Trying to make a top 25 is miserable for one reason: the procrustean bed and inane framework of the number 25. You either have to saw someone's legs off to fit them in at exactly the 25 spot, or you stretch three or four mediocre teams out into something resembling a home stretch.
That's why it's time to stop trying, and just make it a Top Whatever. We'll just be picking four teams starting next year, and don't need to bother too much gnashing teeth over whether Fresno State is more of a No. 22 or a No. 23. We only need to worry about as many teams as we need to worry about, and the rest is a matter of fighting over bowl payouts and imaginary slights of the virtue of your team. (WHICH IS CLEARLY A SIXTEEN, AND NOT A SEVENTEEN, MORAN. Love, Reader Who Has Been Putting Diesel In Their Standard Engine for Weeks and Hasn't Noticed Yet.)
These are the only truly excellent teams in college football after Week 7, with everyone else falling into some shade of "sort of really good" to " FIU-grade deplorable." There are only seven of them.
1. Alabama. Was much more likable when it was struggling, and thus had to expend effort, look human, and not just hack through teams like the world's grumpiest butcher slogging through a truck full of fresh carcasses.
2. Oregon. Boy, it'd be fun to watch Marcus Mariota have to, you know, at least pretend he's trying. The relative invisibility of Mark Helfrich on the sideline and the ability to continue ripping along without key players like De'Anthony Thomas makes Oregon seem like this faceless, thousand-armed death machine capable of replacing every killing part with an equally effective and deadly killing part. This is, in fact, a pretty accurate description of Oregon right now.
3. Florida State. Has a fearsome offense and defense, and that makes it a grade better than Clemson, a team with holes on defense that the Seminoles should theoretically exploit this coming weekend. Also putting them this high because Jameis Winston is fun to watch, and with Alabama at the top, fun is already a desperately needed ingredient here. CHAIN ME.
4. Baylor. Won a road game in the Big 12 this weekend at one of the most slept-on crowds in college football, and won it with Bill Snyder spinning his single-wing obstruction spells as hard as he could. Additionally, Baylor's still blazing in terms of efficiency numbers and the raw capacity to set your gas tanks on fire before you have a chance to get out of the damn car. Art Briles is this moment's most beloved mad arsonist.
5. Ohio State. Still the class of the Big Ten, for whatever given units of value you place in that title. Also devilishly efficient in the redzone, getting touchdowns 88 percent of the time, so that's a firm statistical number you can cling to when reaching for clear value despite the DURRRR BIG TEN-NESS. We had a dream they lost to Iowa this coming weekend, but woke up laughing, so it's cool, Ohio State. (Watch your ass in that Indiana game, however.)
6. Clemson. Overrated at this point, but what isn't? (Answer: dogs. Dogs are the only properly rated thing in the world.) The good news is the Tigers get the ultimate stress test this weekend against Florida State, so we can stop equivocating about that defense in either direction. They'll be good enough to stop the Seminoles, or they'll wither and die beneath a hail of Jameis darts thrown with three Clemson defenders on his back. Some things in college football do work themselves out on their own without arbitrary polling.
7. Louisville. Whatever, they still have Teddy Bridgewater and only gave up a touchdown to Rutgers thanks to one of the cooler fake field goals you'll ever see. They're still top five in total defense, something most people miss while admiring the curlicued rainbows Teddy Bridgewater's passes make through the air. A terrifying matchup in a one-game situation, something some poor team is going to discover (again) the hard way in bowl season.
WAITING IN THE ANTECHAMBERS: Miami, who just misses the list because we're not sure if Stephen Morris' foot is going to fall off after an ankle injury; Missouri, who would be here if they hadn't lost James Franklin to injury this weekend; Stanford, who... um... well, whatever that was at Utah isn't what they are (we think); LSU, who does have a loss, but who ran roughshod on a brutal Florida defense; NOT OKLAHOMA.
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