December 2, 2020

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College Football Power Rankings – 2020 Week 12

by Zack Lambert (@bigbird8224)

November 14th, 2020

25 – Utah (0-0)

I guess? Good teams are dropping like flies and even though Utah hasn’t played a snap of football yet, they also haven’t given us a reason to make us believe they’re bad, so I guess that works.

24 – Northwestern (4-0)

Hey, 4-0 and a (technical) lead in the Big 10 West is enough for Northwestern to stick around, even if their opponents haven’t been of a very high quality. That being said, Northwestern hasn’t looked exactly like world beaters either. In their victory over Purdue they only put up 292 total yards of offense and the game was clearly close until the end. The defense won the game for the Wildcats, holding Purdue to 265 total yards, only two of which were on the ground. If the front seven, led by Chris Bergin and Paddy Fisher, can keep sacking the quarterback and getting pressure then there’s a chance they stick with Wisconsin next week.

23 – Liberty (8-0)

Hugh Freeze and them boys keep sticking it to teams, and even though this week’s opponent was an FCS team, they’re still 8-0 and they’re still chugging. The Maliks in the backfield are just tearing it up and I have yet to see a weakness from the Baptists.

22 – Southern California (2-0)

It was another close call for USC but the Trojans were able to turn out a second win in two games. The 34-30 win featured Kedon Slovis again, passing for 325 yards, but the run game punched in the points with a few short runs including the game winner.Drake Jackson was a monster getting into the backfield on defense. USC is going to need to look a lot better in the first 50 minutes of their games if they expect to run the table this season because their luck will run out eventually.

21 – Iowa State (5-2)

It was a scheduled off week for Iowa State who will return to action next week against Kansas State.

20 – Tulsa (4-1)

Tulsa just beat SMU in a tight 28-24 game that featured a gargantuan effort on defense from the Hurricane. If you know SMU and Shane Buechele, you’ll know they love to pass, pass, pass, and Tulsa were able to hold the Mustangs to just 200 yards in the air, a huge accomplishment. Tulsa held their opponents to just 351 yards of offense and two defensive touchdowns, the third coming from a Zach Smith interception. Smith looked very good otherwise, putting up a Buechele-like line of 325 yards and three touchdowns. I expect to see Tulsa and Cincinnati play twice in a row at the end of the AAC season.

19 – North Carolina (6-2)

It should be apparent at this point, but if you like offense you ought to be watching North Carolina games with regularity. The teams finished with 15 offensive touchdowns, but the Tar Heels ended up with more, thus eking out the comeback win. UNC waited until this was a 45-24 game before turning on the jets, and boy did Sam Howell turn ‘em on. The Sophomore finished the game with 550 yards passing, six touchdowns, and only one interception, also running a touchdown in. Chazz Surratt continues to dominate games, finishing with 14 tackles while his rhyming namesake Dazz Newsome led the team in receiving and scored twice. UNC is far out of running for the ACC but they’re going to be a tough out with Miami and Notre Dame down the road.

18 – Louisiana (7-1)

Louisiana finally were able to win a game without sweating out the final score, beating South Alabama 38-10. Levi Lewis is getting into a rhythm and was really impressive with 252 yards and three touchdowns. The three headed monster on the ground for Louisiana is still a huge issue for opposing defensive lines, especially with this snowballing momentum. Mekhi Garner had a great game on defense, getting a sack on a corner blitz and deflecting four passes on the other end. We’ll probably see a rematch with CCU to close the Sun Belt season.

17 – Oklahoma (5-2)

Scheduled bye this week. Bedlam next week.

16 – Oklahoma State (5-1)

See above.

15 – Oregon (2-0)

Despite being a close game coming into the third quarter, Oregon was able to pull away late in the game to beat a decent Washington State team. Tyler Shough looked great down the stretch again with 312 yards and four touchdowns while CJ Verdell continues to look ready for the NFL. Oregon was kind of lit up in the passing game, letting Jayden de Laura throw for 321 yards and a couple of scores, but consistent pressure and some very good offense from the Ducks was enough to pull away, a 22 point 4th quarter sealing the deal.

14 – Miami (1-0)

The Canes continue to win games that they need to but they also continue to look disappointing against those same teams. This week they beat a pretty good Virginia Tech team 25-24 in Blacksburg, but they should have been better on offense. The defense did a great job of forcing Hendon Hooker to pass a lot, holding him to 2.9 yards per carry and the entire VaTech offense to 362 yards on the afternoon. Gilbert Frierson and Jaelan Phillips were animals in the backfield, combining for 6.5 TFL and 4.5 sacks, but the offense still needs to be more effective to legitimize the efforts of the whole team.

13 – Indiana (4-0)

Indiana keeps winning and I have to respect them for doing that, but I just can’t decide whether they’re a good team or just a product of playing terrible teams. Their opponents are a combined 4-13 so far this season and while four of those losses are to Indiana, the four wins aren’t that impressive either. Regardless, Michael Penix Jr. was pretty good with 320 yards and two passing touchdowns, but his two picks weren’t ideal, though it was the only blemish on the game for the Hoosiers. The 24-0 shutout proved the defense has chops of their own, but I’m still not convinced. I guess we’ll find out if they’re for real next week against the Buckeyes.

12 – Marshall (7-0)

On the 50th anniversary of the Marshall plane crash, the Thundering Herd rose to the occasion and honored their past with a 42-14 win. The offense was clicking on all cylinders, posting 520 total yards, five touchdowns coming from Grant Wells in the passing game. The defense was clearly very strong and just closed up avenues against MTSU, allowing just 303 yards of offense and collecting three loose fumbles. It’s going to be an 11-0 regular season for Marshall and I think it’s very fitting.

11 – Wisconsin (2-0)

If you’re a fan of anyone other than Michigan in the Big 10, or maybe in college football, you were probably delighted at the Wisconsin deconstruction of the Wolverines on Saturday. Graham Mertz never needed to get into a rhythm as the Badgers evolved into their final form, running the ball for about 2.3 million yards on their rivals. But when we flip to the other side of the ball things get even worse. Joe Milton was pulled after posting a QBR of 8.2, at one point having four incompletions and two interceptions, and Michigan were only able to muster one yard of offense in the first quarter. I’d say this Wisconsin team is pretty good again.

10 – Coastal Carolina (7-0)

The Chants didn’t play again with Covid issues abound, but they’re back against App State next weekend.

9 – Texas A&M (5-1)

The Aggies were also held out of action this weekend thanks to Covid, but return against Tennessee next weekend.

8 – Georgia (4-2)

You’re starting to get the flow of this right? Georgia will return to action against Mississippi State as the Cocktail Party still marinates.

7 – Florida (5-1)

If you want a definition of hammering, look no further than the Florida offense that outscored a team who scored 35, by 28. That’s right, the Gators ate Arkansas up 63-35 as Kyle Trask only missed on six passes en route to 356 yards and six touchdowns. The run game put up 208 yards of their own while six different players scored touchdowns. The defense still makes me nervous, but I suppose allowing 35 points to a good Arkansas offense in a Felipe Franks revenge game can be excused, especially with the last two wins being what they are.

6 – Brigham Young (8-0)

BYU had a scheduled bye this week and will return to pad stats against North Alabama next week.

5 – Ohio State (3-0)

The Buckeyes missed out on their game with Maryland due to Covid issues and are scheduled to face Indiana next weekend.

4 – Clemson (7-1)

The Tigers also were scheduled to be off this week and will return to action against Florida State (uh-oh) next week.

3 – Cincinnati (7-0)

The Bearcats played on Friday and there wasn’t much to look into for the most part. Cincy owned ECU from start to finish, winning 55-17, and looked professional again. Desmond Ridder keeps looking better and better every week, the run game looked like they were practicing, and the defense was just immense again. If this team or BYU can’t make the Playoff going undefeated then we need to scrap the system again and figure something else out.

2 – Notre Dame (8-0)

There was a lot of chatter about this game against a feisty Boston College being a let-down game, but Brian Kelly made sure there was no lull in production for his team and beat the Eagles 45-31 in a game that wasn’t nearly as close as the final score indicates. Ian Book was impeccable yet again and C’Bo Flemister capitalised on the game with some outstanding runs and a pair of touchdowns. The Irish did have ball security issues, losing three fumbles, but the defense was able to cancel out two of those with turnovers of their own. The offense can keep up with anybody and the defense can do enough to stay in games so we should probably expect to see the Irish in the Playoff already no matter what the result of the ACC Championship is.

1 – Alabama (6-0)

The Crimson Tide were meant to earn redemption for last season’s loss against LSU this week but were unable thanks to Covid cancellations. They’ll return next weekend against Kentucky.