I liken waiting for the unveiling of college football’s first AP Poll to waiting to see what Santa’s bringing you for Christmas; you pretty much know what you’re gonna get, but you’re still anxious to see what the surprises will be.
Yesterday’s AP Poll was made up of results we expected as well as a few surprises that made us say, “what the whaaaaaaat!?”
Let’s take a look.
CLEMSON vs. GEORGIA
A few days ago, #12 Georgia was singing “I Wanna be Where You Are” to its rivals who were sittin’ pretty in the preseason top 10. But, doggone it, how quickly that tune changed. Powered by a most magnificent Todd Gurley performance, Georgia Leap Dawged (see what I did there) not one, not two, not three but 6 places to #6, and those same rivals — especially teams who won and still got leapt — are undoubtedly giving the Junkyard Dawgs major side eye.
Take a step back.
We already knew Clemson vs. Georgia would be one of the most exciting opening-week games. Both teams ranked in the top 20, new starting QBs for both squads, a new, BCS Championship-winning defensive coordinator for Georgia, carried-over confidence for Clemson after defeating the Dawgs in last season’s home opener. You probably couldn’t find a more entertaining cat versus dog story on YouTube.
At the half, the score was 21, all. Then Todd Gurley decided to take matters into his own
hands legs and carried Georgia to a 45-21 victory.
The third-year starting running back’s record-setting, 293 all-purpose yard performance was more than enough to thrust him into the Heisman conversation, Georgia into the playoff conversation, and Clemson into the “damn, they must not have played any D in the second half” conversation.
So side eye all you want; that Georgia team that showed up Saturday deserves to be in the top 10.
UCLA vs VIRGINIA
UCLA started out at #7 but dropped to #11 after (barely) beating Virginia. Should we have expected UCLA dropping 4 places or is this a “what the whaaaaaaat!?”
Let’s consider all the preseason hype surrounding UCLA and their starting QB Brett Hundley. If you believe everything you read, you’d think the Heisman trophy was Hundley’s to lose and that UCLA was a playoff shoe-in. Then Saturday happened.
The Bruins didn’t annihilate the Cavaliers as we expected. I mean, had it not been for their 3 defensive TDs, it’s likely UCLA would’ve gotten an “L” instead of a 28-20 victory. OL coach, Adrian Klemm, called his players’ performance “shitty.” Mr. Heisman Hopeful Hundley didn’t pass for even a single TD.
Even after all of that, I think the Bruins deserve to be in the top 10. For the most part, the Bruins looked average, so I’d drop them to #9 but definitely no lower than #10.
Kicking them out of the top 10? I gotta say, “what the whaaaaaaat!?”
NAVY vs OHIO STATE
If unranked Navy gets the moral victory for putting up a respectable fight against 5th ranked Ohio State, the Buckeyes, for dropping 3 spaces to #8 despite their win, get the moral blow.
Navy only trailed by 3 points at the top of the 4th quarter. Navy somehow managed to amass 370 rushing yards against Ohio State’s tough defense. Navy’s defense forced a sack and an interception. Anchors Aweigh. Navy had me feeling all kinds of patriotic.
Patriotism aside, Ohio State’s eventual 34-17 victory over the relentless Midshipmen makes Saturday’s win all about the Buckeyes. The Buckeyes’ inexperienced, Braxton Miller replacement, JT Barrett, showed glimmers of potential and passed for 226 yards. None of the Buckeyes running backs ran themselves into any early Heisman convos, but they didn’t particularly embarrass themselves either. And to no one’s surprise, Urban Meyer’s genius continues finding ways out of no way.
So was it fair or foul to drop O-H-I-O from #5 to #8?
The three teams that passed Ohio State in the standings – Georgia, Auburn and Michigan State – all defeated their opponents more convincingly than Ohio State did theirs. It’s really that simple.
I’m calling fair on this one.
OKLAHOMA STATE vs FLORIDA STATE
But I’m calling “what the whaaaaaat” on Florida State staying at #1.
Few people outside Cowboy supporters thought Oklahoma State stood a chance against a Jameis Winston-led Florida State team. Heck, an OSU alum confessed to me he’d be happy just to not get blown out. Instead of getting blown out, the Cowboys put on a leave-it-all-on-the-field-since-we’re-underdogs kind of show that had football fans excited and Florida State players frazzled.
In the wake of the 37-31 Seminole victory, there’s a lot of talk about how good teams capitalize on their opponents’ mistakes and turn them into victories. This is true, but blah, blah, blah. Let’s give Oklahoma State their due. An incredibly young team with no real buzz and for which no one had any expectations had #1 on the ropes — late.
Granted, it’s too early to say definitively that Florida State isn’t who we thought they were, or for that matter, that Oklahoma State is who we thought they weren’t. But with Oregon kicking South Dakota’s butt the way they did, I’d put Oregon at #1, FSU at #2 and Bama at #3.
Which AP Poll rankings have you saying “what the whaaaaaat!?”