Here we are in early December and it’s time to toss out all the Power Rankings and welcome the Southern Football Report Top Four. All season long every analyst under the sun has given us their top four teams every week and until now, they haven’t mattered a whole lot. Now that the calendar has turned to December and we are day away from Championship Saturday and Selection Sunday, the top four actually matters. So it’s time for the Southern Football Report to join in and unveil the first Southern Football Report Weekly Top Four.
1. Florida State Seminoles – Some will say that Florida State doesn’t deserve to be ranked number one in the country in any poll but here are a few reason why they should. Number one is pretty obvious: they are undefeated. At some point we have to come to grips with the fact that winning all of your games does matter and also that whether you like it or not, the ACC is a ‘Power Five’ conference. The Noles have played (and beaten) seven teams who rank in the top 30 in total defense and that’s significant when you consider that is as much as the other three teams in the College Football Playoff Committee’s Top Four combined. Florida State will have their chance to put their college football’s best 28 game winning streak on the line this Saturday night against Georgia Tech in the ACC Championship Game in Charlotte, North Carolina.
2. Alabama Crimson Tide – One thing that you can’t say about the Crimson Tide in 2014 is that they haven’t provided some drama of their own on the field. From the season opening shootout with a better-than-expected West Virginia team, to the loss on the road at Ole Miss, to the one point nail-biter at Arkansas and all the way to the come-from-behind win over rival Auburn in the Iron Bowl, Bama hasn’t been as dominant over opponents as some would suggest but good luck telling that to Aggie fans. Alabama has reeled of seven wins in a row since that loss at Ole Miss and has averaged 36 points per game on offense while surprisingly fielding a top 15 defense. This week the Tide will be in Atlanta taking on the SEC East Champion Missouri Tigers.
3. Oregon Ducks – It’s really nice and tidy to say that Oregon is one of the top teams in the country especially when you think about what they did to Michigan State back in September and what they did to UCLA back in October. But what if I told you that those two wins accounted for two of the Ducks’ three wins over ranked opponents? The Ducks’ only loss is a home loss to an Arizona team that Oregon will have a chance to get revenge against tonight. The problem with Oregon that is never brought up is how the Ducks are on the absolutely pitiful side of the Pac-12 and not the competitive side. The team that finished in second place in the North was Stanford with a 504 conference record. Tonight the Ducks take on Arizona in a rematch of the the 31-24 Oregon loss back in October.
4. Baylor Bears – A lot of people don’t give the Bears the respect that they deserve. The Horned Frogs are the darlings of the playoff committee but most people forget that the Bears overcame a 21 point deficit in the 4th quarter to beat TCU 61-58. That’s right, the Bears hung 61 points on the 3rd ranked team in the country back when they were ranked 9th. Name another team who has put up 61 points on a top ten team. Baylor boasts one of the top offenses in the country and one of the top quarterbacks in Bryce Petty whose status for Saturday’s showdown with Kansas State is in question after suffering a concussion last week against Texas Tech. If Baylor does beat the Wildcats by a significant margin, they will have beaten three top fifteen teams this season which is as much as Alabama and Oregon combined.
First Two Out
TCU Horned Frogs – Somehow the Frogs got a huge 48-10 win over a 6-5 team named Texas and jumped from outside of the top four into the third spot in the playoff committee’s poll. But let’s look at this rationally, the three games that should matter then most on the Frog’s schedule are the 30-7 win over Minnesota which looks a lot better today than it did when it actually happened, the 61-58 loss on the road at Baylor and the 41-20 win over Kansas State who was in the top ten at the time and is still hanging around at number 9. The game outcome that stands out the most is the loss in which they gave up a huge lead and 61 points. That is really hard to overlook. TCU needs a big win this weekend over Iowa State and a loss by Baylor against Kansas State.
Ohio State Buckeyes – The big discussion this week has been whether or not Ohio State deserves to be in the discussion for the Playoff even though their freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett was injured last Saturday. When you read that sentence you ask if a team deserves something because of one player, which after you read it out loud sounds ridiculous. If the Buckeyes win the Big Ten on Saturday against a really good Wisconsin team then they deserve any accolade that comes their way and the rest of the team shouldn’t be penalized because a player got injured. With that being said, beating Wisconsin with a third string quarterback will be one of Urban Meyer’s toughest tasks yet in the scarlet & grey.
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