Welcome to the weekly college football post, featuring the highly influential-ish G-Poll, Games I’m watching, and more. Let’s get to it.
Week 5 G-Poll
With no losses among the G-Poll Top 10, the week 5 rankings remain the same heading into this weekend on the college grid-iron:
1. Ohio State (4-0)
2. Auburn (4-0)
3. USC (3-0)
4. Florida (4-0)
5. Michigan (4-0)
6. West Virginia (4-0)
7. Georgia (4-0)
8. Louisville (4-0)
9. LSU (3-1)
10. Texas (3-1)
previous weeks g-poll top ten: 4
Games I’m Watching
Texas Tech at Texas A&M: If they haven’t had a conference opener yet, most teams will have theirs this weekend. That’s the case for my Texas A&M Aggies who, after a 4-0 start, begin the Big 12 schedule facing Texas Tech at home on Kyle Field this Saturday. A couple of weeks ago, I was pretty nervous about facing the high-powered Mike Leach Tech offense. Given the teams we’ve played so far, it’s not like we’re getting a feel for Big 12 competition. Except for the Army game, they’ve been blow-outs, which is good. We should be running over those teams. The Army game unmasked us though. Yes, they were playing with a great deal of passion and yes, West Point cadets are excellent human specmins–physically and intellectually. No denying that. But it does say something about our defense that we gave up 24 points to them and were in very real danger of losing at the end. But after TCU beat Tech while holding them to just 3 points, I’m thinking there are some issues for Tech this year as well. It’s not surprising that TCU won that game. The Horned Toads are a good team that has had success over the past several seasons and should not be underestimated. But Tech not scoring touchdowns is incredible. Even when they’re outmatched they get at least 3 TD’s in the game. We are usually vulnerable against Tech but since they look kind of vulnerable too, this will be a “moment of truth” kind of game for both teams, not just the Aggies.
#1 Ohio State at #13 Iowa: Iowa is a very good team, strong year in and year out in a tough Big 10 conference, they’re off to a good start undefeated, and they’ve got the #1 Buckeyes at home. But Ohio State is undefeated as well and features a robust offensive arsenal and a defense that isn’t looking nearly as green as the number of new starters this year (9) would seem to suggest. Plus, they’re battle-tested having played Texas in Austin and Penn State in Columbus. Will be fun to watch.
Purdue at #12 Notre Dame: Strange season for the Irish so far. Week 1: Look OK. Week 2: Look great. Week 3: Look terrible. Week 4: Look terrible, then heroic. Something tells me they’ll be happy to have completed their run through the Big 10 gauntlet after hosting Purdue this weekend. The season has been up and down, then was up and down (or down and up) in one game. Can they calm down, settle in, and play some football this week? Purdue is 4-0 and begins a stretch of 3 weeks on the road this Saturday at ND, at Iowa, and at Northwestern. The past three weeks they’ve played at home, winning by margins of 7, 10, and 6 against Miami (OH), Ball State, and Minnesota, which is one reason they’re unranked despite being undefeated.
#24 Georgia Tech at #11 Virginia Tech: The only other game featuring a top 25 match-up pits ACC foes hoping to capitalizing on Miami’s weakness this year and lay claim to the lead position in the Coastal Division. All other perennial ACC contenders have at least one loss in conference play, making this game an opportunity for either of these teams to separate themselves from the pack.
Finally, though it’s not college football, I’ll be watching the Houston Astros and the St. Louis Cardinals final few games (not playing each other) to determine who is named the NL Central Division Champion and, therefore, makes the playoffs. They’ve faced each other in the NLCS the past two years, alternating NL Championships. My Astros have gotten red-hot as of late, winning 9 in a row, while the Cards have gone ice-cold, losing 7 straight (including 4 to Houston) before getting a win yesterday. Then they dropped the one today to allow Houston to within a 1/2 game of the division lead. It promises to be a wild finish and I hope it finishes well for us Houstonians.
Random Top 5: Successful Football and Academic Schools
This week, for some reason I got to thinking about who would be considered the top schools if we weighed both academic strength and football performance. So here are my top 5 schools that excel in both big-time college football and top-notch academics. Numbers in parentheses are the 2007 US News Best Colleges Rankings, followed by the AP ranking this week.
1. Michigan (24, 6)
2. Notre Dame (20, 12)
3. University of Southern California (27, 3)
4. University of California, Berkeley (21, 20)
5. Georgia Tech (38, 24)
Others Receiving Votes: Boston College, Florida, Texas, Wisconsin, Penn State
The top three are no-brainers, I think. Michigan is consistently one of the top three public universities (with Virginia and Cal-Berkeley) listed by US News & World Report up with the elite private universities, plus its the winningest NCAA D-1A program in college football. Notre Dame and USC are next. Cal Berkeley has come on so much in the last few years under Coach Jeff Tedford that their academic clout has had some football clout to pair with it well. Finally, Georgia Tech seemed to have just the right combo of rankings to nudge out Boston College, Texas, and Florida for the 5 spot this year so far.
That’s it for the week that was and is to come in college football. Enjoy the games this weekend and offer your own rankings, games to watch, and commentary.