Fans of the Power Five may want you to think— or may actually believe— that every Power Five football team is better than any Group of Five team.
While this may be true for the top teams of the major conferences, i.e. your Clemsons, your Oklahomas, your Crimson Tides and what-not, after that we can see a pretty steep drop-off.
If you ranked every FBS team from first to worst this week, a lot more than five Power Five teams would fall below their Group of Five brethren. Here’s this weeks worst:
The Razorbacks are 2-3 and not having a great season. Worse still, after we debuted this ranking last week, of all the comments on Twitter, only one team was mentioned that we’d left out: Arkansas.
First of all, they just had more wins than the other teams last week, but they did come pretty close to the bottom five. And second, we can’t put them in the bottom this week, because they came within four points of beating a ranked team (Texas A&M). So the Razorbacks didn’t crack the bottom five this week, either. But we’re watching.
Also barely in the bottom five are the Bruins, who are 1-4 after beating a ranked Washington State two weeks ago, only to drop a close one to Arizona last week.
Despite the impressive win against the Cougars, that was then and this is now. Despite scoring 67 on Wazzu in that game, UCLA’s defense has given up more points than any other Pac-12 team so far. Sure, they didn’t exactly draw the easiest schedule— they opened the season against Cincinnati, then San Diego State— but this is supposed to be an almighty Power Five institution. This season, they’re just football by numbers.
No team in the SEC has scored fewer points than Vanderbilt this season. No team in the SEC has allowed more points, either.
The Commodores are 1-3, but we will grant you, two of those three losses came against two teams in the AP Top 25. Still, there’s a reason this team moved from second place last week, to fourth this week: they beat a MAC team by six points. Crimson Tide, they are not.
This was a close one, but it pleases us to have two teams from the Big Ten on this list, a 14 team conference that despite its big talk, really only has two teams that could realistically make the playoff, maybe three if Wisconsin gets real, real lucky.
The Wildcats are in last place in the Big Ten West, and have scored only 62 points over four games. That’s barely two touchdowns a week, against what’s supposed to be the easy part of their schedule. Luckily they’re at least holding it together on defense, or they’d be a lot lower. Not a great season, and unfortunately looks to be a punching bag well into December.
2. Georgia Tech
Oh, we didn’t forget about you, ACC. The Yellow Jackets are having a bad year for the ages, dropping a predictable one to Clemson in week one, followed by what looked like an impressive win at the time, dropping South Florida 14-10. We were so young and innocent then, those two weeks ago.
Tech followed that up by a loss to FCS Citadel (27-24) and then Temple (!) losing 24-2 (not a typo), a week after Temple lost to Buffalo out of the MAC. They might have a shot against North Carolina this week, as UNC is so “bad” they dropped one to Appalachian State. But then again, the Mountaineers are a really great team, while the Yellow Jackets... well, they said it, not us: This team is a rambling wreck.
Their points on the season are a smidge higher than Northwestern’s, but how could number one this week be any team EXCEPT Rutgers?
The Scarlet Knights have given up more points than 12 out of 13 other Big Ten teams, got blown out by ranked Iowa and Michigan, in between which they lost by two touchdowns to Boston College. And this week they fired their coach, a week before they had to play Maryland, which wasn’t exactly a fearsome rival. Their only win? UMass in week one, so no, we don’t think this team could beat even the middle-tier teams in Group of Five.