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It was a wild week in college football that saw everything turned upside down. Four of Outkick’s top ten teams lost and our new top ten was a total mess, featuring six entirely new teams. Here are our top ten teams in the country.
This upcoming week the only games featuring two top 25 teams on the schedule are Cal at Utah and Northwestern at Michigan. So this looks like a quiet weekend, but you know how that goes in college football.
Let’s get counting, beginning with my ranking of the three biggest upsets for week one:
1. Florida, wow.
This was the most surprising upset to me.
I wasn’t surprised that Florida won this game — I took the Gators +7.5 — but I was surprised they won by four touchdowns and were never seriously challenged from the minute this game began. When Ole Miss loses they tend to get the crap kicked out of them. In their last three losses the Rebels have lost by 30 at Arkansas, 39 against TCU and now 28 at Florida.
This certainly lends credence to the theory that Ole Miss beat Alabama because the Crimson Tide collapsed, not because the Rebels and Swag Kelly were an actual title contender.
Now what do we think about both of these teams going forward? Florida clearly fed off the momentum of their comeback win aganst Tennessee and freshman quarterback Will Grier was really good.
If the Gators can split at Mizzou and at LSU, which I think they can, then the cocktail party against Georgia will be for the SEC East title.
It’s also starting to look like Jim McElwain will win nine or ten games in his first season at Florida and potentially be the national coach of the year. That’s impressive for several reasons, not least of which is this, every SEC coach who has won an SEC title in the conference title era has won at least nine games by his second season.
My thesis remains pretty clear — if a coach is going to win at a dominant level you can see it by year two.
As for Ole Miss, I think this game proved to us that the Rebels aren’t a legitimate SEC contender this year. I think Ole Miss finishes 9-3.
2. UCLA’s collapse, wow part two.
Arizona State finally showed up and looked like the team many expected to see all year. The Sun Devils put up 465 yards of offense on the road and the Bruins couldn’t run the ball against the ASU defense.
The Pac 12 is a total mess, with only Cal and Utah, who happen to play this coming weekend, left undefeated in the conference. That means by halfway through the season only one Pac 12 team will be undefeated.
For comparison’s sake, the ACC has two undefeated teams, Clemson and Florida State
The Big 12 has four: Baylor, TCU, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State
The SEC has three: LSU, Texas A&M, and Florida
The Big Ten has four: Iowa, Northwestern, Michigan State and Ohio State
3. Alabama, wow part three.
It’s rare you see a coach’s pregame interview and immediately think — “What the hell was I thinking picking Georgia?” But that happened when Allie Laforce interviewed Nick Saban before kickoff. (By the way, did Laforce really do an entire segment saying that Alabama was the first team to have oxygen on the sideline? I’m pretty sure I remember that happening in the 1980’s. No one at CBS thought better of that report? Not one person?)
Anyway, I was like, “Holy fuck, Saban has this team ready.”
And then you look over to the other sideline and Mark Richt, the nicest coach on earth, is on his headset probably asking how many underprivileged kids are scheduled to be at today’s game?
I still think Texas A&M will beat Alabama in two weeks and I was at Georgia’s 35-7 loss to South Carolina that the Bulldogs rebounded from and almost won a national title in 2012, so I’m not totally willing to write off Georgia yet, but, yeah, wow.
When Nick Saban gets to go against a pro style offense he still coaches like the Nick Saban of old.
This beating was even worse than the blackout game in 2008.
The range of play between what Greyson Lambert looked like against South Carolina and what he looked like against Alabama is astounding.
4. Tennessee is a dumpster fire right now.
The Vols are one of just six teams to have a 13 point or greater lead in every game this season. Baylor, LSU, FSU, Navy and Temple are the other five teams. Those five teams are 20-0, Tennessee is 2-3.
I don’t quite know what to say about Butch Jones’s collapsing Vols. They clearly have top 15 caliber talent and are also capable of stretches of dominance against everyone on their schedule. But then they vanish and end up losing.
Do I think Tennessee beats Arkansas if they don’t collapse against Florida? Yes, I do.
You know things are going bad for Butch Jones when every message board is filled with allegations that he punched offensive lineman Mack Crowder. And he has to address it during his press conference. (Butch called the allegations, “Absolutely ridiculous.” What else was he going to say, by the way?)
Right now Tennessee is a total dumpster fire.
As for Arkansas, congrats on finally winning a one score game. You won the Sadness Bowl.
5. Who are the best one loss teams in the country?
Alabama, Georgia, Ole Miss, Stanford, USC, UCLA, Michigan and Notre Dame are all still in decent shape with a single loss. If any of these teams ran the table from here on out I think all eight would be in the playoff with ease, even Notre Dame, which obviously doesn’t have the benefit of a conference title game like the other seven teams do.
The most interesting thing about these one loss teams listed above is that Alabama, Georgia and Stanford are likely to be favored in every regular season game remaining.
So all of them could easily rebound from a difficult opening season loss and find a way to the playoff. Hell, I’m starting to think there’s a pretty decent chance that a two loss team will make the playoff this year.
6. Anyone voting Ohio State and Michigan State in the top five of the country is an idiot.
There is no way that you can justify these two teams being ranked that highly.
Ohio State looks eerily similar to Florida State last year, they haven’t played a good game all year. Right now I’d bet on Michigan to beat the Buckeyes and the Spartans. I have to think these pollsters who continue to rank Ohio State and Michigan State so highly are old and clueless. They’re the same people who ranked Florida State number one last year because they won the title in 2013. That’s such antiquated thinking.
If you look at the resumes of Iowa, Northwestern, and Michigan all three of these teams have been more impressive on the field than Ohio State or Michigan State this year. So Ohio State and Michigan State shouldn’t even be ranked in the top three in the Big Ten if you’re actually paying attention to the games.
7. Clemson got a massive win over Notre Dame.
The Tigers will now be favored in every regular season game for the rest of the year and there’s a very good chance that both Clemson and Florida State will be undefeated on November 7th, when the Seminoles roll into town and the Tigers get a chance to vanquish that awful loss from two years ago and the overtime collapse last year in Tallahassee.
The ACC is so bad this year, however, that I think either Clemson or FSU would have to go undefeated to make the title game.
8. As the season continues keep in mind Outkick’s thesis that you need at least two top ten recruiting classes to win a national championship.
That’s held true for every title team since 1995 with the exception of 2000, when Oklahoma won the title with only one top ten recruiting class.
So who are those 11 teams and how are they looking this year?
4 top ten classes: Alabama, Ohio State, Florida State, and Auburn
3 top ten classes: USC, Florida, and LSU
2 top ten classes: Georgia, Tennessee, Michigan and Texas A&M
Of these 11 teams only Auburn and Tennessee have eliminated themselves from title contention this year. The other 9 teams are all ranked in the top 19 of the country.
And many are surprised by the early success of Florida and Michigan under first year coaches. But you shouldn’t be surprised if you paid attention to recruiting class rankings, both places had quite a bit of existing talent.
9. Texas is going 3-9.
I’m giving the Longhorns wins over Iowa State and Kansas, and even that might be generous.
This means Charlie Strong will enter his third year at Texas with a 9-16 record. And while the on field product has been a disaster, how do you explain the recruiting futility?
Granted, it’s still early, but that puts Texas behind TCU, Texas A&M, and Baylor — all of whom are in the top 20 — and Houston and Texas Tech, 35 and 39, respectively.
If you were a high school coach or a parent would you advise your kid to go to Texas and play for Charlie Strong when he may well be gone after three years? I wouldn’t. Especially not when Kevin Sumlin, Gary Patterson, Art Briles, Tom Herman and Kliff Kingsbury all seem pretty safe at their jobs.
In fact, I continue to say that Texas’s decision not to hire Art Briles to replace Mack Brown will go down as one of the dumbest decisions in Longhorn history.
So how can Charlie Strong fix things at Texas if his team is bad now and his recruiting is bad going forward?
If I were a mega Texas booster I’d get Chip Kelly on the phone and ask him how much it would take for him to leave Philly.
10. Could Lane Kiffin/Joey Freshwater to Miami make sense?
I will be stunned beyond belief if Kiffin is still in Alabama next season. So where can he end up? Would the Miami Hurricanes be willing to hire him if Al Golden’s out? Look, you can criticize Lane for a ton of dumb things, but you can’t criticize the fact that he’s a pretty good offensive coach and a very good recruiter.
If Al Golden’s out, don’t you think Kiffin’s awkward swagger would project well down in Miami? Kiffin recruited well in south Florida before and his family has great bona fides thanks to Monte’s run with the Bucs.
Honestly, it would be a hire that makes a ton of sense.
Hell, what do you think Kiffin’s record would be with Tennessee’s talent this year? He certainly wouldn’t be 2-3. It would be the most SEC move ever if Tennessee rehired him.
11. SEC power rankings:
1. Texas A&M
6. Ole Miss
11. Mississippi State
13. South Carolina