The Top Fan's Top 25 - Week Ten
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Oh, Boy. Things are going to get nuts here pretty soon! As I typed up the capsules on my Top 10 teams, I could easily see how each could somehow make the CFP. There are even more teams ranked 10-15 that are also very much alive at this point to make the Top 4 at season's end. I do not envy the task ahead for the CFP selection committee! Here are my Top 25 teams following the games of week ten...
1. Florida State (8-0) - I am actually more impressed with FSU after another close win than I was before their nail-biter at Louisville. The Cardinals were hyped out of their minds and opened up a 21-0 first half lead on the Seminoles. But QB Jameis Winston stayed calm and led his team to 28 unanswered points on the way to a 42-31 win. FSU now has close wins over Oklahoma State, Clemson, NC State, Notre Dame and Louisville. Perhaps they are not a dominant team like in 2013, but they know how to win and that is all that matters.
2. Mississippi State (8-0) - It was tempting to drop MSU in this poll this week as winning close against Arkansas is not very impressive. But I have said on here a hundred times that "a win is a win is a win" so I will stick to that and leave the Bulldogs at #2. A special season is no doubt before our very eyes, but it will be a tough close. MSU faces road trips to Bama and rival Ole Miss in the next four weeks. The CFP is a possibility, but certainly not a guarantee by any means.
3. Alabama (7-1) - Just like Mississippi State, there is a ton to prove for Alabama as the season hits the final month, Games against Ole Miss, LSU and Auburn will tell us a lot more about Alabama. As of right now, I like this team, but it is hard to really say what they have as each of their "big" wins could be talked down to an average win. But regardless of whether you think this 2014 Bama team is as good as one of the recent national title winners, the fact is that we are in week eleven of the season and Nick Saban has his team right in the thick of the CFP talks.
4. Oregon (8-1) - The Ducks opened up a can of whoop-ass on Stanford this past weekend in a 45-16 win that shows they are a darned good team. But can they make the CFP? The answer is yes if they can win two tricky road games (and a cake walk at home against Colorado). The first road game is at Utah who can play ball. That one won't be easy at all. The second road game is the rivalry game against Oregon State. Again, tricky due to emotion this time. Then the Pac-12 Title game awaits....Oregon is right where they want to be but three tough games are on the horizon.
5. Auburn (7-1) - I picked Auburn to win a tough, hard-fought game on the road against #3 Ole Miss this past weekend and that is exactly what happened. QB Nick Marshall looked sharp as he threw for two TDS and ran for two TDs leading his team to the win. There isn't a team in America that finds ways to win like Auburn, and say what you want about how and when and why it gets done, the fact is that it does get done and War Eagle stays very much alive to make the inaugural CFP. Road games at Georgia and Alabama will make it tough, though.
6. TCU (7-1) - The Horned Frogs jump a couple spots up my Top 25 poll this week after an impressive road come-from-behind win over West Virginia in a hostile environment with a lot on the line. Clutch kicker Jaden Oberkrom delivered the game winner from 37 yards out as time expired putting TCU in the drivers' seat to win the Big-12...My old man, Tiger75, has been a big Gary Patterson fan for many years, and so obviously I have watched Patterson's teams, also. Once again, just like his 2010 team, Patterson has his squad among the best in the land and is hunting for some major hardware in 2014. This coming weekend Kansas State comes to town in the game that could decide the conference crown. No big deal.
7. Michigan State (7-1) - The Spartans have won six-in-a-row, including a dominant 35-11 win over Michigan, to set up this weekend's showdown with Ohio State for Big Ten Eastern Division supremacy. This team slipped early at Oregon, but if they can defeat the Buckeyes and then win the conference title game, they will be hard to leave out of the CFP. Time will tell, but right now MSU fans just have to pound OSU and then see what happens. Road trips to Maryland Penn State are not gimmes, but are winnable. This team is 5th nationally in points for and 22nd nationally in points against. Impressive.
8. Kansas State (7-1) - An enormous game at TCU awaits this weekend for the Wildcats. Yes, Baylor is also very much in the hunt for the Big-12 crown, but this game is massive. KSU ranks in the Top 16 nationally in both points for and points against, showing that Bill Snyder has a very balanced squad. The schedule down the stretch is as tough as any team's in America as TCU, West Virginia and Baylor await in the next 28 days. A CFP spot is not out of the question if some things can go their way.
9. Ohio State (7-1) - After an embarrassing home loss to a mediocre VT team, Ohio State has won six-straight games and have scored 50+ points in each game besides the Penn State win (31 points). Nobody in America has mentioned this team for the CFP, but if they can win out - including the league title game - then this will be a tough team to leave on the outside looking in. Everybody thinks MSU is the Big-10's only hope to make the CFP, but Nebraska and Ohio State will have something to say about that before it is all over with.
10. Notre Dame (7-1) - The Irish find themselves as a "bubble team" as we head down the stretch of the 2014 season. Luckily for ND, a couple of very nice opportunities to impress the CFP selection committee await as games against Arizona State, Louisville and USC are on the horizon. If they can win each of those high-profile games, it will be hard for the committee to say no to leaving a 10-1 Notre Dame team out when the only loss was at Florida State and was (cough, cough) just a hair controversial. There is work to be done, but my guess is that somehow, someway ND sneaks in as one of the 4 teams...
11. Nebraska (8-1)
12. Arizona State (7-1)
13. Baylor (7-1)
14. Oklahoma (6-2)
15. LSU (7-2)
16. East Carolina (6-2)
17. Mississippi (7-2)
18. Duke (7-1)
19. UCLA (7-2)
20. Clemson (6-2)
21. Missouri (7-2)
22. Arizona (6-2)
23. Minnesota (6-2)
24. Iowa (6-2)
25. Georgia Tech (7-2)
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