Sports, Thrill of Victory

The Weekly 128

If someone is going to catch LSUs Fournette for POY, Dak Prescott has the best hope. PHOTO COURTESY MISS STATE ATHLETICS

Mississippi State ascended to No. 1 in the national rankings this week for the first time ever.

Mississippi State ascended to No. 1 in the national rankings this week for the first time ever.

Week 7 was another wonderful week of college football, and Week 8 is off to a great start after two good Thursday night contests. Here’s my ranking of the nation’s 128 FBS teams, through games of Thursday evening.

  1. Ole Miss (6-0): Rebels’ 23.9-point scoring margin ranks fourth in the country, with four nice wins included.
  2. Mississippi State (6-0): It’s really a crapshoot between the two Mississippi schools for No. 1; Ole Miss has a better defense and that’s why I went with the Rebels, but MSU’s three best wins are slightly better.
  3. Baylor (6-0): Bears 61-point output against TCU is one of the most incredible things of the season so far.
  4. Auburn (5-1): Yes, I know… Auburn has a loss, but that 5-1 is more impressive that the other 6-0 teams have been.
  5. Florida State (6-0): If not for last year’s national title, I’m not sure I’d have the ‘Noles this high.
  6. Alabama (5-1): I really don’t know what to make of the ‘Tide right now, but its yardage margin (223 per game, third in the country) against a tough schedule should speak something about the quality of this team, right?
  7. Notre Dame (6-0): It hasn’t been a super-impressive 6-0, but the Irish just keep on winning.
  8. Georgia (5-1): I bet you didn’t know that the Bulldogs, whom Jeff Sagarin says have played the country’s seventh-toughest schedule, rank third in the country in scoring margin (25.1).
  9. TCU (4-1): Horned Frogs’ defense got embarrassed vs. Baylor, but make no mistake, it’s still a good unit.
  10. Oklahoma (5-1): I have a hard time believing that there are nine teams better than OU, but I didn’t like the way the Sooners played against Texas in spite of that win.
  11. Oregon (5-1): I’m tempted to say that the Ducks belong in the nation’s elite, and then, I look at a defense that’s giving up 470 yards per game…
  12. Michigan State (5-1): … meanwhile, MSU’s fate is almost inexorably tied to Oregon’s.
  13. Kansas State (4-1)
  14. Utah (5-1)
  15. Ohio State (4-1)
  16. East Carolina (4-2)
  17. USC (4-2)
  18. Arizona (5-1)
  19. Texas A&M (5-2)
  20. Clemson (4-2)
  21. UCLA (4-2)
  22. Stanford (4-2)
  23. Nebraska (5-1)
  24. Marshall (6-0): Thundering Herd rank second in the country in scoring (30.6) and yardage (267) margins.
  25. Oklahoma State (5-1)
  26. LSU (5-2)
  27. Arizona State (4-1)
  28. Arkansas (3-3)
  29. Virginia (4-2)
  30. Louisville (5-2)
  31. Washington (5-1)
  32. Duke (5-1)
  33. Wisconsin (4-2)
  34. West Virginia (4-2)
  35. Georgia Tech (5-1): I didn’t think the Yellow Jackets were that good before losing to Duke, which is why they fell just five spots from a week ago.
  36. Missouri (4-2)
  37. South Carolina (3-3)
  38. Iowa (5-1): Hawkeyes are surprising having a tough time running the ball, which was supposed to be their bread and butter this fall.
  39. Minnesota (5-1)
  40. Pitt (4-0): Up-and-down Panthers got a nice win over Virginia Tech on Thursday.
  41. Florida (3-2)
  42. Kentucky (5-1)
  43. Virginia Tech (4-3)
  44. Tennessee (2-3): The Vols are my highest-rated sub-.500 team.
  45. Northwestern (3-3)
  46. Maryland (4-2)
  47. Texas (2-4)
  48. Miami (4-3)
  49. Boise State (4-2)
  50. Colorado State (5-1)
  51. BYU (4-2)
  52. Boston College (4-2)
  53. California (4-2)
  54. Temple (4-1): Here’s your odd stat of the half-season: the Owls, despite giving up 17 more yards per game than they’re gaining, are somehow fifth in the country in scoring margin (23.8) thanks to a ┬áplus-11 turnover margin.
  55. Memphis (3-3)
  56. Penn State (4-2)
  57. UCF (3-2)
  58. Rutgers (5-1)
  59. Oregon State (4-2)
  60. Indiana (3-3)
  61. North Carolina State (4-3)
  62. Georgia Southern (5-2)
  63. Washington State (2-5)
  64. Arkansas State (4-2)
  65. Nevada (3-3)
  66. Utah State (4-2)
  67. Iowa State (2-4)
  68. Houston (3-3)
  69. Michigan (3-4)
  70. Syracuse (2-4)
  71. UAB (4-2)
  72. Northern Illinois (4-2)
  73. Toledo (4-3)
  74. Akron (4-2)
  75. Air Force (4-2)
  76. Louisiana Tech (3-3)
  77. Colorado (2-4)
  78. North Carolina (2-4): Tar Heels gave Notre Dame a nice run, but they still have no defense.
  79. Texas Tech (2-4)
  80. Purdue (3-4): Coach Darrell Hazell’s club seems to be getting better, quickly.
  81. MTSU (4-3): I’d have liked to have seen a better showing from the Blue Raiders at Marshall.
  82. Navy (3-4)
  83. South Alabama (3-2)
  84. Illinois (3-4)
  85. Bowling Green (5-2): How on earth is a team giving up 568 yards a game 5-2?
  86. Wake Forest (2-4)
  87. Cincinnati (2-3)
  88. San Diego State (3-3)
  89. Western Kentucky (2-3)
  90. Hawaii (2-4)
  91. UTSA (2-4)
  92. FIU (3-4)
  93. Central Michigan (4-3)
  94. Louisiana-Lafayette (3-3)
  95. Fresno State (3-4)
  96. Kansas (2-4)
  97. Western Michigan (3-3)
  98. North Texas (2-4)
  99. Texas State (2-3)
  100. Wyoming (3-3)
  101. Louisiana-Monroe (3-3)
  102. Army (2-4)
  103. Ball State (1-5)
  104. South Florida (2-4)
  105. Vanderbilt (2-5): Commodores’ scoring (minus-16.4 points) and yardage (minus-146) margins are the worst of all the Power Five teams, and both figures rank in the bottom 10 of all FBS squads.
  106. Old Dominion (3-4)
  107. Rice (3-3)
  108. San Jose State (2-3)
  109. UTEP (3-3)
  110. Ohio (3-4)
  111. Buffalo (3-4)
  112. Appalachian State (1-5)
  113. Tulsa (2-3)
  114. Tulane (203)
  115. New Mexico (2-4)
  116. FAU (2-4)
  117. Miami (Ohio) (1-6)
  118. Massachusetts (1-6)
  119. UNLV (2-5)
  120. Connecticut (1-5)
  121. Southern Miss (2-4)
  122. Troy (1-5)
  123. New Mexico State (2-5)
  124. Georgia State (1-5)
  125. Eastern Michigan (2-4)
  126. Idaho (0-5)
  127. SMU (0-5): Mustangs have the nation’s worst scoring (minus-42.2) and yardage (minus-313) margins.
  128. Kent State (0-6): You know you’re a bad club when you lose by 23 to UMass.