College football rankings: Tailgater top 25, week 5

LSU, West Virginia, Georgia, Texas, and Louisville all got more than they bargained for in week 5 (photo credits clockwise from top left: Getty/ Aller, Revere, Cunningham; AP/ Solis; Getty/ Deering)


Tailgater Top 25 Rankings, Week 5

If you were looking for some clarity in week 5, forget it.  This should have been an easy week for some of the supposed big boys; South Carolina, Florida State, and LSU all had highly favorable matchups.  None performed as expected.  Meanwhile, in slightly tougher tilts, Georgia, West Virginia, Texas, Louisville, and Ohio State all had major flaws exposed or reinforced despite their respective victories.  If anything, this week’s slate of games merely highlighted the gap between the top two teams and everyone else.  Week 5 was also a clear indication of the lack of good defenses.  There were 54 games in week 5 with 30 teams (28%) scoring 40 or more points.  Last week there were 60 games with only 23 teams (19%) breaking the 40-point mark.

Here are our updated rankings for week 5.

Zach Bigalke John Mitchell Matt Strobl
1. Alabama
2. Oregon
3. Kansas State
4. Florida State
5. Georgia
6. Notre Dame
7. West Virginia
8. Louisville
9. LSU
10. TCU
11. Oregon State
12. Louisiana Tech
13. South Carolina
14. USC
15. Ohio State
16. Mississippi State
17. Texas
18. Clemson
19. Northwestern
20. Florida
21. Washington
22. Stanford
23. Cincinnati
24. Ohio
25. Arizona State
1. Alabama
2. Oregon
3. Florida State
4. Georgia
5. Kansas State
6. LSU
7. West Virginia
8. Notre Dame
9. Texas
10. South Carolina
11. Florida
12. Ohio State
13. Oregon State
14. USC
15. Louisville
16. Clemson
17. TCU
18. Northwestern
19. Rutgers
20. Louisiana Tech
21. Mississippi State
22. Texas Tech
23. Oklahoma
24. Cincinnati
25. Nebraska
1. Alabama
2. Oregon
3. South Carolina
4. Kansas State
5. Florida State
6. Georgia
7. Notre Dame
8. Florida
9. LSU
10. West Virginia
11. Oregon State
12. Texas
13. Louisville
14. Ohio State
15. Rutgers
16. Northwestern
17. USC
18. Clemson
19. Ohio
20. Mississippi State
21. TCU
22. Oklahoma
23. Texas Tech
24. Cincinnati
25. Louisiana Tech


1-10: My top five is unchanged. Alabama and Oregon remained more dominant than any other team, toying with overmatched competition before pulling away with easy victories. Kansas State was idle, Florida State was assertive enough against USF, and Georgia hung on against a tougher-than-advertised Tennessee team. Stanford plummets from #6 into the latter spots of the rankings after losing to Washington, allowing Notre Dame to slide into their spot. West Virginia leapfrogs former Big East rival Louisville for #7 after their  wild 70-63 victory over Baylor and the Cardinals’ tough out at Southern Miss. LSU and TCU move up one spot apiece, beneficiaries of Stanford’s loss more than due to any overly impressive performance on their part (LSU didn’t cover the spread against FCS Towson, while TCU won the Battle of the Iron Skillet by eight over SMU.)
11-20: Okay, it’s time to stop sleeping on Oregon State. They get the biggest bump up my ballot after going 2-0 in conference play (3-0 overall) with a win in Tucson. Louisiana Tech takes the driver’s seat in the BCS Buster battle after withstanding everything Virginia had to offer and prevailing on the road against a BCS school two straight weekends. South Carolina withstood an early deficit against Kentucky to win by three touchdowns, USC had a bye and Ohio State hangs on after remaining undefeated against the Spartans, though the offense is still too dependent on Braxton Miller. I’m still not convinced that LSU is better than Mississippi State, Texas continues to look like a threat in the Big XII and Clemson is still second-best in the ACC. Northwestern and Florida are quietly rising as well as both continue to keep pace in their respective division hunts.
21-25: After beating Stanford, the Huskies get the benefit of the doubt and sit just ahead of the Cardinal to kick off the final five of the ballot. Rutgers got supplanted by Cincinnati as the second-best team in the Big East (behind Louisville) thanks to the Bearcats winning a virtual road game against Virginia Tech. Ohio had another scare to drop a bit in the Buster estimation. The Sun Devils complete my Top 25, ASU now 4-1 after beating Cal in Berkeley. Just missing the cut on my list? The Miami Hurricanes, Rutgers, UCLA, Nevada and Nebraska, in that order. See if any of these five can supplant the established order once another round of games plays out next weekend.
1-10: No movement in the Top 3 with Alabama, Florida State, and Oregon all playing uninspired games against lesser opponents. Georgia moves up to #4 after surviving a shootout against Tennessee, but their move-up is more because of LSU’s struggles than their on-field success. West Virginia drops a spot without winning because they aren’t going to win anything of note giving up 63 points.Texas jumps South Carolina with the Longhorns garnering a good win over Oklahoma State and the Gamecocks struggling to put away Kentucky.11-20: Florida has a chance to really make some noise at home against LSU this week, and Ohio State looks like the best team in the Big Ten after winning on the road against Michigan State. Oregon State moves up again after knocking off Arizona on the road to move to 2-0 in conference play. I still have no read on Louisville after they struggled to put away Southern Miss. Northwestern cracks the Top-20 this week as they are the only bowl-eligible undefeated team in the Big Ten. Louisiana Tech rounds out the Top 20 and looks like the best of non-AQ’s after a road win over Virginia.21-25: I’m looking forward to seeing Mississippi State facing some real competition in the coming weeks. Texas Tech jumps into the rankings for the first time after a road win over Iowa State to remain undefeated. Oklahoma drops because I couldn’t justify ranking them over the Red Raiders right now. Cincinnati is also new to the rankings after knocking off Virginia Tech in Landover. Nebraska gets back into the Top-25 after their come from behind victory over Wisconsin, although I shouldn’t rank them due to the eyesores they wore on Saturday.
1-10: For me, this was a week dominated by byes and disappointing performances.  LSU, Georgia, West Virginia, and Florida State all looked shabby in wins, and all were lucky to escape upsets.  Georgia and West Virginia were particularly fortunate as their defenses flirted with danger all game long.  It’s pretty sad when a team scores 50+ points (51 for UGA, 70 for WVU) and still needs last minute assistance to eke out a win.  While the offenses were incredible (560 total yards for UGA, 807 for WVU) the stop units utterly failed to stop.  Tennessee gained 478 against the Dawgs and Baylor compiled 700 yards in Morgantown.  Pathetic.  LSU got all it wanted and then some from Towson.  Florida State struggled with USF.  It was just that kind of week.  If there were any teams to step up and fill the void, I would have dropped all of these teams significantly.  This season is coalescing into a two horse race between Alabama and Oregon, with a couple of stragglers (South Carolina, K-State) still hanging on.
11-20: Unfortunately, some of the teams that could have pushed their way into the top 10 were equally unimpressive.  Texas frittered away numerous leads, needing a touchdown in the game’s final minute to slip past Oklahoma State.  Louisville had to shut out Southern Miss after halftime just to get a four-point victory.  The Buckeyes barely survived against a seriously flawed Spartans team.  Rutgers was off this week, and Northwestern climbs by attrition, but overall week 5 presented a great deal of mediocrity.  An exception was Oregon State, which earned another nice road win in the Pac 12.
21-25: Some newcomers fought their way in thanks to losses by Stanford, Michigan State, and Baylor.  I picked Iowa State to beat the Red Raiders in Ames; instead, Texas Tech showed that its stalwart defense could be legit and earned a solid road win.  Cincinnati surprised me byt toppling Virginia Tech in Landover, Maryland.  And Louisiana Tech stayed strong despite a scare from the Cavs.
  • Mariner Eccles

    Zach, the only thing I disagree with regarding Rutgers being supplanted by Cincinnati is that Rutgers is 4-0 (Cincy is 3-0), and Rutgers won a legitimate road game in SEC territory, albeit against Arkansas, as opposed to a virtual road game by Cincy against an opponent from an arguably inferior conference (if you consider recent BCS bowl game performances: Big East 7-7, ACC 2-13).
    But otherwise, great job by everyone on this week’s rankings.