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California Golden Blogs College Football Top 25 Poll: Week 8

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

Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

Here is this week's Top 25:

SB Nation BlogPoll Top 25 College Football Rankings

California Golden Blogs Top 25 - Week 8

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

Teams dropped from last week's Top 25California Golden Bears, Texas A&M Aggies

Others receiving votesNorthwestern Wildcats, Mississippi State Bulldogs, North Carolina Tar Heels, California Golden Bears, Appalachian State Mountaineers


I had a hard time with the poll this week.  There are plenty of one-loss and two-loss teams, but deciding which ones to include is difficult.  Obviously teams with strong resumes like Michigan and Utah deserve inclusion, but what about teams with good records who haven't beaten anyone noteworthy? Deciding among the Dukes, North Carolinas, and Pitts is like throwing darts at random (although I give credit to Pitt for being 6-1 despite playing 5 of its first 7 games on the road).

I also had a difficult time with the undefeated Power 5 teams, except Oklahoma State who should have lost twice already.  To organize the top-seven undefeated teams in my ballot, I eventually decided to rank them according to Sagarin's strength of schedule ratings.  Is Iowa the third-best team in the country? No, but they're undefeated and it's still going to be a few weeks before 1-loss teams start creeping past suspect undefeated teams in my ballot.

Further complicating matters is that none of the undefeateds has a signature win.  Clemson beat a decent Notre Dame team, but it had a chance to win decisively instead of winning a nail-biter.  LSU beat Florida at home, but it barely won against a Florida team missing its starting QB.  Also, the jury is still out on whether Florida is that good, as they barely beat ECU, Kentucky, and Tennessee, none of whom has more than four wins.  Michigan State beat an excellent Michigan team on the road, but it required everything short of divine intervention to do so. TCU, Baylor, Iowa, and Ohio State all have pretty weak schedules, so it's hard to feel great about putting any of them at the #1 spot.

Nick Kranz:

My top 4 are the four teams that I would pick for the CFB playoffs if the season ended today. Clemson, Baylor, LSU and Ohio State all have schedules that trend on the iffier side, but that's true of each unbeaten team left. I'm going with those 4 because they have put in impressive performances with large margins  of victory, and haven't required bizarre kicked touchdowns, muffed punts, overtime, or other general weirdness to stay unblemished.

Florida State is interesting. I initially had them slotted in the late teens, but as I compared their resumes to other teams around them, they just kept sliding. When you add a bad loss to a resume that includes lots of close wins over mediocre teams (like, say, beating Miami by 53 less points than Clemson did) then things look ugly in a hurry.

For the first week, two loss teams pretty much have to be included. Michigan pretty clearly looks like the strongest 2 loss team, but Ole Miss and UCLA have solid resumes as well. I threw in Cal at the end after going back and forth between the Bears, Texas A&M, and Penn St. Maybe I should have thrown a bone to a mid-major like Appalachian State or Marshall?


Basically Nick's rankings look fine to me. I just move up Memphis into the undefeateds.  I think Stanford could beat anybody right now. That's about it. PerryScope, I actually think your Top 10 looks really good. It looks like we're all sort of coalescing a bit.

The rest I don't really care about except that you have Mississippi State in and not Cal.


Since this is the third week in a row that I've had Mississippi State, I was not going to take them off for Cal because of how badly we were beat, how badly Utah was beat, and how inconsistent the Pac 12 has been so far.


Well, I'd say that Miss State shouldn't have been in there for three weeks in the first place... I didn't realize the SEC was such a bastion of consistency.

But again, it really doesn't matter too much way down at the end of the ballot.


I didn't quite have Cal on my ballot this week - they ended up at #26 on my ballot (but above Mississippi State, since we're talking about it).


Rags, you have Oklahoma State all the way down at 17?


Why have them higher? They're 7-0, but they barely escaped Texas, Kansas State and West Virginia (combined record: 9-11) and their only win over a team with a winning record is FCS Central Arkansas, who is 4-3. They're not the lowest-ranked undefeated team on my list (Temple, Houston and Toledo are all further down), but I do think everyone above them has done more to justify a high ranking, while Oklahoma State has done very little, resume-wise, except fail to lose, and they will come down to earth soon enough.


I'm not ranking North Carolina until they beat someone decent, so that means they'll have to beat Pittsburgh next week. Cal was my #26 team as well; Ole Miss' dominant win against Texas A&M and UCLA's fairly big win against Cal led me to drop A&M and Cal from my ballot in favor of the teams that beat them. The only other teams I had from last week who lost were Utah and Florida State, both of whom were formerly undefeated, so they moved down but they stayed in the top 25 for me.

I'm a little skeptical of Oklahoma State, but I put them at #7 because even if some of their conference wins (Texas, K-State) have been close, those are still decent Power-5 teams, and winning consistently is hard. Being undefeated at this point in the season is worth something. Obviously in a couple weeks when they meet TCU, we'll see if the Cowboys are for real. I still have a couple of 1-loss teams (Stanford, Alabama) ahead of them. A couple of other teams like Notre Dame, Florida, and Iowa, who are coming off bye weeks, could also leapfrog them potentially this week.

That said, looks like not a lot of debate this week. Is fiatlux right that we're starting to "coalesce"?

Here are the ballots... Only a few things stand out this week. Berkelium didn't rank Michigan, but everyone else did. Everyone but mpeters10 ranked Ole Miss after they crushed Texas A&M. Berkelium had Iowa ranked a lot higher than everyone else, possibly related to him having Northwestern up at #19, while most of us have the Wildcats unranked this week. Everyone but ragnarok had Duke ranked. Everyone but PerryScope had UCLA ranked. Only 3 of us had Wisconsin ranked, but ragnarok had them up at #15, which was enough to get them into the top 25.

CGB T25 W8