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Deadspin's College Football Top 25 Or So: Later, Sooners

Illustration for article titled Deadspins College Football Top 25 Or So: Later, Sooners

It's time for a new installment of Deadspin's college football rankings. As always, the teams are ranked according to the logic and values of college football, no matter how bizarre or contradictory they may be.


1. Clemson (8-0) Last week: 1.

Defensive end Kourtnei Brown made like Melvin Ingram, scoring touchdowns on an interception and a fumble return as the Tigers beat North Carolina, 59-38. Brown reached the end zone more times than any other Clemson player, but six Tigers were tied for second place.


2. LSU (8-0) Last week: 2

The scandal-plagued Tigers beat the defending scandal-plagued national champions, Auburn, 45-10. With three new players suspended—this time reportedly for testing positive for use of synthetic marijuana—formerly suspended quarterback Jordan Jefferson had one touchdown pass and never-suspended quarterback Jarrett Lee had two. In the SEC, scandals are just how you flaunt your depth.

3. Stanford (7-0) Last week: 5

In a showcase for the Cardinal's team-first football philosophy, six different players had at least 20 yards rushing as Stanford piled up 446 yards on the ground in a 65-21 win over Washington. The Cardinal rushing game averaged 10.1 yards per carry, while the no-frills passing game averaged only 7.7 yards per attempt.


4. Oklahoma State (7-0) Last week: 6

The Cowboys, the best football team in Oklahoma, beat Missouri, 45-24. More importantly, they were certified as the best football team in Oklahoma. Unlike a certain other team.


5. Michigan State (6-1) Last week: 7

A week after wrecking Michigan's undefeated season, the Spartans mashed another lump in the BCS's potatoes by wrecking Wisconsin's undefeated season, 37-30, with the help of a replay review of a last-second Hail Mary.


6. Alabama (8-0) Last week: 8

The Crimson Tide beat Tennessee, which is not Auburn, 37-6. But with the defending national champion Tigers losing for the third time, Alabama finally moves out of the shadow of last year—and into the shadow of LSU.


7. Houston (8-0) Last week: 15

Playing on Saturday and again on Thursday, the Cougars beat Marshall and then Rice by a combined score of 136-62. Quarterback Case Keenum had 9 touchdown passes. That's not combined. That was just against Rice.


Keenum also threw for 6 TDs against Marshall, giving him 15 touchdown passes in six days and 139 in his career, the new record for the top college division, whatever they're calling it these days. In the Marshall game, Keenum also set the record for total offense, and he's now 267 yards shy of the record for passing yardage. In non-Keenum statistical news, Houston's Tyronn Carrier ran Rice's opening kickoff back 100 yards for a touchdown, the seventh kickoff-return touchdown of his career, tying the record. Also in the Rice game, Patrick Edwards had seven catches for 318 yards, which works out to 45.4 yards per catch. Houston!

8. USC (6-1) Last week: 18

The outlaw Trojans, on the road, easily outplayed and demoralized a third-rate Midwestern program, 31-17.


9. Kansas State (7-0) Last week: 14

The Wildcats joined the parade of teams putting up gaudy numbers against Kansas, beating the Jayhawks 59-21. The average score of a Kansas game this year is Other Team 50.4, Kansas 30.1.


10. [Vacant] Last week: 11

Honestly, there was a strong case for ranking nobody as high as No. 7 this week.

11. Arkansas (6-1) Last week: 10

The Razorbacks beat Ole Miss, 29-24, in a game of no particular consequence.

12. Wisconsin (6-1) Last week: 4

Yeah, the Badgers lost on a video-reviewed Hail Mary, by inches, at the gun. But it was a Hail Mary by a team that had scored 23 unanswered points in the second quarter and never trailed after that.


13. South Carolina (6-1) Last week: 13

The Gamecocks had the week off. Steve Spurrier spent it learning the names of some of his defensive players.


14. Boise State (7-0) Last week: 12

Beat Air Force, 37-26. That's half as many points as the Broncos would have needed to seem interesting. Some dingbat is still giving Boise State a first-place vote in the AP poll, even though there are seven other undefeated teams, and six of those actually play good opponents. Can't we just skip ahead to a shootout with Houston in a Christmas-week bowl game?


15. Penn State (7-1) Last week: 19

Joe Paterno, confined to the coaches' box with an injured pelvis and shoulder, tied Eddie Robinson by being credited with his 804th career win as the Nittany Lions beat Northwestern, 34-24. Grambling State should just name Robinson its coach again till he gets the record back. Sure, technically, Eddie Robinson died four years ago. Is that going to stop Paterno?


16. Southern Miss (6-1) Last week: unranked

Southern Miss enters the list with a 27-3 win over Southern Methodist, in which the most intriguing stats belonged to a player on the losing side:

SMU running back Zach Line rushed for 163 yards, but couldn't score on eight carries inside the 10-yard-line.


17. Texas Tech (5-2) Last week: unranked

The Red Raiders broke their own two-game losing streak and Oklahoma's 39-game home winning streak, beating the Sooners in Norman, 41-38, in a game that wasn't that close. Texas Tech is averaging 43.4 points per game and has only lost to ranked teams, never by more than a touchdown. And now to go with those moral victories, they have the other kind of victory, the kind where you score more points than the other team does.


18. Auburn (5-3) Last week: 8

Another bad week for the reigning national champions, but they're still the reigning national champions.


19. (tie) Virginia Tech (7-1) Last week: 21
19. (tie) Michigan (6-1) Last week: 120
19. (tie) Oregon (6-1) Last week: unranked

There are eight undefeated teams still dreaming of a national championship. And then there are these teams, teams that have been measured and found wanting, teams that have nothing useful to add to the conversation, teams still working and practicing and scheming in the hopes of maybe getting the chance to run up the score against somebody in a not-important-enough bowl game. Oh, hey, people will say (in these teams' fantasies), that team was pretty darn good. See, we need a national playoff! Actually, we have one. It's called the regular season. And these teams already lost it.


22. Louisiana-Lafayette (6-2) Last week: 17

Still bowl-eligible, after a 42-23 loss to Western Kentucky. But it might not be a very good bowl now.


120. Oklahoma (6-1) Last week: 3

One minute, the Sooners' ambition was to win a national championship. The next, their ambition was to put a cosmetic dusting of points on the scoreboard in garbage time to make it look as if they hadn't been blown out, at home, by Texas Tech. Which they were.

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