Midway through October the playoff picture has yet to take shape but that won’t stop the Southern Football Report from keeping track of who we think should be in the playoff so here we go:
- Ohio State Buckeyes 6-0 (2-0)
Best Win: 34-27 win at Indiana
Next Up: v. 5-1 Penn State
The Buckeyes have earned the right to stay at number one until they are beaten and with each passing week they are playing better & better. Last week every player that you’ve heard of on the Ohio State offense scored at least one touchdown and that’s a scary thing for the rest of the Big Ten. Saturday Ohio State had the honor of beating up on a team whose coach had already been fired in the media but the administration chose to still send him out to the sideline against the reigning national champions like a sacrificial lamb. Unlike many of the teams in the AP Top 25, the Buckeyes have yet to even play a team in the top 25 and in their wake are a bunch of teams who have floundered since their contest with Ohio State. If it weren’t for last year’s national championship in the first ever College Football Playoff, I wouldn’t put Ohio State even in the Top 5 at this point but alas, here we are. Things get a little more hairy from here on out though, with a road game to New Jersey against Rutgers but the season hinges on the final two weeks of the season against Michigan State in Columbus and Michigan in Ann Arbor.
- Utah Utes 5-0 (2-0)
Best Win: 30-24 win v. (23) California
Next Up: v. 4-2 Arizona State
Has anyone in America been more impressive than the Utes in 2015? If there is a team playing better, I haven’t seen them. So far this season, they are the only team to have beaten the suddenly great Michigan Wolverines in week 1 & are lucky they had that game scheduled as the opener. They beat the Oregon Ducks within an inch of their lives in Eugene in a game that is still looming over Autzen Stadium like a fog. Last week they were the beneficiaries of 6 California turnovers including the uncharacteristic 5 interceptions thrown by Cal quarterback Jared Goff. The other two wins on Utah’s schedule were against the Utah State Aggies who had Chuckie Keaton back in week 2 and against the Fresno State Bulldogs who had yet to fall into the pit of despair of which now they reside. The rest of their schedule isn’t a cakewalk but is fairly manageable barring a let down game against the suddenly inspired Arizona State Sun Devils this Saturday and back-to-back road games at Washington and Arizona.
- Clemson Tigers 5-0 (2-0)
Best Win: 24-22 win v. (6) Notre Dame
Next Up: v. 3-3 Boston College
This is usually the time of year where the Tigers pull their out-of-the-blue loss out of the hat like a magician in front of a bunch of 9 year olds. Putting the Clemson Tigers up this high in any ranking is very dangerous but they have impressed me this season and their offensive line is getting better every week. So far this season Clemson’s entire team has looked better in every game which is exactly what you want as a coach or fan. The last three opponents have not lost a game since playing the Tigers so that is helping Clemson big time. Appalachian State looks like they are the class of the Sun Belt & Louisville has found a quarterback (we think) but Notre Dame is hitting an unexpected rough patch in their schedule against an unpredictable USC team, a surprisingly undefeated Temple team & a suddenly good Pittsburgh team. Clemson needs Notre Dame to continue winning to hide how bad the ACC is this season. This week the Tigers welcome the Eagles of Boston College to Death Valley and as of late, the Eagles have become allergic to offense. They have played three conference games this season and have scored zero points in all three of them. I really like Clemson but they will need to take care of business and not ‘Clemson’ like they have in the past.
- Baylor Bears 5-0 (2-0)
Best Win: 65-35 v. Texas Tech
Next Up: v. 3-2 West Virginia
Last week’s 66-7 win over Kansas isn’t what has kept the Bears in the Southern Football Report’s top four but the mercy that they showed in not scoring 180 points, which they definitely could have, did. Baylor head coach Art Briles even went so far as making the key starters on offense and defense come out for the second half without their pads on. Earlier in the season we praised Georgia Tech for scoring 65 or more points in their first two games before their bizarre collapse but somehow we’ve ignored the fact that Baylor has scored 60 or more points in every game but one where they scored 56. So far this season the Bears have looked better than TCU in each game which is why they are in the Top Four but it’s a fine line between the two which makes the wait until Thanksgiving weekend almost unbearable. Baylor is a good team but we won’t find out if they are a great team until November. Until then, if they continue to toss 60 on the board every week they will continue to be in the Top Four.
FIRST TWO OUT
TCU Horned Frogs – If the Baylor Bears are a big American-made muscle car that is strong off of the line and spits white smoke off the tires every time the gears are shifted, then the TCU Horned Frogs are a sleek Italian super car who needs a lot of road to really be at peak performance. Once again they struggled against a team and needed a big second half to escape with a narrow win.
LSU Tigers – Everything just seems to go right for the LSU Tigers. On top of having the best running back that’s come around since Adrian Peterson, they’ve had a game cancelled, caught Syracuse with their 3rd string quarterback & got a 5th conference home game when Saturday’s game against South Carolina got moved to Baton Rouge due to the flooding in the Carolinas.