Synan Says: The Real Top 25 in College Football, Move Over Big Boys, Here Come the Upstarts

If you are a college football blue blood, you better watch your back because the other schools are coming for you.

This week, you’ll see a huge jump in the rankings from Minnesota after they dismantled Penn State on Saturday. The final score was close but the Gophers controlled the game right from the start. I question James Franklin’s decision to not kick a field goal down by 11 early in the fourth quarter. Instead, Penn State got no points on the drive and a late touchdown still kept them more than a field goal behind. Minnesota had been a running team to date but I could not have been more impressed with their passing game, throwing over the Nittany Lion defense constantly. They were suspect early in the season, beating two “Group of 5” schools from behind in the fourth quarter but Coach PJ Fleck is putting together another magical season. Don’t put the Gophers in the playoffs yet though. They still have Iowa, Wisconsin and a potential Big 10 Championship game to go.

LSU could be considered a blue blood but, before Saturday, they had lost eight in a row to Alabama, the ultimate college football power. The Tigers erased those bad memories in Bryant Denny Stadium with a 46-41 win over the Tide that wasn’t really as close as the final score showed. Alabama had no answers for the LSU running and passing game, something that almost never happens to a Nick Saban defense. Not that I told you so or anything but I’ve had LSU number one since their early win over Texas. Voters missed the mark last week picking Ohio State number one and got it right after LSU’s third win over a top 10 team (Alabama, Auburn, Florida) and fourth over a ranked team (Texas).

Should we mention Baylor here? Historically they’ve been one of the worst programs in college football but that’s all changed in the 21st century thanks to Heisman winner Robert Griffin III, former Coach Art Briles and his high tempo offense and now Coach Matt Rhule. I’m not a Bear believer, though, just yet. A week after struggling to a 17-14 win over West Virginia, they needed a late 53-yard field goal and three overtimes to beat TCU. Baylor still has Texas and Oklahoma yet to go so I’ll save judgment on them until after those two contests.

What is the blazes is going on at UCF? The Knights committed 15 penalties–you read that right–in a Friday night loss at 2-7 Tulsa and are now out of the picture for any kind of championship or good bowl game. Are UCF players quitting because they re not winning at the same pace players and fans are accustomed to? I’m anxiously awaiting the rest of the season to see how they play. Is Josh Heupel the right man for the UCF job? He’d never been a head coach before he took over for Scott Frost at UCF and here is what has happened since he arrived. With Mackenzie Milton playing, UCF was 10-0. Without him, the team has gone 9-4. Will the recruiting of speed guys that make the plays for UCF’s high powered offense continue? Will Milton come back for his final year? UCF’s program is at a crossroads right now. It’s not time to panic. It’s time to buck up and tighten up.

With the season winding down, this week’s Top 25 will look at the road ahead as teams scramble for position for conference title games, good bowl games and the national championship playoffs.

Top 25 For the Week Beginning November 10

    1. LSU (9-0) At Ole Miss, Arkansas, Texas A&M.
    2. Ohio State (9-0) At Rutgers, Penn State, at Michigan.
    3. Clemson (10-0) Wake Forest, at South Carolina.
    4. Minnesota (9-0) At Iowa, at Northwestern, Wisconsin.
    5. Alabama (8-1) At Mississippi State, Western Carolina, at Auburn.
    6. Oregon (8-1) Arizona, at Arizona State, Oregon State.
    7. Penn State (8-1) Indiana, at Ohio State, Rutgers.
    8. Baylor (9-0) Oklahoma, Texas, at Kansas.
    9. Georgia (8-1) At Auburn, Texas A&M, at Georgia Tech.
    10. Utah (8-1) UCLA, at Arizona, Colorado.
    11. Oklahoma (8-1) At Baylor, TCU, at Oklahoma State.
    12. Florida (8-2) At Missouri, FSU.
    13. Auburn (7-2) UGA, Samford, Alabama.
    14. Memphis (8-1) At Houston, at South Florida, Cincinnati.
    15. Wisconsin (7-2) At Nebraska, Purdue, at Minnesota.
    16. Cincinnati (8-1) At South Florida, Temple, at Memphis.
    17. Appalachian State (8-1) At Georgia State, Texas State, at Troy.
    18. Michigan (7-2) Michigan State, at Indiana, Ohio State.
    19. Boise State (8-1) New Mexico, at Utah State, at Colorado State.
    20. SMU (9-1) At Navy, Tulane.
    21. Notre Dame (7-2) Navy, Boston College, at Stanford.
    22. Wake Forest (7-2) At Clemson, Duke, at Syracuse.
    23. Navy (7-1) At Notre Dame, SMU, at Houston, Army.
    24. Texas A&M (6-3) South Carolina, at Georgia, at LSU.
    25. Texas (6-3) At Iowa State, at Baylor, Texas Tech.


Reach Mike Synan at


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