BY TODD FUHRMAN
You’re going to hate our rankings. You’ve called us nuts a few times already this season and we’re barely into the month of October. Let me preface all of this by saying you’re going to be heated more often than not this fall unless you bleed for Alabama football. Whether you’re a Clemson, Oklahoma, Ohio St, Penn St, or Michigan fan these rankings don’t leave you feeling warm and tingly. We’re not here to do that; the media strokes egos based on style points while our stated goal is to make you think like a bettor making more informed decisions whenever you choose to walk to the window.
Don’t look now but for the first time this year USC falls out of our top 10…not solely because of their loss to Washington St but rather because the Trojans might have trouble fielding a healthy line-up for quite some time. Ohio St and Auburn are on the climb much to the chagrin of college fans that despise both programs. Ah; the joys of college football and the strong emotions the game elicits in all of you. Remember these rankings are how we see the college football world and in no way provide an endorsement that Team A will always beat Team B on a neutral field just because they’re ranked higher, match-ups play a major role in all investment opportunities.
4) Ohio St
6) Penn St
9) Florida St
Underrated: Texas A&M
Congrats Aggies…for the first time in the history of this poll as a fixture on Outkick (mind you it’s been on sabbatical for a few years before this fall) Texas A&M is actually UNDERRATED! It’s amazing how the nation neglects a team after blowing a 30+ point lead on national TV opening weekend. Since that fateful night at the Rose Bowl Coach Sumlin’s group has begun to find their identity around a run game now churning out 250+ yards per game. Kellen Mond isn’t going to make anyone in College Station forget Johnny Manziel but he hasn’t needed to producing modest numbers on the ground and through the air while protecting the football. Trayveon Williams and Keith Ford have come into their own toting the rock while Christian Kirk continues to do Christian Kirk things as one of the nation’s most explosive gamebreakers. Defensively the Aggies get after the quarterback sacking their opponents 4.5 times per game, a rate that has them third in the country contributing to the defense’s top 30 ability to get off the field on third downs. We must warn you history indicates that Aggies late season swoon inches closer by the day although this could be the year Kevin Sumlin staves off the boo birds a bit longer (He’s now listed at 9-2 to be the 1st SEC coach fired. Don’t be surprised if these guys hang around Saturday when the bully known as Alabama invades Kyle field as 24+ point favorites.
We feel like we can say this not only about Utah but maybe the entire conference right now; the Pac12 stinks! Whether it’s USC suffering from a myriad of injuries or Chris Peterson bitching about poor scheduling for national attention, the league just feels soft in 2017. Utah is no different somehow finding themselves in the top 20 of the popularity polls with wins over North Dakota, BYU, San Jose St, and Arizona. GIVE ME A DAMN BREAK! While it hasn’t been made official yet all indications are last year’s starter Troy Williams will get the nod against Stanford on Saturday while the man who started the season under center, Tyler Huntley, recovers from injury. Don’t get us wrong; we respect the hell out of Kyle Whittingham’s ability to get the most from his roster every single season but if there’s anyone in this country outside of Salt Lake City that sees the Utes as a top 20 football team they’ve lost their damn mind.
Double Digit Dog of the Week: UCONN +14 *FRIDAY (4-1 ATS)
Uconn isn’t a good football team…hell, they’re not even an average football team in year 1 of the Randy Edsall renaissance tour in Storrs. However what this edition of Uconn can do is put up points scoring 27 or more in every game this season; a threshold the program met only ONE time (YES ONCE!) in all of 2016. Starting QB Bryant Shirreffs is 73 of 106 for 1165 yards with an 8-2 TD to INT ratio. These numbers aren’t going to wow NFL scouts or have him headed to New York for the Heisman coronation but what they are is light years better than his final stat line last season: 166 of 283 for 2010 yards and a 7-6 TD to INT ratio. You read that correctly; he has exceeded last year’s TD pass tally through just 4 games. Enter the Memphis Tigers; a team fresh off a 40-13 drubbing in Orlando now forced to travel on a short week to sleepy Rentschler field. The Tigers largest margin of victory this year is 13 points; a home win against FCS member SIU. Coach Norvell has a mash unit on the defensive side and traveling on a short week won’t be a recipe for success against a conference opponent pesky enough to show off on national TV. It won’t be pretty and I’ll encourage you to bet it and forget it but UCONN is a side we think has a chance to win outright as a two TD home pup come Friday night.