Four of the AP Top 25 Poll teams in college football’s 5th week have some proving to do to justify their national ranking. Missouri is ranked 4th in the current AP Top 25 Poll, Texas Tech 7th, South Florida 10th and Kansas 16th. These four ranked teams need to play better competition and win. That includes South Florida’s narrow victory at home over Kansas, 37-34.
Let’s start with South Florida, which is rated 119th in schedule toughness by Sagarin among the 119 schools in Division 1-A or, as the NCAA honchos like to say, the Football Bowl Subdivision.
The average schedule toughness of the five opponents South Florida has already played equals the worst Division 1-A school in college football. The Bulls have beaten 1-AA Tennessee Martin 56-7 (ranked 170th by Sagarin in quality among 242 Division 1-A and 1-AA schools with football programs), Central Florida 31-24 in overtime (ranked 124th in quality), Kansas 37-34 (ranked 42nd), Florida International 17-9 (ranked 108th) and North Carolina State 41-10 (ranked 100th).
Do not confuse Sagarin’s rating for schedule toughness with his ranking for quality team performance. Said another way, Kansas is the 42nd best team in the country right now, North Carolina State is the 100th best, Florida International is 108th, Central Florida is 124th and Tennessee Martin is 170th.
Four of the 5 teams South Florida has beaten are ranked 100th or worse by Sagarin. The facts don’t exaggerate, and Sagarin’s ratings, unlike the AP Top 25 Poll, are based on actual game results pitted against one another. The Bulls are unbeaten at 5-0 but host Pittsburgh this Saturday. Let’s see if Dave Wannstedt can get his Pitt Panthers over the hump and beat South Florida.
Missouri is really out in left field hanging on the branch of a tree. The Tigers rate 142nd in schedule toughness, the worst of these four teams that could be overrated and headed for a nosedive in the AP Poll.
Missouri’s heady 4-0 mark has come at the expense of Illinois 52-42 (ranked 61st in quality by Sagarin), 1-AA Southeast Missouri State 52-3 (ranked 211th), Nevada 69-17 (ranked 67th) and Buffalo 42-21 (ranked 93rd). The fact that the Tigers have outscored their opponents 215-83 still does not impress. They gave up 42 points to Illinois, their best opponent yet.
Illinois was in the AP Top 25 the first four weeks of the season, rising to No. 22. Two weeks ago I was all over the Fighting Illini’s case, saying they should not even be among the Top 25. Last week they visited Penn State at Happy Valley and found out just how good they are not.
Illinois was kicked out of the Top 25 this week, and Missouri may have a free fall in the Top 25 as the diddling around will stop with the Tigers’ next four opponents-Nebraska, Oklahoma State, Texas and Colorado.
Texas Tech is unbeaten at 4-0 but is rated 129th in schedule toughness by Sagarin. The Red Raiders are hanging with Missouri on the other branch of the same tree. Texas Tech has wins over 1-AA Eastern Washington 49-24 (ranked 98th by Sagarin), Nevada 35-19 (ranked 67th), Southern Methodist 43-7 (ranked 148th) and 1-AA Massachusetts 56-14 (ranked 113th).
This is the Red Raiders’ wake-up call for the next 7 weeks-Kansas State, Nebraska, Texas A&M, Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma. Let’s see if Texas Tech knocks off these 7 opponents and ends up at 11-0 on the season with pushover Baylor as its last opponent. If you think Texas Tech is about to drop in the AP Top 25 your are right.
Kansas is the last of the four Top ranked teams with some serious proving to do. The Jayhawks are rated 101st in schedule toughness. Kansas, you will recall, lost to South Florida 37-34 in an away game. The Jayhawks’ wins have come against Florida International 40-10 (ranked 108th by Sagarin), Louisiana Tech 29-0 (ranked 107th), and 1-AA Sam Houston State 38-14 (ranked 127th).
After next week, Kansas will be looking across the line at Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Kansas State, Nebraska, Texas and Missouri. It is really doubtful that Kansas will end its regular season at 11-1.
It is not probable that Kansas will go 11-1 since the Big 12 teams will be playing each other very soon. Five Big 12 teams are ranked in the AP Top 25 with 4-0 records-Oklahoma, Missouri, Texas, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State. They had better enjoy their unbeaten records while they can.
While not appearing so, Missouri and Texas Tech may be the weakest of the five unbeaten teams. Time will tell, and Sargarin will record the results for all to see.
Copyright © 2008 Ed Bagley
Read my other detailed, knowledgeable, interesting articles on college football, including:
“College Football – Week 5: 9 AP Top 25 Teams Lose, 6 to Unranked Teams, No. 1 USC, No. 3 Georgia & No. 4 Florida All Lose”
“College Football – Week 4: 14 Teams Suffer Their First Defeat – Auburn, East Carolina, Oregon & Florida State All Lose”
“College Football – Week 3: Let There Be No Doubt: USC Crushes Ohio State 35-3 and Is Clearly No. 1”
“College Football – Week 2: East Carolina Smacks West Virginia, Upsets Its 3rd Straight Ranked Team”
“College Football – Week 1: No. 24 Alabama Stuns No. 9 Clemson, East Carolina Upsets No. 17 Virginia Tech”
“College Football – Preseason – Only 5 Games Highlight First Week, 29 Others Must Win Their Opener”
“Forbes Touts Alabama’s Nick Saban as the Most Powerful Coach in Sports”