John Roberts College Football

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Week Thirteen: Tuesday

Under Pressure
Dennis Franchione, Texas A&M

His time may be done regardless of what he does against Texas on Friday afternoon, but Franchione needs a solid performance against the Longhorns to try to keep his job. This game may have no effect on his job status, but he really needs a solid showing to get the fans off of his back. A win would be huge, and would get the Aggies (a preseason darling for being a darkhorse for the national title) to a bowl game. This is as big of a rivalry game as there can be for Texas A&M this weekend.

Reggie Ball, Georgia Tech

Reggie Ball may have produced just well enough against Miami to get the Yellow Jackets to the win, but he would like to lead his team to a dramatic upset of the Georgia Bulldogs as well. Ball has been wildly erratic over the last few years, as have the Yellow Jackets. Now, playing at home against the Bulldogs, this may be their best chance in a while to beat Georgia. A win by the Jackets will prove that they have finally arrived as a consistent player on the national scene, while a loss would reaffirm that they do not belong on the national scene yet. The defense will have to slow D.J. Shockley down, but Ball will have to lead the offense on a couple of scoring drives in the first half to get his team the momentum it needs to be able to upset the Bulldogs.

College Gameday Site
Houston, Texas

This year's Bayou Classic features Grambling and Southern and will take place in Houston, Texas, due to the hurricanes that moved through New Orleans. Grambling is 8-1, while Southern is 4-4. These games are generally pretty much fun to watch and feature some of the best bands you will ever see. It's unusual to see College Gameday go to a site like this, but this weekend there are not a ton of must see games, and the gang probably wants to do some human interest stories on New Orleans. It ought to be an interesting week.

Thoughts on the Rankings

LSU and Penn State are very close in the BCS standings. Still, the computer rankings are wildly in favor of Penn State. If there is a loss somewhere along the line for either Texas or USC, the Nittany Lions seem to be the favorite to move into a top two spot. Still, if LSU wins their next two games (Arkansas and the SEC Championship Game) they will likely move up a little bit in the rankings. This could mean that they catch Penn State, but it seems unlikely at this point.

Texas has every number one vote except for one from the computers. The gap continues to close between USC and the 'Horns for number one in the BCS. More and more people are beginning to vote Texas number one in the human polls, which means that Texas may overtake USC at some point if they win impressively these next two weeks. Not that it matters because as long as they keep on winning they will both be in the national championship game.

Fresno State is still only ranked in two computers. This is proof yet again that computers can't watch football games. For the most part, I like the computer rankings and have no problem with them. However, they need to be allowed to take margin of victory into account (up to a point) so that the computers realize that the Bulldogs just lost by eight at USC, their number two team. This was not the 30 point home blowout that the Trojans normally pull.

My Rankings

The rankings continue to sort themselves out. Still, there are wild flunctuations in my rankings from week to week. Why is this? With each passing week, we are learning more about the teams and it becomes important to move the teams around based on the things that we learn. Also, sometimes there are overreactions to certain factors from one week, and so I adjust appropriately for the next week. Two teams nearly made the Top 25 this week that missed the cut. One is Iowa State, and the other is Iowa. They are very close to being ranked. The number in parentheses is last week's rank.

1. USC 11-0 (1)
2. Texas 10-0 (2)
3. Penn State 10-1 (5)
4. LSU 9-1 (4)
5. Virginia Tech 9-1 (7)
6. Ohio State 9-2 (8)
7. Oregon 10-1 (10)
8. Notre Dame 8-2 (9)
9. Auburn 9-2 (12)
10. Miami, FL 8-2 (3)
11. UCLA 9-1 (11)
12. Fresno State 8-2 (14)
13. Georgia 8-2 (13)
14. West Virginia 8-1 (15)
15. Alabama 9-2 (6)
16. Florida 7-3 (17)
17. TCU 10-1 (18)
18. Georgia Tech 7-3 (--)
19. Florida State 7-3 (19)
20. Louisville 7-2 (23)
21. Texas Tech 9-2 (--)
22. Michigan 7-4 (21)
23. Boston College 8-3 (25)
24. Clemson 7-4 (--)
25. South Carolina 7-4 (16)

Dropped Out: Minnesota 7-4 (20), Oklahoma 6-4 (22), Iowa State 7-3 (24)
Part of my reason for ranking Minnesota where I did last week was their head-to-head win over Michigan. Still, they got slaughetered by Iowa, and the Wolverines did beat Iowa. Minnesota has become a very average football team right now. Oklahoma got beat by Texas Tech. This established Texas Tech as a pretty good team (even if the final touchdown was razor close) and it proved that Oklahoma still has some work to be done. Iowa State fell out because too many other teams needed to move into the rankings. Still, the Cyclones, with a win this week, should find themselves back in the rankings somewhere. They are a very good team.

Biggest drop by a team still in the rankings: 9- Alabama, South Carolina. Alabama was humiliated by Auburn and now have lost to two straight. Their early season success is beginning to look like a mirage. South Carolina was on cloud nine after last week's dramatic win over Florida. Now, after a loss at home to Clemson, they had to fall behind the Tigers. The only place the Tigers made sense was at #24, so the Gamecocks had to be #25.

Smallest drop by a team that lost: Smallest drop? 1-Michigan. The biggest jump by a team that lost? 2- Fresno State. Michigan only dropped one for a very good performance against Ohio State. Fresno State moved up two spots in spite of their loss because of how well they played at USC. No other team has taken USC's best punch and lived to tell about it. No other team has come anywhere close to beating the Trojans at home. They are a very good football team and deserved to be rewarded for their perfomance, not punished. They can't be too far behind Notre Dame, who is also being rewarded for their close loss to USC.

Biggest drop by a team that won: 0- USC, Texas, LSU, Georgia. USC and Texas have very little moving room (although Texas is gaining on USC). LSU stayed put because their body of work ranks just slightly behind Penn State's, who jumped them. Georgia was jumped by Fresno State, and Alabama fell behind them, which meant that Georgia stayed put.

Biggest jump by a team that was in my rankings last week: 3- Oregon, Auburn, Louisville. The Ducks moved up three with their impressive win over Oregon State. Auburn moved up three because they are probably the best team in the SEC right now, and hammered Alabama. Louisville moved up three spots without playing a game. They are a very good team, but need to play like it on the road.

Razor thin. The difference between USC and Texas is razor thin. I could not punish USC for their close game with Fresno State because I thought that Fresno would keep it close. Still, the way that the offense moved the ball against the Trojans has to be troubling and remind people of how Oklahoma's defense started getting exposed at this point last year. The difference between Penn State, LSU, and Virginia Tech is also razor thin. Those three are all three right there. If USC or Texas lose, the battle for who moves up to number two will be very tight in my mind. That's why it will be very important to keep my eyes glued to the Arkansas-LSU game this weekend, along with the Virgina Tech-North Carolina game. By the way, UCLA still has an outside shot at the national title. If they beat USC impressively on December 3, they will shoot up the rankings and make a serious move at playing at home in the Rose Bowl for the national title.


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