Sunday, September 16, 2012

Michigan and Big Ten Rankings Review--Week 3

The AP rankings of Week 3 are out. It was a hectic couple days of college football. USC lost to Stanford for the 4th straight year, leaving any chance of the national championship on the doorstep. That's not to say USC is a bad team; they're just not as invincible as the preseason analysts made them out to be over the summer. Florida State is looking like a powerhouse team again, reminiscent of the Seminole's teams from the 90s. Notre Dame thoroughly beat the Spartans, breaking their 14-game home winning streak. Even though the Tennessee Vols have improved, they showed they still have a long way to go in their loss against Florida. Wisconsin needed the whole game to put away Utah State, and of course Indiana lost to Ball State.

All in all it was a decent weekend for Big Ten teams, with only Indiana and Michigan State losing their respective games. Yet, Michigan blew out UMass 63-13, and still ended up dropping one spot in the polls. This is where the fallacy of the strength of schedule comes into play. Remember last week when then No. 6 FSU played Savannah St, were up 55-0 in the 3rd when lightning stopped the game? They were moved to the 5 spot after that. Up one spot after beating a team that is far behind even UMass, and they gained a spot. However, Michigan moved down a spot. Needless to say...I'm not happy. Here's the rest of the polls:

1)Alabama --The number 1 team for the third straight week, Alabama cruised to a win over Arkansas. Was it because of the loss of Tyler Wilson, or is John L. Smith out to prove what a bad coach he still is?  Either way, Alabama is shaping up for a banner year
2) LSU--Les Miles takes out a winless Idaho. Say yay for the television ratings here.
3) Oregon
4) Florida State--Yes, Wake Forest is bad. But I think just as bad as they are; that's how good Jimbo Fisher and the Seminoles are this year.
5) Georgia
6) Oklahoma
7) South Carolina
8) West Virginia - This could be a team that will surprise people in the Big 12.  Oklahoma is ranked above West Virginia, but there is certainly a debate about which team is better right now.
9) Stanford--Making  a huge jump from 21 after beating USC 21-14 is epic. Staying at the top will be harder
10) Clemson
11) Notre Dame--Notre Dame's defense was superb. Shutting down Maxwell is one thing, but doing the same to Le'Veon Bell and the running game is even better. Golson is starting to make his mark.
12) Texas
13) USC--As I pointed out above, USC is not invincible. Good yes. BCS bound probably. But not elite yet.
14) Florida
15) Kansas State
16) Ohio State--OSU needed some things to go their way. A couple late blown assignments and turnovers doomed Cal. Braxton Miller is good, but with him accounting for 73% of OSU's offense is a recipe for wearing a player out. Just ask Denard.
17) TCU
18) Michigan--So there were good signs, and bad as well. Still some missed tackles and the run blocking needs to improve. Denard threw that pick-six and that's the only TD UMass scored. He really needs to study game film and see just how badly he's telegraphing his passing reads. Lots of scoring, and even Taylor Lewan contributed to that. Good to see Roy Roundtree actually show up a little bit. Funchess is still showing improvement at tight end, and I love that! Toussaint had a decent game with 85 yards on just 15 carries, and hopefully will be more of a workhorse next week against Notre Dame.
19) UCLA
20) Louisville
21) Michigan State--MSU looked just plain bad. Maxwell couldn't complete the throws that his receivers could catch, and his receivers had some big drops. The defense looked just plain tired after a few series, and even Dan Conroy missed field goal attempts. Maybe if Sparty had a do-over, they'd do it for the whole game. MSU has another gimme game next week vs Eastern Michigan before they open up the conference season against OSU. They need the practice.
22) Arizona--RichRod had a shutout? I'm impressed. It was against South Carolina State? Nevermind.
23) Mississippi State
24) Boise State
25) Nebraska--Good to see another Big Ten team emerge back into the rankings. It was an efficient win over Arkansas St, and Pelini was rushed to the hospital before the game. Tests seemingly went well so he should be back on the sideline soon.

Dropped from rankings: Virginia Tech, Tennessee, Brigham Young
Others receiving votes: Orgeon St, Baylor, Northwestern, Ohio, Oklahoma State, Rutgers, Iowa St, Virginia Tech, Cincinnati, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Texas Tech, Texas A&M, Missouri, Georgia Tech, Fresno St , Utah.

One last thing before I end this week's rankings updates. With Ohio State's sanctions in place, they are not allowed to be ranked in the coaches' poll. That being said, with the way they've been playing, and Braxton Miller's emergence as a star, I firmly believe that if they were ranked, they'd be in the top 10. Yes, it was a close game against Cal...but if it wasn't for Miller and Meyer, they would have lost.

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