By Ryan Decker
Two weeks ago I looked at the college football rankings, specifically the number of teams that make substantial moves down the rankings week in and week out.
It was to illustrate the point that fans should come to expect shake ups every week in the rankings, and that no Top 25 team is safe.
This week I take another look at the teams that the Associated Press has deemed the best in the sport, but from a slightly different angle.
In today’s article, I specifically name five ranked teams that have the best chances of losing this week. If you’re a fan of these teams, though, you probably already know that.
Honorable mention – No. 16 Oklahoma
After a very disappointing start to the season, a lot of Oklahoma Sooners fans probably thought the season was over. However, a 3-0 start in conference play has put OU back in the rankings.
The potential problem this week comes in the form of Texas Tech, which will be playing determined to avoid a three-game losing streak.
The other factor going against Oklahoma this weekend (and likely longer) is the injury to running back Samaje Perine. His injury will help out a TTU defense that has been giving up over 200 yards on the ground per game.
If TTU plays determined enough, and Patrick Mahomes regains full health in his shoulder, Oklahoma fans could watch their team go down in a shootout.
No. 17 Arkansas
Arkansas wasn’t ranked at the beginning of the season, but a 3-0 start propelled the Razorbacks into the Top 25.
They play an Auburn team whose own good play as of late has put the Tigers in the rankings, as well.
Here’s why Arkansas fans should be expecting their team to lose on Saturday.
Auburn’s balanced offensive attack will pose problems for Arkansas’ average-at-best defense. Auburn’s defense, on the other hand, is average better performances in defending both the pass and the run better than the Razorbacks do at executing it offensively.
Also, three of Arkansas’ five wins have come against FCS schools.
Arkansas being still somewhat unproven could come to bit the Razorbacks in the behind. Add in playing at Auburn at night, and Arkansas fans shouldn’t be surprised with a loss at all.
No. 12 West Virginia
West Virginia fans should be excited about their team’s surprising 5-0 start. However, in the back of every Mountaineer fan’s mind should be the memory of the last time WVU started 5-0.
That was 2012. West Virginia subsequently went on a five-game losing streak.
WVU takes on TCU this weekend in Morgantown, and although the Mountaineers are a 5-point favorite, a high-powered Horned Frog offense awaits.
Two factors should concern WVU fans: 1) WVU has lost each of the last two years against TCU, including a heart-breaking loss at home in 2014; 2) Gary Patterson’s team has won 12 of its last 13 games following a bye week, including last year’s win over WVU (per Jed Drenning).
If TCU can limit West Virginia’s running game, and exploit any holes in a defense that played very well last week, the Horned Frogs could ruin WVU’s chances at an undefeated season. Many Mountaineer fans are staying skeptical anyways.
No. 23 Ole Miss
Ole Miss has been flirting with dropping out of the rankings all year.
This could be the week it finally happens.
Ole Miss plays an LSU team that, although Tigers themselves have not faired well against good competition, are riding a two-game winning streak. Meanwhile, the Rebels are coming off a heartbreaking loss.
Ole Miss fans should be worried about their team’s rush defense, which is allowing over 200 yards per game and is facing an LSU team with what could turn into a two-headed monster in the backfield of Leonard Fournette and Derrius Guice.
Les Miles’ firing may have inspired the LSU players. That should scare Ole Miss fans.
Rebels nation may not admit it, but they shouldn’t be surprised at all if/when their team loses in Death Valley Saturday night.
No. 14 Boise State
The feeling around Boise State from people not in the state of Idaho seems to be, “This isn’t 2008 anymore. We’re going to have to ask you to be in a real conference, again.”
History says that Boise State fans shouldn’t be all that worried heading into the Broncos game Thursday night, but their opponent’s performance this season should.
BYU’s three losses came by a combined seven points. A touchdown has separated the Cougars from being 7-0 this season.
BYU will likely be the best team that Boise St. faces this year, and certainly is to this point in the season. Broncos fans should be prepared.
Jamaal Williams is a dynamic running back that will be hard to contain all night, and when he gets into the open space, he is hard to tackle. WVU fans saw that first hand a few weeks ago when Williams ran for 169 yards.
Boise State fans know crazy things can happen on Thursday night games in college football. Broncos fans and college football fans alike shouldn’t be shocked if when they wake up on Friday morning they see that the Cougars pulled the upset.
No. 6 Texas A&M
The bye week couldn’t have come at a better time for Texas A&M.
The Aggies were coming off an ugly win over Tennessee in which they forced the Vols to turn the ball over six times in regulation and still needed overtime to get the victory. Not only that, but next up on the schedule is Alabama – the most dominant team in college football this year.
Yeah, most teams could use an extra week to prepare for Nick Saban’s team. Most team’s fan bases could use the extra week to prepare themselves for what could happen against the Crimson Tide.
Aggie fans should know by now that, since joining the SEC in 2012, Texas A&M has only defeated Alabama once, and A&M needed a Heisman winner to do so. In the last two years, things have gotten ugly when these two teams have gotten together.
The 12th man won’t be able to help very much where the game will be played in Tuscaloosa, and they shouldn’t expect a win. The other teams I’ve mentioned, they all have chances to win.
A&M has no chance.
Alabama’s defense is one of the best in the country, and the offense is arguably as good and explosive as any that Saban has had while at Alabama.
The 12th man should plan on changing the channel before time expires, because like the previous two years, this one stands a good chance at getting out of hand.