Upsets were brewing yesterday, however most of them did not come to fruition. That just means there is a more level playing field than we thought at the beginning of the year. Most teams are halfway through their schedules, and they have established their identity. Most are now getting into the meat of their conference schedule as well. I am not basing anything on preseason rankings and just looking at what has happened on the field as well as some metrics-offensive efficiency (OE) and defensive efficiency (DE) and strength of schedule (SOS). I am going to steal a line from Mr. Scott Van Pelt of ESPN and add another eyeball test metric: How good is your good?
1 Utah 5-0 (last week: 1)
26th OE; 19th DE; 19th SOS. The Utes forced 5 turnovers against the presumed number 1 overall pick in next year’s NFL Draft last night. Even though the game was closer than it should probably have been, Utah is as strong as anyone.
2 LSU 5-0 (last week: 3)
7th OE; 28th DE; 28th SOS. LSU also gets the Humanitarian award for the hospitality they showed to South Carolina. Leonard Fournette gets an extra shout out for auctioning off his jersey to aid the South Carolina relief efforts.
3 Clemson 5-0 (last week: 5)
22nd OE; 1st DE; 25th SOS. With the term “Clemsoning” officially buried by Coach Swinney, Clemson is starting to look like a team that no one wants to face come Playoff time.
4 Baylor 5-0 (last week: 6)
1st OE; 32nd DE; 88th SOS. While Baylor played lowly Kansas, they won 66-7. My rants about them still apply, but when you win conference road games by 59 points you are a good team.
5 TCU 6-0 (last week: 2)
4th OE; 41st DE; 93rd SOS. Eventually TCU is going to get got by one of these teams they keep flirting with. Kansas State had the Frogs on the ropes and somehow Boykin and CO. escaped Manhattan Kansas with the win. A win is a win.
6 Ohio State 6-0 (last week: 7)
64th OE; 12th DE; 42nd SOS. The Buckeyes pulled away late after being in a tough 3 quarters versus Maryland. They might be turning the corner on offense and if that happens…look out Big 10 and the rest of the country.
7 Texas A&M 5-0 (last week: 9)
14th OE; 18th DE; 10th SOS. This is the week we find out about A&M. Alabama rolls into College Station looking to squash any doubt they are the best in the SEC West. This showdown will be fun to watch.
8 Ole Miss 5-1 (last week: 11)
5th OE; 47th DE; 33rd SOS. Ole Miss picked themselves up after dismantling New Mexico State. They control their destiny to get to Atlanta and a seat at the SEC Championship Game.
9 Alabama 5-1 (last week: 12)
27th OE; 2nd DE; 4th SOS. Alabama’s defense simply shut Arkansas down last night. Coker has seemed to turn a corner at the QB spot. If they can get a win against A&M and some help, the Tide will be back in the Playoff conversation.
10 Michigan State 6-0 (last week: 4)
16th OE; 44th DE; 9th SOS. Michigan State continually squeaks out victories. If it were not for Rutgers inexplicably spiking the ball on 4th Down last night, Rutgers would have had a chance to tie the game in regulation. Big game this week against in-state rival Michigan.
11 Florida 5-0 (last week: 13)
37th OE; 6th DE; 41st SOS. Completely shutting down Missouri on the road last night, the Gators look like the team to beat in the SEC East.
12 Florida State 5-0 (last week: 14)
17th OE; 37th DE; 40th SOS. The Seminoles got the U again last night, and may have sent Al Golden packing in the process. The spotlight is off and the game against the Gators at season’s end is looming huge in the national championship picture.
13 Michigan 5-1 (last week: 16)
50th OE; 5th DE; 31st SOS. Michigan is completely bought in to what Harbaugh is teaching and it is working beautifully. 3 straight shutouts is very impressive. Can they keep this up against Michigan State?
14 Northwestern 5-1 (last week: 8)
89th OE; 3rd DE; 52nd SOS. Northwestern ran into a team on a roll yesterday at the Big House. They can still have a great season if they continue to do the things that got them this far: play consistent sound defense.
15 Stanford 4-1 (last week: 15)
6th OE; 60th DE; 37th SOS. Stanford now controls its own destiny in the Pac 12 North, the division may come down to the Stanford-Cal game…will the band stay off the field?
16 Notre Dame 5-1 (last week: 17)
10th OE; 51st DE; 61st SOS. Notre Dame may have been forgotten a little bit. They still have USC and Stanford on the schedule. Don’t sleep on the Irish just yet.
17 UCLA 4-1 (last week: 18)
28th OE; 26th DE; 82nd SOS. UCLA had a bye week at a good time. While a lot of teams were losing, they could sit back and heal. Now it’s time to finish the regular season and see where they stand when the dust settles.
18 Iowa 6-0 (last week: 20)
42nd OE; 25th DE; 100th SOS. Iowa continues to win, as long as that trend continues then up the poll this team will go. How good are they? This week at Northwestern will give us a good idea.
19 Oklahoma State 6-0 (last week: 23)
33rd OE; 21st DE; 69th SOS. The Cowboys are kind of like the Hawkeyes. How good are they? So far they have been better than everyone on their schedule. Things should continue that way as Kansas comes to Stillwater this week.
20 Oklahoma 4-1 (last week: 10)
23rd OE; 31st DE; 88th SOS. How did Oklahoma lose to Texas? It is a rivalry game yes, but how did this happen? Every time I think OU is going to turn the corner and get back into real national championship contention they go and lose to an inferior opponent.
21 Toledo 5-0 (last week: 25)
51st OE; 20th DE; 117th SOS. Just because Toledo plays in the MAC does not mean they are not a good football team. Toledo has a real chance to get into ta New Year’s 6 bowl game.
22 Boise State 5-1 (last week: NR)
36th OE; 8th DE; 86th SOS. Boise State is here, year after year. Boise will probably only have the 1 loss at BYU on its resume. They play well in big games too. Will the committee find a spot at the New Year’s 6 table?
23 California 5-1 (last week: 22)
18th OE; 27th DE; 7th SOS. Cal’s defense kept a game close that should have been a blowout. I came out of that game being more impressed that Cal was still within a score of Utah. Do not write the Golden Bears off yet.
24 North Carolina 4-1 (last week: NR)
13th OE; 66th DE; 52nd SOS. North Carolina gets into the Top 25 this week. The schedule is not too daunting to think UNC could wind up in the ACC Championship Game.
25 Duke 5-1 (last week: NR)
85th OE; 7th DE; 102nd SOS. With only a loss to Northwestern on its resume, the Blue Devils have quietly put themselves on top of the ACC Coastal Division. The game with UNC could decide who goes to the ACC Championship Game.
All efficiency ranking are from: http://espn.go.com/college-football/statistics/teamratings/_/tab/efficiency
All strength of schedule rankings are from: http://www.fbschedules.com/2015/03/2015-college-football-strength-of-schedule-ncaa-method/