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THE TOP WHATEVER: TCU kicks every ass in Stillwater, Oklahoma and leaves in search of more asses to kick

It’s this week’s updated ranking of only the teams that really need to be ranked right now.

Kansas State v TCU Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

1. TCU.

There are more delicate ways of saying this, but football is not a delicate sport: the Horned Frogs are number one this week because they beat some ass.

How much ass? Piles of it. Railcars full of it. Market distortions happened because of the amount of ass TCU beat in its 44-31 win over Oklahoma State. Shipments of ass had to be rerouted from other supply lines of ass in order to be rerouted to Stillwater, where Gary Patterson and his team beat it. Cowboys booster T. Boone Pickens probably made a killing by buying shares of ass in the first quarter, and moving them around the market. He’s a Pokes fan, yes, but he’s an investor first, and he’s not going to turn down a profit when he sees one.

But TCU gave up 31 points.

Run your conversion charts. In a Big 12 game, 31 points is like 22 points in an ACC game and 10 in a Neanderthal SEC game. That’s Oklahoma State. They’re going to get points, including at least one TD off a perfectly thrown deep ball you can do nothing about. The impressive part comes in granting those points, destroying any sense of balance by stuffing the run game, and responding by running the ball with Darius Anderson, controlling the pace, then waiting on Oklahoma State to press and hand over some turnovers.

It’s an old-school approach to facing a high-powered offense, retrofitted with new school trappings, all installed by a defensive coach who understands the realities of winning in the Big 12. For this week, while the ass markets slowly recover, TCU will be No. 1.

2. Georgia.

Flattened Mississippi State, 31-3, and gets the MVP for eliminating any need to watch their game at all on a busy Saturday night. That’s how to courteously save time for the busy viewer: leap out to a lead, extinguish all hope of the opponent moving the ball, and wrap it up in about 20 minutes of actual time.

The offense looked fine, but the Georgia defense looked horrifying against a very good offense, dominating point-to-point along the line of scrimmage.

This is to say that even if the Georgia offense doesn’t get to throw a flea-flicker for a TD on its first play of a game, the defense can keep them in any game, no matter how low the score.

Now that I’ve said nice things about them and given them a prime ranking for one week, watch them lose to Tennessee this coming weekend.

3. Alabama.

Don’t look at what they did to Vanderbilt in a 59-0 win. Only know that they ran 66 times for six TDs, and that Satan still wouldn’t have anything to do with this atrocity. STOP SAYING YOU WANT BAMA. THEY DON’T GET THAT IT’S A JOKE AND NEVER WILL.

4. Penn State.

Survived Kinnick Stadium at night in a 21-19 thriller. The achievement of beating Iowa at night when they score a prime number is never to be underestimated. Iowa thrives on a few things: weird scores, stifling defense, staying in games despite getting doubled up in yardage categories, and causing well-timed special teams disasters. The Hawkeyes got most of those things and still didn’t win, marking this as a serious achievement and a reminder that playing in Kinnick after fans have had a whole day’s worth of tailgating will terrify even the most hardened team.

P.S. — Saquon Barkley is a god.

not the god but a god

5. Clemson.

Beat Boston College, 34-7.

Yes, this was a 7-7 game going into the fourth quarter, but that’s not surprising to anyone who watches Boston College play football. BC’s strategy is to slow the game down to a glacial crawl, punt as many times as possible, and mostly hope something good happens. (It rarely does, but that’s still the plan for some reason.) In a game like that, Clemson will eventually break contain and make the expected blowout look like the expected blowout.

Are we concerned about Kelly Bryant having a bad day passing? Sure, and we can’t exactly decide how concerned to be, given that Clemson could probably keep up this single wing running thing for most of the year and win by three scores against the bulk of their schedule. But still, it’s noted. A team that can stop the run will give them fits, particularly if that team can respond with anything like a little offense.

6. Don La Greca.

I’m just glad that New York City continues to set the pace for intellectual discourse in sports talk. I’VE BEEN WATCHING FOOTBALL FOR 40 YEARS. FORTY YEARS.

7. Oklahoma.

Eked out a victory over Baylor, 49-41, which is less than you want to do against Baylor, and way less than you want to do when you tell Baylor that Daddy’s home and you’re going to spank them.

Chalk it up to a road game against an opponent learning how to play under new management. (By the way, that was inevitable, because Baylor under Matt Rhule was not going to be laughingly bad all year.)

8. USC.

A 30-20 win over Cal. That USC looked frustrated sort of confirms a lot of what people already think about USC.

  • They’re talented, but will misfire and let teams hang around.
  • Sam Darnold, who threw another interception and has seven on the year, is still pressing a little and figuring out who his receivers really are.
  • They will, after struggling, win most of the games they play.

The question is whether they will sharpen up, which they did over the course of 2016. Bonus mitigating detail in a sort of underwhelming game from the Trojans: Cal’s beyond improved under Justin Wilcox.

9. Navy.

Did something to Cincinnati in a 42-32 win. That something is hard to define, but it bears mentioning and praise here because all of the following things happened:

  • Navy ran 72 times for 569 yards in a regulation football game.
  • Navy had five players with more than a single carry each average over 10 yards a carry.
  • Navy had 31 first downs despite being designed to play at a pace slightly faster than a brisk walk between downs.
  • Navy did that offensive line thing all flexbone teams do, where they try to cut block defensive linemen, which makes defensive linemen move a lot like someone trying to escape the snapping jaws of an onrushing Rottweiler.
  • Navy only passed three times.

That’s triple-option cruelty at its finest. Applaud it, or risk getting your knees taken out in line at Starbucks by a hard-charging wingback out of nowhere. Ask Cincy: they’re literally everywhere.

10. Michigan.

A 28-10 game against Purdue, a defensive performance we’ll all look back on a lot more approvingly, when the season’s done and everyone realizes how vastly improved the Boilermakers were.

The Michigan offense still has some kind of disorder involving the redzone and third downs; the defense still might be good enough for that not to matter much.

11. MOooooooopolllol.

My ooffice and the

In conclusion:


12. San Diego State.

They’re going to score like 28 points and get Rashaad Penny all the carries. What you do in return is negotiable, but it’ll probably end up something like a 28-24 loss, like Air Force suffered, because that is what this Aztecs team is designed to do.

13. Washington.

The Huskies played a way more competitive game than you might think in beating Colorado, 37-10, but even games become lopsided ones when the other quarterback throws three INTs. Washington hasn’t been explosive, but they’ve been efficient, and if you’re sort of wondering how that will look against long-bombing attacks like Arizona State or Oregon, well, we’re more than curious about that, too.

14. Washington State.

Pounded Nevada, 45-7. Washington State plays USC this Friday. [THUNDEROUS, OMINOUS MUSIC PLAYS FOR FIVE MINUTES STRAIGHT.]

P.S. Nevada is a baaaaaaaad team right now.

15. Virginia Tech.

38-0 over Old Dominion. The Hokies only allowed seven first downs, and more importantly, beat another one of the 392 other universities you didn’t know were in the state of Virginia.

16. Utah.

Fine, Utah, you beat Arizona, 30-24, you’re 4-0 and doing that scrappy, ugly-but-undefeated thing you’ll do for a while, so you get a ranking. The next four games — Stanford, USC, Arizona State, and Oregon — are pure hell, so save some of that scrappiness for the next month. You’ll need it.

17. USF.

Beat Temple, 43-7, maybe is really good, and might still scare us because of some bad offensive stretches in between points binges.


Memphis. Three and oh, tho.


Wake Forest and Duke. I dunno, this year’s weird already, y’all.


Texas Tech. Continued to play ... ”defense” in a 27-24 win over Houston? Three wins and the nation’s second best turnover margin aren’t a lie, but let’s keep them overnight for observation anyway.


The Hurricanes of Miami, who beat Toledo, 52-30. Shut up, Toledo’s pretty good.


Undefeateds Minnesota and Wisconsin. Goldy got his reps in anyway.