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Sunday, July 21, 2019

8 things the college football polls got wrong after Week 3

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We’re starting to get an idea of which college football teams are for real and which might be in for a long 2018 season. The polls can be slow to adapt to rises and falls in fortune, so we’re here to take a look at which teams are getting a bit too much credit — or not enough — from both the AP voters and the coaches.

Here are eight issues we have with this week’s college football polls.

No. 4 Ohio State has the more impressive win than Georgia…

The consensus top four is pretty easy right now. Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, and Ohio State all look to be above everyone else at the moment. Alabama has clout as the nation’s best team. After that, it’s a matter of ordering it. Ohio State and Georgia both have top 25 wins this season. Georgia, ranked No. 3 in the Coaches Poll and No. 2 in the AP, beat then-ranked South Carolina on the road. Ohio State handled TCU in a neutral site game, albeit one in Arlington, Texas. That win is more impressive. If that matters, even at this early stage of the season, the Buckeyes could justify a No. 2 ranking.

…and both have No. 2 Clemson beat

It may well be that the Tigers are the second-best team in the country, maybe even the best. They certainly have the talent for it. Ranked No. 2 in the Coaches Poll and No. 3 in the AP, they clearly have a lot of true believers in the voting ranks. However, they have yet to beat a ranked opponent. They did win a road game at Texas A&M, but only by two points. Georgia and Ohio State won tougher games by more. It’s nitpicking at this early stage of the season, but their resume just isn’t quite as impressive right now.

No. 23 Michigan State should have to re-earn their ranking

Expectations were high for the Spartans before the season, but they have to be re-calibrated at this point. Michigan State needed a late comeback to beat Utah State at home, then lost in a flat performance at Arizona State. They were off in Week 3, but that doesn’t change the fact that nothing about what they’ve done this season is impressive and they should be dropped out of the top 25 until they re-earn it. They’re ranked No. 23 in the Coaches Poll and No. 24 in the AP, but a team like aforementioned Kentucky probably justifies such a spot more than the Spartans do at this point.

No. 8 Notre Dame could be overrated in both polls

We are still trying to figure out just how good Notre Dame’s win over Michigan will prove to be. The Wolverines haven’t played anyone other tough opponents yet, though they’ll get their chance soon enough. What we do know about Notre Dame is that they’ve won by a combined 13 points at home against Ball State and Vanderbilt, cutting it too close in both cases. The Fighting Irish are ranked No. 8 in both the AP and Coaches Poll, and a top ten ranking is reasonable, but that may be a bit high given the low quality of their more recent victories.

Has Washington shown enough to be a top 10 team?

AP voters still have the Huskies ranked in a tie for No. 10, while the Coaches are slightly more conservative by ranking them at No. 12. On the AP front, Washington simply hasn’t quite shown enough to be a top ten team. They weren’t great against Auburn and their offense also didn’t look like it was performing up to its capabilities in a 21-7 win over Utah. That latter win is a solid one, but not a great one. No. 12 sounds about right from the coaches’ standpoint, but the top ten ranking the AP voters have given them is a touch high.

AP bought into No. 25 BYU too quickly

Brigham Young shocked everyone by winning at Camp Randall Stadium over a Wisconsin team that had College Football Playoff ambitions. They deserve consideration for that along. The Coaches gave it to them and they came in with 30 votes, putting them at No. 33 in terms of votes received. For a team that wasn’t on anyone’s radar last week, that’s reasonable. The AP has gone all the way and landed them at No. 25, which feels very premature. The Cougars are just one week removed from a home loss to Cal. The Wisconsin win is impressive, but it doesn’t make them a top 25 team overnight.

No. 19 Oregon’s big Coaches jump isn’t justified

The Ducks were ranked No. 23 in last week’s Coaches Poll after a win over FCS Portland State. They proceeded to beat San Jose State and jumped four spots to No. 19. Why? Perhaps it’s a bit of an effort to level things with the AP poll, which had them at No. 20 last week and hasn’t moved this week. The coaches probably had it closest to right. Oregon hasn’t beaten anyone yet, and while they’re off to a solid start, we’ll learn much more about them this week when they host a top-ten opponent in Stanford.

Unranked Kentucky deserves more respect

The Kentucky Wildcats still aren’t ranked in either poll despite a 3-0 start. The coaches have them as the first team out, while the AP is much less charitable, putting them at 31 between the likes of California and South Florida. That’s in spite of a road win against then-ranked Florida. Kentucky is 3-0 and deserve some credit for winning that game, even if we’re still trying to figure out what to make of the Gators. It’s a good win and they could sneak in around 25 without a problem.



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