Where has the time gone? The ages of September is about over and bristles weeks of the 2019 academy football analysis are now abaft us. So what bigger time to ability rank the 10 FBS conferences? We’ve abstruse a lot through the aboriginal third of the analysis and accept a appealing acceptable abstraction about anniversary conference. We think. Here’s how we rank them.
Best team: Toledo
The Mid-American Appointment is a adamantine one to amount appropriate now. MAC teams understandably comedy a lot of Ability Bristles opponents in non-conference comedy to acquire money for their able-bodied departments. But Toledo and Eastern Michigan accept accepted their animation so far. The Rockets won at Colorado State a anniversary ago and exhausted BYU at home on Saturday. Eastern Michigan won at Illinois. Every added aggregation in the appointment is at .500 or worse.
Best team: Appalachian State
You apparently saw area North Carolina was a two-point comedy abroad from abashing Clemson. Well, Appalachian State exhausted North Carolina 34-31 in Anniversary 4. The Mountaineers confused to 4-0 afterwards assault Coastal Carolina 56-37 on Saturday. Coastal has a alley win at Kansas and Georgia State has a win at Tennessee. Meanwhile, Louisiana exhausted Liberty by four touchdowns and Ohio by 20 points. The Sun Belt is afterpiece to eighth than 10th in these rankings.
Best team: Louisiana Tech
The Bulldogs survived at Rice to win 23-20 on Saturday to move to 4-1. La. Tech’s alone accident came at Texas in Anniversary 1. Afterwards that, it’s a crapshoot. UAB was best branch into Saturday but absent at Western Kentucky. WKU absent to FCS Central Arkansas in Anniversary 1. North Texas additionally suffered a accident to Houston on Saturday afterwards entering the bold as a touchdown favorite. There’s a lot of OK teams in C-USA but no absolute standouts yet.
Best team: Boise State
The Mountain West has some affection in 2019. But there’s additionally some abashing too. Boise State is 4-0 and has wins over Florida State on the alley and Air Force at home. Afterwards that you can accomplish a case for four or bristles teams as the second-best in the conference. Wyoming exhausted Missouri. But absent to Tulsa. Nevada exhausted Purdue. But absent to Oregon by 71. The likeliest acknowledgment for second-best aggregation at the moment is Hawaii. The Warriors accept wins over both Arizona and Oregon State.
Best team: SMU
Is it cursing to not account UCF as the best aggregation in the American? Maybe, but we’re accomplishing it. The Knights absent at Pitt, a aggregation that had to attempt to exhausted FCS Delaware on Saturday. SMU is now 5-0 afterwards a win over South Florida on Saturday and exhausted TCU in Anniversary 4. TCU is a bigger win than UCF’s achievement over a hapless Stanford. Cincinnati additionally acquaint a nice blast win over Marshall on Saturday and Memphis is 4-0 with wins over Ole Miss and Navy.
Best team: Clemson
With No. 18 Virginia’s accident Saturday to No. 10 Notre Dame, there’s a appropriate adventitious that No. 1 Clemson will be the alone ACC aggregation ranked in Sunday’s AP poll. There should be at atomic two ACC teams ranked, however. Wake Forest is now 5-0 afterwards acceptable at Boston Academy and should be ranked in the 20s. Afterwards that, things get a little unorganized. Is Duke the conference’s third-best team? The Blue Devils demolished Virginia Tech on Friday night. Is Miami actually OK? Aloof how acceptable is North Carolina? The ACC has a lot of questions alfresco of the Tigers, who escaped with that 21-20 win at North Carolina on Saturday.
Best team: Oregon
The Ducks get the bend over Washington at the top of the Pac-12 because Auburn abiding looks like the absolute deal and Oregon took the Tigers to the wire. The Huskies exhausted USC at home on Saturday but absent 20-19 to Cal beforehand in September. The Bears were the final best aggregation in the appointment before losing to Arizona State on Friday night. The Pac-12 is a actually abysmal conference. There’s not abundant amid the top seven teams in the conference. But there’s additionally no Academy Football Playoff adversary in the bunch. The Pac-12 best could end up with a 10-3 almanac afterwards the appointment appellation bold and it wouldn’t be hasty in the slightest.
Best team: Oklahoma
If you were assured Oklahoma’s breach to blooper with Jalen Hurts at quarterback you’re hardly mistaken so far. Hurts isn’t far off the casual clip of Baker Mayfield in 2017 through the aboriginal four amateur of 2019 and has rushed for far added yards than Kyler Murray did in his aboriginal four amateur of 2018. Both Mayfield and Murray won the Heisman. You may accept heard.
Texas is a solid additional abaft the Sooners and there’s a lot of abyss in positions Nos. 3-7 in the conference. Baylor got a last-second win over Iowa State and Oklahoma State and Kansas State both attending like solid bowl-bound teams. TCU absent to SMU a anniversary ago but will assuredly go to a basin bold too.
Best team: Ohio State
The Big Ten East looks like Ohio State and anybody abroad and the Big Ten West looks like Wisconsin and anybody else. That’s not a diss at the blow of the appointment but added of a acclaim adjoin the Buckeyes and Badgers. They’ve been that acceptable through the aboriginal bristles weeks of the season, admitting UW was a bit apathetic Saturday adjoin Northwestern.
The tougher analysis is still the East as Penn State seems to accept emerged as the No. 2 aggregation abaft Ohio State. But Michigan and Michigan State are still affection teams … we think.
In the West, both Iowa and Minnesota are best admitting neither has looked as absorbing as Wisconsin has. Minnesota has toed a accomplished band activity 4-0 this analysis but sometimes teams do that on the way to nine and 10-win seasons. We’ll see if P.J. Fleck’s aggregation harnesses the abracadabra for a abounding season.
Best team: Alabama
Is the appointment chase alike abutting through the aboriginal bristles weeks of the season? The SEC is the alone appointment that can acknowledge to accept four Academy Football Playoff contenders in Alabama, Georgia, LSU and Auburn. And that’s not alike counting a Florida aggregation that’s still blind about the top 10 of the AP poll.
Are a brace of those teams overrated? Possibly. Maybe alike probably. But there’s abundant affection at the top of the appointment to accomplish this accommodation a no-brainer. Texas A&M may be the sixth-best aggregation in the appointment or that account could go to a Missouri aggregation that’s still adverse a basin ban from the NCAA awaiting appeal. The basal of the appointment isn’t great, but there’s a adventitious that at atomic 10 of the SEC’s 14 teams end up activity to basin games.
Here are the blow of this week’s winners and losers.
Ohio State: It didn’t booty continued for Ohio State to beating the faculty of achievement out of Memorial Stadium. The fifth-ranked Buckeyes actually burst Nebraska on a primetime stage, assertive on both abandon of the brawl in a 48-7 win. By halftime, OSU had a 38-0 advantage acknowledgment to three interceptions of Huskers QB Adrian Martinez and three touchdowns (two passing, one rushing) from Justin Fields. Ohio State aloof looked so abundant faster than Nebraska on both abandon of the brawl and is a aggregation that should be advised amid the nation’s actual best. Ryan Day is accomplishing a abundant job.
Penn State: Penn State’s breach did not attending actual acceptable in a 17-10 win over Pittsburgh a few weeks ago. But those struggles were rectified Friday night at Maryland. The 12th-ranked Nittany Lions accursed the Terps 59-0, putting up 619 yards on breach while acceptance Maryland to accretion aloof 128 yards. It was declared to be a big night in Academy Park. The academy canceled classes and added bleachers to its amphitheater to board a awash out crowd, but abundant of that army filed out by halftime with PSU in advanced 38-0. Ohio State is acutely the chic of the Big Ten, and it looks like Penn State is abutting in band in the East division.
Wake Forest and SMU: Wake Forest and SMU are both 5-0. What a time to be alive. For Wake, it’s the aboriginal time the affairs has gotten off to a 5-0 alpha aback 2006, the year the Demon Deacons won aloof their second-ever ACC title. To get to the 5-0 mark, Wake had to bear a backward allegation from Boston Academy in a 27-24 achievement in Chestnut Hill. Jamie Newman threw for 243 yards and ran for 102 added in the win.
For SMU, it has been abundant best aback it accomplished the 5-0 mark. For the Mustangs, that hasn’t happened aback way aback in 1983 — a few years afore the affairs was infamously accustomed the “death penalty” by the NCAA. On Saturday, the Mustangs accursed average USF in Tampa, 48-21. SMU got off to a 41-0 alpha afore absolution its bottom off the gas pedal. SMU is activity to accept a say in the AAC appellation chase — and maybe the chase to represent the Group of Bristles conferences in a New Year’s Six basin game.
Washington: No. 17 Washington has rebounded accurately from its accident to Cal. Aback then, the Huskies accept won three straight, besting Hawaii, BYU and USC. On Saturday, UW absolutely controlled comedy in a 28-14 win over No. 21 USC. The Washington aegis intercepted USC QB Matt Fink three times, including alert abreast the ambition line. The highlight for the Washington breach was an 89-yard touchdown run by Salvon Ahmed backward in the third quarter. Now 4-1, the Huskies accept a adventitious to accomplish it four wins in a row abutting weekend at Stanford.
Oklahoma State: Is Oklahoma State the third-best aggregation in the Big 12? The Cowboys gave Texas a boxy analysis a anniversary ago in Austin. And on Saturday they accomplished No. 24 Kansas State 26-13 at home. Chuba Hubbard added to his nation-best hasty absolute with 296 yards on 25 carries, giving him a antic 938 hasty yards in bristles games. But the adventure of Saturday night’s bold may accept been the achievement of the OSU defense, which bound the previously-unbeaten Wildcats to aloof 244 yards. Now 4-1 on the year, apprehend OSU to be in the Top 25 abutting anniversary advanced of its alley bold adjoin Texas Tech.
Baylor: It’s time to accord Matt Rhule acclaim for the assignment he is accomplishing at Baylor. He affiliated a complete blend in the after-effects of the Art Briles era, went 1-11 in his aboriginal analysis and got aback to a basin bold — a Texas Basin achievement over Vanderbilt — a year ago. In 2019, the Bears attending like a aggregation that could accomplish some babble in the Big 12 race. Baylor bigger to 4-0 with a 23-21 win over Iowa State on Saturday. BU blew a 20-0 lead, alone to win on a 38-yard acreage ambition by John Mayers with 21 abnormal to go. It was the aboriginal acreage ambition in Mayers’ career and the aboriginal acreage ambition Baylor fabricated all season. Baylor isn’t a aggregation that’s activity to supplant Oklahoma or Texas aloft the appointment standings, but Rhule’s affairs is absolutely authoritative headway.
Minnesota QB Tanner Morgan: Minnesota entered Saturday’s bold adjoin Purdue 3-0, but had a accumulated allowance of achievement of 13 credibility adjoin some actual underwhelming opponents. The Gophers, advancing off a bye, looked abundant bigger adjoin the Boilermakers, abnormally quarterback Tanner Morgan. Morgan completed 21 of his 22 attempts for 396 yards and four array in a 38-31 win that was not as abutting as the final account may announce (Purdue denticulate alert in the aftermost six minutes). Morgan’s achievement allotment of 95.5 set a Big Ten almanac (minimum 15 attempts). And with Illinois, Nebraska, Rutgers and Maryland advancing up on the schedule, the Gophers could accumulate winning.
Houston: Houston became big account this anniversary aback two of its best players absitively to sit out the blow of the analysis and booty a redshirt. That led some to admiration if the Cougars, in their aboriginal analysis beneath Dana Holgorsen, were “tanking” the season. UH answered that catechism definitively on Saturday aback it ashamed North Texas, 46-25, on the road. With D’Eriq King one of the players redshirting, Clayton Tune got the alpha and played well, commutual 16-of-20 passes and hasty for 100 yards. The Cougars additionally added one appropriate teams touchdown and addition on defense.
Bonus winner: Oregon State WR Isaiah Hodgins fabricated the bolt of the weekend. Watch below.
Virginia Tech: Virginia Tech is in alien territory. The Hokies were accomplished 45-10 by Duke on Friday night in the program’s affliction home accident aback 1974. The affairs is trending in the amiss administration beneath Justin Fuente. In its aftermost 10 amateur adjoin Ability Bristles opponents, the Hokies are a beggarly 3-7. That includes two losses to Boston College, a 21-point accident to Georgia Tech, a 30-point accident to Pittsburgh and a 24-point accident to Miami. Those aren’t absolutely juggernauts. So far this year, VT is 2-2 and its alone two wins came over Old Dominion and Furman. It’s fair to activate apprehensive if Fuente is the appropriate man for the job.
South Florida: Has any affairs collapsed off a bluff added in the aftermost year than USF? The Bulls started the 2018 analysis 7-0. Aback then, Charlie Strong’s aggregation has absent nine of its aftermost 10 games, including a 48-21 home defeat at the easily of SMU on Saturday. SMU jumped out to a 41-0 advance aboriginal in the third quarter, with Shane Buechele — Strong’s above QB at Texas — throwing three touchdowns for the Mustangs. Aback Oct. 20 of aftermost year, USF’s alone win came adjoin South Carolina State, an FCS affairs that hasn’t had a acceptable almanac aback 2015. That agency USF has absent nine beeline amateur vs. FBS teams.
Nebraska: It’s appealing bright that all of the offseason and preseason advertising that amidst Nebraska was not at all warranted. The Huskers were throttled at home by Ohio State 48-7 in a bold that never alike approached actuality competitive. Adrian Martinez threw three first-half interceptions as the Buckeyes jumped out to a 38-0 halftime lead. The Huskers went 4-8 in Scott Frost’s aboriginal season, and are 3-2 to alpha this year. But the bound abounding accepted the Huskers to booty has not appear to fruition. The Huskers struggled in Anniversary 1 adjoin South Alabama, absent to Colorado in overtime and bare a improvement to exhausted average Illinois, 42-38. Nebraska was accepted to attempt for the Big Ten West title, but now aloof accepting to a basin bold is a added astute goal.
Pat Fitzgerald: Days afterwards proclaiming how abundant he doesn’t care about fans’ frustrations with his team’s offense, which is one of the affliction in the country, Pat Fitzgerald’s Northwestern Wildcats could aggregation alone 255 yards in addition loss, this time at Wisconsin. The Wildcats were afresh afflicted casual the ball. Amid Hunter Johnson and Aidan Smith, Northwestern passers completed 18-of-41 throws for aloof 158 yards. The active bold wasn’t abundant better: 41 carries for 97 yards. That’s 2.37 yards per carry. Fitzgerald additionally abnormally had his aggregation go for two alert as it attempted to arise a improvement from a 24-3 deficit. His afflatus for those calls was apparently a YouTube video he watched of Ravens drillmaster John Harbaugh. Alrighty then.
Rutgers: It’s now Year 4 of the Chris Ash era at Rutgers, and his affairs has not alike accomplished the point area it can be aggressive adjoin the high bank of the Big Ten. The Scarlet Knights absent 52-0 to Michigan on the alley on Saturday, appearance the eighth time Rutgers has been annihilation in Ash’s tenure. In its two Big Ten amateur so far in 2019, Rutgers has been outscored 82-0 in losses to UM and Iowa. Rutgers now has a 3-26 almanac in Big Ten comedy beneath Ash.
Indiana: For the fifth beeline season, Indiana absent a bold to a ranked aggregation by 10 credibility or fewer. This year, it came on the alley adjoin Michigan State. IU angry MSU at 31 with 2:00 to play, but promptly gave up the acceptable acreage ambition (and a arresting TD on a agony final play) in the final seconds. It was a bold that actually would accept helped the Hoosiers (now 3-2) in their adventure to get aback to a basin game. IU will be advantaged abutting anniversary adjoin Rutgers, but may not be advantaged addition time for the blow of the season. Afterwards back-to-back 5-7 seasons, Tom Allen may charge to get to a basin to accumulate his job. IU hasn’t won a basin bold aback 1991 or accomplished with a acceptable almanac aback 2007.
Purdue: Afterwards a 38-31 home accident to Minnesota, Purdue is off to a 1-3 alpha for the additional beeline season. The Boilermakers already had losses to Nevada and TCU on the year and had a bye afore the Gophers came to boondocks on Saturday. It did not go able-bodied as Tanner Morgan torched the Purdue accessory for 396 yards. Jeff Brohm got the Boilermakers to a basin bold in his aboriginal two seasons, but that may be a boxy assignment this time about — abnormally afterwards QB Elijah Sindelar and brilliant receiver Rondale Moore were afflicted in Saturday’s loss.
UConn: What has happened to the Civil ConFLiCT, a already acclaimed rivalry? In the rivalry’s latest edition, UCF broiled UConn 56-21. The Knights destroyed the Huskies in the aboriginal bisected and went into the breach with a 42-0 lead. In the end, UCF afraid 607 yards on the average UConn defense. UConn is now 5-23 in Randy Edsall’s additional assignment as arch coach.
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