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2017 College Football Rankings: #21

Northwestern Wildcats (Big Ten)

Previous NW rankings: NR, NR, NR, NR, NR, NR, NR, NR, NR, NR, and 24.
Few people expected a 9-3 year and entering bowl season ranked.

Previous commentary 11/19/17: We can’t resist the Wildcats’ allure any longer. At 8-3, they certainly belong here.

2017 College Football Rankings: #22

Virginia Tech Hokies (ACC)

Previous VT rankings: 16, 14, 12, 10, 15, 15, 15, 14, 13, NR, and 25.
Virginia Tech continues nursing a lengthy win streak against their hated in-state rivals.

Previous commentary 11/19/17: The Hokies are back after their goalline stand against Pitt.

2017 College Football Rankings: #23

Toledo Rockets (MAC)

Previous TOL rankings: First-time ranked.
Here’s where the rankings start to get wild. Welcome to the fray, Toledo, you 10-2 potential MAC champions, you.

2017 College Football Rankings: #24

South Florida Bulls (AAC)

Previous USF rankings: 19, 19, 16, 16, 17, 17, 16, 15, 22, 21, 19, and 19.
We can’t quit you, USF.

Previous commentary 11/19/17: Tulsa was a tougher game than they would have expected. Now let’s see if they can dump UCF and win the division.

Previous commentary 11/12/17: They better not get tripped up on a Thursday night against Tulsa if they want to stay ranked.

Previous commentary 11/5/17: Nothing like a win over UConn to cure what ails ya.

2017 College Football Rankings: #25

Fresno State Bulldogs (MWC)

Previous FRES rankings: First-time ranked.
That’s right: Fresno State is the #25 team in the country. They beat both Boise State and San Diego State, teams we almost ranked today.

November 26, 2017 additional commentary

Dropped: Mississippi State (20), Boise State (23).

Also Considered: San Diego State, Boise State, Mississippi State, Florida Atlantic, Troy, NC State.

If you are indignant that Georgia dropped one whole spot despite winning this weekend, please consider three things. First, if they win the SEC title next week, it doesn’t matter because they will shoot up, anyway. Second, we had them ranked higher than the committee and the voters. Finally, at this point, Wisconsin had to jump them. We can’t deny Bucky his stature anymore.

Fifth is the right spot for Alabama; we didn’t drop Georgia six spots (the committee did) after losing to Auburn, and we won’t do it to the Tide. Others may disagree.

Getting down to the bottom of the top 25, we had some decisions to make. Ultimately, we put Toledo and Fresno State in the rankings. The former is 10-2 and the latter is 9-3, having beaten both big dogs in the Mountain West. Further, two of their three losses were to Alabama and Washington. 9-2 USF is still moderately deserving in our eyes. We went out of our way not to rank any 8-4 teams, though the voters probably will.

November 19, 2017 additional commentary

Dropped: Michigan (20), West Virginia (21).

Also Considered: Michigan, Toledo, San Diego State, South Carolina.

In one of the most boring weekends of the college football season, we didn’t have much upheaval in the rankings. Our top 12 is untouched. It isn’t until we get to 13 through 25 that there’s movement, but none of it is relevant in terms of the national championship picture. Hell, nobody outside the top seven matters.

Yes, there are those saying a 2-loss Ohio State could get into the playoff. Meh. They would absolutely need help, as I have trouble seeing them leaping, say, a 1-loss and otherwise unblemished Alabama.

November 12, 2017 additional commentary

Dropped: Virginia Tech (19), Iowa State (23).

Also Considered: Army, Northwestern, Toledo, San Diego State.

This week in our college football top 25 shows that if you get too invested in “this team beat that team, so they should always jump them,” you’re going to get results that are not necessarily reflective of reality. Auburn is a prime example. The Tigers can make the playoff where they sit now, but the two losses can’t yet be overlooked.

NC State was going to get back into our top 25 but Boise State somehow pulled out an overtime win over Colorado State.

November 5, 2017 additional commentary

Dropped: LSU (17), NC State (21), Stanford (23), Arizona (25).

Also Considered: Iowa, LSU, Army, Toledo, San Diego State.

Just another week of insanity in college football. A week after their epic game, both Ohio State and Penn State went down in flames at the same time, in different time zones. Neither the Buckeyes nor Nittany Lions will have anything to do with the College Football Playoff now. I’d want to rank Ohio State worse, to be honest, but it would be hard to justify.

LSU was an artificial 17th last week, if such a thing exists, because the college football currents carried them there while on their bye. Alabama made sure they got no further.

Meanwhile, Miami actually passed the eye test this weekend. As for Oklahoma, well, their offense is great. Not playing a lick of defense is going to cost them somewhere along the line.

October 29, 2017 additional commentary

Dropped: Michigan State (18), West Virginia (23), Texas A&M (24).

Also Considered: Michigan, Boise State, South Carolina, Kentucky, San Diego State, Army.

We called an audible and put Arizona in the 25th spot ahead of Michigan. The Wolverines haven’t beaten anybody. At least the Wildcats have a win against a ranked team that isn’t not sub-.500. Further, Arizona is red-hot and they frankly deserve it more than Michigan does right now. Michigan will someday get back in the poll and do their damage in the Big Ten and beyond. That is not this year. Let Arizona have its fun.

College Football Playoff chaos begins this week, and what better time than after the fall of a few top ten teams?

October 22, 2017 additional commentary

Dropped: Michigan (13).

Also Considered: Michigan, Memphis, Boise State, Army.

You may be wondering why we dropped Michigan from 13 to out in the middle of the season. Michigan showed that this season, in this form, they are not ready for prime time. Penn State ripped their defense apart, and if we’re being honest with ourselves, the defense is not good enough. The Wolverines aren’t a great team in 2017.

Now, those saying Jim Harbaugh is a failure are still being premature. Yet, the measuring stick is that Urban Meyer turned Ohio State around right away, and Harbaugh didn’t with Michigan (at least not to the same extent). The Wolverines have been good under Harbaugh, but not as good as the Buckeyes, and certainly not now.

In other news, we really want to get Memphis into the top 25, but not enough teams flopped this week. Maybe next time.

October 15, 2017 additional commentary

Dropped: San Diego State (20), Texas Tech (24), Navy (25).

Also Considered: Boise State, San Diego State, Memphis, Kentucky, Virginia, Iowa State, Army.

It was a bloodbath in the Top 25 this week, and we have some new College Football Playoff teams. It’s these weekends when there aren’t “supposed” to be good games that the hugest upsets happen. Even a game like Boston College over unranked Louisville — who saw that coming? This is why we watch.

October 8, 2017 additional commentary

Dropped: West Virginia (18), Louisville (19), Utah (20), and Florida (21).

Just Missed: Utah, Louisville, Georgia Tech, West Virginia, Kentucky.

This weekend in college football seemed like it came out of nowhere. Few of the matchups offered intrigue, but we still got upsets. That’s the great thing about this sport — it can surprise you when you least expect it.

Right now, the playoff picture is the same as last year, if you look at the Coaches Poll and swap Ohio State for Penn State. Georgia can get there, but assuming they would lose to Alabama in the SEC Championship, they wouldn’t stay there at fourth.

October 1, 2017 additional commentary

Dropped: Mississippi State (24), LSU (25).

Just Missed: Oregon, Florida State, Kansas State, Maryland.

Both Mississippi State and LSU got embarrassed on Saturday. At least Mississippi State played a ranked team on the road. LSU lost at home to a Sun Belt team. They’re not getting back into the rankings for a while, even if they atone for this mess.

Florida State has to at least claw back to .500 before we rank them again, but they’re halfway there. At the same time, there are other more deserving teams that could get there. Oregon and K-State are working their way back into our good graces. Maryland is getting there. Some might even say a team like 4-0 Navy deserves consideration.

September 24, 2017 additional commentary

Dropped: Florida State (13), Oregon (21), Colorado (23), Vanderbilt (25).

Just Missed: Memphis, Notre Dame, UCF, Duke, Wake Forest.

First and foremost: the Coaches Poll still has Florida State ranked at 0-2. Are they serious? It’s one thing to rank an 0-1 team at the start of the season, but 0-2, come on, people. I’m not even comfortable ranking them at 1-2 if they win next week. Why reward them for losing?

Otherwise, another four teams drop from the poll this week. Two of them were teams the big boy polls didn’t rank, anyway.

September 17, 2017 additional commentary

Dropped: LSU (12), Kansas State (18), Stanford (21), and Tennessee (22).

Just Missed: San Diego State, Florida, Memphis, and Maryland.

There we go: it wasn’t exactly a bloodbath for ranked teams, but we have four new faces this week. Yes, we dropped LSU for that loss because, frankly, it was embarrassing. You can’t go losing to an unranked team by 30 points and hope to stay in the poll. LSU can bring it back, but Coach O didn’t need this.

UCLA was ranked last week in the big boy poll, but we went in a different direction, and obviously, that’s not happening now. Florida did not move into the top 25 because we’re still not 100 percent sold on them yet. If they are 3-1 coming out of the Vandy game, then yes, they are in the Top 25.

September 10, 2017 additional commentary

Just Missed: Utah, UCLA, and Maryland.

See, this is why we didn’t rank Notre Dame. The media was dying to get them back in the Top 25 after beating a team that clearly isn’t as good as last year. Then Georgia comes in and knocks them back out, and order is restored.

Oklahoma is the big winner of the week, winning the biggest game on the schedule on the road and in style.

September 4, 2017 additional commentary

Where is Notre Dame? Roughly number 26 or 27 on our list. If you ask because the big boy polls ranked them, just know that we didn’t. This is a team coming off of a bad season, and they get ranked for beating up Temple. We need to see one more nice win before handing them a spot. Besides, if that stresses you out, please relax.

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