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Our Top 10 Ranking – Take 2

The Coaches had their say, and so did the computers. Even the College Football Playoff Committee had a chance to rank the teams as best it saw fit. All those bodies though are bound by slightly different sets of rules and criteria when it comes to placing their top 10 teams. While the various groups got a lot right, they also got some things wrong. Here is a slightly different take on the Top 10 teams in the country after the 2016 season.

1 – Alabama
There can be no argument here. Alabama won 25 games in a row, they had a defense that might be one of the best in the history of the sport, and they had a coach that had been able to get the best out of his players on a weekly basis.

2 – Clemson
The Tigers might have been up and down at times in 2016, but there was still a lot to like about this team. They had a big game quarterback in Deshaun Watson and wins over four Top 25 teams, including Florida State, Louisville, and Auburn.

3 – Ohio State
The Buckeyes might have been lifeless for half of their game against Michigan, but Urban Meyer-coached teams always find a way to get it done. Last year, this squad beat three 10-win teams (Oklahoma, Wisconsin, and Michigan) and took their only loss of the year on a crazy blocked field goal play against an 11-win team.

4 – USC
This is by far the most controversial placing on this list, but no one would have wanted to play USC in the College Football Playoff. The Trojans were so hideous over their first four games that many were calling for the head of coach Clay Helton. One quarterback change later, USC rattled off eight straight wins, including victories over both teams that played in the Pac-12 championship game. This was not the same team that was rolled over by Alabama 52-6 to start the year.

5 – Michigan
The Wolverines had three wins against Top 10 caliber teams (Wisconsin, Penn State and Colorado), but a non-conference champion with two losses could not finish higher in a ranking. Michigan had their chance in a head-to-head battle with Ohio State in what amounted to a VCFP quarterfinal matchup.

6 – Washington
Chris Peterson worked wonders to turn Washington into a 12-win team. The Huskies featured a potent offense led by quarterback Jake Browning and a defense that was the best overall unit in the Pac-12. Having said that, if the Huskies were to play USC right now, you would have a hard time betting against the Trojans.

7 – Oklahoma
It almost seems like the Big 12 was written off a couple of weeks into the season and from that point, no team from the conference was ever able to break into the national conversation. That was harsh on an Oklahoma team that rattled off nine straight wins, had two of the five Heisman finalists on their roster, and who possessed one of the most potent offenses in the country. If you wanted to move OU as high as four on this list, I wouldn’t argue.

8 – Penn State
Penn State shocked most of the country by winning the Big Ten, and coach James Franklin had his team playing with a “never say die” attitude that all of the players bought into. Running back Saquon Barkley was a special talent, and the Nittany Lions won their last nine games of the year. On the flip side, they only went 2-2 against Top 25 level teams.

9 – Wisconsin
The Badgers ran Penn State close in the Big Ten championship game, losing in the end by just seven points. Wisconsin was a machine of a team that did well on a weekly basis, masking their limitations as well as any other school in the country.

10 – Florida State
You can make a case for Colorado here, but I feel that the Buffs benefited from playing the best teams on their schedule when they were at their worst. Give me a Dalvin Cook-led Florida State team any day of the week, and I will take my chances in a one hell of a game.

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