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Rankings and Ratings

January 19th

Bracketology: Buffs up to a No. 5 seed at ESPN; No. 6 at CBS Sports

From CBS Sports … Pac-12 … 

  • No. 6 seed … Colorado … up three spots 
  • No. 6 seed … UCLA … up one spot
  • No. 7 seed … Oregon … down two spots
  • No. 7 seed … USC … up two spots
  • No. 11 seed … Stanford … down four spots (Last Four in)

From ESPN … Pac-12 … 

  • No. 5 seed … Colorado … up one spot
  • No. 5 seed … UCLA … up one spot
  • No. 6  seed … USC … up two spots
  • No. 6 seed … Oregon … down one spot
  • No. 12 seed  … Stanford … (Last Four in … down one spot)


January 18th

CU enters Coaches’ poll at No. 23; still outside of AP poll (No. 27)

From CBS Sports … On the strength of two quality wins in conference play this week, both Alabama and Ohio State jumped eight spots in the latest Coaches Poll released on Monday. The Crimson Tide rose from No. 24 to No. 16 after crushing Kentucky at Ruppa Arena then beating Arkansas at home in similarly dominant fashion. The Buckeyes went from unranked in the poll to No. 18 after beating Northwestern at home then claiming a signature win over Illinois.

Ohio State was one of three teams to join the poll this week after being unranked last week. Colorado and Florida State also cracked the poll, at No. 23 and No. 25, respectively. The Buffaloes extended their winning streak to four games after wins over Cal and Stanford this week, and FSU claimed wins over NC State and North Carolina in consecutive games to join the poll.

As for the top of the rankings, Gonzaga held steady at No. 1 once again, earning 28 of a possible 31 first-place votes, while Baylor garnered the remaining three first-place votes and stayed at No. 2. Villanova also stayed at No. 3, while Iowa leapt four spots to No. 4 and Texas fell to No. 5. Rounding out the top 10 this week is No. 6 Tennessee, No. 7 Michigan, No. 8 Houston, No. 9 Kansas and No. 10 Wisconsin.

USA Today/Coaches Poll … 

13Texas Tech11-432715
14Virginia Tech11-227420
15West Virginia9-427214
18Ohio State11-3234NR
25Florida State7-285NR

Others receiving votes: Louisville 84; Connecticut 82; Saint Louis 66; USC 58; Oklahoma State 53; Duke 36; Boise State 28; Drake 20; Xavier 16; LSU 14; Richmond 9; Michigan St 4; San Diego St. 3; Toledo 2; Belmont 2; Tulsa 1; Rutgers 1.

From CBS Sports … Duke for the first time in nearly five years is unranked in the latest AP Top 25, which was released Monday. The Blue Devils fell from No. 19 in last week’s poll to out of the rankings entirely after falling to Virginia Tech 74-67 on Tuesday, dropping them to 5-3 on the season. It’s the first time they have not been ranked in the AP Poll since Feb. 2016.

Duke’s drop was part of a rough week for the ACC on the whole. Not only did the Blue Devils drop out, but so too did Louisville after it fell to Miami on the road on Saturday. Meanwhile, Virginia, after beating Clemson in a historically dominant performance, advanced five spots up the poll from No. 18 to No. 13, and Virginia Tech jumped four spots from No. 20 to No. 16. Clemson stayed in the poll but fell eight spots to No. 20.

Meanwhile at the very top, the top three ranked teams of Gonzaga, Baylor and Villanova remained unchanged again this week. The Bulldogs pulled in 62 of a possible 64 first-place votes, with Baylor fetching the remaining two. Rounding out the top five, Iowa and Texas stayed inside the top five but flip-flopped positions, with the Hawkeyes jumping up one spot to No. 4 and the Longhorns dropping a spot to No. 5.

Associated Press Top 25 … 

1Gonzaga (62)14-01,5981
2Baylor (2)12-01,5382
12Texas Tech11-479215
14West Virginia9-473213
15Ohio State11-363121
16Virginia Tech11-253620
25Saint Louis7-117224

Others receiving votes: Louisville 155, Colorado 148, Oklahoma State 119, Florida State 112, USC 74, Duke 43, Drake 42, LSU 20, Boise State 15, Xavier 7, Belmont 5, Michigan State 3, Winthrop 3, Toledo 2, Utah State 1, Purdue 1.


January 17th

CBS Final 2020 1-127 rankings: CU in at No. 30 (No. 3 in the Pac-12)

From CBS Sports … So it comes as no surprise that Alabama finishes as the No. 1 team in our CBS Sports 127, the comprehensive ranking of all FBS teams that played this season, with Ohio State checking in at No. 2, Clemson at No. 3 and Notre Dame at No. 4. With all the bowls in the books as a final data point for many teams, there was consistent support for Oklahoma’s strong finish with a two-spot bump up to No. 5 and a late boost for Georgia to No. 7 thanks to handing Cincinnati, now at No. 8, its first loss of the season in the Peach Bowl.

Teams outside the Power Five saw some of the biggest boosts in the final balloting of the year, likely a reflection of impressive performances in the postseason. Liberty jumped up eight spots to No. 18 after taking out Coastal Carolina in the Cure Bowl, Ball State moved up nearly two dozen spots after winning the Arizona Bowl against San Jose State, and Buffalo — after falling in the rankings following its MAC title game loss to Ball State — popped back up in the top 25 after winning the Camelia Bowl against Marshall. For the biggest adjustments not just at the top of the rankings but throughout the CBS Sports 127, check out the Mover’s Report below.

The final standing among conferences shows how the unique season opened the door for more teams to shine on a national level. The top 25 spots of the CBS Sports 127 have been known to be dominated but one conference but the dispersion is as even as its been in recent years with exactly four teams each from the SEC, Big Ten, ACC and Big 12 — and two teams each from the Sun Belt, MAC and independents. The AAC and Mountain West are represented as well, and the only outlier is having just one Pac-12 team in the top 25 and that team — USC and No. 19 — did not even play in a bowl game.

From the Pac-12 … 

  • No. 19 … USC
  • No. 27 … Utah
  • No. 30 … Colorado
  • No. 31 … Oregon
  • No. 32 … Washington
  • No. 42 … Arizona State
  • No. 43 … Stanford
  • No. 49 … UCLA
  • No. 63 … Oregon State
  • No. 73 … California
  • No. 78 … Nebraska 
  • No. 81 … Washington State
  • No. 90 … Michigan State 
  • No. 110 … Colorado State
  • No. 112 … Arizona

Buffs continue all-time best rise in NET Rankings (up to No. 7 nationally)

What are NET Rankings? The NET rankings are a sorting tool the NCAA will use to evaluate teams in contention for at-large bids into the NCAA Tournament.

The rankings rely on five factors — team value index, net efficiency, winning percentage, adjusted win percentage and scoring margin.

Colorado is up to No. 7 in the nation in the NET Rankings, believed to be CU’s highest-ever ranking.

From the Pac-12 … 

  • No. 7 … Colorado 
  • No. 18 … USC
  • No. 27 … Oregon
  • No. 29 … UCLA
  • No. 30 … Arizona
  • No. 62 … Stanford
  • No. 106 … Utah
  • No. 113 … Washington State
  • No. 125 … Arizona State
  • No. 186 … California
  • No. 213 … Oregon State
  • No. 249 … Washington


January 13th 

Bracketology: Buffs up to a No. 6 seed at ESPN

From CBS Sports … Pac-12 … 

  • No. 5 seed … Oregon … down one spot
  • No. 7 seed … Stanford … unchanged
  • No. 7 seed … UCLA … up one spot
  • No. 9 seed … Colorado … up two spots 
  • No. 9 seed … USC … previously outside the bracket

From ESPN … Pac-12 … 

  • No. 5 seed … Oregon … unchanged
  • No. 6 seed … Colorado … up one spot
  • No. 6 seed … UCLA … up one spot
  • No. 8  seed … USC … up two spots
  • No. 11 seed  … Stanford … (Last Four in … up from First Four Out)

Boyle’s Buffs in CBS Top 25 (No. 24) 

From CBS Sports … Michigan was picked sixth in the Big Ten preseason poll — behind Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan State and Rutgers. The Wolverines received zero first-place votes. But now here we are, eight weeks into this unusual season, and Juwan Howard’s program has established itself as a legitimate national title contender.

The latest impressive performance came Tuesday night, when the Wolverines pounded Wisconsin, 77-54, thanks in part to a great performance from Franz Wagner, who finished with 15 points, 10 rebounds and four steals. Michigan is now 11-0 overall and 6-0  in the Big Ten. The Wolverines are destroying basically everybody.

Michigan moving up to No. 3 resulted in Villanova and Texas getting pushed down one spot each, no fault of their own. The Wolverines’ next scheduled game is Saturday at Minnesota.

From the Pac-12 … 

No. 20 … Oregon … Oregon improved to 4-1 in the Pac-12 via Saturday’s 79-73 victory at Utah. The Ducks’ resume also includes wins over Stanford and Seton Hall.

No. 22 … UCLA … UCLA’s resume features wins over Colorado, Arizona and Marquette. The Bruins will take a four-game winning streak into Thursday’s game with Washington State.

No. 24 … Colorado … Colorado’s resume features wins over Oregon and USC. All three of the Buffaloes’ losses are considered Quadrant-1 defeats.

No. 25 … USC … USC’s resume features a win over Arizona and zero losses to teams outside of the top 25 of the NET. The Trojans will take a four-game winning streak into Thursday’s game with Washington.


January 12th 

CU receives votes in final USA Today/Coaches Poll (T-39th)

From CBS Sports … The 2020 college football season was one of uncertainties, but with its conclusion it appears voters feel certain about how the top 10 should look. The final Amway Coaches Poll was released on Tuesday and its top 10 mirrors the final AP Top 25 released overnight.

No. 1, of course, is Alabama following the 52-24 blowout of Ohio State in the College Football Playoff National Championship. The Buckeyes remain at No. 2 with Clemson, Texas A&M and Notre Dame rounding out the top five. Oklahoma, Georgia and Cincinnati follow with Iowa State and Northwestern jumping into the final two spots of the top 10. That marks Iowa State’s highest ending position in the Coaches Poll in program history. Northwestern finishes with its best season in the Coaches Poll since 1995 when it ended the year at No. 7.

Two new teams ended the year ranked: Ball State at No. 23 and Buffalo at No. 25. They replace NC State and Tulsa, both of which fell out after bowl losses to Kentucky and Mississippi State, respectively.

Below is the final Coaches Poll in its entirety. First-place votes are in parenthesis.

1. Alabama (60)
2. Ohio State
3. Clemson
4. Texas A&M
5. Notre Dame
6. Oklahoma
7. Georgia
8. Cincinnati
9. Iowa State
10. Northwestern
11. BYU
12. Florida
13. Indiana
14. Coastal Carolina
15. Iowa
16. Louisiana
17. North Carolina
18. Liberty
19. Oklahoma State
20. Texas
21. USC
22. Miami (FL)
23. Ball State
24. San Jose State
25. Buffalo

Schools dropped out: No. 22 NC State; No. 25 Tulsa.

Other receiving votes: Wisconsin 38; Oregon 36; NC State 35; Army 34; Tulsa 30; Appalachian State 30; Nevada 17; Auburn 17; Memphis 14; Utah 11; Mississippi 10; West Virginia 7; Southern Methodist 7; Missouri 6; Colorado 6; Boise State 6; UAB 4; Washington 2; Marshall 2; Kentucky 1.


Odds at winning national title – CU at 200:1

From CBS Sports … Alabama hasn’t won back-to-back national titles since the 2011 and 2012 seasons — no other program has either — but the Crimson Tide are the early betting favorites to win it all next season and repeat as champions following their win 52-24 win over Ohio State in Monday’s College Football Playoff National Championship. According to odds released by William Hill Sportsbook, Alabama has 3-1 odds at the title. Clemson sits right behind the Tide with 4-1 odds.

The oddsmakers’ placement of the Crimson Tide at the top of the list is a clear sign of respect for coach Nick Saban’s dynasty. Alabama is likely to lose Heisman Trophy-winning receiver DeVonta Smith, star running back Najee Harris and star quarterback Mac Jones from this year’s 13-0 team. Offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian is also headed to Texas to be the Longhorns’ new head coach. But with Saban still at the helm following his record seventh national title, it’s hard to argue against Alabama as the early favorite.

The full list of odds is below, and though it’s a fairly predictable cast of characters in the top spots, there is one team with decent odds that is not regarded as a traditional power in the sport.

From the Pac-12 … 

  • USC … 30:1
  • Oregon … 50:1
  • Arizona State … 100:1
  • Washington … 100:1
  • Stanford … 150:1
  • Utah … 150:1
  • Colorado … 200:1
  • UCLA … 250:1
  • Washington State … 500:1
  • Oregon State … 500:1
  • Arizona … 500:1
  • California … 750:1

… and …

  • Colorado State … 2500:1


ESPN “Way Too Early Top 25” includes four of CU’s 2021 opponents

… USC at No. 9??? … 

From ESPN … Even in a 2020 college football season that featured more starts and stops than Los Angeles traffic, there were a handful of near certainties, such as Alabama, Clemson and Ohio State reaching the College Football Playoff.

Even a pandemic couldn’t balance power in the most top-heavy sport.

Will we finally see those heavyweights fall back in 2021? Clemson star quarterback Trevor Lawrence has already declared for the NFL draft. Will Alabama’s Mac Jones and Ohio State’s Justin Fields be next? Will it be enough for programs such as Georgia, North Carolina and Texas A&M to close the gap on teams that have dominated their conferences for much of the past decade?

We’ll have to wait about eight months to find out.

For now, here’s the first edition of the 2021 Way-Too-Early Top 25 rankings, featuring projected returning starters, starters who might leave, key additions and outlooks for each team.

( * Denotes players who have already announced they’re leaving for the NFL draft, transferring or not returning to their current programs for other reasons.)

CU opponents for 2021 (4) … 

No. 6 … Texas A&M 

2020 record: 9-1 (8-1 SEC)
Projected returning starters: six offense, six defense, two special teams

Projected losses: QB Kellen Mond*, OT Dan Moore Jr.*, C Ryan McCollum*, G Jared Hocker*, OT Carson Green, LB Buddy Johnson*, CB Myles Jones

Key additions: DE Shemar Turner, DE Tunmise Adeleye, WR Shadrach Banks, ATH Dreyden Norwood, G Bryce Foster, CB Elijah Blades, LB Ke’Shun Brown, WR Camron Buckley

Outlook: The Aggies finally got a sizable return on their $75 million investment in coach Jimbo Fisher, closing the season with eight straight victories (each of the last seven by 10 or more points), including a 41-27 win over North Carolina in the Capital One Orange Bowl.

Texas A&M might be destined for even bigger things in 2021 if it can replace some key pieces on offense. Mond and at least three starters from a very good offensive line are leaving. Freshmen Zach Calzada and Haynes King will battle for the QB job this spring.

Tailbacks Isaiah Spiller and Devon Achane, utility man Ainias Smith and tight end Jalen Wydermyer give the Aggies a nice core of returning players on offense. More playmakers are needed on the perimeter. The defense, under coordinator Mike Elko’s direction, led the SEC in total defense (317.3 yards per game). Top tacklers Johnson and Hansford, as well as top pass-rusher Bobby Brown III, will have to be replaced.

No. 9 … USC

2020 record: 5-1 Pac-12
Projected returning starters: eight offense, eight defense, two special teams

Projected losses: OT Alijah Vera-Tucker*, SS Talanoa Hufanga*, WR Tyler Vaughns*, WR Amon-Ra St. Brown*, CB Olaijah Griffin*, DT Marlon Tuipulotu*

Key additions: DE Korey Foreman, DT Ishmael Sophsher, S Xavion Alford, QB Miller Moss, QB Jaxson Dart, ATH Kyron Ware-Hudson, ATH Julien Simon

Outlook: The Trojans squandered their chance at winning a Pac-12 title and playing in a New Year’s Six bowl by losing to Oregon 31-24 in the league championship game. USC won its first South Division title since 2017, but the loss to the Ducks soiled what might have been some good equity for embattled coach Clay Helton. He is only 18-13 over the past three seasons, so USC needs to continue to show progress in 2021.

The Trojans can start by improving their woefully inadequate running game, which ranked last in the league and 120th in the FBS, averaging 97.3 yards per game. Maybe that’s why Helton fired offensive line coach Tim Drevno and strength and conditioning coach Aaron Ausmus. USC’s defense improved under new coordinator Todd Orlando; it ranked third in the Pac-12 in scoring defense (26 points) and run defense (153.3 yards). The Trojans are scheduled to play at Notre Dame next season but will avoid Oregon and Washington in conference play.

No. 13 … Oregon

2020 record: 4-3 (3-2 Pac-12)
Projected returning starters: seven offense, seven defense, two special teams

Projected losses: TE Hunter Kampmoyer*, NG Jordon Scott*, DT Austin Faoliu*, CB Deommodore Lenoir*, WR Jaylon Redd, WR Johnny Johnson III, OT George Moore, S Nick Pickett*

Key additions: WR Isaiah Brevard, QB Ty Thompson, WR Troy Franklin, WR Dont’e Thornton

Outlook: It’s difficult to put much of a grade on Oregon’s performance in 2020 because it played only seven games and was missing a handful of its best players after they opted out before the season, including star tackle Penei Sewell, safety Jevon Holland, linebacker Brady Breeze and cornerback Thomas Graham Jr. The Ducks won a Pac-12 title without winning their division and lost to Iowa State in the Fiesta Bowl. Overall, Oregon fans probably anticipated a little more in coach Mario Cristobal’s third season.

First and foremost, the Ducks must decide on a starting quarterback this spring. Tyler Shough, Justin Herbert’s former understudy, completed 63.5% of his passes for 1,559 yards with 13 touchdowns and six picks. Boston College graduate transfer Anthony Brown took a lot of snaps in the Pac-12 championship game and the bowl game. It’s unclear whether Brown will return for another season.

The Oregon defense has three budding stars in Kayvon Thibodeaux, Mase Funa and Mykael Wright, and more help is on the way in linebacker Justin Flowe and cornerback Dontae Manning, who played sparingly because of injuries. Defensive coordinator Andy Avalos took the head-coaching job at Boise State, his alma mater.

No. 14 … Washington

2020 record: 3-1 Pac-12
Projected returning starters: 11 offense, eight defense, one special teams

Projected losses: DB Elijah Molden*, DB Keith Taylor*, DL Josiah Bronson*

Key additions: QB Sam Huard, TE Quentin Moore, QB Patrick O’Brien, LB Will Latu, WR Jabez Tinae, G Owen Prentice

Outlook: Jimmy Lake’s first season as Washington’s head coach was incomplete, as the Huskies played only four games and won the Pac-12 North but couldn’t play in the Pac-12 championship game because of COVID-19 issues.

The good news is that all but three starters might return in 2021 and the Huskies added Huard, the No. 1 pocket passer in the 2021 ESPN 300. Three other quarterbacks — Ethan Garbers, Jacob Sirmon and Kevin Thomson — left, so the Huskies also added O’Brien, a Colorado State graduate transfer. Huard and O’Brien will compete with returning starter Dylan Morris, who completed 60.9% of his passes for 897 yards with four touchdowns and three picks.

Washington’s priorities this spring are finding a bona fide No. 1 receiver and rebuilding the secondary.

While CBS Sports only has three CU opponents in its Top 25 

From CBS Sports … The more things change, the more they stay the same in college football. Check out the first half of the way-too-early top 25 ahead of the 2021 season.

No surprise that Clemson debuts at No. 1 with a difference-making quarterback and enough experience to reach another College Football Playoff. Two SEC teams are in the top four (surprise!). Oklahoma is back in the top five. Cincinnati has become a top 10 regular.

Hey, anything that resembles normality is a good thing. The 2020 season is over, and well, good riddance in a way. We’re tired to having to check each day for which games were still being played.

Hopefully, by the fall we’re back to a routine. Right now, we’ll settle for full stadiums and college football’s richest tradition: ranking teams before games are even played.

CU’s opponents for 2021 (3) … 

No. 10 … Texas A&M 

In Year 3, Jimbo Fisher almost got the Aggies into the playoff. What does he do for an encore in Year 4? Find a replacement for Kellen Mond for starters. The Aggies’ career leading passer turned out to be sneaky good. There is plenty of talent at running back to ease the transition. Jimbo won it all in Year 4 at Florida State. Is that a portent of what is to come?

No. 14 … USC 

COVID-19 was going to provide Clay Helton with a mulligan year if he faltered. The USC coach didn’t need it. For the third time in last six years, the Trojans played for the Pac-12 title. Their only loss was to Oregon in that game. Quarterback Kedon Slovis still has a deep receiving squad returning despite the loss of Tyler Vaughns.

No. 17 … Oregon 

Someone still has to explain to me the quarterback shuffling in the Fiesta Bowl. Tyler Shough or Anthony Brown? The Ducks “won” the Pac-12 (because Washington couldn’t play) but have a lot to prove after going 4-3.

Meanwhile, Jon Wilner doesn’t even have USC winning its own division … 

From the San Jose Mercury News … All the 2021 frontrunners will have starting quarterbacks from the Pac-12 footprint, but none of those teams are in the Pac-12:

— Former USC starter JT Daniels is taking charge at Georgia.

— Phoenix-area product Spencer Rattler will start for Oklahoma for the second year in a row.

— Bryce Young, a former five-star recruit from Southern California, takes over for Mac Jones at Alabama.

— Another former five-star recruit from Southern California, DJ Uiagalelei, takes over for Trevor Lawrence at Clemson.

— We’re not sure who will replace Justin Fields at Ohio State, but the two top candidates are Jack Miller (Phoenix) and CJ Stroud (Southern California).

In fact, those quarterbacks — sorry, those teams — make up the top-five in our rankings below.

The Pac-12 footprint is clearly producing high-level talent at the most important position in the sport. But that talent is leaving the conference at an unprecedented rate.

CU opponents for 2021 (5) … 

10. Texas A&M: Quarterback Kellen Mond is gone, but the Aggies will have an experienced defense and the benefits of four full recruiting cycles under Jimbo Fisher.

14. Washington: The highest-ranked team in the Pac-12 is only No. 14 overall — such is the state of college football on the West Coast. The Huskies are loaded with returning starters and have an early trip to Michigan that could supercharge their postseason position.

17. Arizona State: The Sun Devils are a sleeper candidate nationally, with a veteran quarterback (Jayden Daniels), a plethora of playmakers and improved talent on the lines of scrimmage. If it doesn’t happen for Herm Edwards in Year Four, it may never happen.

20. Oregon: What was a transition year for the Ducks in 2020 unfolded in predictable fashion, with uneven play and almost as many losses (three) as wins (four). If the quarterback play is more efficient and the defense solidifies, another conference title could follow.

23. USC: We projected the Trojans to be the best team in the Pac-12 this season but see a bevy of issues for 2021, starting with a mediocre offensive line that loses its best player (Alijah Vera-Tucker). A fourth-place finish in the South division wouldn’t surprise us.


One Reply to “Rankings and Ratings”

  1. Yeah the Buffs probably deserve at east a 30 but coming from CBS??? pffft
    I’m getting old and my memory aint what it used to be but didnt CBS have the Buffs beyond a hundred ibefore the season? And where did they have CSU and the Pusskers?
    Is there a sports pundit’s carousel?

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