Editor’s note: It seems my little weekly conference power rankings experiment has grossly overlooked the landscape of college football. You see, our sport does not have five power conferences, as you were led to believe. Instead, there are six. The rankings have been changed this week to accommodate this tectonic shift in college football’s structure.
No. 1: The American
You’re damn right you read that right; they’re No. 1 this week. The American Athletic Conference is now a Power 6 conference. Why? Because they said so. See the P6 here?
I have a lot of respect for the utter gall it takes to shoot this shot. It’s like the American changed high schools and saw the cool kids table and said, “I’m just going to sit there.” They didn’t ask anyone. They didn’t even acknowledge the lame Group of 5 table they used to sit in. They just plopped down on the end, and that’s what they’re gonna do.
But just like Cady Heron and the plastics, the American’s show is partly just a facade.
We took a look at each division from every conference and ranked them by average S&P+ ranking. We found that the Mountain West Mountain division is actually the best Group of 5 division this year — just a touch worse than the SEC East. But both American divisions were higher than the Mountain West East division.
Cool stickers, though.
Scores this week: Temple beat UConn, 21-0 (Bob Diaco’s seat is very, very hot). BYU beat Cincinnati, 20-3 (Tommy Tuberville literally told a heckler to “go to hell” after it was over). Memphis beat SMU, 51-7 (Ponies having a roller coaster season). UCF beat Tulane, 37-6 (the Knights wore probably the best helmets I’ve seen all season). Tulsa beat ECU, 45-24 (the Golden Hurricane are 4-1 in conference play, and the American West division race is tight). Navy beat ... don’t worry; we’ll get to that.
No. 2: Big Ten (LW, 3)
Of the formerly Power 5, the B1G had the best day. Last week, I wasn’t so sure what to do with this conference. Ohio State sputtered, and I needed to see Penn State keep it rolling. Suffice it to say, I’ve seen what needs to be seen. I’d argue that there isn’t another conference with three stronger teams on its top line.
This is Jim Harbaugh right after Evans was called out. He scored on the next play. pic.twitter.com/ZPaRum8ODW— Ryan Connors (@RyanConnors_) November 5, 2016
Also, Wilton Speight dunked on em.
Speaking of dunkin’ on ‘em, Ohio State beat Nebraska 62-3 and exorcised them demons, putting to bed any serious doubts about what they can be when firing on all cylinders.
As far as Penn State, the only thing that didn’t go wrong for the Lions last night in a 41-14 win over Iowa was probably the flag crews colliding before the game.
Other scores this week: Wisconsin beat Northwestern, 21-7 (no upset alert for the Badgers). Indiana beat Rutgers, 33-27 (the Scarlet Knights came really close to their first conference win). Minnesota beat Purdue, 44-31 (gophers making a little bit of history). Michigan State lost to Illinois, 31-27 (sparty, what the hell?)
No. 3: Pac-12 (LW, 2)
Washington spanked Cal, 66-27. This section will serve only as an appreciation of Marshawn Lynch ...
... and Washington WR John Ross. Ross had three touchdowns and 207 yards receiving. He also did this, because apparently in Washington DBs are not given any quarter:
Other scores this week: Colorado beat UCLA, 20-10 (buffs are good, and UCLA folks want a new coach). Washington State beat Arizona, 69-7 (nice). Stanford beat Oregon State, 26-15 (Christian McCaffrey is fine). USC beat Oregon, 45-20 (not enough Nike dry fit in the world to wick the sweat from Mark Helfrich on his hot seat).
No. 4: Big 12 (LW, 5)
The Big 12 didn’t do anything stupid as far as conference realignment is concerned, so they’re out of the basement.
As far as its biggest brand is concerned: D’Onta Foreman is single-handedly doing his darnedest to keep Charlie Strong’s job. 250 yards last week. 341 yesterday. He got 74 of ‘em without a shoe on in Texas’ 45-37 win over Texas Tech.
Other scores this week: Oklahoma beat Iowa State, 34-24 (Sooners survived Ames on a Thursday night). TCU beat Baylor, 62-22 (Bears got bounced out of the playoff race). Oklahoma State beat Kansas State, 43-37 (a weird rule almost came into play, but we explained why it didn’t). West Virginia beat Kansas, 48-21 (I mean, it’s Kansas).
No. 5: SEC (LW, 4)
This space will not be used to slander Alabama-LSU. Saturday night is about as good as defensive football can be played. The Tide won, 10-0, and two quarterbacks extremely limited in passing skill weren’t able to take advantage of what few opportunities were available through the air. The trump card was what Alabama’s Jalen Hurts did with his legs.
Ferocious defense is, to me, fun to watch when it’s played at the speed those two teams did. But at some point, the defenses will blink. LSU’s did more than Alabama’s. Hopefully, we can still keep our large Cajun uncle Ed Orgeron around after the season.
Other scores this week: Arkansas beat Florida, 31-10 (NovemBERT in these streets, imo). Mississippi State beat Texas A&M, 35-28 (well that was a fun five days we pretended the Aggies could actually make the Playoff). Auburn beat Vanderbilt, 23-16 (dores came close to taking this one to OT). Ole Miss beat Georgia Southern, 37-27 (Chad Kelly left the game with a knee injury, and he’ll have an MRI this week). South Carolina beat Mizzou, 31-21 (Drew Lock is way cooler than you, though). Tennessee beat Tennessee Tech, 55-0 (thus ending the strangest Saturday-Saturday stretch any team has had this season). Georgia beat Kentucky, 27-24 (you were so close to leading the East, Cats).
No. 6: ACC (LW, 2)
Let’s go inside the editorial process because uhh, I dunno what to put here. Gonna throw some stuff at the wall:
- Lamar Jackson scored seven TDs and Louisville beat Boston College, 52-7?
- Miami won its second Power 5 game this season (lol), beating Pitt, 52-28?
- Wake Forest’s bowl eligible after beating Virginia, 27-20?
Wait, let’s just stop right there. Yes, Wake Forest is bowl eligible after beating Virginia, 27-20!
The Demon Deacons will go to a bowl game this season for the first time since 2011, a massive achievement for a team that is one of the Power 5’s ... excuse me, Power 6’s tiniest programs. The Deacs are a great story. Salute.
Other scores this week: Virginia Tech beat Duke, 24-21 (the Blue Devils proved a tough out). North Carolina beat Georgia Tech, 48-20 (Elijah Hood got the job done). Clemson beat Syracuse, 54-0 (Deshaun Watson went down, but he’s probably fine). Florida State beat NC State, 24-20 (the Noles took a late lead and held on).
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I told y’all that we’d come back to Navy. I didn’t want to just have a throwaway line about the Midshipmen because Navy needs to receive full and bold credit for beating Notre Dame 28-27.
In case you were wondering: