Tramel: Brigham Young ranks No. 1 this week
Judging college football teams never has been easy. It’s more difficult than ever due to the pandemic.
Here’s a question for you. Is Duke any good? The Blue Devils opened the season at Notre Dame and played tough, losing 27-13 in a game that was 17-13 with 11 minutes left. You figured, hey, Duke’s not bad.
Last week, Duke hosted Boston College and got rolled 26-6.
Maybe Boston College is riding high again. Maybe Duke played over its head in South Bend. Or maybe COVID-19 was at play, either holding back Notre Dame vs. Duke or holding back Duke vs. BC.
Who knows? Maybe we’ll never know in this crazy year.
But you see the problem, don’t you? Kansas State appears to have been short-handed on September 12, when it lost at home to Arkansas State. K-State could be short-handed Saturday in Norman. How to make sense of all that is going to be a weekly problem for anyone ranking college football teams.
And ranking college football teams is what we do here. Remember, I rank teams based only on what they’ve done -- who they played, where they played, who they beat. I don’t project, I don’t predict (at least not with the rankings).
There are no SEC teams in my rankings, because the SEC hasn’t played a game yet. There are no Big 12 teams in my rankings, because no Big 12 team has done a danged thing.
So here are this week’s rankings, with a new No. 1:
1. Brigham Young 1-0: Why the Cougars? Well, BYU’s 55-3 thrashing at Navy on Labor Day night was impressive. But maybe that was because Navy wasn’t ready for the season or the Midshipmen just stink. Then last Saturday, Navy went to Tulane, rallied from a 24-0 deficit and won 27-24. Impressive. How good is Tulane? Well, that’s a rabbit hole for another day. For now, give credit to BYU for popping an obviously-proud Navy.
2. Central Florida 1-0: The Knights routed Georgia Tech, a week after the Yellow Jackets won at Florida State. I have no idea what any of that means, but two weeks into this season, it counts for a lot.
3. Miami 2-0: The Hurricanes won at Louisville and also have a home victory over Alabama-Birmingham. We’ll see if it holds, but for now, Miami has been impressive.
4. Louisiana-Lafayette 2-0: A week after winning at Iowa State, the Ragin’ Cajuns had to scramble to win 34-31 in overtime at Georgia State. But I’ll give ULL a pass, even without a pandemic. That’s a trap game if I ever saw one.
5. Memphis 1-0: The Tigers’ home victory over Arkansas State was fortified when the Red Wolves won at Kansas State. We’ll let Memphis keep that blue ribbon for awhile.
6. Georgia Tech 1-1: Will the victory over Florida State continue to have legs? We’ll hopefully know soon enough.
7. Arkansas State 1-1: The Red Wolves have had two straight games canceled or postponed by COVID, including Saturday vs. Tulsa. That’s a bummer.
8. Clemson 2-0: The Tigers won 37-13 at Wake Forest on September 12, and the Deacons might be decent. They almost won at North Carolina State last week.
9. Marshall 1-0: The Thundering Herd beat Appalachian State 17-7 last week. I have no idea if the Mountaineers will be their usual potent selves, but I say we give some credit to Marshall for producing a 17-7 game.
10. North Carolina State 1-0: The Wolfpack gets the nod over Notre Dame on the assumption that Wake Forest is better than Duke.