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Contender or Pretender? College Edition

Every conference has true contenders, but every conference has pretenders. Total charlatans. Utter disgraces to the idea that football is a game of beauty. Nothing says glory and majesty like a sweaty center snapping a ball hard into his taint, where the gentle hands of his QB await.

AAC

Contenders

SMU – SMU had one test this year so far, @TCU, which they won. They’ve been in a lot of way too close games, but considering they put it together against TCU, we’ll give them contender status. Their schedule is backloaded with Cinci, Houston, and UCF as potentially dangerous games.

Cincinnati – This is probably obvious given their ranking, but Cincinnati is the favorite to win the conference for the second year in a row. They had a nice win @Notre Dame earlier this year and only really have SMU as a potential spoiler. Their win against Indiana looked ok at the time, but as Indiana keeps looking bad and now Notre Dame is struggling against everyone, it does bring up questions about how they’ll fare against truly difficult competition outside of the conference.

Pretenders

Houston Cougars – Since losing their opener to Texas Tech, Houston has reeled off 5 straight wins. None of their competition has been tough, but they find a way to have close games. They have only 1 really tough game left (SMU) this season, which puts them in a good position to play for the title and probably get murdered by Cincinnati.


ACC

Contenders

PItt – Yes, that Eat 💩 Pitt team. Their defense is awful, but their offense can score on anyone. Or at least it seems that way. They will have to outscore the teams on their schedule, but they do have a chance. Their schedule doesn’t do them any favors as they still have to play @VT, Clemson, Miami, and UNC. It’s likely they drop 1 or 2 of those, but they could win all of them.

Virginia Tech – They’re technically 1-0 in conference as Notre Dame doesn’t count. That’s gotta feel good, right? They’ve dropped two games, one of them extremely questionable to WVU. Their schedule still has Pitt, @Miami, and @UVa (rivalry game) that are danger zone games. I expect them to drop one of them.

Clemson – Everyone wants to bury the Tigers because of their pathetic offensive showings this year. But let’s not ignore the fact that they have an elite defense even with injuries. And the offense should improve as the year goes on. They’re coming off a bye week, so we’ll really see what they’re about. They have @Pitt, FSU, @Louisville, UConn(!), Wake Forest, and @South Carolina (rivalry game) that are potentially tough matchups. Their defense can beat any of those teams. Their offense? We’ll see.

Pretenders

NC State – With a big win over Clemson, NC State has been riding high. But they also got blasted by Mississippi State, who is not a very good team. They’re coming off of a bye week before going to play BC, which they should win. But then they have @Miami, Louisville, @FSU, @Wake, and UNC remaining that are possible losses. I think they lose 3 of those, taking themselves out of the running.

Wake Forest – I know they’re ranked right now and have put it on some mediocre teams (FSU, UVa), but their last 4 games are all extremely losable games. @UNC, NC State, @Clemson, @BC. I think they drop at least 3 of them, and pretty likely all 4.


Big XII

Contenders

Oklahoma – This seems obvious given they’re undefeated and just beat the hardest game on their schedule against Texas, but don’t discount the fact that they still have to play @Baylor, Iowa State, and @Oklahoma State.

Baylor – The loss to Oklahoma State hurts, but their remaining schedule is not too shabby. While they have future Big XII opponent BYU, that’s currently an OOC game. Their tough Big XII games remaining are Texas and Oklahoma, both of which they get at home. They could drop both, but they have a better defense than both of those teams.

Texas – If Texas had any semblance of defense, they’d be a top 5 team. They can’t seem to put it together on that side of the ball, though. Their offense is good, but not elite. They need to start putting it together and play complete football. Tough games left @Baylor and @Iowa State, but they have the ability to win both.

Pretenders

Oklahoma State – Give them credit for beating Baylor, but they have not been impressive in any of their wins. They’re undefeated right now, but their toughest matchups are yet to come. @Texas, @Iowa State, @WVU, Oklahoma. They’re going to drop 2 of those at least.

Iowa State – We love it in the city of Ames. HOORAY! Just kidding, no one loves it there. They’ve already been exposed by Iowa and Baylor, and they still have to play Oklahoma State, Texas, and @Oklahoma. They’re going to lose all 3 of those. I mean, probably.

TCU – Sorry, but you can’t lose to SMU at home and expect to be taken seriously. What happened to their historically good defense? They’re an offensive team now. They still have to play @Oklahoma, @K-State, Baylor, @Oklahoma State, and @Iowa State. Of those 5, they’re going to lose at least 3, maybe even all 5.


B1G

Contenders

Ohia State – They’re not as good as last year, that’s obvious. Their defense is not really very good at all. But their offense is improving and that’s always a worry for some of these doofy B1G teams that don’t know how to play offense themselves. Their tough games remaining are PSU, MSU, and @Michigan.

Penn State – They just lost but they have a pretty solid football team. Their only loss so far was due to an injury to Clifford, but if he’s able to be back in the lineup soon, they’ll continue marching. They still have to play @OSU, Michigan, @MSU.

Michigan – While they started the year out HOT on offense, things have slowed down as the competition has gotten stiffer for big blue. Their passing game is pretty pathetic, so if they get behind they’re going to be in trouble. Still have to play @MSU, @PSU, OSU.

Michigan State – Their early season wins against Northwestern and Miami don’t look as good now, but they continue to win. Their offense is pretty balanced and their defense is good enough. Games against Michigan, @OSU, PSU remain.

Pretenders

Iowa – Yes, they’re undefeated. Yes, they beat one of the contenders listed above. But they had to rely on injuries to PSU to even get back into the game, even though they were playing at home. Luckily for them, their schedule is awful in the West with their toughest remaining games against 2-3 Wisconsin and 3-4 Nebraska. I guess Minnesota is technically a winning team at the moment, but I don’t expect them to put up much of a fight. Iowa will probably win out and get blasted in the B1G title game, which will then give false hope to the B1G champion before they get ploughed in the playoffs.

Minnesota – They’re 1-1 in conference but they’ve lost to Bowling Green in an OOC matchup. That doesn’t really bode well if you’re looking for a good finish. Tough games remain with Nebraska, @Iowa, Wisconsin. They’ll lose all 3.

Purdue – I feel like you can have Purdue in the Pretenders column every year. They lost OOC to Notre Dame pretty handily and lost in-conference against Minnesota. They still have @Iowa, Wisconsin, @Nebraska, MSU, and @OSU. Good luck winning even 3 of those.


Pac 12

Contenders

Arizona State – A truly solid defense, a pretty decent offense. ASU is a well-rounded team that somehow always loses inexplicably. They’ve already done that against BYU, but won their toughest game so far against UCLA. They still have to play Oregon State and USC.

Oregon – Rough loss against Stanford where they should’ve won, but the refs really kept Stanford in the game. They had a bye week to get things right after that and have some tough games against @UCLA, @Utah, and Oregon State.

UCLA – The win against LSU is no longer remotely impressive, as they got pushed around by Kentucky of all teams. UCLA has already dropped two games and really can’t afford to lose another. They have the talent to win all of the remaining games, but who knows if they actually will. It seems like a coin flip on which team shows up. Oregon and @Utah are the big games remaining. I would put the rivalry against USC, but USC is truly awful this year.

Pretenders

Oregon State – This team lost to Purdue and Washington State. Sure, they beat USC, but who hasn’t? With games remaining against Utah, Stanford, ASU, and @Oregon, I don’t see them hanging on to the division lead.

Utah – Riding high off of their USC win (again, everyone beats them), Utah is one of the biggest frauds who is undefeated in their conference. Things will change soon, as they play ASU, @Oregon State, UCLA, @Stanford, and Oregon. Of those 5, they’ll be lucky to win 1.


SEC

Contenders

Georgia – Obvious choice here given their #1 ranking, but Georgia has the best defense in the country. Their offense is not particularly good, but they haven’t needed one yet. They have UK, @UF remaining for tough games. I expect them to win out.

Alabama – A slip up to A&M might be just what the doctor ordered for Alabama. They don’t usually go undefeated, sometimes they just need a little kick to get them going. That win was slightly flukey and should leave a bad taste in their mouths. We’ll see what happens with their tough remaining games with a tough one against Arkansas and a rivalry @Auburn.

Kentucky – They haven’t looked GREAT in a lot of games, but they continue to win. Their defense is really good and their offense is not too shabby. They have a similar build to Georgia, but with way less talent. Which should be concerning since they play next week. Tough games remain @Georgia and a rivalry game @Louisville. They’re capable of winning all of their games, but will likely somehow blow it to a team they should handily beat.

Pretenders

Tennessee – UT only has 1 SEC loss right now (2 total), but they still have to play all of the good teams on their schedule. Ole Miss, @Alabama, @Kentucky, Georgia. They will lose all 4.

Auburn – They started out hot on offense against terrible teams, but have cooled off considerably. They lost their two tough games so far, and still have to play @Arkansas, Ole Miss, @A&M, and Alabama. They will likely lose 3 of those 4.

Ole Miss – A great, high-scoring offense with an improved defense. But we saw what happened when they faced Alabama. Oh, it was grim. They barely scored and they gave up a ton. The bounceback against Arkansas helps, but they’re going to struggle down the stretch. @Tennessee, @Auburn, Liberty, and A&M all await. They will probably lose 1 or 2 of those.

Miss State – Is it any surprise this team is ranked 9th in passing yards? How about that they’re ranked 279th in rushing yards? If that doesn’t say “Mike Leach offense” I don’t know what does. They have 2 good wins and 2 weird losses. I don’t get this team. The Memphis loss was on the refs though. They should be a 1-loss team right now. Either way, it wouldn’t matter. They still have to play Alabama, Kentucky, @Arkansas, @Auburn, and Ole Miss. They’re going to drop at least 3 of those games, possibly all 5.


Who did we miss? Which teams are we wrong on? Let us know in the comm– oh we don’t allow comments? Well, in that case keep them to yourselves.