Synan Says: The Real Top 25 in College Football

There is a train of thought in college football that if a team loses a single game, they’re out of it.  Every year, the college football playoffs prove this line of thought is far from the truth and this year is shaping up to be no exception.

Illinois’ shocking win over Wisconsin knocks the Badgers out, right? Maybe but think about it this way: if Wisconsin has one loss, and has beaten Michigan, Ohio State twice and currently unbeaten Minnesota, the Badgers could conceivably get in as the Big 10 Champion.

There are five power conferences and four spots in the playoffs. If we take Notre Dame out of the equation (which we can’t do yet), only one Power 5 conference champ will be left out. Because they are the weakest two Power 5 conferences, most likely either the ACC or the Pac 12 champ will not make it. Would you take a one-loss Wisconsin team with those wins over a one-loss Oregon or a one-loss Clemson? That situation is entirely possible.

I’m not ready to completely write off the Pac 12 yet though because Oregon is playing so well right now. If the Ducks can run the table, beating a one-loss Utah team in the Pac 12 title game, why not Oregon? Their only loss would be in Week 1 on the other coast with a late score by a good Auburn team. Oregon and Utah are not completely out of it yet. After all, Utah lost by a touchdown to Southern Cal in late September. If the Utes can roll off eight wins to end the season, including beating a one-loss Oregon team in the Pac 12 championship game, you can make a case for Utah.

Can the SEC get two teams in the playoffs? Absolutely. What if Alabama’s only loss is to LSU without Tua Tagovailoa at quarterback? How about LSU if a close loss to Alabama is the only blemish on their record? What happens if either of those teams head to the SEC championship game but are beaten by a one loss-Florida or Georgia team? Plenty of teams are still in this thing a little more than halfway through the season. Fans should hang in there and believe in their team.

Another week, another drop in the AP poll for Clemson which is now down to number four. I wonder what the Tigers are or doing–or aren’t doing–that has pollsters punishing them this week. I’m assuming it’s the highlight shows selecting Trevor Lawrence interceptions as their preferred look at Clemson instead of the Tigers’ suffocating defense which, once again, gave up almost nothing until the second string was out there in the fourth quarter.

How wide open is the Cotton Bowl bid after Boise lost at BYU? SMU has former Texas QB Shane Buchele so the Mustangs would make a great story, especially if they get to play Texas or Oklahoma. How about undefeated Appalachian State? The Mountaineers beat North Carolina and still get to visit Columbia to play South Carolina. I still think the best of the bunch is Cincinnati but the Bearcats did not come close to giving Ohio State a game.

Hot rumor time: Urban Meyer to FSU! There is no way that is happening. If FSU fires Willie Taggart, the Seminoles will be looking at a whole field of coaches like Matt Rhule at Baylor, Scott Frost at Nebraska and Scott Satterfield at Louisville. There’s no interest in Tallahassee in Meyer, something FSU has already made clear.

The Top 25 for the Week beginning October 20:

1. LSU (7-0) Handled their business at Mississippi State.

2. Oklahoma (7-0) Win over Texas has the Sooners here.

3. Penn State (7-0) Nice wins against Pitt, at Iowa and Michigan (even though the tying TD was dropped).

4. Alabama (7-0) Meh wins at Texas A&M, at South Carolina and Duke. Excited to see their backup QB.

5.  Ohio State (7-0) Home wins over Cincinnati and Michigan State. Meh again.

6. Clemson (7-0) Consider the Tigers tied with Ohio State. Their best wins are over Texas A&M

at Louisville.

7. Baylor (7-0) Got their best win this week over Oklahoma State.

8. Florida (7-1) Off week before meeting Dawgs after a solid comeback at South Carolina.

9. Auburn (6-1) Saturday’s game against LSU is the best matchup of the day.

10. Oregon (6-1) Washington win boosts the Ducks’ resume.

11. Minnesota (7-0) The Gophers have beaten Illinois–which is more than Wisconsin has done.

12. SMU (7-0) Best wins: at TCU, Temple.

13.  Georgia (6-1) Best wins: Notre Dame, at Tennessee.

14. Notre Dame (5-1) The Irish get a chance to notch their best win yet against Michigan this week.

15. Appalachian State (6-0) Their best win is at North Carolina.

16. Wisconsin (6-1) The Badgers can bounce back by winning out. If the Big 12 champ will have only one loss, they will be in the playoffs.

17. Utah (6-1) Arizona State win is a resume booster.

18. Cincinnati (6-1) Have a Power 5 win over UCLA, beat UCF and only loss is at Ohio State.

19. Texas (5-2) Did you know they are the only team to beat 6-1 Louisiana Tech?

20. Wake Forest (6-1) This team is all about winning nail biters–but they also lost one.

21. Boise State (6-1) Will be an uphill climb to make the Cotton Bowl after losing at BYU.

22. Iowa (5-2) Their first two November games are Wisconsin and Minnesota. We’ll know then if they are worthy.

23. Michigan (5-2) Dropped the game-tying touchdown at Penn State with a minute to go.

24. Arizona State (5-2) Barely holding on in the 25 after loss at Utah.

25. UCF (5-2) The Knights are still a high powered football team.

 

Reach Mike Synan at mike.synan@floridadaily.com.

 

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