Synan Says: The Real Top 25 in College Football

The University of South Florida (USF) needs a new head coach after firing Charlie Strong.

Was it the right move? Of course, it was.

Strong started 17-2 at USF, but went just 4-14 after that, losing with more of his players than those of predecessor Willie Taggart. During his time at USF, Taggart had things rolling along before he left to take over at Oregon. After being dismissed by FSU,  the calls are growing for Taggart to return.

Taggart might make a perfect fit at USF–as the famous “Get on the Bus USF!” video reminds us.

Getting Taggart back on the bus at USF would also be a huge help to FSU which owes him $21 million for his buyout after being fired by the Seminoles. Can the two schools cut a deal? FSU might gladly a large part of Taggart’s salary at USF and free up the rest of the money on hiring a new coach.

There’s still no update on who is the favorite for the Florida State job but it ranks as the most attractive job currently on the market, even slightly better than Washington.

There have been some calls for a different return to USF’s glory days by bringing back Jim Leavitt. That’s not likely to happen since Leavitt was fired after a school investigation revealed he slapped a player,and then lied about it. As part of his settlement agreement, USF can simply ignore any application for employment Leavitt could turn–and frankly, USF would be wise to do so in this case.

Many college football fans were excited to see Alabama lose to Auburn on Saturday. With two losses now on their record, Auburn knocked the Crimson Tide out of the title chase. Why all the hate? Alabama has made a remarkable run in this decade–but Nick Saban is not Darth Vader and the Evil Empire is far from defeated just because Alabama will not be in the playoffs this year. It’s reminiscent of how fans across the nation celebrated after UCF lost for the first time in 25 games at the Fiesta Bowl last season. These fans probably don’t like the New England Patriots either.

This weekend will settle which team should be fourth and claim the last playoff spot. If LSU beats Georgia for the SEC title, I like Oklahoma. The Sooners’ only loss came on a noon kickoff to a fairly good Kansas State team. Including a two-loss team, especially one that does not win its conference, would send the wrong message. Utah would be the other team to consider if they can beat Oregon. The Utes played nine conference games and that increases their strength of schedule. However, out of conference they played BYU, Idaho State and Northern Illinois, hardly the test of champions. Oklahoma played UCLA, South Dakota and Houston. That really is not much better. Overall, the Big 12 did play tougher than the Pac 12 this season, so with all being equal, give me the Sooners.

Top 25 for the week beginning 12/1

1. LSU (12-0) Wins: Bama, Auburn, Florida, Texas, Texas A&M.

2. Ohio State (12-0) Wins: Penn State, Michigan, Wisconsin, Cincinnati.

3.  Clemson (12-0) Wins: Um, well, um.

4. Oklahoma (11-1) Wins: Baylor, Oklahoma State. Loss: at Kansas State

5. Georgia (11-1) Wins: Florida, Auburn. Loss: versus South Carolina.

6. Utah (11-1) Wins: Um, uh, um. Loss: at Southern Cal with an injured QB and RB.

7. Baylor (11-1) Wins: Iowa State, Kansas State, Oklahoma State. Loss: Oklahoma.

8. Florida (10-2) Wins: Auburn. Losses: LSU, Georgia.

9. Wisconsin (10-2) Wins: Minnesota, Michigan. Losses: Ohio State, Illinois.

10. Alabama (10-2) Wins: Um, uh, um. Losses: LSU, Auburn.

11. Penn State (10-2) Wins: Michigan, Iowa. Losses: Ohio State, Minnesota.

12. Auburn (9-3) Wins: Alabama, Oregon. Losses: Florida, LSU, Georgia.

13. Memphis (11-1) Wins: Cincinnati, Ole Miss. Loss: Temple!

14. Minnesota (10-2) Wins: Penn State. Losses: Wisconsin, Iowa.

15. Oregon (10-2) Wins: None that are very good. Losses: Auburn, Arizona State.

16. Michigan (9-3) Wins: Notre Dame, Iowa. Losses: Ohio State, Wisconsin, Penn State.

17. Iowa (9-3) Wins: Minnesota, Iowa State. Losses: Michigan, Penn State, Wisconsin.

18. Notre Dame (10-2) Wins: UVA, Va Tech, Southern Cal. Losses: Michigan, Georgia.

19. Appalachian State (11-1) Wins: UNC, South Carolina. Loss: Georgia Southern.

20. Boise State (11-1) Wins: FSU, Air Force. Loss: BYU.

21. Virginia (9-3) Wins: Va Tech, Pitt. Losses: Notre Dame, Louisville, Miami.

22. Navy (9-2) Wins: Air Force, SMU.  Losses: Memphis, Notre Dame

23. Air Force (10-2) Wins: Colorado, Fresno State. Losses: Boise State, Navy.

24. Kansas State (8-4) Wins: Oklahoma, TCU, Iowa State. Losses: Baylor, Texas, WVU, Oklahoma State.

25. Cincinnati (10-2) Wins: UCF, UCLA. Losses: Ohio State, Memphis.


Reach Mike Synan at


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