The question isn’t, for once, who is #1. No, thank God that the question isn’t who is number one. Everyone sane enough to follow the college football season is aware that the indisputable number one spot belongs to the mighty Crimson Tide of Tuscaloosa, Alabama. And anyone foolish enough to doubt that Alabama, the original #gobama hashtag, is #1 gets slammed by the rebuke: “Umm…who is the defending champs?”
So no, the question isn’t who is number one, but the actual question is just as important. Who is number two? In a world where there NCAA FBS hasn’t implemented a playoff system, the question of who is number two is just as important as who is number one. It is the difference between going to the BCS national championship and, well, not going.
We are a week beyond the midpoint of the college football season, and the answer isn’t clear just yet. But the fight for the #2 slot is most definitely on.
The Florida Gators
Currently at #2 we have the legendary Florida Gators (7-0, 6-0 SEC) making a spectacular comeback season after a pretty sorry performance last year. The comeback Gators have demolished the impregnable fortress of #4 ranked LSU in week 5 and upheld the legitimacy to the number 2 slot by crushing the South Carolina Gamecocks 44-11 in The Swamp.
However, the end of the season is nowhere near for the Gators. #2 Florida faces-off against #10 Georgia on Saturday, followed by three easy weeks, and then finishing the season against a #12 ranked Florida State. After losing to North Carolina State, the Seminoles are bloodthirsty and taking names.
We must also remember that since Florida and Alabama are on opposite divisions of the SEC, they will eventually face each other in the SEC Championship game. Where Florida to lose that game, they would definitely fall from the number 2 slot. Where they to win…let’s leave at that.
The Oregon Ducks
Also making a lot of noise for the number 2 slot are the Oregon Ducks (7-0, 4-0). Oregon has had a very impressive season; however, we knew that was going to be the case after a spectacular season last year (their only losses to #1 LSU and USC Trojans) which they finished by slamming the Wisconsin Badgers, led by Russell Wilson, 45-38.
The Ducks have laid their claim to the #2 spot in absolutely dominating their opponents in the first three weeks of the season and crushing their two ranked opponents this season, a #22 Arizona (49-0) and a #23 Washington (43-21). Being honest, I see Oregon as the team with the weakest argument for the #2 spot. Yes, they are very impressive and watching them play is like watching Harry Potter. It’s crazy stuff. However, I don’t see their schedule being all that challenging. I would much rather see other SEC or Big 12 schools with one loss at number two than an Oregon team that has only had two pseudo-challenges to their record.
The season isn’t over yet for Oregon. Actually, I would say it hasn’t even gotten started. Oregon still has to tackle #9 USC on Nov. 3rd, a #17 Stanford on Nov. 17, and a #7 Oregon State on Thanksgiving weekend. The Ducks have yet to show us they have fight with the heavyweights this year.
The Kansas State Wildcats
My current favorite for the number two spot are the Kansas State Wildcats, and no, it isn’t because they are Big 12 and that’s supposed to evoke some sort of pity within me. I actually believe the Wildcats to have the serious combination to hold the #2 and be a real challenge to the Crimson Tide at #1.
West Virginia and Geno Smith were the talk of the college football world up until two weeks ago. That talk was completely shut down this past weekend after the Wildcats buried the #13 Mountaineers 55-14. Sorry Geno. Let’s also remember that is was the Wildcats who went face-to-face with Landry Jones’ #6 Sooners…and prevailed 24-19. It only strengthens this argument the fact that these victories were on the road for the Wildcats. What would have been the result had they been at home? The Wildcats, unlike the Ducks, have gone up against the heavyweights and have prevailed.
Kansas State has a really awesome balance of explosive offense and consistent defense, a balance lacking in a lot of teams, even in the top 15. The toughest match-ups of the season have come and gone for Kansas State, but there are still potential challenges ahead. The Wildcats face a #14 Texas Tech this weekend, which is known for playing the spoiler card, as well as a very talented #23 Texas on Dec. 1.
If the Wildcats can hold off the Red Raiders and the Longhorns, and dominate games against OSU, TCU, and Baylor, they will have the #2 spot, no problem.
Anyone else out there?
It’s college football. And we all know college football is crazy. Let’s not forget that the freaking Fighting Irish are at #5 with a 7-0 record. Yes, Notre Dame is #5 and in a crazy world, they could end up in the number 2 spot. There has been some talk about Notre Dame being the team that gets shafted this year in the race for the championship. Who knows. In a future in which Florida, Oregon, and Kansas State had each one loss or more, I may just put my money in with the Fighting Irish for the heck of it. The Irish face off against #8 Oklahoma Saturday night and against a #9 USC at the end of the year. If they make it out alive from those match-ups, I would be very afraid of the Fighting Irish.