Instant Debate: Which team is best in college football right now?


Five teams received at least one first-place vote in the latest AP Poll. Ohio State has gone from unanimous preseason No. 1 to receiving 38 of 61 first-place votes after looking vulnerable against Indiana on Saturday. Which team is the best in college football right now?

  • Gil Brandt
  • TCU has look of No. 1

The five teams that received first-place votes in the latest AP Top 25 are basically the same schedule-wise. Two of the teams -- Baylor and Utah -- have eight games remaining, and the rest have seven, which gives them a better chance. Among those five teams, Baylor has the most returning starters from last season (18), and TCU has the least (15). With that said, the team I like the best is TCU, because it ends the season with Baylor at home. The Horned Frogs also play West Virginia at home. They play at Oklahoma State and Oklahoma, which are two tough road games. Of TCU's 15 returning starters, 10 are on offense, including the quarterback. I also have to go with the team that has the best quarterback, and I think Trevone Boykin is the best quarterback among the teams earning first-place votes. I don't think Ohio State has an established starting quarterback, Texas A&M and Baylor have first-year starters, and Utah's Travis Wilson has played better than expected. With Boykin running that offense, TCU has the best chance of ending up No. 1 at the end of the year among those five teams.

  • Lance Zierlein
  • Crimson Tide rising from pack

This won't be a popular selection, but I think Alabama might be the best team in college football right now. It will be hard to sell anyone on that opinion based on Alabama's loss to Ole Miss. Ohio State looks disinterested and it is very difficult to get that turned around -- just ask last season's Florida State team.

Alabama has a defensive front that should control the line of scrimmage most of the time, and QB Jake Coker looks like he's starting to become comfortable. Alabama obviously has coaching and big-game experience on its side. If RB Derrick Henry stays locked in, they just might be the best team in college football.

Although Ohio State remains the nation's most talented team and could flip the switch any week, the Buckeyes just aren't playing dominant football right now. If the only measure here is how teams have played to this point, it's hard to argue with Utah. A season-opening win over Michigan is looking progressively more impressive, as the Wolverines have won four in a row since. The Utes' savage beating of Oregon, 62-20, remains one of the most eye-opening final scores of the season to date. Try to find a team in the country with two wins more impressive than those two -- it's not easy.

  • Charles Davis
  • Buckeyes still in first

Ohio State still is the best team in college football. However, the Buckeyes are not playing to the standard that they set in their run to the national championship last season, and they're not performing anywhere close to the hyped-up standard that we outsiders set for them before the season. I still believe that they will be a part of the playoff this season, but it might not be a pretty path. It might be similar to Florida State's of last season. The Seminoles had to beat not just teams that were putting everything into defeating them, but they had to do it in an impressive enough fashion to satisfy our pronouncements about their greatness. Whew! That's a lot to carry around, and most teams eventually collapse under that crushing weight.

Right now, I would give strong consideration to ranking Utah as the top team in the country. The Utes' season-opening win over Michigan is looking better and better as the Wolverines improve by leaps and bounds each week. Michigan has gone undefeated since losing to Utah in Salt Lake City. The Utes' smashing win on the road at vaunted Oregon, and the decisiveness of the triumph, really got my attention. Now, still unbeaten, they meet up with much-improved, and also undefeated, Cal in the college game of the week, which provides another chance to serve notice to the country that they are legit.

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