OFR College Football Rankings, Week 9

Previous College Football Rankings:
10/5/15

10/12/15

10/19/15

What this ranking is: A ranking of team resumes so far. It’s a combination of many things – avoiding losses is the most important thing, as winning is the name of the game. Unique wins are a good thing, too – being the only team to beat another carries a lot of weight. Being one of two to beat another carries weight, but less. If the losses come to undefeated teams, that matters. And if they didn’t, how many losses the teams that beat you have piled up matter. Also, to a lesser extent, how you won and lost matters – blowouts, close wins, close losses – there are adjustments for all these. But it’s a look at what you’ve done in a vacuum separate from perceptions we hold about CFB teams. This isn’t in awe of Ohio State because of what Ohio State did last year, who coaches the Buckeyes, or the collection of talent on the roster. This is 100% score-based.

What this ranking is not: It’s NOT a measure of the best teams in the country. Try ESPN’s FPI or Football Outsiders’ F/+ rankings for really good measures of the best teams. This ranking is also not predictive – again, try those. A higher ranked team in this list isn’t suggested to be capable of beating a lower ranked team. That is not what this is. There’s an instinct people have to change all rankings into what they want rankings to be, and that’s an easy trap to fall into with OFR’s. “Man, ain’t no way [team ranked #15] is better than [team ranked #30]!” “[Team ranked #20] would destroy [team ranked #10]!” If you have either reaction, or anything similar, you need to re-read this section of the post. It’s just a look at resume, because at the end of the year, that’s what matters most. FSU wasn’t one of the 4 best teams in the country in 2014, but the Seminoles had one of the 4 best resumes, so they made the playoffs.

 

The Bottom Fourth (#s 128-97)

128. Wyoming (1-7)
127. UCF (0-8)
126. North Texas (0-7)
125. Eastern Michigan (1-7)
124. Miami OH (1-7)
123. New Mexico State (0-7)
122. Fresno State (2-6)
121. UL-Monroe (1-6)
120. Florida Atlantic (1-6)
119. Charlotte (2-5)
118. Hawaii (2-6)
117. Kansas (0-7)
116. Ball State (2-6)
115. UTSA (1-6)
114. UTEP (3-4)
113. New Mexico (4-4)
112. Massachusetts (1-6)
111. Idaho (3-4)
110. Connecticut (3-5)
109. Purdue (1-6)
108. South Alabama (3-4)
107. SMU (1-6)
106. FIU (4-4)
105. San Jose State (4-4)
104. Army (2-6)
103. Tulane (2-5)
102. Middle Tennessee (3-5)
101. Old Dominion (3-4)
100. UNLV (2-5)
99. Oregon State (2-5)
98. Troy (2-5)
97. Kent State (3-5)

 

Not Good (#s 96-65)

96. UL-Lafayette (2-4)
95. Wake Forest (3-5)
94. Nevada (4-4)
93. Georgia State (2-4)
92. Maryland (2-5)
91. Virginia (2-5)
90. Colorado State (3-4)
89. Tulsa (3-4)
88. Colorado (4-4)
87. Vanderbilt (3-4)
86. Buffalo (3-4)
85. Texas State (2-4)
84. Boston College (3-5)
83. Akron (3-4)
82. Syracuse (3-4)
81. East Carolina (4-4)
80. Utah State (4-3)
79. Rice (4-3)
78. Missouri (4-4)
77. Ohio (5-3)
76. Air Force (4-3)
75. Southern Miss (5-3)
74. Nebraska (3-5)
73. Virginia Tech (3-5)
72. Iowa State (2-5)
71. Arkansas State (4-3)
70. Washington (3-4)
69. Indiana (4-4)
68. Northern Illinois (5-3)
67. San Diego State (5-3)
66. Central Michigan (4-4)
65. Minnesota (4-3)

 

Not Bad (#s 64-26)

64. Arkansas (3-4)
63. Illinois (4-3)
62. Kentucky (4-3)
61. Louisiana Tech (5-3)
60. South Carolina (3-4)
59. USF (4-3)
58. Kansas State (3-4)
57. Miami (4-3)
56. Auburn (4-3)
55. Arizona (5-3)
54. Rutgers (3-4)
53. Arizona State (4-3)
52. Western Michigan (4-3)
51. Boise State (6-2)
50. Georgia Tech (3-5)
49. Georgia Southern (5-2)
48. NC State (5-2)
47. Louisville (3-4)
— James Madison (7-1) 🙂
46. Tennessee (3-4)
45. Cincinnati (4-3)
44. BYU (6-2)
43. Oregon (4-3)
42. Bowling Green (6-2)
41. Marshall (7-1)
40. Georgia (5-2)
39. West Virginia (3-3)
38. Texas Tech (5-3)
37. Western Kentucky (6-2)
36. Duke (6-1)
35. Texas (3-4)
34. USC (4-3)
33. Penn State (6-2)
32. California (5-2)
31. Texas A&M (5-2)
30. Washington State (5-2)
29. Navy (5-1)
28. Wisconsin (6-2)
27. UCLA (5-2)
26. Pittsburgh (6-1)

 

Really Good (#s 25-5)

25. North Carolina (6-1) 
Signature Wins: none
Change: -1
The Tar Heels have done a nice job with a really easy schedule, but that South Carolina loss really hurts. Everything from here on out is winnable – at Pitt, Duke, Miami, at VT, and at NC State – but they’re also all potential losses. There are 4 one-loss teams in the ACC, 3 in the Coastal Division. They finally start facing each other this weekend, which means Duke, Pitt, and UNC have opportunities to move up substantially in the rankings, assuming they can avoid the L.
This Weekend: at Pittsburgh (Thursday)

24. Florida State (6-1)
Signature Wins: none
Change: -13
It was a fluke, and Florida State should have probably won the game. For any other program (outside Auburn), you’d probably feel bad, but Florida State has danced out of 4th quarter danger so many teams we all knew something like this was on the horizon. We just didn’t know when or where it would happen. We also knew Georgia Tech was bound to upswing a bit at some point, because even though it’s believable the Jackets weren’t as good as we thought, there’s just no way they were as bad as they’d been. These two lines of probability converged at Bobby Dodd Stadium Saturday night.

Regression to the mean, in 61 seconds. At least now FSU can assume their actual identity – a really good team that’s probably not a playoff team, but could potentially ruin the afternoon of an actual playoff contender. They’re looking at you, Auburn with a Lake.
This Weekend: vs Syracuse

23. Mississippi State (6-2)
Signature Wins: none
Change: +3
Signature Wins are currently wins against one and two-loss teams, and MSU has none. The Bulldogs have, on the other hand, beaten 4 FBS teams with 3 losses: Kentucky, Auburn, Southern Miss, and Louisiana Tech. So while MSU has no big game pelts on its wall, it hasn’t played a cupcake schedule. Dak Prescott isn’t getting the Heisman hype like last year, but he’s been very good, averaging over 7 yards per play via both the air and ground. Prescott has 21 touchdowns to only 2 turnovers. With the departure of RB Josh Robinson to the NFL, Prescott has really had to carry the offense. No RB has even 200 yards this year. While we’re talking MSU, let’s mention DL AJ Jefferson, one of the SEC’s most disruptive players with 11.5 TFL/sacks and 1 forced fumble.
This Weekend: at Missouri

22. Appalachian State (6-1)
Signature Wins: Georgia Southern
Change: +4
App State may be in the top 25 to stay. I don’t see them losing another game on the schedule. Only Arkansas State, who has to go to Boone, has the potential to cause trouble. An 11-1 finish is a strong likelihood, so get comfortable with App St. They boast one of the country’s most explosive offenses, relying on the running game, led by Marcus Cox (777 yds, 6 TD, 5.7 ypc) to set up a big play passing game – QB Taylor Lamb averages over 9 yards per play. The defense is easy to love as well, with playmakers at every level, led by ILB John Law (8.5 TFL/sacks, 2 INT, 40 tackles), DB Latrell Gibbs (5 interceptions, 6 PBU), and DL Ronald Blair (9.5 TFL/sacks).
This Weekend: vs. Troy

21. Ole Miss (6-2)
Signature Wins: Alabama, Texas A&M
Change: +10
The Rebels look like one of those teams. Georgia fans know them well. You know those teams. One week they look capable of beating any team in the country, and the next they look lost and confused. The ’15 Rebels may be this year’s fit into that same old mold. It takes one of those teams to beat Alabama, dominate Texas A&M, and then lose by multiple scores to both Florida and Memphis. Teams like this are frustrating to watch.
This Weekend: at Auburn

20. Toledo (7-0)
Signature Wins: none
Change: +1
We’ve been checking in on the Toledo defense each week for good reason, but this week we’ll casually mention the fine work done by sophomore RB Terry Swanson – 590 yards, 5 TD, and 7.3 ypc. Also, Swanson is dangerous in the open field. On plays that gain at least 5 yards, he averages 12.8 ypc. Toledo can’t cakewalk the rest of the schedule, but they should be favored in each of the final 4.
This Weekend: vs. Northern Illinois

Toledo highsteps their way into the top 20. (Photo: AP Photo/David Richard)
Toledo highsteps their way into the top 20. (Photo: AP Photo/David Richard)

19. Oklahoma (6-1)
Signature Wins: none
Change: +4
November drama is fun, but it’s really starting to get irritating that none of the Big 12’s top 3 teams have played each other yet. The Sooners won’t get in on the fun any time soon, as they somehow have Kansas and Iowa State in succession, so we may see them pillow fight their way out of the top 25 due to boredom (and schedule strength, but come on, mostly boredom).
This Weekend: at Kansas

18. Houston (7-0)
Signature Wins: none
Change: +2
The Cougars creep up a couple spots, but the schedule just isn’t much to look at. Who’s the best win? Louisville? Tulsa? It’s not good. It’ll get good, but it’s not good today.
This Weekend: vs. Vanderbilt

17. Oklahoma State (7-0)
Signature Wins: none
Change: +2
Like Houston, OSU has avoided most teams with a pulse, although the Cougars would love a win even as nice as the Cowboys’ win over West Virginia.
This Weekend: at Texas Tech

16. Utah (6-1)
Signature Wins: Michigan, California
Change: -13
I think we all suspected this Utah thing was too good to be true, but the loss really opens up the Pac-12 for an entertaining finish. There are about 8 teams all capable of beating one another, and that makes for a fun final month. For Utah, this weekend’s opponent isn’t one of those 8, so expect the Utes to be 7-1 when they head to Seattle.
This Weekend: vs. Oregon State

15. Temple (7-0)
Signature Wins: Penn State
Change: +3
This season has been a lot of fun, but we find out on Halloween if it can be something truly special. Beat Notre Dame, and things start to get serious for the Owls.
This Weekend: vs Notre Dame

14. Stanford (6-1)
Signature Wins: Arizona, UCLA
Change: +2
Stanford has the look of this year’s Ohio State, the team playing better than anyone else, but the team in playoff contention with the biggest red flag – a 10 point loss to Northwestern. There’s a short list of teams that I think might be the best team in the country, and Stanford’s on it. But it’s really hard to reconcile that opening week at this point, so they’re still lagging behind, but the Cardinal are on the rise.
This Weekend: at Washington State

13. Northwestern (6-2)
Signature Wins: Stanford, Duke
Change: +1
Duke and Stanford keep winning, and Northwestern keeps hanging around where they don’t really belong. While I think Stanford might continue, I don’t think Duke will remain the caliber of victory it currently is for long. And it may not matter – Northwestern doesn’t finish with the easiest slate, facing Penn State, Wisconsin, and Illinois before the season’s end. But for now, some rest.
This Weekend: BYE

12. TCU (7-0)
Signature Wins: none
Change: -2
at Minnesota (4-3)
vs Stephen F. Austin (2-5)*
vs SMU (1-6)
at Texas Tech (5-3)
vs Texas (3-4)
at Kansas State (3-4)
at Iowa State (2-5)
If you wonder why I don’t have TCU ranked higher, that’s why.
This Weekend: vs. West Virginia (Thursday)

11. Notre Dame (6-1)
Signature Wins: Navy
Change: +2
The schedule hasn’t helped as much as they hoped it would. Georgia Tech, Texas, and Virginia have all more or less been duds. Even USC isn’t quite as good as expected. In fact, Notre Dame’s best argument for playoff contention is probably their loss – a 2 point loss in the driving rain on the road at Clemson, who might be the best team in the country. Playing Clemson that close is our best evidence that Notre Dame is a team worth paying attention to. While the earlier schedule hasn’t helped much, 3 of the final 5 opponents – Temple, Pitt, and Stanford, have one or zero losses. The Irish will certainly get their chance to impress.
This Weekend: at Temple

Notre Dame running back C.J. Prosise (20) runs past Georgia Tech defensive back Jamal Golden (4) for a touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game in South Bend, Ind., Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015. Notre Dame defeated Georgia Tech 30-22. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Notre Dame running back C.J. Prosise (20) runs past Georgia Tech defensive back Jamal Golden (4) for a touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game in South Bend, Ind., Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015. Notre Dame defeated Georgia Tech 30-22. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

10. Michigan (5-2)
Signature Wins: BYU, Northwestern
Change: -4
Our long national nightmare is over! Michigan is no longer ranked higher than Michigan State. In a rankings system engineered for end of the year results, as this one is, small samples can produce occasionally wonky results. Michigan is still a bit wonky, but not terribly so. The Wolverines boast more blowouts than anyone outside Waco, have a couple of quality wins over 2-loss Power 5 teams, and their losses have been to really good teams. This is probably where they belong, truthfully. The record suggests a lower ranking, but their quality of play suggests something in the top 5. 10th seems like a happy medium.
This Weekend: at Minnesota

9. Florida (6-1)
Signature Wins: Ole Miss
Change: -1
Frankly, I just don’t even want to think about Florida this week. And maybe next week, too.
This Weekend: vs. Georgia

8. Memphis (7-0)
Signature Wins: Ole Miss, Bowling Green
Change: +7
The big win over Ole Miss came last week, so why the big jump this week? Well, a blowout win over Tulsa is something, and Ole Miss won, which doesn’t hurt. It wasn’t a matter of Memphis gaining ground as much as they avoided losing ground. Everyone has great resumes early, and then it becomes a matter of seeing which resumes manage to stay great. Will an early win look great in November, or will it be just one of 5 or 6 on that opponent’s schedule? Memphis’ schedule is aging well, so to speak, but it’s all irrelevant if they can’t get through the AAC gauntlet. November 7, 14, and 21 will tell the tale – vs Navy, at Houston, and at Temple. Yikes.
This Weekend: vs. Tulane

7. Michigan State (8-0)
Signature Wins: Michigan
Change: +5
The Spartans continue to look just sort of ok, but they keep winning thanks to 7 mediocre opponents and one dropped punt. At least this weekend they blew out that mediocre opponent.
This Weekend: BYE

6. Baylor (7-0)
Signature Wins: none
Change: +3
Prayers and good vibes go out to Seth Russell, he of the 10.3 yards per play, 35 touchdowns, and 1 broken neck. True freshman Jarrett Stidham steps in, and so far he hasn’t been as good as Russell. He’s averaging only 10.1 yards per play, and instead of a TD every 7.0 plays, he’s averaging one every OH MY GOD HE’S AVERAGING A TOUCHDOWN EVERY 5.3 PLAYS. Baylor’s offense should just be made illegal at this point.
This Weekend: BYE

5. Ohio State (8-0)
Signature Wins: Penn State
Change: +2
You know how on NBA Jam, if you made two shots in a row, the announcer screamed, “He’s heating up!” That’s where Ohio State is right now. They bored us for weeks, and now they’re one shot away from that all-consuming “HE’S ON FIRE” mode that they used to shred Alabama and Oregon 10 months ago. It’s time to get nervous about the Buckeyes again.
This Weekend: BYE

The Four

Alabama is hitting its stride at the right time. (Photo: Eric Gay/AP)
Alabama is hitting its stride at the right time. (Photo: Eric Gay/AP)

4. Alabama (7-1)
Signature Wins: Georgia, Texas A&M, Wisconsin
Change: —

Tennessee gave the Tide all it could handle, but Alabama escaped with a 19-14 win. It’s better than losing, but that game didn’t really go Alabama’s way. Ole Miss made Bama’s win over A&M a little less special. Alabama lost some ground in the numerical side of the rankings, but held onto their spot, mostly due to the movement of other teams. Bama’s still got LSU and Mississippi State to go, so there will be other opportunities to cement their place in the final 4.
This weekend: BYE

3. Clemson (7-0)
Signature Wins: Notre Dame, Appalachian State
Change: +2

I’d been wondering how long we’d have to wait to get the much-deserved Clemson into the top 4, and Al Golden’s swan song answered. The Tigers emphatically beat down Miami 58-0, in Miami, and left few doubters to their claim as the country’s best team. For now, they have the country’s 3rd best resume. It can get much better over the next two weeks. Clemson better not look past this weekend’s trip to Raleigh. NC State is capable and in need of a big, program-building win, and Clemson has Florida State the following week. I hate talking about trap games, but if there ever was one, this might be it.
This weekend: at NC State

Clemson QB Deshaun Watson (Photo: Tigernet.com)
Clemson QB Deshaun Watson (Photo: Tigernet.com)

2. Iowa (7-0)
Signature Wins: Pitt, Wisconsin, Northwestern
Change: -1

You know where I am on Iowa. I want them to lose, but I’m not really convinced they will in the regular season. This team’s pretty good, and their remaining opponents are Maryland, Indiana, Minnesota, Purdue, and Nebraska. A loss could crop up somewhere in there, but Iowa should be favored in each remaining game. The more likely scenario is a 12-0 Iowa facing the East champ, which they have to hope is Michigan State.
This weekend: vs. Maryland

First in the Heisman race and first in the OFR rankings. (Photo: Getty Images Sport)
First in the Heisman race and first in the OFR rankings. (Photo: Getty Images Sport)

1. LSU (7-0)
Signature Wins: Florida, Mississippi State, Western Kentucky
Change: +1

With the 48-20 win over a good Western Kentucky team, LSU claims the #1 spot from Iowa. Like Alabama, LSU has a big win in the SEC East, but the bulk of their hopes come down to their November 7 trip to Tuscaloosa. Even if they survive, they’ll have a November 21 trip to Oxford to worry about. LSU presently has the country’s best resume and the country’s best running back, but they’re a long way from 11-0.
This weekend: BYE

 

About Brent Blackwell 172 Articles

Brent Blackwell also writes for College Football By The Numbers at www.cfbtn.com.

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