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J3C College Football Top 25 (after week fourteen)

The end of the road approaches.

For some it has already arrived, for some almost mercifully and with relief. For others, with disappointment and sadness.  And for still others, anxiously but with hope.

No matter the reception, that end continues to draw closer, often with rivalry games that reverberate for years.  For Alabama, a painful loss to Auburn means the end of their playoff reign.  A season filled with injuries caught up to them, a relatively soft schedule probably only delayed what became inevitable … For Minnesota, the heel snapped off their Cinderella slipper … For Michigan, it was what has become a familiar feeling, one they really show little sign of shaking … For Tennessee, the unfamiliar feeling of relief, finally beating someone in roughly the manner that’s expected of them … and for Georgia Tech, bless their little stingers, the first step of what looks to be a long journey back to even mediocrity is at least mercifully over.  To their credit, they showed a willingness to at least try.  Maybe that’s progress in and of itself.

The last week of the year with a full slate of regular season games is done.  Time to reassess things, and prepare for conference championship week.

Here’s the updated J3C College Football Top 25 … (last week’s ranking follows their name)

  1. LSU (1)
  2. Ohio State (3)
  3. Clemson (2)
  4. Georgia (5)
  5. Utah (6)
  6. Oklahoma (7)
  7. Florida (9)
  8. Baylor (11)
  9. Wisconsin (13)
  10. Auburn (17)
  11. Alabama (4)
  12. Penn State (12)
  13. Oregon (15)
  14. Notre Dame (14)
  15. Memphis (18)
  16. Minnesota (8)
  17. Michigan (10)
  18. Iowa (19)
  19. Boise State (20)
  20. Appalachian State (21)
  21. Cincinnati (16)
  22. Navy (24)
  23. USC (25)
  24. Virginia (Un)
  25.  SMU (Un)

Dropped out: Oklahoma State (22), Virginia Tech (23)

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J3C College Football Top 25 (after week thirteen)

Yes, with all the holiday hubbub I failed to actually post my updated rankings.   Somewhere between figuring them out in my head and the typing them up I dropped the ball.

I’ll take my five yard penalty for delay of game.

Here’s the updated J3C College Football Top 25 … (last week’s ranking follows their name)

  1. LSU (1)
  2. Clemson (2)
  3. Ohio State (3)
  4. Alabama (4)
  5. Georgia (5)
  6. Utah (8)
  7. Oklahoma (7)
  8. Minnesota (9)
  9. Florida (11)
  10. Michigan (12)
  11. Baylor (13)
  12. Penn State (12)
  13. Wisconsin (14)
  14. Notre Dame (16)
  15. Oregon (5)
  16. Cincinnati (15)
  17. Auburn (17)
  18. Memphis (18)
  19. Iowa (19)
  20. Boise State (21)
  21. Appalachian State (22)
  22. Oklahoma State (25)
  23. Virginia Tech (24)
  24. Navy (Un)
  25. USC (Un)

Dropped out: SMU (20), Texas A&M (23)

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J3C College Football Top 25 (after week twelve)

Well … hmm.

If you follow college football closely enough to be reading this, odds are I really don’t have to tell you much about the things that happened last weekend.  Instead, I’m stuck pondering my own dilemma when it comes to updating my own little corner of the college football world.

For several years now I’ve said it would be simpler to rate the top, say, 5-6 teams and then throw most of the rest into a few bundles.  Realistically I don’t believe the difference in #25 and #35 is much these days, #25 vs #45 probably isn’t all that great a distinction on the field either for that matter.   After doing these weekly for 10 years, I kinda have the routine down pretty well.  This year though, noticeably more than usual, I’m having problems settling on the specific order for little groups of 2-3 teams.

To try to help myself with that I referred back to my own words, the way I describe these rankings at the beginning of each season “part art, part science, part instinct … my eyeball of the overall. It’s a combination of how I perceive teams’ ability, their performance, and their relative positioning in light of both.”

I’m not sure if that makes me less conflicted or more.   Ability AND performance.  Those seem to be coming into direct conflict with each other (Penn State and Minnesota, I’m looking at you).  Eyeball of the overall.   A over B, C over A … but I believe if they played tomorrow, B would beat C and possibly convincingly.  (Georgia, Oregon, you’re giving me heartburn here).    At least I have precedent to help me handle cases where I believe teams are about to experience a fall (historically I don’t down rank teams due to injuries until after they’ve played a game with their new lineup)

Much like the actual CFP committee, I know deep down that I have a mulligan — several in fact — in my pocket.  I can rank teams in any ol’ order this week and still tweak it by the time the season ends.   Nobody usually remembers much about where you were ranked this far ahead of bowl season, it’s where (and how) you finish that sticks more.

Far, FAR from the Top 25 I should credit Ole Miss with putting up a fight against LSU, Tennessee for not losing on a bye week, and Georgia Tech for breaking a 62 year streak and managing to get shutout at home.   It wasn’t easy Bees, but by golly you DID IT.   More amazing still is that the defense on North Avenue looks like a bigger dumpster fire than the offense.

No matter what I do this week, I’m going to have some spots I’m neither comfortable or confident about.   Might as well just swallow that pill and get on with it, let’s update the J3C College Football Top 25 … (last week’s ranking follows their name)

  1. LSU (1)
  2. Clemson (2)
  3. Ohio State (3)
  4. Alabama (4)
  5. Oregon (5)
  6. Georgia (6)
  7. Oklahoma (10)
  8. Utah (9)
  9. Minnesota (7)
  10. Penn State (8)
  11. Florida (11)
  12. Michigan (14)
  13. Baylor (13)
  14. Wisconsin (16)
  15. Cincinnati (15)
  16. Notre Dame (17)
  17. Auburn (12)
  18. Memphis (18)
  19. Iowa (21)
  20. SMU (20)
  21. Boise State (21)
  22. Appalachian State (24)
  23. Texas A&M (Un)
  24. Virginia Tech (Un)
  25. Oklahoma State (Un)

Dropped out: Texas (22), Navy (23), Indiana (25)

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J3C College Football Top 25 (after week eleven)

Looks like there’s a new sheriff in town.

Everyone is entitled to their own spin on things but, to me, LSU’s performance felt much dominant than the final score would indicate.   I don’t have to like them to be impressed by them … Minnesota put Penn State on the outside looking in for the playoff, while adding a large chapter to their own Cinderella hopes … Baylor survived, though didn’t do much else to help themselves most likely … Oregon and Utah gain ground for the time being simply by having a week off, Georgia did likewise, being only slightly more challenged by the sudden dumpster fire that Missouri has become …

Elsewhere, Tennessee outlasted Kentucky in a game that was less than pretty, Ole Miss actually handled a non-P5 opponent the way a P5 program should, and Georgia Tech either looked better for a week or revealed the relative mediocrity of Virginia.

With considerably more movement at/near the top than usual, it’s time to update the J3C College Football Top 25 … (last week’s ranking follows their name)

  1. LSU (4)
  2. Clemson (2)
  3. Ohio State (3)
  4. Alabama (1)
  5. Oregon (6)
  6. Georgia (7)
  7. Minnesota (14)
  8. Penn State (5)
  9. Utah (8)
  10. Oklahoma (9)
  11. Florida (10)
  12. Auburn (11)
  13. Baylor (12)
  14. Michigan (13)
  15. Cincinnati (15)
  16. Wisconsin (18)
  17. Notre Dame (17)
  18. Memphis (19)
  19. SMU (20)
  20. Boise State (21)
  21. Iowa (16)
  22. Texas (25)
  23. Navy (Un)
  24. Appalachian State (Un)
  25. Indiana (Un)

Dropped out: Wake Forest (22), Kansas State (23)

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J3C College Football Top 25 (after week ten)

Some upsets, some close calls, some shootouts.   Not bad considering how many top teams were off.

Probably no team had a bigger win than Georgia, who both kept their postseason hopes alive AND kept any heat from being applied to their head coach (and if you think eyebrows wouldn’t have been raised after a loss against another backup QB, you’re wrong) … Speaking of avoiding (additional) heat, the Gus Bus almost had the wheels come off against a bad opponent but managed to avoid running completely off the road … They’re also breathing a sigh of relief in Waco after Baylor had a near miss with a struggling West Virginia … Appalachian State was not nearly so lucky, nor was SMU, both see nice seasons reseated in the “thanks for coming” section.

Elsewhere, Tennessee manages to beat a non-P5 opponent and the mirage that their roster & coaching staff (a term I use loosely) might not be QUITE so bad reappears … Ole Miss at least competed for a change, while Georgia Tech resumed being the abysmal mess that they are.

Shaken but not stirred, time to update the J3C College Football Top 25 … (last week’s ranking follows their name)

  1. Alabama (1)
  2. Clemson (2)
  3. Ohio State (3)
  4. LSU (4)
  5. Penn State (5)
  6. Oregon (7)
  7. Georgia (8)
  8. Utah (9)
  9. Oklahoma (10)
  10. Florida (6)
  11. Auburn (11)
  12. Baylor (13)
  13. Michigan (14)
  14. Minnesota (16)
  15. Cincinnati (15)
  16. Iowa (18)
  17. Notre Dame (17)
  18. Wisconsin (19)
  19. Memphis (22)
  20. SMU (12)
  21. Boise State (21)
  22. Wake Forest (23)
  23. Kansas State (24)
  24. Navy (Un)
  25. Texas (13)

Dropped out: Appalachian State (24)

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J3C College Football Top 25 (after week nine)

A funny thing happened on the way to the playoffs.

Oklahoma’s defense returned to its familiar “offensive” self  and put the Sooners in the position of needing some help if they want to be among the final four … Alabama got the perfect patsy to break in a backup QB … LSU and Auburn provided one of the more interesting games of the year, one that can be interpreted in a couple of ways.  Did Auburn look good in defeat?  Or did LSU look less impressive despite winning?  I lean toward the latter as they escape with a three point win against a team led by a QB that appears badly overmatched against upper tier defenses.  But for the narrative behind him, I struggle to imagine that a QB change wouldn’t be coming (or have already occurred) on The Plains … Both Notre Dame and Texas supplied crash & burn outings … So did Arizona State, just a lot fewer people cared …

Elsewhere, Tennessee got a badly needed win but not without a fair bit of help from an opponent that appeared to largely quit at the first opportunity.  Apparently the Gamecocks didn’t want the fluke win over Georgia to save Muschamp … Georgia Tech and Ole Miss avoided losses, which doesn’t happen on the same weekend all that often.

And with that, let’s see what we see in the latest J3C College Football Top 25 … (last week’s ranking follows their name)

  1. Alabama (1)
  2. Clemson (2)
  3. Ohio State (5)
  4. LSU (3)
  5. Penn State (6)
  6. Florida (7)
  7. Oregon (11)
  8. Georgia (9)
  9. Utah (12)
  10. Oklahoma (4)
  11. Auburn (8)
  12. SMU (14)
  13. Baylor (15)
  14. Michigan (19)
  15. Cincinnati (17)
  16. Minnesota (18)
  17. Notre Dame (10)
  18. Iowa (20)
  19. Wisconsin (16)
  20. Appalachian State (21)
  21. Boise State (22)
  22. Memphis (24)
  23. Wake Forest (Un)
  24. Kansas State (Un)
  25. Texas (13)

Dropped out: Arizona State (23), Navy (25)

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J3C College Football Top 25 (after week eight)

Another week, another team takes a tumble.  Another player too.

Down goes Wisconsin in the biggest upset of the season so far and the biggest upset in Big 10 play in over 35 years.  If you bet that one right straight up please send me some lottery numbers … Alabama avoids a shock on the scoreboard in Knoxville despite suffering a major shock on the field.   The outcome of the college football playoff may rest on the recuperative powers of Tua’s ankle … Florida and Georgia endured the weather to keep the stakes high for their annual showdown in Jacksonville … BYU adds to their case for being the most unpredictable team in the country, at the expense of Boise … Missouri somehow manages to let Vandy find a conference win

Elsewhere, Georgia Tech gets a win that may do more to hurt Miami’s coach than it does to help their own … and in Oxford, Ole Miss does Ole Miss things often enough to let another win get away.   At least The Grove was great, because what passes for football there isn’t worth the time nor trouble, much less the drive across two states.  My lifetime record at Vaught-Hemingway stands at 0-3 😦

And with that, let’s see what we see in the latest J3C College Football Top 25 … (last week’s ranking follows their name)

  1. Alabama (1)
  2. Clemson (2)
  3. LSU (3)
  4. Oklahoma (4)
  5. Ohio State (5)
  6. Penn State (7)
  7. Florida (8)
  8. Auburn (9)
  9. Georgia (10)
  10. Notre Dame (11)
  11. Oregon (12)
  12. Utah (14)
  13. Texas (15)
  14. SMU (18)
  15. Baylor (19)
  16. Wisconsin (6)
  17. Cincinnati (20)
  18. Minnesota (21)
  19. Michigan (16)
  20. Iowa (22)
  21. Appalachian State (24)
  22. Boise State (13)
  23. Arizona State (17)
  24. Memphis (Un)
  25. Navy (Un)

Dropped out: Washington (23), Tulane (25)

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