College football rankings: Loaded Saturday will change things
Ranking college football teams is difficult in September, unless you go by the lazy way of reading brands. Just go by name recognition, and it’s easy to rationalize ranking Penn State 13th (AP) or 12th (coaches), even though the Nittany Lions have done nothing to deserve such lofty status.
But the rankings get a little more clear this weekend. Through three weeks of the season, we’ve had just three matchups involving two ranked teams. Saturday alone we have three – Wisconsin-Michigan, Notre Dame-Georgia and Auburn-Texas A&M. And that doesn’t even count such quality showdowns at Utah-Southern Cal, Air Force-Boise State, OSU-Texas and Washington-Brigham Young.
So the rankings next week won’t resemble the rankings this week, and that’s the way it should be. For now, here are the rankings, based not on what teams did in 1969 or what we think they will do later in this 2019 season, but based on what they’ve done so far. Who have they played, where have they played and how have they done:
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1. LSU 3-0: Beating the Longhorns in Austin hasn’t lost its luster.
2. California 3-0: The Bears aren’t getting nearly enough credit for winning at Washington. Both the AP and coaches polls have UW ranked ahead of Cal.
3. Clemson 3-0: The Tigers already have won what appeared in the preseason to be their two toughest challenges – Texas A&M and at Syracuse.
4. Auburn 3-0: The victory over Oregon, in Arlington, is sustaining the Tigers. And it ought to. That was a big-time victory.
5. Arizona State 3-0: Beating Michigan State in East Lansing shows that Herm Edwards is doing a nifty job in the desert.
6. Iowa 3-0: The Hawkeyes aren’t pretty, but winning a GameDay battle on the road should mean something.
7. Florida 3-0: Two quality wins for the Gators. Over Miami on a neutral field, at Kentucky. Neither was a great win, but good wins add up.
8. Oklahoma 3-0: The Sooners’ resume’ will be enhanced if Houston holds up. For now, OU is ranked only because few other teams have extended themselves.
9. Michigan 2-0: The more distance between the present and the Wolverines’ survival of Army, the more impressive it will become.
10. Washington State 3-0: Road wins are impressive. The Cougars’ victory over Houston in the Texans’ NRG Stadium was one of the better wins of the season.