Order in the court, maybe, but not in the weekly ranking. This topsy-turvy season is starting to look like a Three Stooges food fight. We can't keep anyone in the same place for more than five minutes. Auburn was our favorite team one week, then Oklahoma and now it's...oh, that surprise is for nickel-a-day members only.
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Our new No.1 is Clemson. It has never been Alabama because that's too easy and the Crimson Tide has so far played only state schools (Florida State, Fresno State, Colorado State). This week there's a tiny chance Nick Saban will get out-smarted by Vanderbilt, which has surprised college football and joined Stanford (maybe not this year), Duke and Northwestern (sorry Rice) as fine institutions that have proven you can play football and still graduate with degrees that are not Physical Science or Parks and Recreation. But hey, the emergence of San Diego State (13) and Memphis (16) are proof we don't just have soft-wear geniuses populating our index. The Aztecs and Tigers used wins over the Pac 12 (Stanford and UCLA) to hop our chain-linked fence. UCLA is playing at Stanford this week in the Lost To Group of Five consolation bowl. Just out of top 16 reach is Mississippi State, which knocked the Coach O out of LSU last week. Mississippi State can rise faster than any team in the nation because it has a possible (but not probable) win against Alabama on its SEC West schedule. We've got a caution flag on The Cow Bells because they teased us in 2014 before going hooves up. And there's a lot of land to graze before hosting Alabama on Nov. 11. Example: Mississippi State plays at Georgia and at Auburn the next two weeks.
1: Clemson (3-0): Archie fans drink home brew from a Woody cup after Tigers take L. Jackson out of second Heisman race. (2)
2: Oklahoma (3-0): Huge game at Baylor this week. Wait, sorry, I was reading off an old Art Briles pocket schedule. (1)
3: Alabama (3-0): Last time “at Vanderbilt” in football mattered Grantland Rice was cutting in line at the press box lunch buffet. (3)
4: USC (3-0): Last year at this time top insiders at school wanted to fire Clay Helton but keep the dean at Keck School of Medicine. (4)
5: Oklahoma State (3-0): Boisterous Booster T. Boone Pickens said he woke up Thursday “feeling like a billion bucks.” (6)
6: Georgia (3-0): Hosting Mississippi State this week in battle of the network SEC West-East Bulldog stars. (5)
7: Washington (3-0): Dante Pettis has returned eight punts for touchdowns but not six overdue books to library. (8)
8: Penn State (3-0): Franklin also calls time out to “ice” the “Make-a-Wish” foundation and 8-year-old kid at door selling raffle tickets. (9)
9: Florida State (0-1): Highest any team has ever been ranked, this late, in any sport, without a win, outside a soccer group-play format. (10)
10: Ohio State (2-1): Coaches hunkering over Howard game tape with “tremendously under gambled” UNLV coming to town. (11)
11: Wisconsin (3-0): Provo is officially a “dry” town again after Badger fans emptied every last keg of 2% fermented fern juice. (12)
12: Michigan (3-0): Coaches emerged from emergency "Purdue' meeting agreeing to eat at "McGraw's Steak Chop and Fish House" on Friday night in West Lafayette. (14).
13: San Diego State (3-0): Students who attended last week’s win can redeem Stanford admission rejection letter for two Baja fish tacos.
14: Auburn (2-1): Rankman would love to take back what he bought at SEC Depot Center last August…but lost the receipt. (7)
15: Oregon (3-0): First prize winner at “Laramie Rodeo and Mile High Stampede” for pinning Wyoming quarterback’s ears back. (15)
16: Memphis (2-0): Received 21 points from this week’s AP poll, 26 from coaches' poll and 14 off Josh Rosen interceptions. (NR)
First Four Out
Texas Christian: Gary Patterson out to prove last year’s 7-5 season was, quite clearly, somebody else’s fault.
Mississippi State: Last time pollsters this high on Hail State (2014) it answered with losses to Alabama, Ole Miss and Georgia Tech.
Maryland: Memo to USC: Happy together Turtles scored 51 on Texas and 63 vs. Towson. They have this down to “T.”
South Florida: To honor Jake LaMotta, program will lose 40 pounds for movie role and change name to “Raging Bulls.”
Next Four Never
Rutgers: The struggling "Frankly, Scarlets, we don't give a damn," finally get a break on Big Ten schedule this week: at Nebraska.
Oregon State: Corvallis transplant R. Kramden trying to lure Riley back with membership to International Order of Friendly Sons of the Raccoons.
East Carolina: Coach says: “I was excited the way we started the Virginia Tech game” after getting outscored, 41-0, in second half.
UTEP: No shame in losing to Oklahoma and Arizona. But a 17-point loss to Rice? [/membership]