Wednesday, October 18, 2017

BadSports: Last Night Astros fans were reminded of a horrible truth.

In sports and life, Evil. Always wins.

When Aaron Judge launched a ball into the seats at Yankee Stadium and A.J. Finch overreacted by pulling his starter (who had, up until then performed admirably) from the game you knew this was not going to end well.

Up until that point Lance McCullers had performed admirably. His curve ball was working, he was placing his fastball, everything was going OK until one bad pitch, a hanging curve to new-media-darling Aaron Judge, and it all started to come undone.  To copy an old saying "Judge hit that ball so hard it should have had a flight attendant on it serving drinks".

But that should have been OK.  Because all six-foot seven inches of Aaron Judge does that. He hits home runs.  And that particular home run was at the best possible time because the bases were empty, the Yankees were still down 4-1 in the 7th inning and I've a feeling McCullers would have had the gumption, and stuff, to close out the inning and turn the ball over to the bullpen to close out the 8th and 9th innings without the stress of men on 2nd and 3rd and nobody out. But it didn't happen that way.

Because Evil.Always.Wins.

Whether it's the Yankees in baseball, the Patriots in the NFL, the Warriors in the NBA, Chelsea in the Premier League, Alabama in college football or Kentucky in NCAA basketball evil reigns supreme.

Yes, there is a year when the plucky upstart rises above adversity and plucks the crown from the King, we've seen that recently with the Cubs, Cleveland, Villanova, Leicester City but eventually the sea finds its level and evil returns to the throne.

I've often heard people ask why the WWE is so popular, despite being scripted and generally un-PC. At heart it's because they understand that while good must constantly struggle, their wins can only be fleeting and temporary before they come crashing down in the inevitability of darkness.

Leicester City had a magical run to the top of the Premier League Table two years back, they've been languishing near the relegation zone ever since. The Cubs broke the curse of the Billy Goat, and are in the process of being dismantled by the mercenary band masquerading as the LA Dodgers. Villanova won, but Louisville rode Rick Pitino's wealthy coattails to power, and now Kentucky is taking over the throne. Clemson won last year, but Alabama is right back at it running rough-shod over a shoddy SEC while looking all the world like world beaters. If they can't do it the only slightly less evil Ohio State Buckeyes will usurp the crown.

That's just sports y'all.  And life.


Which is why heading into today I have little faith in the Astros ability to pull a win out of this series, but a ton of hope.  Because historic victories over evil have always occurred when one man stood in the breach and said enough!  That man tomorrow afternoon will be one Dallas Kuechel.


Until they don't.

Go Astros.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

College Football: Making Sense of the Week That Was (Or: Darn you Week 7)

For me, 'twas an ugly week.  I said last week in the lead-in to my FIVE that I had given some thought of taking the week off. I didn't LOVE any of the games I was picking and, to be honest, I didn't even LIKE most of them.  The results were telling.  I went 1-4 here and 1-1 for Bet the Rent which lowers my record for the season to a pretty disgusting 11-17-2 for the FIVE and 20-21-2 for all selections.

That's bad.

It's embarrassingly bad.

It's "What in the hell is going on around here?" bad.

But, I own this. I never claimed to be an "expert" nor do I sell my picks (thank goodness) nor do I advise you follow along.  I do this because I have fun doing it and it's a good release from my day job.  It also makes college football more fun, for me. Hopefully you, as a reader, enjoy it to.

I will say that "SU" is a figure that I don't track but I'm doing fairly well there. I can pick winners OK, just not winners at the betting window.

But enough with that.  Let's take a peek back.

Week 7 was a disaster for my top 10 as Clemson and Washington State lost on Friday, and then Auburn, Washington and San Diego State spit the bit on Saturday.  It was carnage all around. In addition to those teams Navy fell from the ranks of the unbeaten and Texas Tech was upset by West Virginia. It was one of those weeks where you just shrug your shoulders say "sure" and move on.

It's also why we love college football so much.  Because every team is flawed and every team can be beaten. Upsets like this happen. And while every tout in the world is going to tell you they "knew it was coming" that's crap, because no one knew that Syracuse over Clemson was coming and if you bet Syracuse it probably wasn't on the money line unless you are a fan of the Orange or were throwing up a Hail Mary bet.  That's why there are called "upsets" after all.

With that in mind, here's my updated "top 10" which is unremarkable in the fact that it's not too far away from the AP Top 10, with just a few changes.

1. Alabama. While I don't think the Tide are unbeatable I do think that the SEC is so down this year that they might finish the season undefeated.

2. Georgia. Have looked like the 2nd best team in the SEC and the win over Notre Dame is looking better and better as time passes.

3. Penn State. Their test starts this week.

4. TCU. Clearly the class of the Big XII. The OU matchup makes or breaks their season.

5. Wisconsin. A relatively easy schedule puts them in the catbird seat for the B1G title game.

6. Clemson.  Yes, the Syracuse loss hurt, but they still have a better resume than most.

7. Ohio State. Starting to get things ramped up now. Slotted just below Clemson because the Tigers have more quality wins.

8. Miami. Undefeated but it feels as if they're holding it together with spit and bailing wire.

9. Oklahoma State. The TCU loss is the only blemish on what is a fairly impressive resume.

10. University of Central Florida. Their matchup against USF could be the game of the week and probably deserves a Game Day visit.

Outside looking in:  Oklahoma, USF, USC, Notre Dame

Conference Rankings:

1. ACC
2. B1G
3. Big XII
4. SEC
5. American
6. Pac-12
7. MAC
8. Mountain West
9. Conference USA
10. SunBelt

There will be a FIVE landing tomorrow, but there might not be one for week 9 because of real-life obligations.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

College Football: Week 7 - Beware the Soft-Gooey Center of Conference Play

Unless you live in the South (In Houston today the high is 91 degrees) the afternoons are getting cooler, the leaves are turning and Fall is stretching out and making itself comfortable. It's football weather, and there is nothing better than tailgating for your favorite team while sneaking a flask (or three) of warming bourbon, rum or whatever into the stadium for a 3rd QTR tipple.

Winning a conference game on the road is no easy thing, and several teams go in as big favorites to do just that. I'm not predicting too many upsets this weekend but it would not surprise me in the slightest to see on (or three) happen.

It's also Red River Shootout Rivalry Showdown week as OU fans begin their annual pilgrimage to Dallas to gorge themselves on beer, fried food and (allegedly) set fire to Big Tex*.  With that in mind, let's take a look at the games....

Texas State @ Louisiana - Lafayette (-13.5) T: 55.5

We kick off Thursday night football with two teams that are entrenched at the bottom of college football rankings. Whether you prefer CBS' bottom 25 or ESPN's Bottom 10 both teams either are in the lists weekly, or are hovering around the fringes.  The thing is, neither team should be THAT bad. Both are in good college towns (San Marcos is what Austin used to be before the latter sunk into a fug of body odor and political consultants and Lafayette is in the heart of Cajun Country) that happen to be in a fertile recruiting area where even picking up 3-Star recruits and coaching them up should make you competitive. The loser of this game probably has a shot at winning the title of "worst team in the FBS" at year's end.  Prediction:  Texas State 9 ULaLa 17

Clemson (-21.5) @ Syracuse T: 56.5

Friday brings us two ACC schools whose programs are headed in different directions. Clemson is my top team in the Country while Syracuse is struggling to rebuild from shambles under 2nd-year head coach Dino Babers. It's Thursday, on ESPN so the Carrier Dome should be loud, for about 3 minutes. After that the Orange will be purple, black and blue. Prediction: Clemson 52 Syracuse 7

Washington State (-14.5) @ California T: 55.0

The late Friday night game gives us a very good football team coached by a very odd man in Washington State versus a California team that is......?  To be honest I'm not sure. After starting the season 3-0 it was thought the Bears might have something but then we realized they beat UNC, Weber State and Ole Miss. Ugh. The Golden Bears are finishing up a brutal run of schedule where they played USC, Oregon, Washington and now Washington State in back to back to back to back games. They should be a tired team by this point.  Prediction: Washington State 42 Cal 24

Florida State (-7) @ Duke T: 44.5

Did the Miami Hurricane break the Blue Devils?  I'm starting to think so as this team looked awful against a fairly pedestrian Virginia team. The bad news for Duke is that the Seminoles seem to be on the cusp of "putting shit together" after a brutal start that saw starting QB Francios end up injured and a true Freshman with the build of a willow branch take his place. The Seminoles are sorting it out however as the win last week against the Hurricane has revealed. Prediction: Florida State 38 Duke 10

Texas Tech @ West Virginia (-3.5) T: 76

My gut feeling is that both of these teams are overrated by quite a bit.The Mountaineers have lost to every good team they have faced (Virginia Tech and TCU) while beating up on one FCS foe and two FBS bottom-feeders. Texas Tech on the other hand will point at their win over UH and jump up and down swearing to all who will listen that this proves they're "good".  The problem with this logic is that the Cougars, at that time, were still figuring things out post Harvey and outside of a loss to Okie State, they have nothing else to hang their hats on. Finding out these two teams are smoke and mirrors could really hurt the currently inflated image the Big XII is enjoying. Prediction: Texas Tech 42 West Virginia 45 (I would take the over here)

TCU (-6) @ Kansas State T: 52

At the beginning of the season I stated that Kansas State was one of the more overrated teams in the country when they were ranked #19 in both the AP and Student Information Director "coaches" polls At this point I'm not even all that confident saying that K-State is a mediocre team. They lost to a Texas team that I do think is pretty good but the inability to move the ball against Vanderbilt is troubling.  This line is almost laughably low except for the fact hat Bill Snyder Family Stadium is a difficult place to play. It's also hard to win a conference game on the road. Prediction: TCU 27 K-State 13

Virginia (-4) @ North Carolina T: 50.5

It was not all that long ago that North Carolina head coach Larry Fedora was being held up as "the next coach to be given a job at a power school". Now there's serious talk that he could be done as the head man at North Carolina if he doesn't turn this mess around. There's also the question of how a so-called "quarterback guru" could find himself with so many bad ones. While I'm not entirely sure yet what to make of the Cavaliers I'm pretty sure Bronco Mendenhall is a good head coach. With that in mind I lean Virginia here. Prediction: Virginia 28 North Carolina 10

Northwestern (-4) @ Maryland T: 51.5

All things being equal, I'd take Maryland in a game between two teams that I projected to finish in the bottom half of their divisions within the B1G this year.  That said, all things aren't equal and I think Maryland is going to be a very beat up team after taking a walloping at the hands of Ohio State last week. Yes, Northwestern played Penn State, but they hung with the Nittany Lions for 3 quarters, which should give them some confidence.  Prediction: Northwestern 24 Maryland 20.

Oklahoma (-7.5) @ Texas - Austin T: 65.5

Ah the Texas State Fair, aisles and aisles of cheap beer, fried food and a big dallop of rivalry football smack dab in the middle. Even though I have no rooting interest, this game is one of my favorite to watch every year. You have two teams that genuinely do not like each other playing for bragging rights and a shiny gold cowboy hat that looks good on no one when they inevitably put it on. Both teams are fairly even on talent, but OU has a much better QB, both teams appear to be even on coaching but OU might, just might, come in angry for this one after getting embarrassed by Iowa State last week, at home. Prediction: OU 35 UT - Austin 20

Auburn (-7) @ LSU T: 44

After beating Florida last week the alumni have stopped clawing at Coach Orgeron's heels, for now. Beating Auburn would go a long way to silencing them for the rest of the season. I think Auburn's defense is nastier, and their offense is slightly less dysfunctional. That said it's hard to walk into Baton Rouge and escape with a win, unless you're Troy, on homecoming and LSU pays you almost a Million to do so. Prediction: Auburn  17 LSU 16

Texas A&M @ Florida (-3.5) T: 51.5

I'm probably not going to watch this game for one reason: Florida's "swamp green" uniforms are evil and a pox on football and they should be punished for that. That said, I think the Aggies need this game desperately if Sumlin is going to keep his job after the season. Given that I said I think he won't be the head coach at Aggie after this year, you can guess which way I'm leaning. A bigger problem for the SEC is that this is the second game that's got #gosec terrible game between two sub-par teams written all over it.  Prediction: aTm 10 Florida 16

Washington (-18) @ ASU T: 57

In between feuds with ESPN and Kirk Herbstreit over the relative weakness of their schedule, Washington has been just as good as I thought they would be so far this year. Outside of an opening week performance against Rutgers (which, they still won) they've handled everything in front of them fairly easily. Arizona State meanwhile has been up against much tougher, and have struggled to a 2-3 record while doing it. Fans of Rice University and the Marching Owl Band will be happy to know that this is going to be another stop on the Todd Graham farewell tour. Prediction: Washington 42 ASU 13

Oregon @ Stanford (-10.5) T: 58.5

This game is the "first game out" of my FIVE. I really like the Ducks here at that line but I'm not entirely sure about them with QB Hebert out. Stanford's offense does one thing really well, that's run the ball with Love. When SDSU shut that down the Cardinal were all out of answers, will Oregon be able to ask the right questions?  Not this year methinks.  Prediction: Oregon 24 Stanford 34

Utah @ USC (-12.5) T: 53

You won't hear a lot of people say it but these two teams are awfully similar. Utah was cruising along undefeated until getting upended by Stanford. There were warning signs of this however when they barely beat a bad Arizona team the week before. USC was cruising along undefeated until being beat by Washington State. There were warning signs of this however when they barely beat a bad Texas team a couple of weeks before. This game is huge for both team's plans to make the Pac-12 Championship Game as the loser is out barring something silly happening. I typically trend toward the team with the better QB when all things are equal.  Prediction: Utah 17 USC 31

Games involving teams I have some connection to.

Houston (-13.5) @ Tulsa T: 66

If head coach Phillip Montgomery doesn't turn this Tulsa mess around rapidly he's going to go from the top of the P5 candidate pile to coaching for his job next year. Houston has bounced back from that confusing loss to Texas Tech by finding a quarterback in Kyle Postma and looking much better. The next two weeks after this feature Memphis and USF for the Cougars so they better not sleep on the Golden Hurricane.  Prediction: Houston 24 Tulsa 7

UNLV Desert Rug Rats @ Air Force (-7.5) T: 46.5

After being outclassed by SDSU last week UNLV heads to the Air Force Academy to play a team that's smarting from a hard-fought loss to the Naval Academy. This is going to be a tough game for the Desert Rug Rats to win and could see them drop to 2-4.  The good news is the schedule gets much easier after this and an 8-4 finish with a bowl bid is still very possible. Air Force has lost out on the Commander in Chief's trophy and has yet to beat an FBS team, it's only win coming over FCS member VMI. Call me insane, I like the Rug Rats here.  Prediction: Desert Rug Rats 35 Air Force 31

And Finally......

Michigan (-8) @ Indiana T: 56.5

OK, OK, I know. You're not laughing with me you're laughing at me. Last week's loss to Michigan State was a gut punch that I probably saw coming, I even stated as much when writing up the game. That said, I chose to be optimistic and pick Michigan to win over State. The challenge for the Wolverines this week is to not let Michigan State beat them twice. I am more frightened of this game than any other I've been worried about this season.  All season long I've hated Michigan's lines. This week is no different.

Prediction: GoBlue 24 Indiana 23.

Outside of the South, it should be a gorgeous weekend.  Take advantage of it, on Sunday. Thursday, Friday and Saturday there's football watching to do.

Good luck.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

US Men's Soccer: It's time to burn it all down. #BadSports

It wasn't just that the US Men's National Team lost 2-1 to Trinidad & Tobago last night, it was the lackluster manner in which they did it.

It's that USMNT Head Coach Bruce Arena said "no excuses" and then made several.

It's that people are actually asking if appealing a Panamanian goal is viable.

It's that US Soccer still doesn't get it.

And that's the problem.  If an entity rots from the head then it's time for US Soccer President Sunil Gulati to do the honorable thing and step down.  In fact, he should have done so immediately after the loss. 

But soccer in the US, and the world to be honest, is a clubby atmosphere at the top in most cases and little things like wins and losses only matter to the fans. Barring arrest, and sometimes not even then, the leadership in world soccer is more entrenched than both sides in WWI.

What US Men's soccer needs right now is a full house-cleaning. They need to blow the whole thing up, break up the foundation and start fresh. With all of the money, resources and talent that the US has at its disposal failing to qualify for the World Cup in a 2nd Tier qualifying group (CONCACAF is not as weak as people say, but it's certainly not top-flight) is unacceptable.

It's so bad right now that fans are griping at Mexico for not doing the US a solid. Mexico, a team that was down four years ago during qualification but found a way, a team that has firmly planted itself atop CONCACAF with no legitimate threat to it's crown. 

Yes, the USA won the CONCACAF Gold Cup but that's a tournament that few take seriously outside the US. Mexico had other, bigger designs, and a plan to get there.  The US has always failed to understand that thinking, incorrectly, that winning local tournaments are a big deal.

In retrospect we should have seen this coming. During qualification for the last two Olympics the US Junior Men's National Team failed. Many of the same players that couldn't get that job done are on the senior roster today.  And while it's easy to blame Klinsmann or Arena for this (and they share a lot of blame) the entirety of the US Soccer system is the real culprit.

It starts with the Junior leagues, where kids are taught a clinical game by coaches who, in some cases, don't know anything more about the sport than they learned from TV or in a workshop. There are high school coaches who's only knowledge of soccer is that they have read a book. I'm not kidding.  And what has US Soccer done to address this?  *crickets*

Pay to play will suck up a lot of the oxygen (rightly so) but, as the linked article states, it is just a symptom of the overall disease that is US Soccer right now. But in the US we're so worried about kids earning a soccer income that we outlaw the very thing that could make us more competitive. We also do a horrid job identifying talent, another systemic problem whose poison flows down from the top.

So, we don't find the best players, we don't coach the game correctly and then we take steps to ensure that US Soccer is one of the least diverse sports available.  The result?

When Major League Soccer formed a horrible decision was made. It was a decision to administer the league like the National Football League, which ignored the successful model of the rest of the world (Promotion/Relegation) and removed any incentive for the owners to consistently produce a winning product. They also decided to play on a different professional schedule than the rest of the world, which certainly hurts come qualification time.

There's also the reality that MLS is not doing a very good job developing top-flight players at the international level. All of the truly great USMNT players in the last 20 years began their careers playing overseas, before some of them came back to the MLS and stagnated.

Clearly then the rot goes from top to bottom.  Sunil Gulati should be the first to go, followed by Arena, followed by several more.  The entire youth system needs to be scrapped and rebuilt from the bottom up, College Soccer needs reform, as does the MLS.

The problem is, I don't think this will ever happen.

Already the excuses are being made that "The US was just 'between generations' of players and what we saw were the unfortunate results. The MLS is making money and there's no way the cabal of owners is gong to OK a system where they might have to be responsible for their poor decisions by getting shunted to the USSL for example, and Sunil Gulati will probably survive with his job.

Why?  Because that's the way US Soccer is. Both US Soccer and a large portion of the media who cover it are a giant echo chamber that refuses to even listen to dissenting opinion. All of the players who act as commentators were players on the team and many are still beholden to the people in power. There is no onus to change as long as the golden goose continues to lay golden eggs, even if those eggs are getting smaller and smaller as time goes on.

There will be no meaningful change, and in four years from now the USMNT will try again, possibly with new players and a new head coach.  They might even succeed this time, and might accidentally make it out of the group rounds.  They'll lose in the Quarterfinals however because once there they will have to face a legitimate team.

If nothing changes that's the ceiling. What we're seeing now is the floor.

That alone should depress the hell out of you if you're a fan of the team.

On the bright side, I can start rooting for Spain from the jump in 2018.

College Football: The Week 7 FIVE

At this point of the season we've hit a little rut. Yes, last week we had a winner going 3-2, but the semi-bad, and bad beats start to discourage even the most foolish of betters. (hi)  There was a point, when looking at these games, I almost said forget it and lets just take a week off.  But we're here for you, and what about all of those who (smartly) fade my plays.  What would THEY do?

So, for the people, and into a fairly interesting slate of games, we soldier on....

Standard disclaimer time: These are picks, made by an accountant. Buyer beware. Also, the lines are as current as I can get them at the time of publication according to information gleaned from the Westgate Superbook. THEY WILL MOVE by game time.  This is just the way it is.

1. Navy @ Memphis (-3.5)  T: 75.5

This FEELS like the battle for the title of "third best team in the AAC" behind UCF and USF, sorry Houston.  Navy is one a role and is undefeated, their best win (in a mile surprise) looking to be Tulane early in the season.  While Memphis only has a loss to UCF which does not a tragedy make. My question: Will anyone be able to play defense in this game?  Pick: Over 75.5 (I feel pretty good about this for about 4 more points)

2. Texas San-Antonio (-3) @ North Texas  T: 58.5

Probably the only thing you know about UNT football is that they sent a cease and desist letter to ESPN regarding the latter calling Michigan State "Mean Green" which is North Texas' official team name.  They are a good team that constantly seems to hang in against better teams.  Head to head UTSA lost to Southern Miss at home while North Texas beat USM at home. Those in the "know" will be leaning UNT, I still think UTSA is the better team. I also think that even good teams have bad weeks. Pick: UT-SA to cover -3 (I would wait and see if the line moves UNT's way, as I think it might before kick-off)

3. UCLA (-1) @ Arizona  T: 52.5

This line opened at -1.5 Arizona, and I would have liked to publish this then but since I always run these on Wednesday, and try not to run stale lines at the time of publication, I held off. OF COURSE the line corrected to the better team.  That said, I still think there's leeway in the current line toward UCLA. Pick: UCLA to cover -1 (You can probably feel pretty good up to -3)

4. Boise State @ SDSU (-7)  T: 45.5

Even though they've fallen off a bit, Boise State is still at 3-2 and still undefeated in the Mountain West. But SDSU is head and shoulders the best MW team by a long way in my opinion. Plus, the game is not being played on the Smurf Turf where Boise is much better. I think the physical, run-the-ball-down-your-throat style of the Aztecs dominate.  Pick: SDSU to cover -7 (I wouldn't go much higher though. If it moves to 7.5 back off)

5. South Carolina @ Tennessee (-3)  T: 49

Tennessee head coach Butch Jones is probably coaching for his job in this game. After the embarrassing 41-0 loss at home versus Georgia the team appears to be in free fall. I'm expecting a disaster this week.  Pick: South Carolina to win on the ML.

The same as last week, the College football week starts tonight with some Wednesday Evening #FunBelt football....

South Alabama @ Troy (-16)  T: 49.5

Troy is a fave-rave of the betting folks after beating LSU at home, two weeks ago.  They face a South Alabama team that's been somewhat of a disappointment so far this year. I expect the Trojans to be on cruise mode until the end of the season, when they travel to Arkansas State to play a game that should decide the winner of the Sun Belt conference.  Pick: Troy to cover -16  

Prediction:  USA 3  Troy 42

Enjoy the games.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

College Football: My Inaugural Top 10.

After six weeks of play I think we're starting to get a better idea of where these teams sit.

Here we go:

1. Clemson - The defending CFP Champions appear to have not missed a beat despite having to reload in several key positions.  They still have the best defensive front seven in football and a ton of talent.  They also have the best resume.  Easy number one for me.

2. Alabama - The Tide have done nothing wrong, but they haven't done anything spectacular either. Yes, they've handled their opposition but they really haven't played anyone yet.  We thought the Florida State game was big but the Seminoles have deep issues.

3. Georgia - The Bulldogs are the 2nd best team in the SEC and actually have a legitimate chance to run the table and, surprisingly, beat Alabama. The Bulldog defense is nasty and the win, on the road, to Notre Dame is looking better and better.

4. Texas Christian University - Wait, what about Penn State you're saying?  Agreed, I think the two teams are about even but good wins, including at Stillwater and over WVU last weekend, give them the slightest of edges.

5. Penn State - The meat of the season is right in front of the Nittany Lions, they have an off-week and then welcome Michigan before going on the road to face Ohio State and Michigan State respectively.  IF they survive that gauntlet unscathed they could potentially jump Alabama for 2nd place.

6. Wisconsin - A relatively easy schedule provides the Badgers with the most likely path to the B1G championship and possible CFP inclusion should they win there. A big plus for them is that they avoid Ohio State, Michigan State and Penn State this year.

7. Washington State - This is probably the team that many will say I have overrated, but they have two quality wins over USC and at Oregon respectively, the latter of which they were never seriously threatened with losing. Stanford and the Apple Cup will be HUGE for Wazzu.

8. Ohio State - Yes, I know, they lost to Oklahoma at home a few weeks ago, but they still have a disgusting amount of talent and they are starting to look like that old Buckeye team that is getting things rolling. They're also aided by the fact that their two toughest remaining games, Penn State and Michigan State, are at home.

9. Washington - I like the Huskies a lot, but I also think that we're not quite sure what this team really is. I've spent a lot of late-nights up watching them in #Pac12AfterDark games and I think they're going to shoot up the board later in the season.  For now though I think 9 is about right.

10. San Diego State - Here's the problem for SDSU, while I think we're seeing that the Stanford win was solid, I don't see any games coming up on their schedule that helps them build their case to jump higher.  This could be their peak, unless teams in front of, and slightly behind them, fall.

Just outside looking in:  Auburn, Miami, UCF

My rankings are based on a couple of factors.  1st: quality of wins in games played. 2nd. My eye test. At this point I've seen all of these teams play multiple times. Going undefeated is important, but it's not the only factor. This is why Ohio State ranks above both Washington and SDSU despite having a loss to OU on their record.

I also don't buy-in entirely to the "power conference" myth.  If you're going to say that a Power 5 school beating Stanford is a big win then it's equally as big for a Group of 5 school like SDSU, who has at least a good of a resume right now as any team in the top 10. 

What say you?

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