NFL talent and wins the most national championships?  I know this is a discussion for THIS year however it would be crazy to say that the SEC is not the best conference in football.

fiatlux:

Right.  This was in response to Nick's assertion the SEC doesn't have any anchors (which I took to mean bad bottom teams).

And again, as for the players in the NFL argument, which I really do find specious when discussing THIS YEAR'S poll, I guess you think Miami is the #2 team in the country?  Or do we also dismiss them since  it doesn't fit? I guess Oregon's the second best team in the Pac-12 then, right?  Are you kidding with that NFL logic?

You're also aware the SEC has 14 teams and has now for several years...

PerryScope:

Oregon lost Chip Kelly's recruits so now they're starting to feel the burn.  They used to be one of the best teams in the country, hence the NFL talent.

Nick Kranz:

Well, I suppose I should define an anchor - I'm talking about a team so woefully uncompetitive that they're essentially performing like a mediocre-to-bad team in a non power 5 conference. Teams like Oregon State, Colorado, Kansas, Purdue. Teams that could never hope to beat even an average or better power 5 team.  Teams that have objective rankings (Sagarin, FEI, S&P, F/+etc.) in the 90s or worse.

As an example, there are 7 Power five teams rated as worse than the SEC's worst team (South Carolina) in the current F/+ rankings, and 13 Power five teams rated as worse than the SEC's 2nd worst team (Auburn, surprisingly behind Vandy). When I say that the SEC's bottom is better than the bottom of other conferences, that's what I mean. I'm not trying to suggest that the SEC is amazing, because any potential gap between the SEC and the other top conferences is very small indeed. But if I'm comparing strengths/weaknesses of the conferences, that's what I see as the SEC's strength.

atomsareenough:

Here is my general sense of the power-5 conferences, and I tossed in the AAC as well because we were talking about it. Teams are shaded from good to bad in rough order (green = good, teal = decent, yellow = middling, orange = below average, red = bad). This is largely focused on this year, but I mitigated it slightly here and there based on what I think of program quality.

conference strength

Hopefully this is a good way to compare conferences. Honestly, I see a lot of parity. I'd say the Big 12 is probably the best conference in overall quality. The Pac-12, Big Ten, and SEC are all pretty close though; the SEC might have better top-end teams, but they also have a lot of bad teams. The Pac-12 only has 2 truly bad teams.

Am I way off here?

By the way, why do you guys all have Michigan State so high? I think all of you have them up in the 4-7 range. Michigan was a good win for them, but it took a absolute miracle for the Spartans to pull it out, after time expired, and now most of you have them even higher than you had Michigan going in. Sure, 7-0 is nice and shiny, but if we're talking such smack about Iowa, how is Michigan State's resume so much better up to this point? At least the Hawkeyes walloped a decent Northwestern team. I think those are two relatively comparable resumes, and accordingly I have them next to each other in my poll.

fiatlux:

Michigan State's resume is WAY better than Iowa's. Iowa's is a joke and will continue to be so, as I said missing Ohio State, MSU and Michigan this year. As I said in my ballot, i may have the Spartans a bit too high. I would like to see what happens to Michigan... would be fun to see them Hairbaugh it.

Re: the chart, I think you have too much time  on your hands... :wink: But that is actually really nicely done.

Berkelium97:

If I hadn't spent the afternoon on a plane I'd offer something more substantive to this discussion.  Instead, I'll point to atoms' chart and say "very nicely done."

I disagree with the notion that the SEC is clearly the best conference.  At this point in the season, the Pac-12 Big Ten, and Big 12 all have meaningful claims that they could be the best.  Unfortunately, the top teams in the Big 12 and SEC haven't played anyone in their OOC schedules, so it's tough to gauge how good they are.

fiatlux:

Actually that does tell us how good they are; it means they're *not*.  Play someone AND THEN we'll say you're good. If you don't play anyone, then you should default yourself out of the conversation.

PerryScope:

In this chart, which was very well done by the way, it definitely looks like PAC 12 isn't even a top 3 conference.  But I'll admit that it clearly shows the Big 12 and Big 10 have as many contenders as the SEC does..

atomsareenough:

Thanks for the positive feedback, guys!

Interesting that PerryScope is focusing mostly on just the top tier teams. It's true that the SEC has some top quality teams that can compare with the top teams in any other conference. But fittingly, they're also carrying a lot of extra baggage with a bunch of crummy teams at the bottom that mostly get beaten up on by the big dogs. When you combine that with the laughable nonconference schedules most SEC teams play, it's a recipe for insularity and being consistently overrated, which is certainly the point. But then they've been able to back it up in national championship games. The Big 12 is probably "pound for pound" the best conference, but they're also the smallest conference. The Pac-12 has a number of good teams, and a lot of middling teams, but few bad teams. I think the Pac is a conference in flux, with its two recent powerhouses, Oregon and USC, in uncertain territory at present, but some other schools like Cal and Utah on the rise. The Big Ten has a bunch of quality teams, but like the SEC, they're carrying a lot of crappy teams along for the ride. So I think it depends on how you slice it.

fiatlux:

Regarding national championships, that's because the system was rigged... I mean hell, they had TWO SEC schools in the NCG one year... They had Alabama playing a totally flawed Notre Dame team... The fact is before the playoffs they were  almost guaranteed a spot, which goes a long way toward getting a win... When there was a playoff, well ,we see what happened.

Further, I think last year REALLY exposed the SEC.  The last week of the season they went 0-4 in OOC rivalry games... South Carolina lost to Clemson... Kentucky lost to Louisville... FLorida lost to Florida State and George lost to Georgia Tech... I mean you can't argue that... and then if that wasn't bad enough, the SEC west went 2-5 in bowl games!!  ANd  finally, two not exactly powerhouses from the Big12 when they joined the SEC IMMEDIATELY dominated.   There is simply NO ARGUING those results... and it looks like the national media has finally caught on.   And i think they have it right , right now.  Two SEC teams in the Top 10, that's reasonable, but none in  the top 4. Anyway, great chat, guys!

Full ballots below:

CGBT25W7