Florida State might be the weakest October #1 team in recent memory. Then again, nobody else seems to want to be #1. Four of last week’s top six lost, leading to an unprecedented reshuffling of the AP Top 25 that included a team debuting at #10 (Arizona, unranked last week before beating then-#2 Oregon), and two teams from the state of Mississippi ranked at #3 (Ole Miss, which upset then-#3 Alabama, and Mississippi State, which knocked off then-#6 Texas A&M).
TCU, for its part, jumped 16 spots from #25 to #9 after defeating then-#4 Oklahoma, which dropped to #11. Oregon fell from #2 to #12, while Texas A&M dropped from #6 to #14. UCLA, which lost to Utah Saturday night, fell from #8 to #18, with the Utes entering the poll at #24 on the strength of its win, and Stanford dropped from #14 to #25 after losing to Notre Dame, which made a modest move up from #8 to #6.
The takeaway from this is that voters seem to finally be doing what they should have been doing for years, namely, casting their lots based on what they teams doing on the field, as opposed to going with the line of reasoning that, well, they were #10, and they won, and #9 ahead of them lost, so now they’re #9.
Rewarding Ole Miss and mississippi state for beating ‘Bama and A&M is part and parcel to that new approach. Both were outside the Top 10 when the weekend started, but it’s eminently logical that if they can beat the likes of the Tide and the Aggies, then, yeah, move ‘em on up. (OK, so they both won at home.)
Back to Florida State, then. FSU is the defending champ, the preseason #1, but not the best team in 2014, and it won’t end up there. Case in point: last weekend’s 56-41 come-from-behind win over an NC State team that went out this past weekend and got hammered by Clemson 41-0. Even Saturday’s 43-3 win over Wake Forest wasn’t one for the ol’ resume; that game was 3-3 just before the half before the Deacons, with a talent base akin to your high school alma mater, predictably imploded.
The best team in college football is … OK, time to admit, I don’t know any more than you do, but it ain’t Florida State. But that said, I’m not sold on anybody right now. Maybe Auburn, which kicked the crap out of LSU, 41-7, on Saturday, and put up a nice win at Kansas State a couple of weeks back. Ole Miss and mississippi state need to do more to get my attention, if only beating somebody on the road at this point. Baylor, at #5, has played precisely nobody; Notre Dame, at #6, had a nice win over Stanford yesterday, and has a shot at Florida State in a couple of weeks that could be an elimination game.
It’s all conjecture right now anyway. Teams have played five or six games toward 12 or 13 before the first-ever four-team playoff field gets selected. Plenty of upsets, key injuries, guys removed for violations of various and sundry unspecified team rules, et cetera, will happen between now and December.
– Column by Chris Graham