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Analysis of Week 2's AP Poll, Northwestern's Ranking

The most recent Associated Press top 25 poll had some interesting changes, so let's take a look at who got some help from the voters and who got snubbed.

1-Alabama (58)
2-Oregon
3-Ohio State (1)
4-Clemson (1)
5-Stanford
6-South Carolina
7-Texas A&M
8-Louisville
9-LSU
10-Florida State
11-Georgia
12-Florida
13-Oklahoma State
14-Notre Dame
15-Texas
16-Oklahoma
17-Michigan
18-UCLA
19-Northwestern
20-Washington
21-Wisconsin
22-Nebraska
23-Baylor
24-TCU
25-USC

I am struggling to wrap my head around the fact that there are two well established, AP-Poll-voter-worthy sports journalists that truly believe Alabama is not clearly the best college football team in the country. Yes, that Alabama. You know, the two time defending natoinal champions, who also happen to be the clear cut favorite to THREEPEAT this year. The team with a few players you might have heard of, including not one, but TWO Heisman hopefuls. The team that beat Virginia Tech by more than three touchdowns in one of its more subpar performances in recent memory. But nevermind that. Let's move Clemson up seven spots after an overwhelming three point victory over Georgia, or deem Ohio State's 20 point victory over Buffalo (the mighty Bulls) more impressive than Alabama's 25 point defeat of Virginia Tech. Mind-boggling; just mind-boggling.

It seems as though voters were also suddenly impressed that Oregon put up 66 against, wait for it...wait for it.........Nicholls State! Enough to push them ahead of Ohio State, as if they were expecting Oregon to only partially annihilate the Colonels. Tell me if I'm wrong, but anything less than 60 would have personally been disappointing. Ohio State gets snubbed here.

Looking further down the poll, Stanford gets snubbed by jumping back a spot without having played a game, thanks to a great game from Tajh Boyd and the Clemson Tigers, who are well deserving of their current number FOUR ranking.

I like the LSU jump to number 9 after a convincing win over TCU, and completely agree with FSU's move up to 10 after a great debut from Freshman QB Jameis Winston. I also like Florida moving down a couple spots after a frankly underwhelming win over MAC opponent Toledo, despite a few suspensions.

Everyone in the middle stays put, as UCLA deservedly jumps up 3 spots after a convincing win over an explosive Nevada team (watch out for Brett Hundley this season). Nebraska barely gets past Wyoming and pays for it by mvoing down a harsh 4 spots, and Washington takes a huge jump up to the 20th ranked team, a move I love for an extremely underrated team coming into the season, led by one of the better head coaches in college footbal in Steve Sarkisian.

NORTHWESTERN: #19

The 'Cats can thank their defensive line and none other than Collin Ellis for this considerable leap in the polls (well, maybe Wyoming too). As a spectator in the second row at Memorial Stadium, I was stoked for Northwestern's matchup against California. Forget about the defense; it was the 2013 debut for the senior duo of Colter and Mark, one of the most explosive QB-RB duos in the country. The 'Cats were running a well-oiled quarterback rotation machine between Colter and Siemian, one that would surely throw the even speedy California defense off guard. It was sure to be an offensive shootout in NU's favor. After the first couple offensive drives, Colter was sitting on the sideline and Mark's play was hampered by a lower leg injury. The playmaking was now up to the defense. This is not because the offense was in trouble; in fact, it was in good hands, as Siemian put in a solid performance, as did Treyvon Green, who broke his previous single game rushing yard mark. It is simply because the offense lost that explosiveness we are used to seeing. Drive after drive, the speed of Chris Harper and Bryce Treggs wore down the secondary, which didn't know whether to play deep in coverage to protect further damage from the deep ball, or whether to take the risk of covering the impressively accurate short passes from true freshman Jared Goff. It was frustrating to see completed pass after completed pass, mixed in with the occasional burst of speed downfield to the endzone for yet another Cal TD. Cal wasn't supposed to be this good, having lost their best playmaker from last year in Keenan Allen and starting a true freshman at QB. Yet in the end (even though it's always a team effort), the defensive line eventually got at Goff with some pressure and key tipped passes, one of which was intercepted by Ellis for a pick six (to which he added another later on). So while it may not have seemed like a 14 point win, Ellis and the defensive line made it happen and it ultimately pushed Northwestern up a solid 3 spots to number 19. Had most of the voters been awake to see the game (which started at 10:30 PM ET), they might not have been so generous in their rankings. Takeaway lesson: scores can be deceptive. And go 'Cats.

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