Oct
06
2020

Corn’s Cream Of The Crop: College Football Top 25 Rankings

Welcome back to my now newly named column, “Corn’s cream of the crop”! Corny… I know, but let’s roll with it! Here are my top 25 rankings heading into week six of the college football season:

  1. Clemson: (3-0) 41-23 W @ Home vs Virginia: In the 2019 ACC championship game rematch, Trevor Lawrence threw for 329 yards and three touchdowns in the blowout victory. Travis Etienne had 73 rushing yards and a touchdown on the ground but made his case as to why he was the best all-around running back in the country with a five-catch, 114-yard performance via the air. He also had a receiving TD as well. I don’t think a true number one WR option has emerged quite yet, but Lawrence is spreading the ball around and getting production still. With Lawrence and Etienne, this team will be hard to beat.
  2. Alabama: (2-0) 52-24 W @ Home vs Texas A&M: If any team can beat Clemson, it’s Alabama. Mac Jones threw for 435 passing yards against the ranked Aggies, as he had 4TD’s and only one interception. Although the Tide has a worse QB than Clemson, its wideouts tower above the Tigers, as John Metichie just became a household name, and a guy on opposing teams radar, with a five reception, 181 yards, and a two-touchdown performance. Jaylen Waddle had himself a day as well, with five receptions, 142 yards, and a touchdown. Devonta Smith had six receptions, 63 yards, and a TD, proving to be the team’s possession receiver.
  3. Florida: (2-0) 38-24 W @ Home vs South Carolina: These Kyles are a PROBLEM, as Kyle Trask threw four touchdowns on the day, two to matchup nightmare at TE Kyle Pitts, who has twelve receptions, 227 yards, and six receiving touchdowns on the season so far. This Florida team has a chance to compete for the SEC East title this year, but if they want to do so, they’re going to have to find better production on the ground. 24 team carries for just a 3.3 yards per carry average of 80 total yards won’t cut it. Junior back Dameon Pierce had nine carries for 51 yards and a touchdown last week and is averaging 5.8 yards a carry this season. Can he be this team’s go-to guy to balance out this offensive attack?
  4. Georgia: (2-0) 27-6 W @ Home vs Auburn: I had Auburn ranked 4th heading into this matchup, so this was very impressive. Their defense looked fantastic, as they allowed a mere 4.4 yards per pass, and 1.8 yards per carry, and after two games, has only given up 16 total points. After benching QB D’Wan Mathis game one (Due to Jamie Newman’s opt-out), many Georgia fans thought they’d be in trouble at the QB position and was excited about 5-star transfer, J.T. Daniels being cleared to play for the Bulldogs heading into week two. Stetson Bennett proved he deserved a chance to be their guy against Auburn, with 240 passing yards and a TD against a good Auburn team.
  5. Notre Dame: (2-0) Didn’t play. Notre Dame didn’t play week 4 against Wake Forest due to Covid-19 related reasons. They are scheduled to play Florida State October 10th, who struggled against JACKSONVILLE STATE for half of the game last week. Will the Fighting Irish look sluggish after a Covid-19 hiatus, or make easy work out of Florida State their first game back?
  6. Miami: (3-0) Didn’t play. I’ve really enjoyed D’Eriq King and the Hurricane play this season, and I’m predicting that they play Clemson a little too close for comfort Saturday on the primetime stage on ABC. I also think this team would BEAT Clemson, if future top 10 overall NFL draft pick, Gregory Rousseau hadn’t opted out for the season. Can King and company pull off the upset?
  7. Oklahoma State: (3-0) 47-7 W @ Kansas: Heading into the season, I had the Cowboys as a darkhorse team to win the Big-12 with their trio of Spencer Sanders, Chubba Hubbard, and Tylan Wallace. Sanders got hurt in their first game of the season, but OSU has done a good job of avoiding upsets like Texas and Oklahoma has, with backup quarterback, Shane Illingworth, who had 265 passing yards and three passing touchdowns against the Jayhawks. Chubba Hubbard, who had 145 rushing yards and two touchdowns, and Tylan Wallace, who had nine receptions, for 148 yards and a pair of touchdowns as well, is making the transition for the backup freshman QB much easier.
  8. North Carolina: (2-0) 26-22 W @ Boston College: With three weeks off due to a game cancellation due to the Coronavirus, UNC looked sloppy as they had nine penalties, a missed field goal, and a mental error on a kickoff, that led to Boston College’s first touchdown on the day. However, the Tar Heels picked off what would have been a game-tying 2pt attempt and took it 99 yards to the house to seal the deal. They didn’t look dominant in their first game of the season (Howell had only 1 TD and 2 interceptions against Syracuse) and struggled to pull away from Boston College in this one, making one wonder how long they will hold onto their top 10 rankings.
  9. Auburn: (1-1) 6-27 L @ Georgia: In the first matchup between two top ten teams this season, going up against a third, and what was viewed as a 4th string QB heading into the season, Bo Nix and the Auburn showed some obvious holes on their game. Nix only completed 21 out of his 40 pass attempts, for just 174 yards, (4.4 yards average) zero touchdowns, and an interception. His scrambling ability has been highlighted as an extension of his game, but he only managed 8 rushing yards on his 11 rush attempts. Speaking of the running game, this team only managed just 1.8 yards per carry and 39 rushing yards on 22 attempts. Newly anointed offensive Coordinator, Chad Morris will need to make some adjustments if this Auburn team wants to compete to get into the college football playoff, with room for error running low in future games.
  10. Cincinnati: (3-0) 28-7 W @ Home vs USF: I had Cincinnatti ranked 13th heading into the season on my first ever top 25 rankings, and after back to back 11 win seasons, I really thought Luke Fickel and this run-first offense, & experienced defense had a chance to not only win the AAC but also make a legitimate cause for the college football playoff. With Texas, Oklahoma, and the Big-12 not looking great, and the Big-10 playing a condensed schedule, a potentially undefeated Bearcats team could make the selection committee think long and hard. Against USF, Cincinnatti stayed on brand, as they played stout defense, and ran the ball 45 times, including a 22 carry, 143-yard performance from Gerrid Oaks, along with a touchdown.
  11. Louisiana: (3-0) Didn’t play. The Ragin’ Cajuns entered my top 25 after a week one upset over the then 14th ranked Iowa State Cyclones, and they have continued to rattle off wins to stay undefeated. Iowa State’s recent win against Oklahoma validates that Louisiana is a dang good team. With the way the Sunbelt has looked this season, their best team deserves recognition this high up in the rankings. Can they stay undefeated? Will they win the Sun Belt?
  12. Tennessee: (2-0) 35-12 W @ Home vs Missouri: Tennessee has looked good through two weeks, and there really isn’t much different from their 35-12 win against Missouri, and Alabama’s 38-19 win last week. The win was the Vol’s eighth in a row, as Eric Gray and Ty Chandler combined for 195 rushing yards and three scores in the victory. Quarterback, Jarrett Guarantano has done a very good job of managing the game so far this season, not throwing a single interception, and using his legs as another wrinkle and element for this offense in the redzone, as he has three rushing TD’s on the season, and had two against Missouri on Saturday.
  13. Virginia Tech: (2-0) Didn’t play. Virginia Tech has a chance to vault itself into the top 10 potentially with a win against 8th ranked North Carolina, who hasn’t been exactly dominant against worse opponents such as Syracuse and Boston College. The Hokies beat the Tar Heels in a wild SIX overtime period performance last season.
  14. Texas A&M: (1-1) 24-52 L @ Home vs Alabama: Like Auburn, I couldn’t bump down A&M too far, considering they lost against a very good football team. The good news for Aggie fans is that Kellen Mond played better than his 17/28 189 yards, one touchdown performance week one, as he followed that up with a 25/44 318 yard, three-touchdown, one interception performance against the Crimson Tide. The Aggies will need him to continue to take steps forward to rebound. Another key player I’d like to highlight is Sophomore RB, Ananias Smith. He had a rushing touchdown week one and had six receptions for 123 receiving yards and two TD’s in week two. Can he be this team’s biggest playmaker??
  15. LSU: (1-1) 41-7 W @ Vanderbilt: After an embarrassing loss to the Mississippi State Bulldogs during week one, the defending national champs rebounded against Vanderbilt, and handled them much better than the team I just mentioned above them in the rankings. The key to this team will be their quarterback, Myles Brennan, whos replacing the Heisman award-winning, and number one overall pick, Joe Burrow. He had 337 passing yards, four touchdowns, and an interception last week, averaging a solid 9.1 yards per completion.
  16. Iowa State: (2-1) 37-30 W @ Home vs Oklahoma: I had the Cyclones ranked 14th in the nation heading into the season, and they responded to an early-season loss to a win over TCU, who will be mentioned later on in these rankings, and just pulled off an upset over Oklahoma, giving them their first back to back loss since 1999. Brock Purdy was solid, throwing to his receivers who had an obvious size advantage, but the star on the day was running back, Breece Hall, who had 139 rushing yards and two touchdowns against the Sooners. Hall had 20-103-1 in week one and 18-155-3 in week two, proving to be one of the best running backs in all of college football this season. Their only loss during the season was to the 11th ranked team in the nation and has wins over what was my 16th ranked team (Oklahoma) heading into their matchup, and my 19th ranked team in the rankings this week, (Spoiler Alert) TCU.
  17. SMU: (4-0) 30-27 W @ Home vs Memphis: SMU is undefeated on the season, the most wins in college football so far, and most recently had a win against a Memphis team that I had ranked 20th heading into last week. Quarterback, Shane Buechele has been throwing all over the yard for the Mustangs this season, as he had 474 yards and three touchdowns last week. He has 1,326 passing yards and ten touchdowns so far this season.
  18. TCU: (1-1) 33-31 W @ Texas: I had TCU ranked 24th heading into the season, and proved that ranking was smart, with a road win against what was my 9th ranked Texas team heading into their matchup, and their lone loss is against my 16th ranked team, Iowa State. Can they sustain their top 25 success? Having a QB like Max Duggan definitely helps, as he completed 20 of 30 pass attempts for 231 passing yards, as he also added 17 carries for 79 yards and a pair of rushing touchdowns.
  19. UCF: (2-1) 26-34 L @ Home vs Tulsa: I was very impressed to begin the season, and was beginning to wonder if Central Florida could make a push to the college football playoff if they continued to play the way they did. Tulsa ruined their perfect season, but the Knights can still win the American conference led by quarterback, Dillon Gabriel.
  20. Texas: (1-1) 31-33 L @ Home vs TCU: Texas barley escaped Texas Tech week one, and lost at home to an unranked Horned frog team, as they barely hold on to a top 25 ranking. Ehlinger looked solid, with a 236-yard passing, four-touchdown effort, but the lack of rushing production, and defense led to a loss. Heading into one of the Saddest Red River Rivalry matchups in recent history, Texas needs a win against their rival to get back on track.
  21. Kansas State: (2-1) 31-21 W @Home vs Texas Tech: After the upset win in Norman against Oklahoma, Deuce Vaughn proved that his breakout wasn’t a cinderella story, as he had 113 yards rushing and a touchdown on the ground, along with three receptions, 81 yards, and a touchdown via the air as well. The 5’5 Darren Sproles esque, explosive pass-catching back is the beginning and end for this offense. AND HE’S A FRESHMAN!
  22. Mississippi State: (1-1) 14-21 L @ Home vs Arkansas: A week after their scorching, SEC passing yards record-breaking, upset over LSU, the Mississippi State Bulldogs struggled against the zone defense of Arkansas and took an upset loss at home. Classic Mike Leach. Makes teams look stupid one week, then makes you scratch your head the next. I figured coming to an SEC program, Leach would run the football more frequently. He only had NINE total rushing yards in their win against LSU who plays predominantly man. Against Arkansas, he mixed it up more with 27 total carries and 87 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown, but that Razorback defense, who plays in a more zone scheme, expected the pass, and was able to intercept three Costello passes. They dropped eight defenders back and was giving Costello the intermediate pass, and he struggled to make the easy play and pushed the ball downfield. Will Leach, Costello, and the Bulldogs adjust? Will the Bulldogs have a more balanced offensive attack? Or live and die on the pass? You have Kylin Hill!! He needs 15 total touches each week.
  23. Pittsburgh: (3-1) 29-30 L @ Home vs NC State: Pitt looked solid coming into this week’s game against NC State. Their defense looked great, as they allowed just a mere 10 total points before beating a good Louisville team by the score of 23-20. A team I had ranked 24th in the nation heading into their matchup. The defense ran out late against the Wolf Pack. They twice needed to go the length and score in the fourth quarter, and twice they did it. The last score came with just 13 seconds to go, to Emeka Emezie. I for one think Pitt, who was one of, if not the nations top defense heading into their matchup against NC State, has a solid chance to rebound if they can refrain from getting 13 penalties again as a defensive holding play put the Wolfpack in a great position to score their last-second, game-winning touchdown. Besides my confidence in this team still defensively minus the penalty’s, I have confidence in their quarterback, Kenny Pickett, who’s been solid all season, but broke out for 411 passing yards and a score through the air, and added two more on the ground. Pickett commanding the offense, and a great defense should definitely rebound from this loss.
  24. Ole Miss: (1-1) 42-41 W @ Kentucky: Ole Miss’s only loss on the season is to third-ranked Florida, and recently beat Kentucky, who I had ranked 22nd heading into their matchup. Lane Kiffin made the QB switch from John Ryus Plumlee to Matt Corral, and he’s been fantastic. Against Florida, he had 395 passing yards, three touchdowns. In the Rebels win against Kentucky, he had 320 passing yards and four touchdowns, as well as a team-leading 51 rushing yards. Did Ole Miss just find their quarterback?
  25. Marshall: (2-0) Didn’t play. Marshall is one of 19 teams in the nation that is currently undefeated and claimed this ranking when they beat App State 17-7, who was my 23rd ranked team heading into their matchup with the Thundering Herd, and my preseason Sunbelt favorite. They deserve their 25th ranking for not having a loss yet and beating a ranked team.

Teams on the bubble:

Tulsa: Their only loss is to my 7th ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys, and barley lost, and recently beat UCF, who I had ranked 11th. With a matchup against 10th ranked Cincinnatti next, we really will be able to tell if they’re the real deal or not.

Oklahoma: Back to back losses for the first time since 1999, but this team was ranked 3rd heading into the season, and all it will take would be a victory against their arch-rivals, 20th ranked Texas to get them back in the top 25.

Arkansas: The Razorbacks gave 4th ranked Georgia all they could handle for a half, and took down Mississippi State last week, who was ranked 21st heading into the season, and 10th heading into last week’s matchup.

BYU: BYU’s ranked 15th in the AP top 25 poll, but I have no earthly idea why. Yes, they’re undefeated, which is why they’re on the bubble, but they’ve only played teams such as Navy, Troy, and Louisiana Tech, with no challenging opponents ahead on the schedule. They might go undefeated, but I value the strength of schedule in my rankings.

So there you have it, my top 25 rankings heading into week 6 of the college football season!