No change at the top -- Oregon, Boise State and TCU look to be the best three teams in the country. The Horned Frogs might be the only defense in the country that could contain the Ducks. A title game featuring TCU's #1 ranked defense in points allowed (8.67) and yards allowed (217) could at least contain Oregon's explosive offense that tops the country in both points (54.9 per game) and yards (573). The more balanced approach would come from Boise, Idaho, where their football team ranks in the top five in yards, points, yards allowed and points allowed.
|33||North Carolina St||8||10.8||40.6||51.4||6-2||ACC||4||52|
|42||San Diego St||8||15.1||30.7||45.8||6-2||MWC||4||110|
|102||San José St||9||-17.4||43.2||25.9||1-8||WAC||8||26|
|111||Middle Tennessee St||7||-0.3||23.5||23.3||3-4||SunB||5||119|
|118||New Mexico St||8||-19.4||35.0||15.6||2-6||WAC||9||84|
And the conference ratings:
Last week, DSmok asked why the Pac-10 teams looked so strong in my system. California has dropped from 8th to 18th in my rankings, but one-third of the top 21 teams hail from the Conference of Champions. Why is that? Here's a look at all non-conference games played by Pac-10 teams this year:
|4-Sep-10||Arizona St||54||Portland St||9||1||42||18.0||60.0||1||fcs|
|25-Sep-10||Oregon St||24||Boise St||37||0||-10||64.2||54.2||0||WAC|
|11-Sep-10||Arizona St||41||Northern Arizona||20||1||18||31.1||49.1||1||fcs|
|11-Sep-10||Washington St||23||Montana St||22||1||-2||28.3||26.3||1||fcs|
|4-Sep-10||Washington St||17||Oklahoma St||65||0||-34.5||55.2||20.7||0||B12|
The conference has only nine losses -- two against TCU and Boise State, four by cellar dwellars Washington or Washington State, a one-point loss in Wisconsin and then two legitimately black mark losses. But outside of Cal's embarassing performance in Reno and UCLA's loss in Manhattan during the opener (somewhat tempered by the Bruins' victory in Austin three weeks later), there isn't much dragging down the conference in these ratings. And UCLA ranks as the third worst school in the Pac-10. On the plus side of the ledger? Oregon smoked Tennessee in Knoxville, Oregon State was competitive in trips to Dallas and Boise, Arizona beat Iowa, Cal creamed Colorado, Stanford destroyed Notre Dame, and on and on. Top to bottom, it's the best conference in football this year. And next year they get Utah, which would have battled Arizona to win the Pac-12 South this year.
- The best performances from week nine came out of the Beaver State. Oregon creamed USC in Los Angeles, 53-32. That 24-point margin of victory (including home field) against a USC team with an SRS rating of 55.7 gave the Ducks a 79.7 points rating for the week, best in all of college football. Second best? 79.4 points from Oregon State, who smothered Cal (54.9) 35-7 in Corvalis. That's the site of the Civil War this year, which may be the toughest test left for Oregon. And with only one conference loss so far, Oregon State still controls its own destiny for a trip to the Rose Bowl.
- But maybe it's just time to recognize that Oregon really is the class of college football this season. They have a higher SRS grade than any team did entering the bowl games last year. Houston and Boise State led the Football Bowl Subdivision with 42.2 points per game last year; Oregon just dropped 53 points in the Coliseum and lowered their season average. They're even outscoring the offensive monster led by Sam Bradford and Oklahoma in 2008. Consider: Oregon won at Tennessee by 35 points and that game weakened their SRS score (+31, 40.4). Their 11-point win in Arizona is the closest game of the year, and their 21-point victory over Stanford is the second narrowest margin of victory for them this year. Seven of their eight wins have come by at least 3 touchdowns. The "there's no dominant team in college football" meme should be put to rest.
- Still, the Pac-10 may prove to be too difficult to navigate without a loss. The rivalry game against Oregon State will be difficult. The week before they have to play Arizona, #11 in these rankings. And the week before that they travel to Cal, who is who is 4-0 this year at Memorial Stadium with an average score of 47.25 to 8.5. They stomped Arizona State 50-17 in Oregon-like fashion when the Sun Devils came to Berkeley last weekend. If the Ducks can get through a three week minefield of @Cal, Arizona, @Oregon State, they'll have finished a dominant regular season on par with any other in recent memory.
- On Daturday, Wake Forest and Cincinnati produced two of the worst performances by any BCS school all year. Wake lost 62-14 to Maryland. That SRS score of 8.8 is the second worst of the year, "bested" by only Kansas' 59-7 flop against Kansas State. Cincinnati, meanwhile, lost 31-7. At home. To Syracuse. For Maryland, an ACC championship is still a pipe dream, but it wasn't even that two months ago. The Terps likely face Miami with Jacory Harris this weekend, and both Florida State and North Carolina State come to College Park to end the season.
- It's de ja vu all over again in Michigan, as the Wolverines dropped their third straight and now rank 8th in the Big 10 in the SRS. Illinois comes to the Big House on Saturday, and Ron Zook thinks Rich Rodriguez' seat looks hot. Last season, Michigan started 4-0 before entering the heart of their Big 10 schedule. They lost to Michigan State, Iowa and Penn State, before getting blown out 38-13 in Illinois in a game that marked the beginning of the end. The Wolverines finished the year just 1-7 in the conference. This year, Michigan started 5-0, but have since lost to Michigan State, Iowa and Penn State. A loss to the Illini would all but guarantee a .500 season at best, as there's no evidence to suggest that the Wolverines could compete with either Wisconsin or Ohio State in late November. If they somehow lose against Purdue in West Lafayette, they'd match their 1-7 conference record from 2009 and likely end the year on a 7-game losing streak.
- Auburn is the new media darling, and deservedly so. They're the only school with wins over 4 teams with 50+ SRS scores (Wisconsin, Oregon, Oregon State and Missouri have three). But their win 51-31 victory over Ole Miss this weekend would have looked a lot more impressive last season. The Rebels are terrible this year, ranking 11th in the SEC in the SRS. And Mississippi lost at home to the SEC's perennial doormat, Vanderbilt. Auburn has no games of 75+ SRS points (21 so far this season) and only one game of 65+ SRS points (75 so far). Oregon has four games of 75+ SRS points and two more of 65+ SRS points, but the computer aren't impressed by margin of victory. As a result, Auburn remains #1.
- Kansas remains the worst BCS team in the country. How far have the Jayhawks fallen? Their 28-16 loss to Iowa State this weekend was their third best performance of the season.
- Best one-loss teams: Alabama is getting all of the hype, because they still control their own destiny thanks to the Iron Bowl and a possible SEC Championship Game. But Stanford is just as good if not better: the Cardinal lost to Oregon and struggled against USC, but posted their best performance of this this weekend. In a matchup of eventual first round quarterbacks, Andrew Luck out-dueled Jake Locker, as Stanford beat Washington 41-0. That was Stanford's second 75+ point SRS game of the year, after they beat UCLA 35-0 earlier in the season. Missouri may have been exposed this weekend, but they're still a very good team. Ohio State, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Arizona all look very tough this year, too.
- Don't forget about the Sooners. Who knows to what lengths the BCS will go to prevent Boise State or TCU from entering the title game, but Oklahoma may give them a reprieve. The Sooners have the toughest schedule of any team with one loss, and still have games against Baylor, Oklahoma State and presumably Nebraska in a Big 12 championship game. A 12-1 record with wins over those three along with Florida State, Air Force and Texas (and a game against Missouri) might make them computer darlings.
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