Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The 696 Power Rankings: Week 10

After a one week hiatus with the power rankings (in which I realized how difficult my ranking process is when I have to take into account two weeks worth of results), we’re back with a much-changed top 20 thanks to a slew of great games and some highly regarded teams getting completely trounced.  This week’s rankings are just me (so no point totals necessary), and I’m including some categories just because.

The Championship Contenders
1)       Oregon (9-0)
The west-coast offensive juggernaut keeps on chugging away and only three more games separate them from perfection.  While anything can certainly happen, the Ducks definitely have the inside track to the Championship game, and Nike executives are probably preparing the most ridiculous looking uniforms possible.

2)       Auburn (10-0)
With a trip to Tuscaloosa and the SEC Championship game standing in their way (as well as the mounting and widespread allegations of certain improprieties against Cam Newton), the Tigers have a decidedly more difficult path to the Championship game than the Ducks.  While they have certainly earned this spot for now, don’t be surprised if they stumble in the home stretch.

3)       TCU (10-0)
After clobbering the Ute’s in Utah, TCU now has the edge over Boise if the Ducks or Tigers do fall short.  I for one would love to see this team take on Oregon for the National Championship and think it would be a more preferable outcome to Boise.

4)       Boise State (8-0)
I feel like I’m the only person in the country that is ambivalent towards the Broncos.  I don’t particularly care either way about what happens to them.  While I think TCU is more deserving, I wouldn’t be upset if Boise played for the Championship or if they play for the Champs Sports Bowl (or wherever they end up if they miss out).  Either way, this is definitely the most divisive team in the country, and I guess that shows how far they’ve come.

Teams That Just Fall Short
5)       Stanford (8-1)
The Cardinal are an excellent team this year, and definitely favored to go 11-1.  With their only loss being on the road against Oregon (a respectable showing by the way), this team has to be considered the best one-loss team of the bunch. 

6)       LSU (8-1)
Nobody was more surprised than I was to see the fighting Les Mileses get a win against Alabama.  I’ve been pretty critical of LSU in the past, but their body of work (except an inexplicable game against McNeese State) is very impressive.  Their divisional loss against Auburn, however, pretty much means they can’t win an SEC Championship and won’t play for it all this year. 

7)       Wisconsin (8-1)
After a big win in Iowa, I really have no choice to put the Badgers in the top ten.  While I do think their win against Ohio State is vastly overrated (did anybody really think the Buckeyes were the best team in the country?), Wisconsin has earned this position and could very well earn a trip to the Rose Bowl if they win out.

Good, but not Great
8)       Mississippi State (7-2)
Hold your laughter and hear me out.  After two early season losses to the now #2 and #6 teams in these rankings (they only lost to Auburn by a field goal), the Bulldogs (I had to look up their mascot) have been on a tear.  While I doubt they win in Tuscaloosa this week, I do believe that this is the best Mississippi State team I can remember.  Just imagine if Cam Newton had gone there (or if they had shelled out the cash his dad needed to save his church).

9)       Alabama (7-2)
The loss to LSU effectively eliminated the defending champs from this year’s race and helped brings some much-needed clarity.  The Tide will now have the chance (in a few weeks) to play spoiler and eliminate Cam Newton and company (which could pave the way for the non-BCS teams).

10)   Nebraska (8-1)
It’s shocking how bad that loss to Texas looks now (UT, Woof), but it’s also shocking how good that win at Oklahoma State looks (see below).  The Huskers have got to be the Big 12 Favorites right now (their remaining schedule includes games against woeful Kansas and coachless Colorado), but won’t be sniffing at the Championship game.

11)   Oklahoma State (8-1)
43 year-old Mike Gundy has his team in position to win the upside-down, inside-out Big 12 South, but they still have to get through the traditional powerhouses (OU and UT) for a chance at a rematch against Nebraska.  Something tells me they stumble.

12)   Arkansas (7-2)
The Razorbacks still have two tough games (at Mississippi State and against LSU) to close out their season (not to mention UTEP), and have been floating around these rankings all season.  I don’t really know what to make of the team other than the fact that they play in the toughest division (the SEC West) in the country.

Rolling My Eyes
13)   Ohio State (8-1)
I long for the day when the Buckeyes aren’t overrated by national voters.  Look at their schedule, it’s terrible.  Their best win is either Miami or Illinois (I just threw up a little in my mouth).  This is not a top ten team and I wish I could rank them lower except. . .

14)   Virginia Tech (7-2)
How high can we really rank a team that lost to James Madison??  Sure they stupidly scheduled the game five days after the Labor Day showdown with Boise State, but it’s still James Madison.

15)   MSU (9-1)
I don’t know if I’m sad or glad that the Buckeyes and Spartans don’t play each other.  On one hand, the winner would be given a “quality win” but on the other hand, it would give me an excuse to drop one completely out of the rankings.  This team got clobbered by Iowa (the same Iowa that lost to Arizona).  My critics might say “but they beat Notre Dame.”  So did Tulsa, and Michigan, and Navy, and Utah. . . (oh wait).

16)   Utah (8-1)
And just when we thought Notre Dame had one last chance against a quality team, the Ute’s go out and lay a complete egg against TCU.  I have no idea what to expect for ND-Utah on Saturday.  None whatsoever.

The Jury is Still Out
17)   Oklahoma (7-2)
The Big 12 South is a complete mystery to me right now.  I thought Oklahoma was a good team, but then they go and lose to Texas A&M, a team that hasn’t won a big game in something like a decade.  Will the Sooners bounce back?  Maybe.  Are their final two games at Baylor and Oklahoma State really difficult games?  Maybe.  The Sooners still control their own destiny, so don’t be surprised to see them stumble into the BCS.

18)   Arizona (7-2)
The Wildcats pretty much are what we thought they were.  A mid-level Pac-10 team fighting for an appearance in the Holiday Bowl. With three games left (USC, at Oregon, Arizona State), neither a 3-0 nor 0-3 finish would shock me.

19)   Iowa (7-2)
This is where my rankings become internally inconsistent.  Iowa clobbered Michigan State, but lost to Arizona.  Iowa lost to Wisconsin, but Wisconsin lost to Michigan State.  I’ll rank them 19th and hope that they expose Ohio State as a fraud later this month.

20)   Nevada (8-1)
The pistol’s only loss came half an ocean from home.  I’ll give them this spot until they lose a game.  

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