This college football season has a definite void to it, and I’m not writing about the Big Ten’s much-publicized failures. I am writing about the lack of quality victories by a majority of teams ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 poll.
Southern California, ranked No. 13, is a prime example. The Trojans have three victories to go with their lone loss at Stanford. The three out of the four FBS teams USC has defeated — Hawaii, Syracuse and California — are a combined 0-10 against FBS competition.
Top-ranked Alabama (5-0 against FBS competition) has beaten teams who have largely struggled against other FBS teams. The combined record of the Crimson Tide’s victims — Michigan, Western Kentucky, Arkansas, Florida Atlantic and Mississippi — is 5-13 against other FBS opponents.
At least Western Kentucky has a winning record of 3-1 against FBS teams. The only other FBS teams with winning records that top 10-ranked teams have defeated include:
–No. 15 Clemson (3-2, lost to No. 3 Florida State)
–No. 23 Washington (2-1, lost to No. 4 LSU)
–Miami, Fla. (3-1, lost to No. 7 Kansas State)
–Baylor (2-1, lost to No. 8 West Virginia)
–Michigan State (3-2, lost to No. 9 Notre Dame and No. 12 Ohio State)
–Texas A&M (3-1, lost to No. 10 Florida)
That’s all. A total of 40 FBS teams have lost against the top 10-ranked teams and only seven of those (17.5 percent) have winning records against FBS competition. No wonder college football fans are so hungry for games this Saturday that include No. 4 LSU at No. 10 Florida and No. 5 Georgia at No. 6 South Carolina.
Here’s a brief look at the Top 25 programs who have the weakest and strongest schedules based on the won-loss record against FBS competition they have defeated to this point (note: No. 17 Oklahoma is not included because it has beaten only one FBS team — UTEP — which is 1-4 against FBS competition):
1. Northwestern — The 24th-ranked Wildcats have beaten four FBS teams (Syracuse, Vanderbilt, Boston College and Indiana) that have a combined record of 0-11 against other FBS teams. Poor Syracuse has lost to USC and Northwestern.
2. USC — The Trojans’ three victims are 0-10, as noted before, and they face a week Utah team that is a missed field goal (by BYU) away from being 0-3 against FBS teams.
3. Rutgers — Before the season, a win over Arkansas would have been looked upon as one of the biggest upsets in school history, but now it’s just a footnote or a buried sentence. The 22nd-ranked Scarlet Knights’ three FBS victims — Tulane, South Florida and Arkansas — are a combined 1-11 against FBS competition.
4. Texas Christian — The 15th-ranked Horned Frogs have not kissed a prince yet. The FBS teams they have defeated — Kansas, Virginia and SMU — are a combined 1-9 against FBS opponents.
5. Tie between No. 5 Georgia and No. 19 Louisville — The FBS victims of both have a 4-14 record against other FBS teams.
1. Stanford — The 18th-ranked Cardinal lost at No. 23 Washington last week and two of the three FBS teams it has defeated — San Jose State and Duke — are having surprising success. Those teams are each 3-1 against FBS competition. USC, which lost on The Farm, is also 3-1. The combined record of San Jose State, Duke and USC is 9-3 against FBS teams.
2. Oregon State — The 14th-ranked Beavers are another one of those unforeseen success stories. Their victims — Wisconsin, UCLA and Arizona — are a combined 8-5 against FBS opponents.
3. Kansas State — The seventh-ranked Wildcats have a couple of quality wins against Miami and Oklahoma and a win over an also-ran in North Texas. The combined record of these FBS teams is 5-5 against other FBS teams.
4. Washington — The Pac-12 has something to be proud about other than No. 2 Oregon with three of its four teams listed here. The FBS teams Washington has defeated — San Diego State and Stanford — are 4-4 thanks to the Cardinal’s 3-1 mark. Oregon, by the way, has defeated FBS teams that have a 6-10 record against other FBS teams, which is not bad considering the records of others.
5. Notre Dame — The Fighting Irish usually play a difficult schedule and this year is no different. They have defeated two teams — Purdue and Michigan State — that have winning records against FBS opposition. Combine those teams with Navy and Michigan, two other Notre Dame victims, and the record is 6-8 against FBS opponents.