Michigan State rises to #2 in Jack's Week 10 Top 25 NCAAF rankings
While the Michigan State Spartans did not crack the top four in either the AP or the Coaches' Polls for week 10 of the college football season, their impressive 37-33 victory over "big brother" Michigan in East Lansing was enough for me to boost them to #2 in my top 25 rankings. Michigan State is an undefeated Big Ten team with a signature victory over a top 10 team.
On Tuesday, the College Football Playoff committee will release its first CFP rankings of the 2021 season. By week's end, we'll have three different major rankings out and available to the public. For the past three weeks, I've been releasing my own top 25 rankings. Rankings are very subjective. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Some look at resume rankings, while others look at power rankings. They might base their rankings off "Who is the best team?" or "Who would beat who?". I however believe in a meritocracy. I don't care how good your team is perceived to be if you don't take care of business on the field. For this reason, I can't put Alabama's resume above Georgia, Michigan State, Cincinnati or Oklahoma's. All four of those teams are unbeaten. Yes, Alabama is the reigning national champion. But I don't think they should be put into the College Football Playoff at this time, based on what we think they're capable of doing. They need to actually go out and do it. There are four teams that are undefeated that I believe should be above Alabama. That doesn't mean Alabama won't get in to the Playoff, or have a chance to get in later on this season. If Alabama wins out and beats Georgia in the SEC title game, Alabama will be a lock for the Playoff. Similarly, I have Oregon ranked above Ohio State. While Ohio State has arguably played better football over the past month, both teams are 7-1, and since Oregon won the teams' head-to-head matchup in Columbus earlier this season, Oregon should have the upper-hand in terms of resume, at this time. If Oregon drops a game and Ohio State does not, Ohio State moves above them. My rankings aren't my expectation of where I expect teams to end up. My rankings are simply a look at whose resume looks the best, nine weeks through the 2021 college football season.
I've kept a close eye on group of five football too. The national polls might be overlooking a few stellar Mountain West, AAC and Sunbelt teams. My top 25 this week actually features three teams from the American, three teams from the Mountain West, three teams from the Sunbelt, one from Conference USA, and two independent teams for a grand total of 12 non-power 5 teams. That's half of the top 25!
I know a lot of folks haven't had time to watch group of five or independent football, but take my word for it, Nevada, Fresno State, San Diego State, BYU, Appalachian State, Louisiana, Houston and SMU are playing some very good football. Nevada's Carson Strong could end up being the best quarterback in the 2022 draft class and San Diego State was a perfect 7-0 prior to this week. Led by quarterback Jake Haener, Fresno State's beaten both teams over the past two weeks. Appalachian State upset Coastal Carolina last week, and a week before that, Louisiana kicked the tar out of the Mountaineers. Houston and SMU had a thrilling game go down to the wire this past week, with Houston winning on a kickoff return touchdown with just seconds remaining! SMU was also a perfect 7-0 prior to its loss to the Cougars over the weekend. BYU has upped the difficulty of its schedule from last year, and is off to a 7-2 start. If you find yourself bored on a Saturday (or Thursday or Friday for that matter), tune in and watch these teams.
Before getting to Jack's Top 25 Rankings for week 10, here's a look at how the Associated Press and the Coaches voted this week, courtesy of ESPN:
Jack's Top 25 Rankings for Week 10
#1 Georgia (8-0) — Week 9: W, 34-27 @ Florida. Week 10: vs. Missouri (4-4)
#2 Michigan State (8-0) — Week 9: W, 37-33 vs. Michigan. Week 10: @ Purdue (5-3)
#3 Cincinnati (8-0) — Week 9: W, 31-12 @ Tulane. Week 10: vs. Tulsa (3-5)
#4 Oklahoma (9-0) — Week 9: W, 52-21 vs. Texas Tech. Week 10: Bye
#5 Alabama (7-1) — Week 9: Bye. Week 10: vs. LSU (4-4)
#6 Oregon (7-1) — Week 9: W, 52-29 vs. Colorado. Week 10: @ Washington (4-4)
#7 Ohio St (7-1) — Week 9: W, 33-24 vs. Penn State. Week 10: @ Nebraska (3-6)
#8 Michigan (7-1) — Week 9: L, 37-33 @ Michigan State. Week 10: vs. Indiana (2-6)
#9 Notre Dame (7-1) — Week 9: W, 44-34 vs. North Carolina. Week 10: vs. Navy (2-6)
#10 Wake Forest (8-0) — Week 9: W, 45-7 vs. Duke. Week 10: @ North Carolina (4-4)
#11 Oklahoma State (7-1) — Week 9: W, 55-3 vs. Kansas. Week 10: @ West Virginia (4-4)
#12 Baylor (7-1) — Week 9: W, 31-24 vs. Texas. Week 10: @ TCU (3-5)
#13 Texas A&M (6-2) — Week 9: Bye. Week 10: vs. #14 Auburn (6-2)
#14 Auburn (6-2) — Week 9: W, 31-20 vs. Ole Miss. Week 10: @ #13 Texas A&M (6-2)
#15 UTSA (8-0) — Week 9: Bye. Week 10: @ UTEP (6-2)
#16 BYU (7-2) — Week 9: W, 66-49 vs. Virginia. Week 10: vs. Idaho State (1-7)
#17 Ole Miss (6-2) — Week 9: L, 31-20 @ Auburn. Week 10: vs. Liberty (7-2)
#18 Fresno State (7-2) — Week 9: W, 30-20 @ San Diego State. Week 10: vs Boise State (4-4)
#19 Houston (7-1) — Week 9: W, 44-37 vs. SMU. Week 10: @ South Florida (2-6)
#20 SMU (7-1) — Week 9: L, 44-37 @ Houston. Week 10: @ Memphis (4-4)
#21 San Diego State (7-1) — Week 9: L, 30-20 vs. Fresno State. Week 10: @ Hawaii (4-5)
#22 Louisiana (7-1) — Week 9: W, 45-0 vs. Texas State. Week 10: vs. Georgia State (4-4)
#23 Nevada (6-2) — Week 9: W, 51-20 vs. UNLV. Week 10: vs. San Jose State (5-4)
#24 Coastal Carolina (7-1) — Week 9: W, 35-28 vs. Troy. Week 10: @ Georgia Southern (2-6)
#25 Appalachian State (6-2) — Week 9: W, 59-28 vs. UL-Monroe. Week 10: @ Arkansas State (1-7)
Dropped from last week's rankings: #11 Iowa, #19 Kentucky, #20 Pittsburgh, #22 Penn State.
Unranked teams to watch for: Wisconsin, Minnesota and Utah. Wisconsin is flying high following their big win over Iowa this past week, and now has a good shot at a Big Ten West title. Minnesota is in the driver's seat in the Big Ten West. There's a very good chance that the winner of the Wisconsin-Minnesota game on November 27 will be playing in the Big Ten title game a week later. Iowa is going to need to bounce-back from its embarrassing back-to-back losses quickly if it wants to go to the Big Ten championship. A game at Northwestern next Saturday could be what the doctor ordered.
Utah routed UCLA on Saturday night. Despite the fact that the Utes have already accumulated three losses, they look like a different team with Cam Rising leading the offense, than they did with Charlie Brewer as the signal-caller to open the year. Utah is in the most favorable position for a Pac-12 south title, after Arizona State's devastating loss to Washington State this past week. All of these teams have a chance to crack my top 25 next week, and are putting themselves in position to compete for a conference championship in their respective conferences.
Check out this week's college football episode of the Jack Vita Show! Football talk starts at the 24:25 mark.
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