The Latest Top 25, Week 11

Florida State, the team to beat in 2014? Photo: Getty Images

So it has been a while since I did much on this website. For that, I apologize. As you hopefully know by now I have been pretty busy managing Crystal Ball Run and contributing to College Football Talk this football season, which has left this site a little bit on the back-burner. Let’s fix that today, shall we? And what better way to do it than by returning to posting my weekly Top 25?

As far as I can see, there have been some interesting developments since the last time I shared my top 25 publicly on the site. Alabama is still my top team, without hesitation, but there have been some changes just about everywhere after them. For instance, I have dropped Ohio State from second in my poll to make way for Oregon and Florida State. I still think highly of the Buckeyes but cannot make an argument to place them above either the Ducks or the Seminoles at this point in time based solely on the strength of schedule. I may change my mind later if Ohio State continues to dominate Big Ten opponents the way they have the past two weeks against Penn State and Purdue, but I have reached a point right now where I am starting to see an undefeated Ohio State get shutout of a BCS title shot, which really is unfathomable. That said, I still have a gut feeling Ohio State wiggles in because I do think two of the three teams blocking them will take a loss before the end of the season. It may even happen this week.

When I last shared my top 25 I had Clemson ranked fifth. Today I have them ranked sixth despite getting trounced by Florida State. I am going to explore Clemson as the best one-loss team in the country later this week but I really started to think about how I’m viewing Clemson and Stanford with one loss at this point in the season and found myself thinking there is a stronger case for Clemson. Again, I’ll get in to that later this week, likely over on Crystal Ball Run.

I had Miami ranked 12th back in week six of my top 25. After losing to Florida State and then losing running back Duke Johnson, I hit Miami hard by dropping them to 20th in my latest top 25. Perhaps harsh considering they lost to one of the top three teams in the country, but as I look at Miami without their top offensive player, I have some concerns as they move forward. They may reach Charlotte, but I don’t like them quite as much as I used to. Not yet at least.

Since I last shared my top 25 poll, Missouri has skyrocketed on to the scene. I have them in my top 10 now after having them on my radar in week six. The Tigers are on their way to Atlanta to represent the SEC East, I think, but I am curious if they can beat Texas A&M, who I still think pretty highly of as you can tell despite having two losses.

BCS Buster Watch

As for the little guys, those who have followed me for a while know I like to root for them but I have to be honest. As much as I am pulling to see Fresno State or Northern Illinois to reach the BCS, I just cannot put my senses together to rank them higher than where I have them right now. Right now you cannot convince me that either one is better than any of the teams in front of them and they may not be better than the teams just behind them. Fresno State is currently sitting in a good position in the BCS standings and would receive an automatic berth if handed out today because they are ranked ahead of the champion from the American. That is not the case in my top 25, as I have Central Florida ranked six spots ahead of Northern Illinois, who is one spot in front of Fresno State. I also have Louisville ranked ahead of the Huskies and Bulldogs and Houston is now officially on my radar.

What was I thinking?

There is one issue I admit to having with my poll. I have Arizona State ranked higher than Notre Dame, despite the Irish beating the Sun Devils on a neutral field this season. The Irish have not lost a game since, so why do I rank them so low compared to Arizona State? Notre Dame defeated a defensively sound and clearly rejuvenated USC team, blew away Air Force on the road and escaped this past weekend against Navy. Arizona state has dominated two clearly inferior teams in Colorado and Washington State and also more than doubled up a top 25 Washington team. They have scored over 50 points in three straight games as well. Perhaps this is more of a case of “what have you done for me lately?” because you can certainly make the argument Notre Dame should be ranked higher than Arizona State. I think that I trust Arizona State a little more right now than I do Notre Dame. I like the Sun Devils on offense much better than I do Notre Dame, although I admit Tommy Rees has exceeded my expectations this season, but Notre Dame does have the advantage on defense. I think the Irish will have a good chance to pass Arizona State before the end of the season though.

My Latest Top 25

This is how my weekly ballot for the SMC Top 25 looks this week (my top ten is also used for my Crystal Ball Run power ranking vote).

1. Alabama

2. Oregon

3. Florida State

4. Ohio State

5. Baylor

6. Clemson

7. Stanford

8. Auburn

9. Missouri

10. Oklahoma

11. LSU

12. Texas A&M

13. South Carolina

14. Michigan State

15. Central Florida

16. Louisville

17. Oklahoma State

18. Arizona State

19. Wisconsin

20. Miami

21. Northern Illinois

22. Fresno State

23. BYU

24. Texas

25. Notre Dame

On My Radar: UCLA, Houston, Texas Tech, Texas, Minnesota, Ball State

About the Author

Kevin McGuire
Contributor to College Football Talk on Also a contributor to Athlon Sports and The Comeback. Member of Football Writers Association of America and National Football Foundation. Follow on Twitter @KevinOnCFB.