In the Internet Era, our lives have undoubtedly changed. Sports are now 24/7/365 businesses. News becomes stale in five minutes. A person can buy everything they could ever possibly want or need (and things that qualify as neither) all while sitting on their couch. Hell, even social interaction and dating has changed. With Facebook, you can keep in touch with friends without ever really saying a single word to them. Websites like Match and Cupid.com, or for those with more … um, adult preferences, Craigslist, you can search for single people in your area, strike up conversations, develop a connection and trust and practically fall in love with someone without ever meeting face to face.
Of course, as with most things on the Internet, you can’t take everything in online dating at face value. One of the biggest gifts (and curses) of the Internet is the anonymity that it provides. While most don’t go far enough to exploit this in a malevolent manner, there are a choice few who use the cloak of the web to exploit others, especially in the arena of online dating. Thanks to a couple of siblings in New York City, this practice has come to be known as catfishing. Catfishers purposely pose as someone their not — usually attractive males or females — to lure in unsuspecting victims into emotional and/or explicit online relationships to either find companionship or, frankly, get their jollies.
I bring this up because I’m beginning to feel that I was recently catfished. Not by some buxom blonde online (I’m happily married), but rather by the explosive Baylor Bears. I was led to believe the Bears were this once-in-a-lifetime catch, something I would tell my grand-kids about. In fact, last week I even went so far as to put Baylor as my second-ranked team, trailing only Florida State. How did Baylor handle my new-found trust? They laid an elephant-sized egg on national television to conference rival, Oklahoma State. Now I’m left feeling duped and exposed; used and disregarded. It turns out that my new Kate Upton was actually just a Sarah Jessica Parker.
For an explanation of how these rankings work and what all these numbers mean, click here.
- Florida State (100.00) – Nothing changed for the Seminoles this week as they laid waste to the Idaho Vandals, 80-14. As someone who has seen the Vandals play more times than a sane person would admit to, I must say I’m completely surprised U of I scored during meaningful football (i.e. the first half). Next up is Florida, who is coming off a lost to FCS foe, Georgia Southern.
- Alabama (91.91) – Nick Saban’s glare from Tuscaloosa probably caused the Bears to falter against the Cowboys. At least that’s my theory. As for things we know for sure, Alabama whooped up on Chattanooga 49-0, just as expected. They now face the (BCS’) fourth-ranked Auburn Tigers this Saturday in the Iron Bowl for a chance to lock up another SEC West title.
- Ohio State (89.88) – Considering the beatdown that Wisconsin laid on Indiana the week before, the Buckeyes 42-14 victory doesn’t seem that impressive. Regardless, Ohio State has won 23 straight and will face Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship after the play rival Michigan.
- Baylor (87.34) – Despite losing by 32 points to the Cowboys, Baylor still ranks as the top one-loss team for the same reasons they ascended to the number two spot last week. They may no longer be in the driver’s seat for the Big 12 Championship, but they can still pull it off should Oklahoma State fall to the Sooners.
- Missouri (83.44) – The Tigers had a convincing win over Ole Miss on Saturday to move one step closer to their first SEC Championship appearance (in just their second season). But first, they must deal with former Big 12 foe, Texas A&M.
- Oklahoma State (82.68) – The Cowboys were the big winners of the weekend thanks to their dominant performance over the Bears, continuing their trend of strong performances recently. A win against in-state rival Oklahoma would seal a Big 12 Championship for the Pokes.
- Auburn (81.79) – Gus Malzahn’s group was given the week off to prepare for Bama. Should they triumph, they could face Missouri in what would be the most unlikely SEC Championship game imaginable (scenarios involving Kentucky excluded).
- Clemson (80.92) – The Citadel came into Death Valley for what is sure to be Sammy Watkins and Tajh Boyd’s last home game. We’re still researching whether the ‘Del’s football team actually made the trip, however.
- Oregon (80.17) – Let me be the one-millionth person to ask, “what the duck happened?” After Stanford inexplicably fell to USC, the Ducks return the favor by getting lambasted by an Arizona team that just lost to Washington State? I’m 2,000 miles from Eugene but I think I can hear whispers about Mark Helfrich’s job security.
- Arizona State (77.98) – Raise your hand if you had the Sun Devils playing for the Pac-12 Championship. Nobody? Say what you want about the morals of Todd Graham, but the man gets results (which surely means he’ll be USC’s new head coach next year).
- Stanford (77.70) – The Cardinal rebounded from the loss to USC with an evisceration of Cal, making the rivalry as about as one-sided as it’s ever been. To add to their delight, they also locked up a Pac-12 title game berth, much to the chagrin of Aaron Rodgers and his mustache.
- Wisconsin (77.54) – I often find myself wondering how often Bret Bielema cries himself to sleep at night. While his Razorbacks are engulfed in an eight-game losing streak, his former team continues to play great football and pushing for a BCS at-large bid.
- Fresno State (76.83) – I’m not sure what it was about Fresno’s 41-point victory over New Mexico that caused the Bulldogs to drop so hard in the eyes of the BCS computers, but whatever it was, my rankings didn’t pick it up.
- Northern Illinois (76.49) – The Huskies closed the gap even more on the Bulldogs thanks to an 18-point win over 7-4 Toledo. Anything other than a blowout against one-win Western Michigan may reverse any positive impact, though.
- Michigan State (75.19) – Sparty continued the Wildcats miserable Big Ten season with a 30-6 pounding while also clinching their berth against Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship.
- UCF (74.99) – The Knights didn’t need any one-handed grabs to soundly beat Rutgers this weekend. They shouldn’t against USF, currently seventh in the AAC, either.
- Louisville (74.46) – Just like the Knights last week, the Cardinals struggled against a vastly inferior opponent, beating 3-7 Memphis by just a touchdown — their second close call in as many weeks.
- South Carolina (73.11) – No close calls for the Gamecocks this week thanks to a 60-point pummeling of Coastal Carolina. Clemson may provide a bit bigger challenge.
- LSU (71.83) – Not only did LSU soundly defeat Texas A&M on Saturday, but they also threw a huge monkey wrench into the Heisman race, should Jameis Winston’s status become further complicated.
- Oklahoma (70.90) – The Stoopers were able to hold off a tough Kansas State team in Manhattan. They can’t win the Big 12 Championship, but they would surely take joy in making sure Oklahoma State won’t either.
- Texas A&M (68.80) – If Johnny Manziel does leave College Station for the NFL, he likely won’t miss playing LSU; the Tigers have held Manziel’s Aggies to two of their three lowest scoring outputs over the past two seasons.
- East Carolina (68.36) – The Pirates held off the curse of the 25th spot by beating NC State 42-28 which helped them garner 11 points in the USA Today poll.
- Duke (68.19) – Say this out loud with me, “Duke is a nationally ranked football team.” Does saying aloud it make it any easier to believe? Yeah, me neither.
- UCLA (68.00) – The Bruins loss prevents Stanford from beating them for the fourth time in two seasons, which makes the conspiracy theorist in me think it may have been on purpose.
- USC (66.00) – Ed Orgeron’s crew continues their winning ways, defeating the Buffaloes 47-29. Next up is crosstown rival UCLA in a battle for second place in the Pac-12 South (it’s the little things that count).
BCS Teams That Didn’t Make the Cut
The Rankings finally whittled down the disparity list to one, with Notre Dame being the only outlier. The BCS places the Golden Domers as the 25th-best team in the country, hinging on their 22nd-ranked computer average. My rankings are much more harsh on the Irish, slotting them in at 39th, due to three of their four wins as a ranked team being decided by one score or less.
As previously mentioned, the Ducks lost for the second time in three games, this time at the hands of the Wildcats. Their loss takes them out of the Pac-12 Championship and likely a BCS at-large bid as well. As bad as the Ducks loss to Arizona was, the Beavers 42-point blowout by the Huskies is probably worse. After starting the season ranked, Mike Riley’s team has fallen on hard times and will likely finish the season at .500.
Other Notable Teams
Washington just missed the cut, coming in at 26th with a score of 65.79. Cincinnati is 9-2 yet only comes in at 31. Arizona rose up to 36th after their win over Oregon. Minnesota fell to 40th after Wisconsin beat them for the Battle of the Ax. Louisiana-Lafayette is our highest-ranked Sun Belt team, coming in at 38. Boise State fell to 49th after their overtime loss to San Diego State; and North Carolina, which started the season 1-5, has risen up to 52nd on the heels of their five-game winning streak. Our bottom five this week is started by newcomer New Mexico State, followed by FIU, Georgia State and Miami (OH) with Southern Miss, losers of 23 straight, bringing home the Caboose again.