Tuesday Question: Who’s The No. 1 Team In College Football?

    Really, who's the No. 1 team in college football at the moment? Good luck.

    October 6, 2015

    Follow me … @RussMitchellCFB

    There isn’t one No. 1 college football team. Much like the crazy 2007 season, it’s simply too soon to be ranking teams.

    But this is the magician’s “other” hand. Instead, pay attention to the real issue – scheduling.

    We are only just now entering conference play; as such, it’s impossible to accurately know if a big win over even a good team is a one-off, or a sign of excellence. As Exhibit 1, I give you Ole Miss.

    Tell me after watching Oklahoma’s dominating play, there are nine teams better than the Sooners. Utah has had the most impressive start to the season, beating a Michigan team that’s outscored its next opponents 122-14 along the way to a 4-1 mark, and handing Oregon – who almost beat No. 3 Michigan State in East Lansing – the Duck’s worst home loss in school history.

    Yet you’ve got Utah behind THE Ohio State, who have looked like THE worst No. 1 ranked team in decades. Not to mention TCU, who have beaten… Who?

    I’m ready to give Leonard Fournette the Heisman now – and next year’s Heisman while I’m at it. But without him, LSU’s offense is, in technical terms, yuck. And the Tigers’ best game until Florida arrives at Red Stick was 3-2 Mississippi State -a daunting stretch that includes Auburn playing virtually without a quarterback, Syracuse and a fifth string quarterback, Eastern Michigan and a second string quarterback, and South Carolina with … you get the point.

    Until our sport evolves to make the College Football Playoff eight teams, thus enabling the winner of each Power 5 conference to participate, ours will continue to be mostly a two month sport: October and November. Coaches talk horse(bleep) when they say they want to schedule tough out of conference September games. If they did, we’d have ’em. The incentive to avoid tough Septembers are multi-million dollar coaching salaries, and coaches have far too much power on most college campuses.

    However, guarantee a coach a shot at the CFP if they win their conference, and the economics of the game become too compelling.

    Teams are making ~$5 mln plus to play in these September kickoff “classics” – cough, cough. Guarantee them a spot in the CFP by winning their conference, and not only will we see a far more enjoyable September for fans, with many more exciting non-conference match-ups, but you won’t have to wait until November to get a decent lay of the land.

    Until then, as far as the rankings go, wake me up in November.

    Email Phil Harrison
    Follow me on Twitter @PhilHarrisonCFB

    For this week? Things keep changing so drastically from week-to-week, the only way to do this right is to do it like the College Football Playoff Committee would — by bullet points on a résumé .

    In that case, I don’t know how you start the discussion without the Florida Gators in the top spot. All they’ve done to date is annihilate a No. 3 ranked Ole Miss team, that beat Alabama on its own field, that just went between the hedges and ambushed a Georgia team that looked fantastic up until now.

    Aside from that, the Gators have beat an East Carolina team that always seems to put a scare in the big boys, downed an athletic Tennessee team on the road, and also got by a 4-1 Kentucky team in Lexington.

    We are splitting hairs at this point, and don’t be surprised if the Gators get tripped up along the way as well, but until there’s a larger sample size to work with, it’s hard to find a team with more behind it than the team from Gainesville.

    E-mail Rich Cirminiello
    Follow me … @RichCirminiello

    I have no earthly clue. And that’s going to be a persistent theme throughout this college football season.

    I honestly don’t know who the No. 1 team is through the first five weeks of the season. Neither do you, quite frankly. What I do know is that 2015 is shaping up like one of those oddball years in which a team few are considering today parlays a hot second half into a championship run. Usually five or six programs are legit title contenders at the midway point of a season. Right now, the tent is at least twice as big.

    Who’s the best team in college football, from personnel to staff? I’ll grudgingly stick with Ohio State, despite the incessant close calls with inferior opponents. Who ought to be No. 1 right now based on results? Give me Utah, because beating Oregon in Eugene by six touchdowns is still something, and that Michigan win keeps looking better.

    Beyond that, I have more questions than answers about a campaign increasingly looking as if it’s going to be a parity-themed thrill ride from now until the first Saturday of December. The frontrunner to land the top playoff seed is a delicious mystery at this time. And unless you have a dog in the fight, you wouldn’t want it any other way.

    More: College Football Bowl Projections After Week 5


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