Synan Says: The Real Top 25 in College Football: Lazy Pollsters Overreact

There is a new number one in college football according to media writers and whichever staffers fill the polls for the coaches.

Alabama is your new top team after Clemson needed a stop on a 2-point conversion to survive at North Carolina. Chris Vannini, a writer at The Athletic, who moved Alabama to number one describes it this way. “I’m keeping Alabama and Clemson as the top two until I see someone actually knock them off.” In other words, when one team did not meet the writer’s expectation, he simply moved the team below them up one spot. What is the justification that Alabama should be number one? They have not been in a competitive game yet this season– but they also have not played a single team that would be considered as a top 40 squad. Here are the Tide’s wins to date: Duke on a neutral field, New Mexico State at home, at South Carolina, Southern Miss at home and Ole Miss at home. That’s worthy of being number one?

I have not had Clemson number one since Texas A&M lost to Auburn. It took the Tigers’ signature win down a notch and made room for teams with better wins. Getting an in-conference win on the road should have no impact on the team’s ranking.

The only pollster I respect on this matter was ESPN’s Joey Galloway. He ranks the defending national champ number one until they lose so he still has Clemson at the top. While I don’t agree with his philosophy, I respect Galloway’s consistency and willingness to defend his position.

Who should be number one? Glad you asked.

Let’s look at the top wins of the season so far. In my book, the best so far is LSU going to Texas and winning over the Longhorns. The final was 45-38 but it was only so close thanks to a garbage-time touchdown. LSU was up by two scores for much of the game. Georgia handled Notre Dame in a physical contest and the Fighting Irish beat the second-best team in the ACC this week (for what that is worth) in Virginia. Wisconsin’s dominating win over Michigan looks a little better after the Wolverines rebounded against Rutgers. No one in the country has a better pair of wins than Auburn. The Tigers have already won on a neutral field against Oregon and won at Texas A&M. There are your top teams, the ones that have actually done something this year. Get back with me on Alabama after they’ve faced a top team.

TOP 25 for the Week Beginning September 29

1. LSU (4-0) Get Utah State next, a team that can score points.

2. Georgia (4-0) should be able to cruise the next three weeks before the annual meeting with Florida.

3. Wisconsin (4-0) Struggled at times with Northwestern but the Badgers are on track in Big 10 West.

4. Auburn (5-0) Romped over Mississippi State. Get Gators next.

5. Ohio State (5-0) Their blowout wins over Cincinnati and Nebraska just a hair better than Clemson’s wins.

6. Clemson (5-0) Offensive line not playing at the level it did last season.

7. Alabama (5-0) A week off to get ready for a trip to College Station.

8. Boise State (4-0) Wins over FSU and Air Force are better than any win Oklahoma has.

9. Oklahoma (4-0) When Texas Tech improves your strength of schedule, that’s rough.

10. Florida (5-0) Towson? Really? Couldn’t you at least play FAU or FIU?

11. Penn State (4-0) Was very impressed with their thrashing of Maryland.

12. SMU (5-0) Best win is at TCU.

13. Iowa (4-0) Looking forward to see if they can play with Michigan.

14. Texas (3-1) Looking at West Virginia and then Oklahoma.

15. Appalachian State (4-0) Win over UNC looks better this week.

16. Wake Forest (5-0) The Deacons don’t win big. They just win.

17. Baylor (4-0) Find their way in the poll for finally playing and beating decent competition with a win over Iowa State.

18. Memphis (4-0) Winning at Ole Miss is better than at Purdue.

19. Minnesota (4-0) Trailed in every second half they’ve played but the Gophers won at Purdue.

20. Notre Dame (3-1) Maybe the most physical team I’ve seen this year.

21. Cal (4-1) Barely lost on the road with a backup QB. Still have wins at Washington and at Ole Miss.

22. Oregon (3-1) Lost in last seconds to Auburn, beat Stanford.

23. UCF (4-1) Lost in last seconds to Pitt, beat Stanford.

24. Oklahoma State (4-1) Loss was a close one to Texas. Only team to beat Kansas State.

25. Arizona State (4-1) Only team to beat Cal. Only team to beat Michigan State.

 

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

 

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