Happy Labor Day weekend! Your unpaid student-athlete workforce is already on the job. So it's time for the 2012 Deadspin College Football Top 25 Or So. As always, teams are ranked according to the values and priorities of college football, as best we understand them, no matter how contradictory those values and priorities may be. (And despite the fact that the whole system has only two years left before it gets thrown in a dumpster in favor of the Playoff Era.)
The reigning champs.
The reigning outlaw champs, now returned to lawful competition, are No. 2.
Everyone but Alabama and USC starts the season a fraud or pretender till proven otherwise.
4. South Carolina (1-0)
Stayed out of the national title picture last year, beat some folks, seemed to have fun.
5. Oklahoma State
Imagine how far they might go if they can beat Iowa State this year.
7. (tie) Michigan
7. (tie) Michigan State
Unless one of them turns out to stink, they break the tie Oct. 20.
9. (tie) Boise State
9. (tie) TCU *
9. (tie) Houston
Hurry, fellas! Only two more years to get screwed by the BCS before you can get screwed by the playoff system. [*Correction: TCU already got out of the sucker game, joining the Big 12 this year. We knew that last year.]
12. (tie) Georgia
12. (tie) Arkansas
Three different ways to have a B+ program. Arkansas's way is the most entertaining.
The weird part of the early obfuscation around Tyrann Mathieu's removal from the Tigers was the claim that LSU had a "team rule."
15. Kansas State
The raised expectations after last season aren't so scary when you realize last season's real standard was "can't beat good teams."
16. Northern Illinois
Decent till proven otherwise.
17. West Virginia
Did win their bowl game.
Didn't win their bowl game.
19. Southern Miss
Coming off a totally satisfactory season.
Remember when everyone took Oklahoma seriously last year?
Won the preseason coin toss with Tennesse to be that orange-and-white team that vaguely gets national attention.
Maybe Auburn? One of those two.
23. South Florida
No creampuffs like Notre Dame on this year's schedule.
24. Florida State
Congratulations to Bobby Bowden on recapturing the FBS all-time wins mark.
119. Penn State
Paterno Truthers refuse to allow the Nittany Lions to move on to the overcoming-adversity stage of the story.
120. Notre Dame