Week 7 was a magnificent display of everything that is so wonderful about College Football, with exciting finishes all day Saturday and the multitude of ranked matchups exceeding the highest expectations. Even with all those great games, the poll shakeup was mostly contained within the poll, shifting positions of already ranked teams. Only two teams dropped from the rankings, the Kansas Jayhawks fell out from #19 with its loss to Oklahoma and James Madison’s stay lasted just one week after getting knocked off by Georgia Southern. Those two were replaced by North Carolina, thanks to a crazy comeback win over Duke, and Tulane which moved to 6-1 with a 14-point victory over USF.
#20 Texas - While there were a few bad apples, the voters mostly handled the happenings of the weekend well, and those happenings made it somewhat straightforward. Utah, Kentucky, Illinois, UNC all won to rightfully stay afloat. The one that doesn’t pass a blind resume test would be the Longhorns. Ok cool, you almost beat a team at home that almost beat a team ranked in the Top 5, but oops, you didn’t. You also almost beat a team that’s 3-3 and sub-50 in SP+. Congrats on your almost wins, but if this was TEAM X instead of “Texas,” I’m not sure they’d be ranked this high. The ‘Horns can make it easy on voters and spoil the Oklahoma State Homecoming on Saturday to earn their first quality win of the season and the first of a series of consecutive games against Big 12 contenders.
# 28 UCF Knights - The Knights took a 6-point loss in Week 2 against Louisville, but have been dominant in victory since, including a 17-point win over a Georgia Tech team that went on to win two ACC games after losing to the Knights. While the strength of schedule may not be the strongest, UCF has won it’s five games by an average of 33.6 points per game. There are voters who selected 3-loss squads Arkansas and Florida State, or a Liberty team that needed a 4th quarter comeback to overcome Gardner-Webb last week. The Knights still have Cinci and Tulane along with tricky road games at ECU and Memphis, so should be able to prove it on the field.
Don Williams (@AJ_DonWilliams), Lubbock, TX - Someone in Lubbock lacks respect for TCU, this is my surprised face. Williams has taken to using his AP vote as a way to build his brand in the desert. He is basking in his 15 minutes of attention from TCU Twitter, though from his timeline, it’s clear this has been his goal for some time with many fan bases, as he’s often generated attention from respected national media outlets for his suspect voting in the past. Hey, kudos to him for Tweeting through it. Not that his arguments come with merit or coherence, but he’s certainly standing in front of it, ready to dance on the grave of any team that loses, like a Freezing Cold Takes machine come to life, already doing so with Kansas and Oklahoma State fans. His argument seems to be: “they may lose next week, then you’ll see” uh...ok? How about those teams that did lose? Or how about capturing the relative quality of teams as it stands through the games played to date? He’s suggesting his poll is not actually a ranking of performance or accomplishment, but some kind of power rating, I’m surprised he doesn’t have the entire SEC ranked. Williams is the only voter to place the Horned Frogs lower than 9th, placing TCU #12 in his ballot, with four 1-loss teams ahead of the Frogs. He has Wake Forest at #11, whose best win is over 3-loss unranked Florida State; he ranked Oregon at #10, whose best win is over 3-loss unranked BYU or 3-loss unranked Wazzu. The folks in Lubbock are very invested in tearing down anything TCU does, so he’s just playing the hits for the readers.
The Frogs climbed five spots to #8 with the win over Oklahoma State, while the Cowboys dropped just three spots to #11. While there has already been a groundswell of narrative that the 4-team Playoff should be exclusively SEC teams, and clearly the Pac 12 and Big 12 are trailing behind in the hearts and minds. Each has a chance for another step forward with massive contents in UCLA-Oregon and TCU-KSU. There is still much more season remaining, but with half its schedule played the Frogs are undefeated and in the Top 10. Kansas State didn’t move after a bye week, remaining at #17 as an early-season loss to Tulane continues to more acceptable.
Big 12 (+4) Votes
- #8 TCU - Mem’ries Sweet, Comrades True
- #11 Oklahoma State - Pokes drop just 3 spots and will surely have fewer opposing fans hurt their feelings this week, playing in Stillwater against the Texas Longhorns in another huge contest in the Big 12 race.
- #17 Kansas State - Wildcats hold their spot through the Bye week before trip to Fort Worth
- #20 Texas - Longhorns still own Big 12 officiating, as ISU’s final drive was thwarted when Hunter Dekkers was down and targeted, but there was no targeting call and the play was ruled a fumble. UT escapes and gets a chance to keep climbing the conference ladder in Stillwater.
- #21 Cincinnati - Bearcats hold through Bye week with a trip to Dallas for the Ponies on Saturday
- #28 UCF - Knights pick up votes thanks to putting up a weeknight 70-spot on Temple and get a tricky road game at ECU this week.
- #30 Kansas - The dream may have passed by the Jayhawks, picking up a 2nd loss thanks to the Sooners. KU will look to get bowl eligible in Waco on Saturday.