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College football rankings: Auburn stays No. 1

Mississippi State quarterback Garrett Shrader (6) escapes the pressure from Auburn defensive end Big Kat Bryant (1) during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019, in Auburn, Ala. [AP Photo/Butch Dill]
Mississippi State quarterback Garrett Shrader (6) escapes the pressure from Auburn defensive end Big Kat Bryant (1) during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019, in Auburn, Ala. [AP Photo/Butch Dill]

Last week, on Tuesday morning, I did what I’ve been doing every week for at least 10 years. I posted my top 10 rankings in college football. And like most every week for the last 10 years, I explained how I do my rankings.

I don’t care about the eye test. I’m not making predictions. I’m not saying who should be in the College Football Playoff.

I’m telling you which 10 teams, to this point in the college football season, have done the most. Who did you play? Where did you play? Who did you beat?

But unlike every other week for 10 years, last week the rankings took off. I had Auburn No. 1, which not only made perfect sense to me but seemed the only rational thing to do. Anyone who has Auburn someplace besides No. 1 is not ranking teams based on what they’ve done. They are ranking teams based on what they think they will do.

I have to assume my way is some kind of revolutionary way of thinking. Auburn fans wrote me thank-you notes as if I’d donated a kidney to their granddaughter. The Paul Finebaum Show contacted me and had me on. My managing editor (a faithful reader, as best as I can detect) stopped me and asked me if I was going to do my rankings again.

The answer was yes. Just like every other week during college football season for at least 10 years.

So here are the rankings this week, and here’s a clue. I didn’t somehow get religion and put Alabama ahead of Auburn. Auburn still has done more than any other team and deserves to rank No. 1.

I rank teams this way because that’s the way the College Football Playoff Committee should rank teams when it starts meeting later this autumn. What does the resume’ look like? What have teams done?

The reliance on human testimony is as bogus as the witnesses in a Perry Mason case. Use the scientific evidence. Who did you play? Where did you play? How did you do?

Here are the rankings:

1. Auburn 5-0: Just in case the Tigers haven’t done enough already, they play at Florida this Saturday. If Auburn wins, I might have to rank the Tigers No. 1 next week and have a nine-way tie for 10th.

2. LSU 4-0: The Tigers’ victory at Texas remains the nation’s best. But LSU doesn’t have much beyond that.

3. Georgia 4-0: Yes. The SEC is 1-2-3. Don’t like it? Then I suggest the other conferences do one of two things: a) quit playing the SEC in marquee non-conference showdowns; or b) beat the SEC in marquee non-conference showdowns. LSU-Texas. Auburn-Oregon. Georgia-Notre Dame. The SEC has come out right side up.

4. Clemson 5-0: I know, everyone wants to dog Clemson and drop the Tigers in the polls for their squeaker in Chapel Hill. But two things: a) winning is what matters. I don’t care about style points; and b) Clemson has beaten four Power-5 Conference foes, two of them on the road. There’s something to be said for that.

5. Wisconsin 4-0: Why Clemson over Wisconsin? Well, the former whacked Texas A&M and the latter whacked Michigan, both in home games. Seems about even to me. And the rest of Clemson’s so-far schedule is much tougher.

6. Notre Dame 3-1: The Fighting Irish have a good win over Virginia to go with that impressive loss at Georgia. Sometimes in the early season, that’s all that matters.

7. Boise State 4-0: The Broncos’ victory at Florida State seemed rather dubious, but the Seminoles, for all their sputtering, are 3-2, including 2-1 in the ACC. So that’s not a bad victory. And Boise State has pinned the only loss on Air Force, which pinned the only loss on Colorado, and Colorado otherwise would be a top-10 team easy.

8. Texas 3-1: The Longhorns’ victory over Oklahoma State looks even better after OSU walloped Kansas State.

9. Alabama 5-0: The Crimson Tide doesn’t have a marquee victory, but Bama has three Power-5 wins, including a neutral-site rout of Duke, which is looking better and better.

10. Florida 5-0: A whole bunch of teams could be ranked here. OU. Iowa. Ohio State. One of the Pac-12 delegates. I went with the Gators but am not married to them.

Berry Tramel

Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,... Read more ›