Merriam-Webster has four different entries for “back,” but none of them apply to college football teams. So it’s left up to people like me to determine what “back” actually is. Being back to Miami is not the same as being back to Washington. Also, can you get back if you never technically got anywhere?
Here at the Marty McFly rankings, we use a scientific formula along the same lines of Doc Brown’s DeLorean — aka don’t think about it too much or it’ll ruin the whole thing — to determine who is back and by how much.
For example, Miami didn’t look terrible against Texas A&M if you go off of their past few non-conference games against ranked opponents. However, this is the U we’re talking about, and their standard is vastly higher than “Didn’t get run off the field.” Also, the Aggies loss to Appalachian State — who needed a Hail Mary to beat Troy on Saturday — and Miami coach Mario Cristobal’s apprehensive approach have to be a part of the evaluation.
Teams that are back don’t play for field goals, or let opponents get off the mat, and that’s why the Hurricanes dropped out of the McFly rankings. While the goal posts might not shift on the field, they do here, and since I have enough teams to round out a top five, and enough words to show up in the Google search as something that’s not a cheap aggregate, the Canes can go back to Coral Gables and think about what they’ve done — or get lost in the beautiful campus and not give a shit. Dealer’s choice.
Now, back to the regularly scheduled listicle.