The Sweep: Resume Rankings

This week's Sweep is a three-act play. First, as always, is our Top 25. Second is a review of the latest stop on The Sweep's college football roadtrip, Coral Gables. Finally, we put the resumes of Stanford and the other teams on the fringe of the Top 25 head-to-head. How does the Card's stack up, and how might a win at Oregon State change the matter?

As always, we begin the Sweep with a Top 25. These are our best guess as to where all the teams will end up ranked, not power rankings that attempt to actually rank said teams on strength, as there are plenty of preexisting sources for that.

This week, we're big believers in Miami (more on them in a second), and welcome Auburn and Oregon to the poll in long overdue moves. Our top five is unchanged after a quiet week on top, but with LSU and Florida clashing this week, that could change soon.

2009 Week 5 Top 25
1. Texas (0)
2. Florida (0)
3. Alabama (0)
4. USC (0)
5. Boise State (0)
6. LSU (+1)
7. TCU (-1)
8. Ohio State (0)
9. Virginia Tech (+3)
10. Miami (+7)
11. Penn State (-1)
12. Iowa (+1)
13. Ole Miss (-1)
14. South Florida (0)
15. Oklahoma (-6)
16. Utah (0)
17. Auburn (+9)
18. Oregon (+8)
19. Cincinnati (0)
20. BYU (0)
21. Notre Dame (-1)
22. Oklahoma State (0)
23. Wisconsin (0)
24. Georgia Tech (0)
25. Mizzouri (+1)

Just missed: Nebraska, South Carolina, West Virginia, Kansas, Stanford, Michigan
Dropped: Michigan, Cal, Houston
Added: Auburn, Oregon, Missouri

Questions, comments, concerns? Dannovi on this site or dannovi@gmail.com.

The Sweep's Road Trip Rolls On

After visits to Wake Forest and Georgia Tech, The Sweep was lucky enough to be in Coral Gables, Fla. this past Saturday night for Oklahoma's visit to Miami. A friendly scalper and $50 later, we were in, and did we witness a thriller or what? With Landry Jones replacing the injured Sam Bradford, Oklahoma quickly capitalized on two early Jacory Harris interceptions, taking a 7-0 lead and making the contest begin to look like the laugher I thought it might be. But then, the mystique of the U, a darn good defensive line and RB Javarris James (155 yards) took over. Miami trailed only 10-7 at the half, despite being thoroughly outplayed in the first 30 minutes. In the fourth quarter, the D held Oklahoma to a late field goal, the offense successfully ran a four-minute drive (why didn't Oklahoma let them score and have the ball back down eight, with a shot?) and the ‘Canes hung on for a 21-20 victory.

Contest: 9 out of 10

Miami led through much of the fourth quarter – no last-second game-winning touchdown here, but that's nitpicking. A ton of penalties on both teams, many unsportsmanlike conducts, prevented a great flow from developing, but, hey, this is Miami we're talking about.

Environment

It's very much a pro feel in Miami, as Landshark Stadium, home of the Dolphins, hosts Miami games, and is far away from the Hurricanes' campus. So take a mostly adult crowd, add in alcohol sales and a late-night start for the biggest game of the year, and a school whose tee-shirts proudly claim, "The U invented swagger," and you have one classless fan base. "F—you, Oklahoma," rang loud and clear, 45 year-old cleavage showed itself proudly and the drunk guy in front of me either passed out in the bathroom or got taken away by security, I'm not sure of which. So you might not want to take the kids here, but the cheers are awesome (and loud), everyone wears orange to create a great visual, and, really, swagger is what Miami's all about. The city, the team, the fan base – love them or hate them, you have to admit they're all perfect for each other.

Atmosphere: 7 out of 10

That the entire student body is stunningly gorgeous didn't hurt matters either.

Stanford and the Top 25

As you're aware, Stanford isn't in the Top 25 now, but is close enough that it could crack into the Promised Land with a win in Corvallis Saturday. After eight years of futility, most Cardinal fans seem happy enough with the ranking situation, but here at the Sweep, we wonder: should the Card be ranked?

I'm going to shamelessly steal an idea from the most visited blog in all college sports (thanks in no small part to yours truly, I'm sure), Michigan's mgoblog.com, which ordered teams' games not on their chronology, but on how impressive their performances were. The AP rankings take into account a team's name brand, its preseason expectations, media hype, star players, and a whole slew of other factors external to actual football games. Thus, the idea is that by looking strictly at resumes, we can get past all the exogenous factors that shouldn't matter but do, and more fairly rank teams.

That said, here are the five teams ahead of Stanford in this week's AP poll. Results are listed most to least impressive, with non-Division I-A results excluded:

No. 24 Missouri
W 37-9, Illinois
W 31-21, Nevada
W 27-20, Bowling Green

No. 25 South Carolina
W 16-10, Ole Miss
W 7-3, NC State
W 38-16, Florida Atlantic
L 37-41, Georgia

No. 26 Wisconsin
W 38-30, Michigan State
W 31-28, Minnesota
W 34-31 OT, Fresno State
W 28-20, Northern Illinois

No. 27 Houston
W 45-35, Oklahoma State
W 29-28, Texas Tech
L 41-58, UTEP

No. 28 Georgia
W 41-37, South Carolina
W 20-17, Arizona State
W 52-41, Arkansas
L 10-24, Oklahoma State
L 13-20, LSU

No. 29 Stanford
W 34-14, Washington
W 24-16, UCLA
W 39-13, Washington State
W 42-17, San Jose State
L 17-24, Wake Forest

Wake Forest is now 3-2, with wins over Stanford, Elon and North Carolina State and losses to Baylor and Boston College. Except for Elon, all those games were decided by a touchdown or less.

So pains me to say it, but right now, I don't think Stanford deserves to be in the Top 25. I can't justify ranking Stanford ahead of too many teams in front of them. Each of those five teams' No. 1 performance is as good as the Washington win, save for Wisconsin, who is undefeated. All of those five teams' losses were more impressive than the Wake Forest loss, save for Houston, who does have wins against two very good teams. Being generous, perhaps you can put Stanford ahead of Houston or Wisconsin, but that still doesn't have the Cardinal crack the Top 25, and you're not even considering teams behind Stanford who have better resumes thus far (for example, Notre Dame). So maybe there are one or two teams that Stanford should displace, but there are also a few teams that should displace Stanford.

All told then, the Card are ranked right about where they should be. A win over Oregon State (3-2, with wins over Arizona State, UNLV and Portland State and losses to Cincinnati and Arizona State), however, would check in no lower than third on their resume. It'll depend on what else happens around the country over the next week, but that might be enough to boost Stanford into the Top 25.


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