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J3C College Football Top 25 (after week three)

Week three, where bubbles burst. Or at least a couple of them did.

While Auburn still has multiple opportunities to get themselves back in position for the playoff despite their loss to LSU, Wisconsin now may need an unbeaten run to the finish by BYU for them to salvage a spot for themselves.  Such is life in the (post)modern college football era.

Meanwhile, Alabama could face charges involving mistreatment of a corpse after their thorough dismembering of (what’s left of) Ole Miss.  It only looked like a snuff film, but the victim was already dead … Clemson did enough, though for about a quarter & a half things were closer than they would have liked or hoped … Georgia beat up another victim while Ohio State got one of the best wins anyone has on their resume to date this year … Iowa State might be the best 0-2 team in the land, just ask Oklahoma … Stanford mostly sleptwalked through their win this week while Washington survived a physical affair against Utah … Notre Dame nearly ended their season early while Michigan posted a pedestrian 25 point win … Out west, USC and Arizona State were both revealed as pretenders to significance …   Tennessee manhandled a lesser opponent defensively, more than enough to get their offense through another week, while Georgia Tech throughly soiled the proverbial sheets.  While it’s fair to put the latest display of ineptitude largely on the players lack of execution (insert John McKay joke about his players execution here), CPJ is the clown who brought them in so #FireCPJ remains most definitely a valid thing.

Shuffled up a bit, time to deal  the latest edition of JonsThreeCents College Football Top 25.
(last week’s ranking follows their name)

  1. Alabama (1)
  2. Clemson (2)
  3. Ohio State (5)
  4. Georgia (4)
  5. Oklahoma (5)
  6. Stanford (9)
  7. Notre Dame (7)
  8. LSU (11)
  9. Auburn (8)
  10. Washington (10)
  11. Penn State (12)
  12. Mississippi State (14)
  13. Virginia Tech (15)
  14. West Virginia (16)
  15. Oklahoma State (18)
  16. TCU (16)
  17. Wisconsin (3)
  18. Michigan (19)
  19. Oregon (24)
  20. Miami (21)
  21. UCF (22)
  22. Boston College (23)
  23. Texas A&M (Un)
  24. Boise State (17)
  25. BYU (Un)

Dropped: USC (20), Arizona State (25)

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J3C College Football Top 25 (after week two)

Does week two have a bit of “sophomore jinx” this year?

Not in the sense that a lot of upsets occurred or unexpected poor performances, but rather more in the sense of feeling a little … lackluster.

Three ranked teams lost this week but none of those were overly surprising to me, though ASU vs Sparty felt like a toss up and that’s about what it turned out to be … Most ranked teams did what you’d expect against significantly weaker opponents, Clemson found life to be more interesting than they anticipated/hoped for … While not particularly relevant to anything in the big picture, my own teams of interest were at least, well, interesting (though not all for good reasons) … Ole Miss puts up a basketball score on SIU, while letting the Salukis figuratively shoot the lights out for a half … Georgia Tech got the result I expected, just not entirely in the manner I figured.   I didn’t figure USF would need the predictable collapse to win outright … Tennessee let a weaker opponent (which are kinda tough for them to find) hang around for a little while before doing what they ought to do in that situation.

Mostly though, my football weekend was highlighted by a trip to see some of my family’s favorite people as Washington & Lee faced DIII rival Sewanee.  Good times, great people, and a handy win.  Hard to beat that for a football outing.

With relatively few changes, here’s the latest update of JonsThreeCents College Football Top 25.     (last week’s ranking follows their name)

  1. Alabama (1)
  2. Clemson (2)
  3. Wisconsin (3)
  4. Georgia (4)
  5. Ohio State (5)
  6. Oklahoma (6)
  7. Notre Dame (7)
  8. Auburn (8)
  9. Stanford (9)
  10. Washington (10)
  11. LSU (11)
  12. Penn State (12)
  13. TCU (13)
  14. Mississippi State (14)
  15. Virginia Tech (16)
  16. West Virginia (18)
  17. Boise State (19)
  18. Oklahoma State (21)
  19. Michigan (20)
  20. USC (17)
  21. Miami (21)
  22. UCF (22)
  23. Boston College (23)
  24. Oregon (Un)
  25. Arizona State (Un)

Dropped: Michigan State (15), South Carolina (24)

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J3C College Football Top 25 (after week one)

Ah, that new season smell.

For most teams, the first week of the season was pretty much exactly what they expected it to be.
Alabama, Clemson, nearly all the prime suspects to be in the primary conversation a few months from now did nothing to change that impression.    The key word there is … “nearly”.

Penn State tried mightily to crash & burn in week one, having Appy State give you all you want at home is not a good look … Death & taxes may be sure things, but CMR struggling to beat the first halfway decent team he faces each year is at least a coin flip.  Miami is learning more & more about why Georgia was willing to part ways with Saint Richt … Washington & Auburn was expected to be close and delivered.  Nice enough win for Auburn in a year where they may see as many as four teams better than the Huskies in the regular season, a missed opportunity for a quality win for U Dub … Michigan State’s struggles against Utah State may have been a little overlooked because it was a Friday night game but it may not bode well for Sparty … Things may be worse at Michigan though, the offensive line troubles continue & that makes things tough for any QB regardless of their talent.  Notre Dame, however, may be pretty legit so what to make of UM after what was ultimately a one-score loss is still a little hard to read … FSU and Texas both flamed out in grand fashion and doubts loom larger than ever in both locations.

For my teams with above-average interest, the weekend kinda was what it was.  Ole Miss beat Texas Tech but from the looks of things quite a few teams may be saying that by season’s end … Georgia Tech wasn’t particularly challenged by Alcorn State, a situation that should change this coming weekend against South Florida … Tennessee tried, which is a good first step.  But against any team that has a quarterback who isn’t missing both arms, the sledding may be tough.  And the offense isn’t yet ready to get into too many shootouts.   Sketchy defense & pedestrian offense is a baaaad combination.

And now, the updated edition of JonsThreeCents College Football Top 25.     (last week’s ranking follows their name)

  1. Alabama (1)
  2. Clemson (2)
  3. Wisconsin (3)
  4. Georgia (4)
  5. Ohio State (5)
  6. Oklahoma (6)
  7. Notre Dame (10)
  8. Auburn (11)
  9. Stanford (14)
  10. Washington (9)
  11. LSU (22)
  12. Penn State (7)
  13. TCU (15)
  14. Mississippi (16)
  15. Michigan State (12)
  16. Virginia Tech (19)
  17. USC (17)
  18. West Virginia (20)
  19. Boise State (21)
  20. Michigan (12)
  21. Oklahoma State (23)
  22. Miami (8)
  23. UCF (25)
  24. South Carolina (Un)
  25. Boston College (Un)

Dropped: FSU (18), Texas (24)

 

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J3C College Football Poll (2018 pre-season)

There may not exactly be a chill in the air but, sure enough, it’s about that time again.

My weekly College Football Top 25 returns for a ninth year, and just like the years past, it’s “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.

Last year provided a few more surprises than we’d seen in a while, though whether that continues into a new season remains to be seen.  With plenty of movement for both coaches and players, returns from injury, position battles on some highly interesting depth charts, the potential for another volatile year is there.

And yet, despite starting 2018 with five teams that weren’t ranked in my 2017 year-end poll, there’s a feeling of sameness once again.

— All five of those “new” teams were ranked in my pre-season poll a year ago.
— 20 of the 25 teams in this pre-season poll have now appeared in more than half the ones I’ve done over the last nine years.  Only one (UCF) is ranked for the first time in pre-season.
— 7 of the 25 have been ranked in all nine of my pre-season polls

There’s more there than any sort of self-fulfilling prophecy though.  I’m coming off two straight seasons where 9 pre-season ranked teams didn’t end up in my year-end poll.  But the pre-season & year-end teams have some considerable consistency that’s deserved.

While only one team (gosh, can you guess?) have I ranked in all eight previous pre and year-end Top 25’s, the other six that have been in every pre-season poll generally finish there too.  Wisconsin, Ohio State, Oklahoma, FSU, and LSU are all 7 / 9, the most volatile is Georgia at 5 / 9.

There are some others who tend to prove out my early thoughts one way or the other as Clemson (7 / 7), Oklahoma State (6 / 6) , and Auburn (5 / 5) all end the year ranked as often as they start the year that way, and even a couple who’ve exceeded my best guesses (Michigan State 6 pre but 7 final, Mississippi State 3 pre but 4 final).   Now if only West Virginia (4 pre but only 1 year-end) and Texas (5 pre but only 1 year-end) could get the hang of that.

One way or another, I just hope there’s enough excitement to keep things engaging nationally because once again I have lower-than-modest hopes for much from any of the D1 teams where I have a significant rooting interest.  Georgia Tech most likely gonna Georgia Tech though I had hoped at least maybe the defense would be better this year before injuries dampened that optimism somewhat.   I’m afraid Tennessee finds themselves starting another rebuild although at least MAYBE they’ve handed that task to someone capable of getting it done.   And Ole Miss might be able to entertain against lesser teams thanks to a talented group of receivers but I expect another defensive dumpster fire, presided over by a why-spend-money hire that I don’t think has shown any indication of being ready to make decisions on Friday night’s much less Saturday afternoons.   My best hope for success I feel somehow connected to almost certainly lies in D-III again this year, so go Generals go.

And that, I reckon, means it’s time to bring up the curtain on the 2018 Preseason edition of JonsThreeCents College Football Top 25.     (final 2017 J3C ranking follows their name)

  1. Alabama (2)
  2. Clemson (5)
  3. Wisconsin (7)
  4. Georgia (2)
  5. Ohio State (4)
  6. Oklahoma (3)
  7. Penn State (8)
  8. Miami (13)
  9. Washington (18)
  10. Notre Dame (11)
  11. Auburn (10)
  12. Michigan State (15)
  13. Michigan (Un)
  14. Stanford (20)
  15. TCU (9)
  16. Mississippi State (16)
  17. USC (12)
  18. FSU (Un)
  19. Virginia Tech (Un)
  20. West Virginia (Un)
  21. Boise State (23)
  22. LSU (19)
  23. Oklahoma State (14)
  24. Texas (Un)
  25. UCF (6)

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J3C College Football Top 25 (2017 season final)

Well that was close.   Too close.

A freshman quarterback that hadn’t seen particularly meaningful action all season.  A freshman receiver who caught only eight passes for the year, but two of those were game winning touchdowns on his team’s final offensive play.   This Alabama team suddenly has two surprise heroes … and, oh yeah, another national championship.

In some respects perhaps the sudden stunning finish to the 2017 college football season was appropriate.   I mean, who really thought FSU would end up with a season turning to disaster after an injury?  Or that the ‘Noles would go into 2018 with a new coach?  Or that their old coach would end up at … Texas A&M (!?!)? Or that UCF would run the table, regardless of their (lack of) strength of schedule?  Or that Auburn would beat both playoff finalists, but not be in the playoff themselves?  Or that a college team would hold a press conference to announced that they’ve hired Herm Edwards (?!?!?).   Or that Georgia Tech would miss a bowl … oh wait, that one really ain’t any more shocking than Tennessee (finally) ridding themselves of Butch Jones.    Or maybe there’s the most shocking development of all:  someone hiring Derek Doofus to coach in the college ranks again. Proof positive that, truly, anything can happen I guess.

I think, in the big picture, that the year was a good one for college football.   Too often in recent years there felt like there was little mystery to be found, while this year — good or bad — there was at least a little more sense of “what will happen next?”.   And that bodes well, in theory anyway, for next season … which is only about seven months away.   It seems almost certain that some of this year’s playoff teams will also be some of next year’s playoff teams … but you never know, which is what 2017 proved.

All that’s left is to put a bow on 2017, with my final JonsThreeCents College Football Top 25 for the year.  (Final rank & pre-bowl rank before the team name, my pre-season rank follows their name)

  1. (5) Alabama (1)
  2. (3) Georgia (17)
  3. (2) Oklahoma (5)
  4. (4) Ohio State (3)
  5. (1) Clemson (7)
  6. (9) UCF (Un)
  7. (8) Wisconsin (11)
  8. (10) Penn State (8)
  9. (13) TCU (Un)
  10. (6) Auburn (12)
  11. (15) Notre Dame (Un)
  12. (7) USC (4)
  13. (11) Miami (16)
  14. (16) Oklahoma State (10)
  15. (18) Michigan State (Un)
  16. (23) Mississippi State (Un)
  17. (21) Northwestern (Un)
  18. (12) Washington (6)
  19. (20) LSU (13)
  20. (14) Stanford (14)
  21. (19) South Florida (22)
  22. (22) Washington State (23)
  23. (25) Boise State (Un)
  24.  (Un) Iowa State (Un)
  25. (Un) Wake Forest (Un)

Dropped: Memphis (17), Virginia Tech (24)

Teams ranked in pre-season that finished 2017 unranked:
FSU (2), Michigan (9),  Florida (15), Kansas State (18), Louisville (19), Virginia Tech (20),
West Virginia (21), Texas (24), Utah (25)

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J3C College Football Top 25 (end of regular season)

What the weekend lacked in quantity, it made up for with impact.

Clemson and Oklahoma both handled their business, in convincing fashion, and made the top two spots pretty simple to figure out … Georgia did what they needed to do, Auburn didn’t.  That not only settles the third playoff spot but, IMO, also opens the door for another possible coaching change in the SEC … Ohio State put to rest Wisconsin’s bid for a playoff spot … UCF & Memphis mixed it up in a shootout, and now the winner finds themselves officially in need of a new coach … USC kicked off the weekend by winning a conference title though it had little impact nationally … Oh, and FSU and New Mexico State made themselves bowl-eligible by winning their sixth games of the year.   That brings us to 81 teams eligible for 78 spots, so somebody is staying home despite managing to win six games … Georgia Tech, that’s not the reason you’re staying home … And, no, Tennessee still doesn’t have a head coach.  They do, however, have a new AD. And this time Phat Phil got a job despite no one having heart surgery.  Will wonders never cease?

Most seasons I end up saying that things work themselves out in the end.  That the rankings (both my own and the playoff committee’s ) end up being pretty obvious.   This year, I can only say that about the top three spots.  The fourth one, it was tough, I won’t lie.   And yes, I’m writing it having already seen what the playoff committee decided.  That doesn’t bother me much honestly, I’m usually in a fair bit of agreement with them by the time they reach the last one.   The key word there is “usually”.  This year is an exception.   It’s not that I was overly impressed by Ohio State’s win on Saturday, it’s more than I can’t shake the sight of not just Alabama’s loss to Auburn but the manner of that loss.  Discombobulated is not a good final impression to make, and for that reason, I believe the 2017 committee got it wrong.

After all of that, it’s time for the season’s penultimate JonsThreeCents College Football Top 25.   We’ll do this one last time after all the bowls are complete.  (last week’s J3C ranking follows their name)

  1. Clemson (1)
  2. Oklahoma (2)
  3. Georgia (5)
  4. Ohio State (8)
  5. Alabama (4)
  6. Auburn (3)
  7. USC (10)
  8. Wisconsin (6)
  9. UCF (11)
  10. Penn State (9)
  11. Miami (7)
  12. Washington (13)
  13. TCU (12)
  14. Stanford (14)
  15. Notre Dame (17)
  16. Oklahoma State (16)
  17. Memphis (15)
  18. Michigan State (18)
  19. South Florida (19)
  20. LSU (20)
  21. Northwestern (21)
  22. Washington State (22)
  23. Mississippi State (23)
  24. Virginia Tech (25)
  25. Boise State (Un)

Dropped: Fresno State (24)

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J3C College Football Top 25 (after week thirteen)

College football fans feasted on rivalry week … some of their team’s, eh, not so much.

As skimpy as last week was for impact, this week certainly tried to make up for it.   The Iron Bowl certainly delivered (most watched college game on CBS since the 2013 edition), and did a pretty good job of confusing things,  sending post-season possibilities all over the place like a Crimson Tide shotgun snap.  That’s twice in the past month Auburn has looked like they might be as good as anybody, so how in the heck did they lose the games they lost? … Pitt did it again, and Georgia fans had some flashbacks about underachievement under Saint Richt.  Can’t feel sorry for Miami really, they knew who they were hiring … Clemson, meanwhile, made sure they left no doubt about the state of things in South Carolina, unless perhaps you count the state of Muschamp’s future if he doesn’t break the streak next season … Oklahoma & Wisconsin similarly handled their business on Saturday … Georgia?  Pretty much as expected, especially by anyone who saw the last two quarters Tech played against Duke.   Only a complete meltdown by the heavy favorite would have produced a closer outcome, that didn’t happen & the Jackets barely seemed to care enough to provide even a nudge in that direction … Game of the weekend had to be Central Florida & South Florida, who provided an entertaining show for some 59 minutes … Ole Miss nearly turned into Ole Miss in the final minutes before providing a signature moment with the Egg Bowl Trophy in what ought to be the final game of the Matt Luke era. Then again, who knows, it seems like insanity might be part of the job description for some ADs … I mean, if Tennessee can get drubbed at home by Vanderbilt and then think hiring Greg Schiano is a good idea, well at that point I suppose anything is possible … Well, almost anything.   Neither of those scenarios would be any worse than Georgia Tech allowing Ted Roof to return as DC for another season.  Even they can’t be that st … and then I think about how long Paul Hewitt survived on The Flats and I can’t even finish the sentence.

With a final critical update still to come next week, for the time being here’s the latest JonsThreeCents College Football Top 25.     (last week’s J3C ranking follows their name)

  1. Clemson (2)
  2. Oklahoma (4)
  3. Auburn (6)
  4. Alabama (1)
  5. Georgia (7)
  6. Wisconsin (5)
  7. Miami (3)
  8. Ohio State (8)
  9. Penn State (9)
  10. USC (11)
  11. UCF (12)
  12. TCU (13)
  13. Washington (14)
  14. Stanford (19)
  15. Memphis (16)
  16. Oklahoma State (20)
  17. Notre Dame (10)
  18. Michigan State (21)
  19. South Florida (19)
  20. LSU (23)
  21. Northwestern (Un)
  22. Washington State (15)
  23. Mississippi State (17)
  24. Fresno State (Un)
  25. Virginia Tech (25)

Dropped: Boise State (22) Michigan (24)

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