Home > Sports > Ridley’s Rankings, Week 13: Golden Domers Edition

Ridley’s Rankings, Week 13: Golden Domers Edition

For the first time in the (coherent) lifetime of this blogger, Notre Dame is going to play for the National Championship (Note: Notre Dame won the National Championship in 1988, when I was approximately 10 months old). After mediocre coaching stints by Bob Davey, almost George O’Leary, had it not been for a phantom Letter, Tyrone Willingham (who is now a volunteer coach for Stanford’s women’s golf team), Charlie Weis and now Brian Kelly, the Irish are finally nationally relevant in a title-winning capacity. The fact that they’re doing it due to their defensive pedigree is ironic part. Kelly, who was known for creating offensive juggernauts as his previous stops in Central Michigan and Cincinnati, has the best scoring defense in the nation to compliment (or completely cover for) an offense that wouldn’t scare a JV squad. Nonetheless, the Irish took care of business against USC and will now have the honor of playing for their first BCS title. But who is most deserving to play them? Well, let’s see.

  1. Notre Dame (99.21) – As the only undefeated, non-bowl sanctioned team, the Fighting Irish can officially lay claim to the best team in the 2012 regular season. They have faced an incredibly tough schedule (although not the toughest, more on that later), including beating two ranked teams on the road. However, they’ve been lucky to sneak away with a few close ones this year, including 3 against non-ranked opponents by less than one touchdown. With such little margin for error, the Domers will have to play their best ball of the season if they hope to beat the inevitable SEC team in the BCS Championship.
  2. Florida (97.01) – I can say, without any doubt whatsoever, that Florida had the most impressive season out of any SEC team, if not any team in the country. Their schedule was akin to playing the 20th ranked team in the nation every week. They defeated both A&M and Florida State on the road, while also beating top-ten teams LSU and South Carolina at home. Their opponents won over 60% of their games, over 67% of their games if the Florida losses are knocked out. The fact that this team amassed so much and still will be out of the BCS (but likely guaranteed a BCS bowl) gives an even heavier argument to the need for a playoff.
  3. Alabama (94.81) – The Crimson Tide’s record, as for as slate of opponents, isn’t nearly as impressive as the top 2, but what they lack in depth of scheduling, they make up for in absolute domination of their opponents. Save for their one loss to Texas A&M, ‘Bama had only one game come within a score, a road victory over rival LSU. Their average margin of victory in their eleven wins was almost 33 points per game, including back-t0-back 49-0 victories. Should they meet ND in the BCS, I’m putting the over/under on total points at 12.5.
  4. Ohio State (93.38) – The fact that OSU went 12-0 and suffered no repercussions in my rankings due to their sanctions and still wound up 4th is an indictment not only on how bad the Big Ten is this year, but about how gingerly the Buckeyes approach their out of conference schedule. The President of “the” Ohio State infamously mentioned two years ago that “mid-majors” such as Boise State and TCU deserved no shot at the BCS because they played “Little Sisters of the Poor”. Well, it turns out Miami (OH), California and UAB aren’t much better. Nonetheless, congrats to the Buckeyes for finishing a meaningless 12-0 season.
  5. Oregon (90.90) – There’s not much to say about Oregon, other than it really sucks to go 11-1, but still miss out on not only the BCS Championship, but your Conference championship and the ensuing shot at playing in the Rose Bowl. Nonetheless, the Ducks will likely find themselves in Tempe for the Fiesta Bowl, come January. So it wasn’t all for naught.
  6. Kansas State (90.15) – This week will tell us if Bill Snyder was able to get his Wildcats past the hangover of the Baylor beatdown. KSU hosts Texas this week for a chance at locking up the Big 12 title for the first time since Darren Sproles was running wild in the K-State backfield. If the hangover lasts and Texas plays spoiler, Oklahoma will walk away with yet another conference championship.
  7. Georgia (89.99) – Georgia actually dropped in my rankings this week even though they dismantled “rival” Georgia Tech. That happens when the team that trails you beats a top-20 team on the road. Regardless, a seven-spot in my rankings when the BCS has them three, with them evening garnering a first-place vote in the coaches poll (and not from Richt), shows you all you need to know about what my numbers say about their performance this year. For a team that supposedly has the face the “pounding of an SEC schedule,” an opponent winning percentage harboring about 43% is pretty weak.
  8. Stanford (88.27) – Stanford is nothing, if not opportunistic. With a couple weeks of the season to play, the Cardinal looked all but dead in the water when looking to play for a BCS game. Now after pulling an upset of Oregon in Autzen and pounding UCLA in LA, Stanford finds itself one UCLA rematch away from playing in its first Rose Bowl since Will2K was rocking the charts (2000 for you uncultured folks). Not bad for a team that lost the best college quarterback prospect of the last 15 years, not to mention they had the third hardest schedule in the nation.
  9. LSU (86.33) – LSU has sputtered ever since it’s come-from-behind victory over Texas A&M. They followed the loss to Alabama with an impressive 20-point victory over Mississippi State before barely squeaking by Ole Miss and Arkansas by 6 and 7 points, respectively. A year after losing the BCS Championship, the Bayou Bengals find themselves outside of the BCS Bowls altogether and will hope for a moderate payday from likely the Cotton Bowl.
  10. Texas A&M (86.17) – With a freshman QB who seems destined to win the Heisman, putting up 5 TD performances in one half (!), I would safely say that no team wants a part of Kevin Sumlin’s Aggies right now. This is a team that lost to Florida by just 3 points in Manziel’s first start and lost a late lead to LSU. Should either team play the Aggies today, I wouldn’t be shocked to see A&M as the healthy favorite.
  11. South Carolina (83.95) – The ACC’s current strength can be summed up by it’s top two teams losing to the 3rd and 6th place SEC teams by a combined 21 points (at home!).
  12. Nebraska (76.70) – The Cornhuskers are a victory over 7-5 Wisconsin away from heading to the Rose Bowl. God bless NCAA sanctions.
  13. Oklahoma (76.53) – The Sooners find themselves in unfamiliar territory, rooting for Texas to upset KSU so they can claim the Big 12 victory, should they beat TCU.
  14. Florida State (73.86) – I haven’t heard a quote from Jimbo Fisher about the BCS computers all week.
  15. Clemson (72.64) –  The Tigers continue to play little brother to their SEC rival.
  16. Oregon State (72.63) – My guess is nobody is rooting for Chip Kelly to head to the NFL more than the residents of Corvallis.
  17. Kent State (70.63) – The Golden Flashes are one victory (and a likely UCLA loss) away from making their first trip to the BCS. All they have to do is finish next week in the top 16 to get their automatic bid.
  18. UCLA (69.11) – Jim Mora will get his second shot at Stanford in as many weeks. Winner gets the Rose Bowl, loser gets crap.
  19. Texas (66.82) – The Longhorns has a minor stumble as they were possibly caught looking ahead to Kansas State.
  20. Michigan (65.40) – All four games the Wolverines lost were in the top 14 of the AP Poll, including 1, 2 and 4.
  21. Northern Illinois (63.40) – The Huskies likely won’t be able to slip into the BCS, should they beat their MAC counterpart. But 11-1 is nothing to scoff about, regardless of your conference.
  22. Boise State (62.72) – The Broncos have the slimmest of puncher’s chances to get into the BCS should they win handily and UCLA and Texas both receive lopsided losses along with any Kent State loss.
  23. San Jose State (60.02) – Everybody seems to forget this team only loss to Stanford by 3 at the beginning of the season. Not bad for a team just a couple years removed from 1-11.
  24. Utah State (59.71) – The WAC Attack is in (sorry, that was dumb). The Aggies are the 3rd WAC team to crack my top 25 this year.
  25. Northwestern (59.71) – USU wins out by a fraction. Northwestern puts together their best season in years, but yet still can’t crack the Big Ten championship in a depleted, sanctioned year.

Honorable Mentions: Oklahoma State, Ball State, Rutgers, Fresno State, TCU

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  1. November 27, 2012 at 10:19 pm

    I used to like you until you put Boise State behind Michigan, Kent state, UCLA and Kent state. That’s it I want a blood test 🙂

  2. November 27, 2012 at 10:20 pm

    I posted Kent state twice because I was so shocked it should have been Northern Illinois

    • November 28, 2012 at 5:30 am

      BSU gets hurt because their non-conference schedule, which originally looked strong, had a weak year. Their big three teams, Michigan State, BYU and Southern Miss finished a combined 13-23 this year.

  3. November 28, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    Ok I am going out on a limb and criticize the all powerful SEC (thunder in the back ground)
    You are saying BSU is hurt by they’re week schedule, Alabama played a 4 and 8 Arkansas a week Tennessee, a questionable Mississippi state and an awe inspiring schedule against noted power houses such as Western Kentucky Hilltoppers, Florida Atlantic Owls (not to be confused with either the gators or Seminoles), the West Carolina Catamounts and the SEC Auburn Tigers with an incredible 3 and 9 record. Just saying if we are going to criticize BSU’s week schedule we should be fair and rank Alabama 8th or 9th.

  4. November 28, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    True, Alabama had a weak out-of-conference schedule, other than #8 (at the time) Michigan. Miss State was overrated at the time, but that happens when you’re a 7-0 team playing in the SEC. But they also beat a top 10, and rightly so, LSU team. They had more wins over ranked teams (3) than BSU had GAMES against ranked opponents (1, who finished 6-6). Either way, when you play in the MWC and your O-o-C schedule goes a combined 17-31 AND you have two losses, BSU’s numbers don’t compute very high. Alabama, tied for the 3rd best record in the country, having only one close victory (over LSU), compared to Notre Dame and Florida all beating non-ranked opponents by less than 7 on three separate occasions a piece with Ohio State having four such games proves that it deserves a top-3 ranking.

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