College Kids Talking College Sports Week 4 Power Rankings

The SEC jumped back into action this week, two top-6 teams fell, and overall, the college football world was a chaotic, beautiful, mess this past weekend. As usual, after the weekend’s slate of games, our team got together and voted on our official Top 10 (plus a few honorable mention) power rankings.

Honorable Mention

  • UCF
  • Penn State
  • Oklahoma State

#10 – Cincinnati Bearcats (Last Week: NR)

The Bearcats did not get off to a great start, as a mishandled pitch led to a defensive touchdown for Army on the game’s first drive. However, Cincy controlled the game after that, limiting a potent Black Knights’ rushing attack, while grinding out 24 points against a very tough defense. Army entered the game having given up 7 points in two games and ranked #22 in the country, so this was a pretty sweet win for Cincinnati, who are looking to secure a NY6 Bowl Game, and, maybe in some chaotic universe, a longshot CFP bid.

#9Texas Longhorns (Last Week: 10)

The Longhorns didn’t look particularly impressive, but they still rise a spot due to the losses of Oklahoma and LSU. Texas trailed by 15 to Texas Tech with under four minutes remaining, but a touchdown, onside kick recovery, second touchdown and a two-point conversion sent the Longhorns to overtime, where they ended the Red Raiders’ upset dreams. It wasn’t reassuring, but in a wild conference that already saw Kansas State upset the Sooners, any win is critical. Texas also may have an inside track to the CFP if they can defeat Oklahoma in the regular season and eliminate their archrivals from Big 12 title contention.

#8 – Miami Hurricanes (Last Week: NR)

The Hurricanes are gaining more and more believers every week. D’Eriq King has looked elite under center in Miami, and Cam’Ron Harris adds great rushing production. They’ve been dynamic on offense, and their defense is opportunistic and completely shut down an anemic FSU offense this past weekend. The Hurricanes rolled 52-10 and have now outscored opponts 130-58 over three games. A date with Clemson looms in two weeks.

#7 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (Last Week: 7)

The idle Irish gain no ground this week, as they’re still another ten days away from their next game, a home clash with Florida State. A COVID outbreak has halted football activities for the time being, but the Irish hope to begin practice again in a day or two, with an eye towards recaturing the momentum from their 52-0 stomping of USF.

#6 – Georgia Bulldogs (Last Week: 4)

The unofficial, but kind of official, policy is that if you are losing to Arkansas at halftime, you will drop in the rankings. Although Georgia figured it out for a comfortable 37-10 win, that ugly 7-5 scoreline at the end of the second quarter isn’t easy to forget. The defense looked very good, but the offense was out of sync and uncomfortable for a long period of time. The return of USC transfer J.T. Daniels will hopefully help, but we’ll find out really soon, when the ‘Dawgs take on Auburn this weekend.

#5 – Auburn Tigers (Last Week: 6)

Auburn needed a while to pull away from the #23 Kentucky Wildcats, but ultimately, they did so en route to a 29-13 victory. They only led 8-7 at halftime, but that was pretty impressive given that they held the ball for barely over 8 minutes of game time in the first two quarters. Bo Nix and receiver Seth Williams helped liven up the offense in the second half, striking for three touchdowns to help seal the game away. Their offense faces a very stiff defensive challenge in their road trip to Athens to take on Georgia this weekend.

#4 – Florida Gators (Last Week: 8)

The Gators are our biggest riser of the week. They also take advantage of the multiple top-10 upsets this week, and their thrilling offensive performance was very impressive on Saturday. The defense left much to be desired, but a 51-point effort from the Gators on offense, along with 6 touchdowns from quarterback Kyle Trask, stole the show. While Georgia struggled to put away the Razorbacks, it looked like Florida may have established themselves as the team to beat in the East.

#3 – Ohio State Buckeyes (Last Week: 5)

There was some hesitation on where to rank the Buckeyes, as we kept them a little lower last week. But with the recent upsets, and the Big 10’s official inclusion on the AP Poll, it feels right to slot Ohio State in as the third best team. They’re going to be dangerous in 2020.

#2 – Alabama Crimson Tide (Last Week: 2)

No major alarm bells were sounding in Alabama’s clean 38-19 win over Missouri. Najee Harris ran for three touchdowns, while Mac Jones posted a QBR of over 95, the highest mark in the SEC for the week. Missouri outscored the Alabama bench by 10 points in the final frame to make the score seem a little closer, but this one was never in doubt. Combined with LSU’s loss and Texas A&M’s shaky performance against Vanderbilt, Alabama established themselves as the clear SEC West favorite early in the season.

#1 – Clemson Tigers (Last Week: 1)

Clemson was off after a 2-0 start, but they don’t slip from their perch atop the rankings. They’ve been very impressive early on against inferior competition, and they’ll look to tune up against Virginia before an October 10th showdown with the Miami Hurricanes.

College Kids Talking COllege Sports Official Preseason Power Rankings

It’s that time of year. Miami toppled UAB 31-14 Thursday night, bringing the first power-5 team into action in the 2020 college football season. And with most of the rest of the ACC getting into the action tomorrow, we’ve gotten together to vote on our first set of power rankings. Here’s the top 10 (and a few extra).

Honorable Mention

  • Iowa State
  • Memphis
  • UNC

The Rankings

#10 – Oklahoma State Cowboys

The Cowboys are an intriguing CFP pick due to competing in a watered-down Big 12. They are considered to be in a 3-team race to challenge Okahoma for the Big 12 title with Texas and Iowa State. Oklahoma State hosts both those teams, so picking up a couple wins is certainly a possibility. They also return 19 starters and one of the best running backs in the nation in Chuba Hubbard. This team could put forth a very good campaign.

#9 – Texas Longhorns

A couple of Big 12 teams kick off our power rankings, as Sam Ehlinger and the Longhorns slot in at #9. Say what you want about Ehlinger, but he had a pretty solid statistical year last season and was often let down by other parts of the Texas team, including a porous defense. That defense is expected to be improved in 2020, and Ehlinger returns with a chip on his shoulder and eyeing the Big 12 title. They’re an obvious CFP darkhorse and could make headlines this fall.

#8 – LSU Tigers

The placement of the LSU Tigers was a source of controversy in our individual sets of rankings as high as #6 and as low as #9. To be quite frank, this is a huge year for LSU. They saw the beautiful results of an epic combination of generational talent last year, going 15-0 in a historically dominant season. This year, they lost their top two wide receivers, their quarterback, their running back, and both high end talent and depth up and down the roster. The draft and opt-outs have murdered the LSU roster, and if Ed Orgeron can keep this team in SEC title contention, he should receive Coach of the Year.

#7 – Auburn Tigers

Ranking the Tigers was another controversial part of our rankings, as some of our voters are very high on what Bo Nix can do in his sophomore season, listing Auburn as the preseason SEC favorites, while others excluded the Tigers from the Top 10. Auburn is ranked 11th in the preseason AP Poll, and they haven’t been ranked that high and at least matched their preseason ranking since 1994. Bo Nix is a good quarterback, but a sophomore slump could doom the Tigers’ hopes in 2020.

#6 – Florida Gators

A third consecutive SEC team in our Top 10, but this one comes from the SEC East. Florida is given the third-best odds to win the conference this year, as they likely just have Georgia standing in their way of a title game appearance. They have to navigate a tricky crossover schedule, hosting LSU and travelling to Texas A&M and a potential dangerous underdog in Ole Miss, but Florida returns a solid squad. Their defense should remain solid, and if they get production from playmakers around Kyle Trask, the top returning SEC quarterback in passing efficiency, the Gators could be tough to take down.

#5 – Georgia Bulldogs

Georgia would have very likely challenged from a top-3 ranking, but the recent opt-out of Jamie Newman definitely hurts their chances. J.T. Daniels is not a bad consolation prize but it’s been a while since we’ve seen him in action, and whether he can work with a Georgia offense that lost their top two running backs remains to be seen. Georgia sticks around in the top 5 due to the fact that their defense will likely be the best in the country, or at least one of the top units. They had the best defense in the SEC last season and return about 80% of their production, so expect an absolutely lethal defense in Athens.

#4 – Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Notre Dame likely benefited from Georgia’s slip. They’ve been listed anywhere from 5-8 by most preseason rankings, but the Fighting Irish are definitely eyeing a CFP berth in 2020. With third-year starter Ian Book returning under center, an offensive line that returns all their starters, and an intriguing yet somewhat unproven group of skill position players, Notre Dame figures to have a strong offense to complement their traditionally solid defense. Their ACC schedule is filled with potential trap games and a looming showdown against Clemson, but this may be the best Notre Dame team in the Brian Kelly era if they play to their potential.

#3 – Oklahoma Sooners

Yes, Oklahoma has struggled to win on the big stage. But exactly who should go above them? They’ve got Spencer Rattler, who looks like a transcendent talent under center, and they have never had an issue reloading their dynamic offense. Their defense is at least good by Big 12 standards, and it took some big jumps last season. While they got smacked by LSU in the semifinals, it’s hard to attribute that defensive meltdown strictly to the Sooners without giving credit to LSU’s historic offense. This team is the clear favorite to reach the CFP once more, where they will finally try to land a playoff victory.

#2- Alabama Crimson Tide (1 first place vote)

Alabama got one first place vote, with all of our voters placing the Tide in the top 3. Nick Saban has gotten every single one of his recruits since 2008 a national championship ring, but that streak is in danger if he fails to claim a title for a third straight season. Coming off their first-ever CFP miss, the Tide are out for blood, and they’ve got the roster to win it all. Mac Jones is a solid quarterback, Najee Harris may be the best running back in the country, their receivers are deep and talented, and their defense figures to be stellar once more. They’ll have to survive a road trip to Death Valley and host Georgia, but if they can beat those tests, the Tide should be back in the Playoff.

#1 – Clemson Tigers (3 first place votes)

Even with the loss of Justyn Ross, this team remains the most loaded roster returning to college football, at least when it comes to proven talent. Travis Etienne is an absolute stud and likely a first round draft pick next year. Trevor Lawrence is possibly the #1 pick overall and has lost just one game at the collegiate level. Their defense reloads year-in and year-out, and Clemson enters this year with really only one game to think about – their road trip to South Bend in November. Not only that, but they should have two chances to beat the Irish, as even a regular season loss shouldn’t take Clemson out of ACC championship contention, and thus CFP consideration. Clemson vs. Alabama for the title for the fourth time in six years anyone? We’re not saying it’ll happen.

But we’re not saying it won’t either.

College Kids Talking College Sports Way-Too-Early Power Rankings

Keep your fingers crossed, but we are now under 100 days until the scheduled start of the college football season, so 7 members of our team each cast a ballot for the top 10 teams heading into 2020. Here are the rankings, along with two honorable mentions that got multiple votes, but didn’t quite crack the official rankings. As always, feel free to contact us at collegetalking@gmail.com to present your take.

Honorable Mention (Received multiple top-10 votes)

  • Texas
  • Notre Dame

The Rankings

10. Oregon Ducks
The Ducks lost their four-year starter in Justin Herbert, who went sixth overall in the NFL Draft, but there are still very high expectations for the reigning Pac-12 champions this year. Expect them to transition to a more ground-based offense, a system they are very comfortable with. With Penei Sewell, the best tackle in the nation, leading the charge in the trenches, Oregon should be the team to beat in the Pac-12, although the Playoff may be a bit of a longshot. 

9. Florida Gators
The Gators are a trendy pick to make it out of the SEC East, and for good reason. With Kyle Trask returning under center and a very solid defense, Florida seems just as competitive as most other teams in the conference. If they can break through and beat Georgia, then it will be their division to lose. 

8. Penn State Nittany Lions

Penn State very quietly put up a very impressive 11-2 campaign. A badly timed upset loss to Minnesota took them out of the Playoff conversation, as many forgot about the Nittany Lions. But they were very impressive all season, putting up stiff resistance against Ohio State, and winning the Cotton Bowl. Led by darkhorse Heisman contender Sean Clifford, Penn State is clearly the second-best team in the Big 10 West, and if they pull a shocker against the Buckeyes, this team could find themselves knocking at the door of the College Football Playoff. 

7. LSU Tigers
They may have been the best team in college football history last year (we’ll discuss that debate another time), but LSU lost massive amounts of production. With the largely unproven Myles Brennan taking the snaps, their top receiver and running back gone, along with their two tight ends, and a defense that lost a few of its premier playmakers, LSU has serious question marks, and despite the coaching ingenuity of Ed Orgeron, LSU may not be the team to beat in the SEC West this season. 

6. Oklahoma Sooners

Is Spencer Rattler the next in a lengthening line of great Oklahoma quarterbacks? Lincoln Riley has produced Heisman finalists in four straight seasons, so expect the Oklahoma offense to be up there with the best of them again. Their defense will be good by Big 12 standards, but as has been the question the past few years, is a good Big 12 defense able to compete against the SEC or other major conferences. Oklahoma will be in the Playoff conversation again, as they are favorites to win a relatively weak Big 12.

5. Auburn Tigers

Auburn has arguably the best quarterback in the SEC with Bo Nix – although Wake Forest transfer Jamie Newman may want to dispute that. Regardless, Nix is coming off an excellent true freshman season, and although there is reason to worry about his ability to perform away from home, Auburn also boasts a quickly-improving ground game, as well as a defense that held LSU to just 23 points last season. Only one other team held Burrow and Co. under 40 points, so the defense was legit, and with Nix gaining experience, Auburn is likely an Iron Bowl win away from competing in the SEC Championship. 

4. Georgia Bulldogs
Georgia is essentially the de facto favorite out of the SEC East, until somebody proves them otherwise. They’ve won three straight division titles, although their performance in the championship game has gotten worse each season. With Newman under center, Georgia hopes they can rebound from some devastating draft-day losses and compete for a Playoff spot again in 2020. Can Kirby Smart finally win the big one? 

3. Alabama Crimson Tide

There was a clear top-3 in our way-too-early preseason Top 25, and Alabama missed out on second by a hair. Out of seven voters, six had Alabama in the top 3, but one surprising sixth-place vote cost them a critical couple of points, relegating them to third in these rankings. Alabama no doubt lost a great college quarterback in Tua Tagovailoa, but as heard in our latest episode, one can argue that Mac Jones will help lead the Tide back to their balanced/favor-run style that led to Alabama’s dynasty. With Najee Harris returning in the backfield, the Crimson Tide will be a force this season, and ready to return to the Playoff after their first-ever absence last season. 

2. Ohio State Buckeyes (1 first-place vote)
Justin Fields is a top-2 quarterback in college football for this upcoming season. He led an extremely explosive Ohio State offense last season, and much of that was due to his play under center. The loss of J.K. Dobbins hurts, but Ohio State always has plenty of talent in the backfield, so expect the Buckeyes to be there with the best of them once more. Road games against Oregon and Penn State loom large, but the Buckeyes are betting favorites for another unbeaten season and Big 10 championship.

1. Clemson Tigers (6 first-place votes)

Was it going to be anyone else? Returning Trevor Lawrence alone makes the Tigers dangerous, but when you throw in Travis Etienne, Justyn Ross, plus their usual great defense and outstanding coaching, Clemson is quite simply the clear team to beat this season. It took one of the most historic seasons of all-time by LSU for Trevor Lawrence to lose a college football game. Clemson’s toughest game is a road contest at Notre Dame, but they’re given an 87% chance to win that. The danger is that if they slip up, a one-loss ACC champion may not make it given the weak conference, but regardless, Clemson is an overwhelming favorite to be back in the Playoff this season.

Cimino: 2020 B1G Ten Football Power Rankings

The Big Ten is in for another great year of football, but is it just another year for Ohio State to run through and win? Here are the rankings:

1. Ohio State Buckeyes: The short answer to the question above is yes. Ohio State comes off a very impressive season ending with a heartbreaking loss to Clemson. It appears that, with star QB Justin Fields and many other elite players returning, that the Buckeyes are the top team once again.

The Prediction: 12-0 (9-0) Big Ten Champions, National Runner-Up

2. Penn State Nittany Lions: Penn State is always a team that seems to be in the conversation for the playoff each year… until they play Ohio State. The case was no different last year, and I don’t expect it will be this year. The Lions have a tough schedule, but they are a top 10 team with a lot of returning talent.

The Prediction: 10-2 (7-2)

3. Minnesota Golden Gophers: The Gophers over blue blood Michigan? Yup, that’s right. Minnesota comes off a tremendous 2019 under coach PJ Fleck. No one is really sure how long Fleck is going to be hanging around in St. Paul, but this year will be another great one for his team. The Gophers return a lot and should be a contender in the conference.

The Prediction: 10-2 (7-2) Conference Runner-Up

4. Wisconsin Badgers: Still waiting on Michigan? You won’t find them here. Wisconsin is a wildcard of a team. The Badgers had a very nice season last year, and return some offensive talent, but they do lose second round draft pick Jonathan Taylor. However, the Badgers do return 81% of production on defense, which will keep them in games. A tough schedule keeps them away from 10 wins, but this is a very good team.

The Prediction: 9-3 (6-3)

5. Michigan Wolverines: Michigan is a tough team to gauge this season. The Wolverines lose a decent amount of talent on the offensive line and on defense, but they seem to pump in NFL talent year after year. It will all depend on quarterback play, and that position is still a complete unknown. The problem once again will be poor coaching and Ohio State, but outside of that, the Wolverines have a full slate of very tough opponents coming to Ann Arbor.

The Prediction: 10-2 (7-2)

6. Iowa Hawkeyes: After the top 5, the conference takes a bit of a dip. Iowa had a great year last year, but they do lose quite a bit. For one, reliable QB Nate Stanley is gone, as is stud defensive end AJ Epenesa. That said, Kirk Ferentz will get this team to be respectable and competitive as they usually are. Expect the Hawkeyes to grind out some wins and stay relevant in 2020.

The Prediction: 8-4 (5-4)

7. Indiana Hoosiers: Tom Allen! The Hoosiers return a lot from a team that had a great year by their standards. Tom Allen’s biggest issue has been games against top teams, but there’s only so much to be done at Indiana. The Hoosiers will be going bowling again.

The Prediction: 7-5 (4-5)

8. Purdue Boilermakers: Purdue had a tough year last season, but the Boilermakers are in for a very nice bounce back campaign. Jeff Brohm has proven he can get his team ready to play when he needs to, and I expect them to be bowling this year. Rondale Moore is back, of course, and he will be tough for any defense to stop. This team has some good skill players all around.

The Prediction: 7-5 (5-4)

9. Nebraska Cornhuskers: The last of the Big Ten teams going to a bowl will be Nebraska. The Huskers had an extremely underwhelming first year under Scott Frost. Adrian Martinez battled injuries last season, and I expect him to be a little better this year. The Huskers will make a bowl, but I don’t see much more.

The Prediction: 6-6 (3-6)

10. Northwestern Wildcats: This is actually an interesting team with a lot of potential. Pat Fitzgerald has proven to be a top level coach, and he brings in Peyton Ramsey to man the quarterback position. Watch out for the Wildcats to pull a couple of upsets.

The Prediction: 5-7 (2-7)

11. Michigan State Spartans: Some may be a little surprised to see the Spartans this low, but this ranking might even be a little generous. The Spartans do not return much from a tough 2019 season, and they also lose their legendary head coach Mark Dantonio. Mel Tucker is going to need a few years to get this program up and running again. They’ll be a little worse than their record.

The Prediction: 5-7 (4-5)

12. Maryland Terrapins: Maryland is always one of those teams who makes a big splash in the offseason that doesn’t pay off. This year, the splash was landing Alabama transfer Taulia Tagovailoa. I don’t even think he will start. Josh Jackson had a great career at Virginia Tech and although he wasn’t great last year, I believe he is the best option. This is just not a team anyone can trust.

The Prediction: 4-8 (2-7)

13. Illinois Fighting Illini: Lovie Smith pretty much hit the ceiling at Illinois last year. He returns QB Brandon Peters, but not much else. The Illini get some scheduling breaks, but don’t expect much.

The Prediction: 5-7 (2-7)

14. Rutgers Scarlet Knights: Do I need to explain?

The Prediction: 1-11 (0-9)

February 12, 2020: NCAA Basketball Power Rankings

NOTE: Although this article was published late, these rankings reflect games played through Monday, February 10.

We’re back with this week’s power rankings and we have some major shakeup within our top-10 and honorable mention. Slotting teams into the honorable mention and high single digits slots were tough, as many of these squads took brutal losses in the past week or two. Ultimately, after combining our ballots, we came up with another list of 13 teams, so we will summarize some of the biggest movement here, and then read on for the full rankings (and to see our new #1). 

Biggest Riser: Auburn

Biggest Faller: Oregon

Dropped out: Oregon

Joined the Rankings: West Virginia

Honorable Mention

  • Seton Hall
  • West Virginia
  • Villanova

#10 – Maryland Terrapins (Last Week: Honorable Mention)

  • Maryland has won seven straight to rejoin the Top-10, both in the AP Poll and in our Power Rankings. The Terrapins are now a 2-seed in Joe Lunardi’s latest Bracketology after an impressive week in which they took down Rutgers and then went on the road to defeat #22 Ilinois.

#9 – Dayton Flyers (Last Week: #8)

  • Dayton suffers from the sad fact that they are the ‘ other’ elite mid-major. With San Diego State stealing the headlines, it’s been tough for Dayton to draw attention to their remarkable season. These Power Rankings were assembled before last night’s impressive win over Rhode Island, so they could still have room to rise. But last week saw Dayton play and win just one game, which isn’t enough to keep their #8 slot. 

#8 – Auburn Tigers (Last Week: Honorable Mention)

  • Our biggest risers of the week, Auburn is once again red-hot after crashing out of our top-10 with consecutive blowout losses. Auburn isn’t dominating, but they are passing the gut-check test after a series of tight victories, including an overtime 91-90 win over #25 LSU this past weekend.

#7 – Florida State Seminoles (Last Week: #5)

  • The Seminoles lose to Duke, and so they slip behind them in the power rankings. Two games out of the conference lead, Florida State is virtually out of the regular season title chase, but they still can beat Louisville at home to help their chances for a top-2 seed in the NCAA tournament. 

#6 – San Diego State Aztecs (Last Week: #6)

  • In their third straight week at #6, San Diego State continues to play excellent basketball, but it also is coming against less-than-excellent teams, so our ballots still reflect our general distrust of the Aztecs. Their only game last week was a road contest at a sub .500 squad in Air Force, making it very difficult to climb at all in this week’s rankings, even as they are 24-0. 

#5 – Duke Blue Devils (Last Week: #7)

  • Duke escaped disaster against BC, engineered an incredibly gutsy comeback at UNC, and then earned a statement victory over #8 Florida State to cap off an impressive three-game stretch. Their winning streak is at six, and the Blue Devils hope they’re not out of the hunt for a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament just yet. 

#4 – Louisville Cardinals (Last Week: #2) – 1 First Place Vote

  • The top of our ballots differed incredibly, as all of us have different opinions on who the best team in college basketball. Louisville gets a first place vote, but they ultimately drop two spots after needing a huge comeback to beat Wake Forest at home. After escaping Georgia Tech, it was their second close-call win at home in two weeks. They’re walking a tight-rope, but they’ve also won ten straight so they slot in at #4. 

#3 – Gonzaga Bulldogs (Last Week: #4) – 1 First Place Vote

  • For some people, including AP voters, Gonzaga is the best team in the country. Not all of us feel that way evidently, but they do rise a spot in this week’s rankings. Why? Well, Gonzaga travelled to St. Marys to face the consensus second-best team in the West Coast Conference and beat them by thirty points. Especially with a weak conference schedule, wins don’t get much more impressive than that for the Bulldogs. 

#2 – Baylor Bears (Last Week: #1) – 1 First Place Vote

  • It’s probably our most controversial ranking. But Baylor has won three straight games by single digits over unranked teams, and they’ve displayed some of the red flags that had us concerned about the Bears in the early going. These red flags included scoring just 52 points in a recent game at Texas and needing to go down to the wire at home to beat Oklahoma State, who are 2-9 in Big 12 play. They’re still an elite team, but these close calls aren’t inspiring confidence. 

#1 – Kansas Jayhawks (Last Week: #3) – 1 First Place Vote

  • Each of our ballots reflected a different team that we felt was #1, but Kansas was the only team that was Top-3 in each of our ballots. They beat Oklahoma State by 15 on the road, handled Texas by double digits, and they’ve won eight straight since losing to Baylor. Yes the head-to-head loss makes this ranking difficult, but overall, the Jayhawks just feel like the closest thing to a sure thing in a year where turmoil has reigned supreme.

February 4, 2020: NCAA Basketball Power Rankings

We are back with this week’s edition of the NCAA basketball power rankings. Auburn got a huge home win to get back into the conversation, and one other squad climbed back towards the rankings. Two teams dropped out, and while we have the same #1, there was some movement right beneath them. Check out the full rankings here!

Biggest Risers: Dayton, Louisville

Biggest Fallers: Kentucky

Dropped Out: Kentucky, West Virginia

Joined the Rankings: Auburn, Maryland

Honorable Mention

  • Seton Hall
  • Maryland
  • Auburn

The Rankings

#10 – Villanova Wildcats (Last Week: #8)

  • The Wildcats were looking like one of the biggest risers in college basketball, a few games seperated from a 76-61 beatdown of a ranked Butler squad, but then Villanova played an unranked Creighton squad and got throttled by the same score. They stay in the rankings due to how they’ve looked up until that game, but Villanova raised some serious question marks on Saturday. 

#9 – Oregon Ducks (Last Week: #9) 

  • Oregon has stayed at #9 for the past three weeks, and the Ducks had inspired a lot of confidence until their recent slip-up at Stanford. However, one road conference loss can be excused, and the Ducks still appear to be the Pac-12 team to beat. 

#8 – Dayton Flyers (Last Week: #10)

  • Dayton rises two spots after two more victories, surviving one of their toughest road games remaining against Duquesne, a 16-5 team with a previously spotless 9-0 home record. They host dangerous Saint Louis and Rhode Island squads in the next week, so they’ll need to prove themselves to keep rising in the rankings. 

#7- Duke Blue Devils (Last Week: #7)

  • Duke survived a raucous environment to triumph at Syracuse, winning their third straight game since a home loss to Louisville. They have road games versus Boston College and UNC coming up before a home date with Florida State. If they’re looking for a chance to prove they’re one of the country’s elite squads, they’ve got a few opportunities coming up. 

#6 – San Diego State Aztecs (Last Week: #6)

  • In writing about potential trap games for the Aztecs, we identified a tricky-looking road matchup versus New Mexico, who was 13-0 at home prior to the match-up. San Diego State marched into the game and dismantled the Lobos by 28 points, sending yet another notice to the country that they are for real. They survived a potential letdown by pulling away from Utah State. 

#5 – Florida State Seminoles (Last Week: #5)

  • There were mixed reviews among our ballots on how to rank the Seminoles after a close loss to Virginia and tight win over North Carolina, largely because it is difficult to tell exactly how good those teams are. Virginia is starting to round into form and North Carolina just got Cole Anthony back, yet both squads are tournament bubble teams at best. Either way, the Seminoles are still 19-3 and 2nd in the ACC, so they stay at #5 this week. 

#4 – Gonzaga Bulldogs (Last Week: #3) – 1 first place vote

  • Gonzaga deals with questions year-in and year-out about how valid their success is, as they play in the West Coast conference. They didn’t do much to quiet their doubters after needing a go-ahead three-pointer with under five seconds remaining to survive San Francisco. Without signature wins available on the remainder of their schedule, such close calls drop the Bulldogs in the rankings. 

#3 – Kansas Jayhawks (Last Week: #2) 

  • Kansas continues to win, although they’ve had to survive a few stiff challenges. The Jayhawks certainly have a few tough Big 12 games ahead, but there is no doubt they’ve circled the February 22nd rematch with the Baylor Bears. A win there could make Kansas the team to beat.

#2 – Louisville Cardinals (Last Week: #4)

  • One of our biggest risers of the week, the Cardinals continue to win convincingly, having won three straight ACC contests by at least 17 points, including two games on the road. Both BC and NC State gave them a push, but the Cardinals continue to put together full 40-minute efforts. 

#1 – Baylor Bears (Last Week: #1)

  • Baylor raised some eyebrows after escaping Oklahoma at home, but they’ve since made short work of Florida, Iowa State, and TCU, winning all three games by double-digits. They are 20-1 and on a 19-game winning streak, one game shy of the longest winning streak in the history of all Big 12 teams, and they are slowly strengthening their hold on the #1 spot in the rankings.

January 28, 2020: NCAA Basketball Power Rankings

We are back with the third edition of our power rankings, and while the top of our rankings stayed largely the same, there was some significant movers. We highlighted the major movers here, but be sure to check out the full top 10 (and honorable mention) below!

Biggest Riser: Villanova

Biggest Faller: Michigan State

Dropped Out: Michigan State

Joined The Ranks: Villanova, Seton Hall, West Virginia, Dayton

Honorable Mention 

  • West Virginia (Last week: Not ranked)
  • Seton Hall (Last week: Not ranked)
  • Kentucky (Last week: Honorable Mention)

#10 – Dayton Flyers (Last Week: Not Ranked)

  • The Flyers appeared on just one of our ballots last week, but they got the nod in three of four ballots this week, after they dismantled St. Bonaventures and took down a solid Richmond squad on the road. An under-the-radar mid-major due to the success of San Diego State, the Flyers have their eyes on the Atlantic 10 title and an NCAA tournament run. 

#9 – Oregon Ducks (Last Week: 9)

  • Oregon choked up a late lead before surviving in overtime against USC, and they followed that up with a dominant victory over a struggling UCLA squad. We didn’t learn too much about the Ducks, as we already knew they were extremely good at home (12-0) so the Ducks tread water at #9 until further notice. 

#8 – Villanova Wildcats (Last Week: Not Ranked)

  • The Wildcats shot up our rankings, after being little more than an afterthought on last week’s ballots. Villanova looked absolutely dominant in beating #16 Butler by 15 points, and they edged out Providence for a key road conference win to secure their sixth straight win. They are our biggest risers of the week, joining the rankings for the first time this year at #8. 
Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

#7 – Duke Blue Devils (Last Week: 5)

  • The Blue Devils drop due very little to their own doings. They played one game against a horrendous Miami team and won handily, but their elite ACC competition had more wins against better competition, and so Duke slides two more spots to #7 this week. 

#6 – San Diego State Aztecs (Last Week: 7)

  • The Aztecs continue to win and continue to climb. In a prior mid-major report, we identified their road game at New Mexico as a potential trap game. The Lobos have struggled recently, but they are 13-0 at home, so whether the Aztecs continue their climb up the rankings remains to be seen. 

#5 – Florida State Seminoles (Last Week: 6)

  • There are two ways to look at Florida State’s lone game and win of the week – an 85-84 thriller over Notre Dame. One is a really close game against a below-average ACC squad. The other way is a gutsy finish against a resilient team that plays everyone close. We tended to side with the latter, as the Seminoles won their twelfth straight to move up a notch on the ladder. 
Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports

#4 – Louisville Cardinals (Last Week: 4) – 1 First Place Vote

  • The ACC-leaders looked shaky in holding off Georgia Tech before rebounding with one of their most complete performances of the year against Clemson. The Cardinals utilized a 20-0 run to seize control and dominated the upstart Tigers for their sixth straight victory. They are holding off Florida State, but they’ll need to keep winning if they want the top seed in the ACC tournament because the Seminoles aren’t backing down. 

#3 – Gonzaga Bulldogs (Last Week: 1) – 1 First Place Vote

  • Gonzaga slid in the AP Poll out of the #1 slot, and they slide here, largely due to their weak schedule. It’s hard to make a statement when you beat every team in your conference by 20 or 30 points, and that’s exactly Gonzaga’s issue currently. Whereas other top teams are winning huge statement games, the Bulldogs are cruising through the West Coast conference, beating up on a cupcake schedule. 

#2 – Kansas Jayhawks (Last Week: #3) 

  • The Jayhawks haven’t lost since their home defeat to Baylor, but they’ll play second-fiddle to the Bears in these rankings. They showed flashes of brilliance in putting away Tennessee, and they sandwiched that outing with dominant performances versus Kansas State and Oklahoma State. They’re a legitimate national title contender. 

#1 – Baylor Bears (Last Week: #2) – 2 First Place Votes

  • Baylor shut down a lot of haters with a dominant performance at an unranked Florida team. The #1 team in the nation, the Bears entered the game as 2-point underdogs. They played with a chip on their shoulder and stifled the Gators to the tune of a 72-61 victory that wasn’t as close as the final score indicated. With 15 straight wins, the Bears finally rise to the top of our Power Rankings.

January 21, 2020: NCAA Women’s Basketball Power Rankings

There was a lot of chalk this week in women’s college basketball, but there were also a couple of really high-profile games and results that shifted the Power Rankings a little bit. One new team entered (welcome NC State), and one team dropped from the top 10 into the honorable mentions. Ultimately, the 15 teams mentioned stayed the same as no monumental upsets occurred. 

Honorable Mention

  • Arkansas
  • Tennessee
  • UCLA
  • Mississippi State
  • Maryland

10 – Arizona State (Last Week: 9)

  • The Sun Devils drop one spot largely due to circumstances out of their control. They had two wins by double digits over the weekend, beating Washington and Washington State, both on the road. They continue to, in my opinion, be undervalued by the polls, ranked 16th as of this writing, but they do drop one spot due to the performance of the teams surrounding them in the rankings. 

9 – NC State (Last Week: Honorable Mention)

  • I excluded the Wolfpack – currently ranked 8th – from the Top 10 last week, and they shamed me into including them this week, as they rolled through 2 ACC games, including a 17-point win over #14 Florida State. I’m not necessarily convinced this team is a Final Four threat, but 17-1 is 17-1, so the Wolfpack slot in at #9 here. 

8 – DePaul (Last Week: 10)

  • DePaul finally rose a little bit, from 14th to 11th, in the rankings this week, but I continue to value them a little bit higher. This team has been very impressive, especially offensively. They dominated two Big East road games this week, defeating Xavier by 23, and Butler by 15. It’s been over a month since they gave up more than 71 points, and almost 2 months since they scored less than 74. They are 17-2 and lead the Big East, so definitely watch out for this team. 

7- Oregon State (Last Week: 5)

  • It’s hard to penalize the Cowboys too much for a brutally close road loss to an elite Stanford team, as their game-tying 3-pointer rimmed out at the buzzer. They are just 2-2 against ranked teams, with losses in two of their past three games overall, so a home and home set against Oregon should reveal something about this team, and whether they’re truly going to be capable of a deep run come March. 
 Andy Cripe, Mid-Valley Media

6 –  Stanford (Last week: 3)

  • Yes, Stanford’s only loss was to Oregon…but they lost by 32 points. That’s unacceptable no matter what, especially as a Top-5 team. They were completely dominated in the second half and put together an all-around putrid performance. The Cardinal rebounded with a solid road victory of Oregon State, and they’ll get a couple of home games this week to prep for a road trip followed by a showdown with UCLA. 

5 – UConn (Last Week: 6)

  • It’s honestly still difficult to figure out where this team slots into the national picture. After being outclassed by Baylor, the Huskies haven’t lost, but they haven’t really played a tough game. Conference opponents Memphis and UCF played UConn close, but the Huskies have also blown out Houston and Tulsa, by 40+ points each. They host Tennessee on Thursday, which should give a little bit of a clear idea of where this team stands right now, but I wouldn’t necessarily suggest betting against the Huskies and their history of success. 

4- Louisville (Last Week: 4)

  • This may have been my toughest ranking of the week, as Louisville put together two solid road performances, including a win over UNC who was 9-1 at home. However, the lack of ranked opponents, given their competititon’s achievements kept the Cardinals slotted in at #4 this week. They have just two ranked opponents  – Florida State and NC State – left on their schedule, which will likely reveal how tournament-ready Louisville is. 
SABRINA IONESCU – Oregon Athletics

3 – Oregon (Last Week: 7)

  • “They still have a deep tourney run in them, but they’ll have to win the games they’re supposed to.” That was my direct quote analyzing Oregon’s standing after last week, and the Ducks responded to my challenge – well probably not my challenge specifically, but they improved their play drastically. Hosting Stanford, who was #3 at the time, Oregon blew their Pac-12 rival out of the water, turning a slim halftime advantage into a second-half laugher. Thoughts of a letdown game were quickly squashed, as Oregon beat Cal by 50 points. Cal isn’t a powerhouse, but a 50-point conference win is really good. The Ducks are back, but they’ll have a chance to prove themselves again with two games versus Oregon State this weekend. 

2 –   South Carolina (Last Week: 2)

  • I still disagree with the AP Poll, which has the Gamecocks ranked 1st. South Carolina has no doubt been impressive, especially with their dominant start to SEC play, but I don’t see them as the top team in the country right now. They did add to their resume with a top-10 win over Mississippi State, but I’ll need further convincing to move the Gamecocks up the final rung of this ladder. 

1 – Baylor (Last Week: 1)

  • South Carolina’s ranking at #2 has more do with what Baylor is doing than what South Carolina isn’t doing. The Bears look to be on cruise control right now, and if you don’t believe me, ask the rest of the Big 12. Baylor has won three straight conference games by at least 40 points. And not over scrubs either: The Bears have victimized Oklahoma State (11-6), Kansas (12-4), and #17 West Virginia (13-3). It’s been an unprecedented stretch of dominance by Baylor, and they sit at #1 until their performance indicates reason for change.

January 20, 2020: NCAA Basketball Power Rankings

After a crazy week in college basketball, Cal, Nathaniel, Andrew, and Aidan put together the second version of our NCAA Basketball Power Rankings. Florida State was one of several risers, while Auburn very nearly crashed out of the rankings. Butler dropped from #8 to off the list entirely, and Ohio State fell from honorable mention to not mentioned as their Big 10 slump continued.

POWER RANKINGS

Biggest Riser: Florida State 

Biggest Faller: Auburn

Dropped out: Butler, Ohio State

Honorable Mention: Kentucky (Last Week: Honorable Mention)

The Rankings

#10 – Auburn Tigers (Last week: #4)

  • The Tigers are far less scary than they were a week ago, having been blown out twice by unranked SEC teams in Alabama and Florida. The Tigers are still 15-2, but they have some major questions to answer, and another loss could very well drop Auburn out of the rankings. 

#9 – Oregon Ducks (Last Week: 9)

  • Oregon lost a tough road game to Washington State, but they had a big comeback at Washigton to win 64-61 in overtime. That, plus a crazy week in college basketball, keeps the Ducks in the rankings. They’ll be home both games this week with a chance to start climbing. 

#8 – Michigan State Spartans (Last Week: 6)

  • As mentioned last week, the Spartans were given the #6 slot right before they got ripped apart by Purdue. A win at home over Wisconsin kept them in the rankings, but they slide nonetheless. This team is too dependent on Cassius Winston, and they’ll look to find a secondary source of scoring. 
San Diego State guard KJ Feagin (10) celebrates during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Nevada, Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)

#7 – San Diego State Aztecs (Last Week: 10) 

  • The Aztecs won two more times this week and took advantage of all the losses at the top of the rankings to move up three slots to #7 this week. In this past week’s Mid-Major report, we identified San Diego’s biggest trap game as their road game at New Mexico, which may be the game that prevents them from going unbeaten. 

#6 – Florida State Seminoles (Last Week: Honorable Mention)

  • The Seminoles are quietly establishing themselves as a top ACC contender. They won two close ones this week, taking down Virginia at home and Miami on the road. They are now 6-1 in ACC play, which was enough to be our biggest riser of the week. 

#5 – Duke Blue Devils (Last Week: 1)

  • It was quite the dropoff from last week for the Blue Devils. Last week, we were discussing that if not for the Blue Devils’ upset loss to Stephen F. Austin, they would be undefeated and potentially could stay that way throughout the year. One week later, and Duke is nursing a two-game losing streak, to Clemson and Louisville, and have fallen four spots in this week’s power rankings. 

#4 – Louisville Cardinals (Last Week: #7) – 1 first place vote

  • The Cardinals were another big riser this week, largely courtesy of their huge road upset of the Blue Devils. It was their third straight conference road victory, and their fourth straight overall. The Cardinals are rising in the ACC and national picture, with their recent upset, they’re looking like a bona fide Final Four contender. 
Kansas guard Devon Dotson (1) brings the ball up court against Texas guard Matt Coleman III (2) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

#3 – Kansas Jayhawks (Last Week: #2)

  • Kansas didn’t lose this week, but they looked less than impressive in closing out a mediocre Texas team, resulting in their slight slip in the rankings. The Jayhawks are still an elite team in this country, and their defense has looked the part, but their shooting woes may plague them down the stretch. 

#2 – Baylor Bears (Last Week: #5) – 1 first place vote

  • The Bears may have caught a little disrespect from our ranking last week coming off their big win against Kansas. They responded this week with an easy win over Iowa State and a gutsy comeback versus Oklahoma State. Their offense, a prior concern, has established some small level of consistency, and their defense remains elite. 

#1 – Gonzaga Bulldogs (Last Week #3) – 2 first place votes

  • BYU gave Gonzaga their biggest challenge of the past two weeks – and they lost by 23 points. Gonzaga has been absolutely dominant, possibly exemplified no more than in their 50-point win over a 15-3 Santa Clara team. West Coast Conference or not, this team is legit, and they’re our #1 squad this week.

NCAA Men’s Basketball Power Rankings – January 13, 2020

With the launch of our website comes the first of our weekly NCAA Men’s Basketball Top 10 Power Rankings. Aidan Thomas, Nathaniel Lapoint, Andrew Degeorge, and Cal Christoforo all voted to create this week’s edition. We will offer three honorable mentions in no particular order before jumping into the top 10:

Honorable Mentions

Florida State – 14-2, 4-1 in ACC

Ohio State  – 11-5, 1-4 in Big 10

Kentucky –  12-3, 3-0 in SEC

The Rankings

#10 – San Diego State (17-0, 6-0 Mountain West)

  • The mid-major program has thoroughly impressed in their unbeaten start to the season. Massive wins over #25 Creighton and Utah were very impressive, as well as their domination in Mountain West play earned them the tenth spot this week. 

#9 – Oregon (14-3, 3-1 Pac-12)

  • The Ducks slipped up at Colorado to start Pac-12 Play, but they have rebounded with three straight wins to earn their spot in the Top 10. One of their losses was a 1-point road loss to Gonzaga, and they have ranked wins over Michigan and Seton Hall. 

#8 – Butler (15-1, 3-0 Big East)

  • Despite their gaudy record, the Bulldogs slot in at #8 due their lack of a statement victory. Their win over #25 Creighton is their only ranked victory. While their only loss was a 1-point defeat to Baylor, the Bulldogs have been led by their defense, with their offense scoring 71 or less points 12 times already. They’ve been impressive here, but the boys are a little cautious about putting them higher than this. 

#7 – Louisville (13-3, 4-1 ACC)

  • Two recent slip-ups versus Kentucky and Florida State took the Cardinals off the national radar a little bit, but they’ve still been very impressive of late. They boast a signature win – a 58-43 thumping of Michigan, and outside of the FSU loss, they’ve been impressive in ACC play, cruising past Miami twice, routing Pittsburgh, and pulling off a gutsy road win at Notre Dame. If they continue to slip against ranked teams, they won’t stay here, but for now they earn the #7 spot in our rankings. 

#6 – Michigan State (13-4, 5-1 Big 10)

This slot was determined right before Michigan State went in and laid an absolute dud at Purdue yesterday. So they’ll need to rally in impressive fashion to keep their #6 spot next week after their 71-42 setback. However, that loss did snap an impressive 8-game win streak for the Spartans, who racked up blowout wins over ranked opponents in Illinois and Michigan during the run. The Spartans are a good team, but they’ll need an answer for when opponents key in on Cassius Winston. 

#5 – Baylor (13-1, 3-0 Big 12)

  • This may be a touch too low for the Bears, but they’re facing some tough competition at the top. Their win over Kansas was very impressive, but we’re keeping the Jayhawks above them due to their overall body of work to this point. Christoforo listed Baylor as the team he trusted the least in the Top 10, and a lot of that may be due to inconsistencies offensively. While they’re defense is elite, having given up just one game of over 70 points, they’ve been held under 60 points three times, and under 70 three additional times. In their wins over Butler, Texas Tech, and Kansas, Baylor averaged just 59 points per game. The Bears are finding ways to win and could rise further up this list, but for now they slot in at #5. 
Auburn freshman Allen Flanigan (Mike Kittrell/AL,com)

#4 – Auburn (15-0, 3-0 SEC)

  • On Feburary 23, 2019, the Auburn Tigers were run out of Kentucky by the Wildcats, losing an embarrassing game, 80-53. Since then? The Tigers have lost exactly one game – a controversial 63-62 Final Four loss to Virginia. The streak last year was impressive, but after losing several key contributors, the Tigers were supposed to return to the pack this year. But they’ve done anything but so far, and they land at #4 in this week’s power rankings. A recent 22-point beatdown of a tough Georgia team cemented their status as national contender. 

#3 – Gonzaga (18-1, 4-0 West Coast) – 1 first place vote

  • The Bulldogs have finally locked down the #1 spot in the AP Poll for several straight weeks, after the slot was a revolving door to start the year, with several teams moving in and out, including Duke and Kentucky suffering unthinkable upsets. A takedown of Oregon is their only ranked win to date, and their ugly home loss to Michigan prevents them from moving further up in the rankings. It’ll be tough for them to overtake the two teams ahead of them with a lack of quality opponents ahead of them on their schedule. 

#2 – Kansas (12-3, 2-1 Big 12) – 1 first place vote

  • We’re well aware that Kansas just lost to Baylor. But before that, Kansas had lost two games by a total of three points to Duke and Villanova. They just beat the life out of Iowa State on the road, and they boast impressive ranked wins over Colorado and West Virginia. Their record may be a little less than Baylor, but we are still convinced their style of basketball is more sustainable than Baylor’s approach. Kansas takes the #2 slot and eyes their February 22nd rematch with the Bears. 

#1 – Duke (15-1, 5-0 ACC) – 2 first place votes

  • The Blue Devils, outside an absolutely shocking loss to Stephen F. Austin, have been the best team in basketball this year. Coach K lost one of the best core group of guys he’s ever had in Cam Reddish, R.J. Barrett, and Zion Williamson, but his team has come back and performed as well and possibly even better. Since their upset loss, Duke is winning by nearly 23 points a game, including 3 ACC wins by over 30 points. Wouldn’t want to face this team at all right now, and they’re our pick for #1 in the debut of the Top 10 Power Rankings.

Come back next week to see the updates after another week of conference play!