Now THAT’S a short leash. After 2 games, Mizzou fired its defensive coordinator. To be angry is understandable, after giving more than 70 points in 2 games, one being an FCS team. But 2 games? They’re probably going to get steamrolled again this week by Purdue, but I would have at least waited through week 4, when they get an under-performing Auburn offense at home. At any rate, it’s going to be a pretty long year in the other Columbia.

Wow, Conference USA is bad! When you get to my rankings below, you will see I removed 1 team from this league from my bottom 5 rankings, but that’s not a ringing endorsement. Florida Atlantic and Florida International, despite having big-name coaches, are truly awful. The reborn UAB squad got drilled by Ball State and North Texas gave up a pinball score to SMU. My Charlotte 49ers have been outscored 79-14 in 2 weeks. On the bright side, Middle Tennessee State and Texas-San Antonio won games over Power 5 conference teams. But those teams were Syracuse and Baylor. If Baylor wins ANY games, it will be an upset.

The Big 14 is pretty good. I still say the SEC is the best conference, but the Big 14 is pretty stout. With 4 teams in the top 10 (if you still include Ohio State) and six in the top 25, they’re on the same level with the SEC. The difference is at the bottom. Rutgers is one of the 5 worst teams in the country and Northwestern just got thumped by Duke, while the only truly terrible team in the SEC is Missouri, with Misipi and Texas A&M on the edge of the cliff.

The slog through paycheck games is half over. I have always opposed these games between big schools and little ones needing a big paycheck to fund their programs happening any later than September. But the second-to-last week of the season is packed with them. That does help us get to bigger games faster, but I’d rather get through the pain of the 66-3 games now. There’s nothing impressive about me going 13-0 in my picks last week; only the Auburn and Georgia games were games that weren’t over by the time the national anthem was played. But it gets a little better this week and the buildup will go on from there.

1. Alabama – No news at the top.
2. Oklahoma – Dominating at Ohio State gets you a big jump.
3. Clempson – Very impressive D against Auburn. Beat Louisville and the ACC is Clempson and everybody else.
4. Penn State – Soft competition, but there’s not much to hate on.
5. Michigan – It took a while to dispose of Cincinnati, but they’re still a top team.
6. USC – Not sure if that was a top-tier team or a team playing a big-name opponent who has fallen off the cliff
7. Oklahoma State – Lots of offense. We’ll see how they do when conference play begins.
8. Washington – Another team we need some stiffer competition to figure out.
9. Wisconsin – Just humming along like they always do.
10. Ohio State – Didn’t see that but-whuppin’ coming. They still have conference play as a playoff possibility.
11. Georgia – I hate these guys, but was very glad they shut the slobbering pro-Notre Dame media up.
12. LSU – Making the most of the soft start.
13. Louisville – Clempson comes to town this week. Will they do what they did to Florida State last year?
14. Auburn – Still a long way to go at QB. Defense can be historically good.
15. UCLA – Holding steady.
16. South Carolina – Should have a very intriguing matchup with the Kentucky Briars this week.
17. Virginia Tech – Still not much to go on.
18. Miami – Could be a nice distraction for their city if they can play well.
19. Iowa – Had to make a major comeback on Iowa State. That costs you.
20. Stanford – Uh, maybe they just have a reputation instead of a good team.
21. Kansas State – A pretty good team. Will be interested to see how they deal with the Oklahoma schools.
22. Florida State – See Miami above.
23. South Florida – See Florida State above.
24. Tennessee – Another intriguing game 3, against the Lizards in the Swamp.
25. Washington State – Won a nice pinball game against Boise St.

Not far away – Utah, Colorado, West Virginia, Maryland, Florida

The Absolute Worst – Baylor, Georgia State, East Carolina, Rutgers, Buffalo