Another week gone and almost through a third of the college football season. Oh boy. Are we starting to see a bit of a divide between the top four in the nation and/or are we seeing more and more of parity happening around the nation?
We saw a few upsets occur while we saw a few heavyweights struggle mightily this week. Now is it a trend happening or are these teams just not as good as what you have at the top? It could be a mix of things, but every week is a new week and with conference play about to kick in gear up through the last week, anything is possible.
To say I saw all the games yesterday is a lie. I actually made the drive to Tuscaloosa to see Alabama against Texas A&M. I’ll comment on that more later. But I did see highlights of the games and while it isn’t the best assessment I can use, it is the only one as of now.
TOP 5 WINNERS:
(1) STANFORD: I had Oregon to win this game and for the first two and a half quarters I felt good about my pick, but one play changes the whole outcome. It seemed like after the fumble returned for a TD, the Cardinal went back to playing their usual ways and making key passes late and Bryce Love got it going. Oregon had no answers in the 4th quarter on the Cardinal and a win like that can really propel a program for the season. Well done Cardinal.
(2) KENTUCKY: The win over Florida really spiked the Wildcats morale. A decisive win agianst Mississippi State. The Wildcats are in their gauntlet mode of playing 6 straight SEC games so the SEC East is going to be decided before middle November, assuming Kentucky holds serve. Of course, it won’t be easy, especially with October looming. But they aren’t to be taken lightly at all. And again, they do get Georgia in Lexington.
(3) NOTRE DAME: The Irish silenced many critics with a dominant win over Wake Forest. I get that it’s Wake Forest, but after two weeks of playing mediocre football against teams that the Irish are far more talented than, they made a quarterback change from Wimbush to Ian Book and it worked. If they beat Stanford next week I’m going to be very intrigued where Notre Dame is viewed given they have already beaten Michigan and now Stanford.
(4) TEXAS: A win over USC and a win over TCU, both ranked at the times. It somewhat negates the near-miss against Tulsa and the mess at Maryland. The Longhorns may have taken a slow start but they may be that team that could be a monster threat as the season progresses (I did think they would have a good year this year too before the season started).
(5) ALABAMA: Even when the game was 45-13 Alabama in the 3rd, it never felt like the Tide had full control or dominated the Aggies. That wasn’t to say they played BAD or anything like that. They handled their business and the offense remained strong and they beat a top 25 team in Texas A&M, the same team that probably should have beaten Clemson 2 weeks ago. Of course, Nick Saban is really trying to avoid the famed “Rat Poison” mentality and wants to curb that. Hey Nick, I’ll rip Bama if you need to (though I won’t like it).
TOP 5 LOSERS
(1) VIRGINIA TECH: You had it made Hokies! The schedule is in your favor and you have a Miami team that is not looking very sharp at all later on in the year. And you lose by 14 to Old Dominion? And you give up 49 to them??????? Clemson is ACC’s only shot now, with all apologies to Duke and NC State.
(2) OREGON: 24-7 and you had a first and goal at the 1. Ouch. I listened to this game on the way back from Tuscaloosa all the way through near the Georgia state line and you could tell even over the radio, the dynamic changed after that. It feels like Oregon will still “Oregon” their chances.
(3) BOSTON COLLEGE: AJ Dillon was a sleeper for the Heisman. Boston College may have had the best shot against Clemson. I had picked the Eagles to beat Purdue this week, but wondered why given how Purdue lost by a total of 8 points in their three losses. And then they get smacked pretty good at West Lafayette. Whoops.
(4) MISSISSIPPI STATE: Many felt this is or was one of the best chances for a team to upset Alabama this season. And the offense sputtered. The defense gave up too much as well. To be fair, the Bulldogs played a very underrated Kentucky squad which should be ranked by next week.
(5) IOWA: The Hawkeyes weren’t ranked. I get it, but they had a Wisconsin team on the ropes in the 4th quarter and couldn’t put it away at home. Had they won this game, I believed Iowa would have been the front-runner of the Big Ten West (though that really doesn’t say much right now).
TOP 5 QUESTIONS:
(1) IS KENTUCKY A LEGIT THREAT TO GEORGIA IN THE SEC EAST? Hard to say. Kentucky looks good and they conquered their dragon of Florida early so that may be what they need with all the momentum the rest of the way. The Wildcats are 2-0 in conference play for the first time in over 40 years. Now, can they go 9-0 before Georgia visits Lexington in early November? Yes. But the Wildcats also have two tough road battles at Texas A&M and Missouri. The Missouri game will be the one to really eyeball at in terms of how they handled the Tigers compared to how Georgia handled them, which by Georgia fans’ standards, not very well.
(2) IS THERE A GREAT DIVIDE RIGHT NOW AMONG THE TOP 4 (ALABAMA, GEORGIA, CLEMSON, & OHIO STATE) AND THE REST OF THE FIELD? Yes. The talent level is so deep at these schools that it will be very tough for teams to beat on a consistent basis. And these are the schools who always find themselves atop the recruiting ranks so it may be problematic for the teams facing off against these teams. That isn’t to say there isn’t an upset brewing somewhere.
(3) SHOULD WE REALLY BE ALARMED ON OKLAHOMA’S OVERTIME WIN AGAINST ARMY? I’m going to take it a different way and say no. If this was Army from a few years back, then yes. And I know Duke handled Army pretty well to begin the season but it already feels like it is in a different time period. Now does Oklahoma have some questions to answer? Yes. But overall, I don’t think there should be any panic button being pressed in Norman just yet.
(4) IS PENN STATE THAT GOOD OR JUST “RUNNING UP THE SCORE?” Right now it is more of running up the score. It may say 62-24 over Illinois Friday, but the Illini were up 24-21 in the 3rd. Let’s say the Nittany Lions end up going 12-1 and winning the Big Ten or 11-2 and somehow winning, would that be taken into consideration? But I don’t see them going to run up any score on Ohio State, Michigan, or Michigan State.
(5) WHICH COACH COULD BE FIRED DURING THE SEASON? Paul Johnson. I get the fact that he has been at Tech for 11 seasons now. However, Georgia Tech fans are livid with him. They are livid with the “extension” he got in the off-season and right now, Tech may be the WORST ACC program. They have an obsolete offense, a defense that is a giant mess, and really there are no answers for anything. Georgia Tech gets Bowling Green next Saturday which could keep the critics for a week a little hushed, but after that, it will be interesting. But if they struggle after and the Jackets are 2-5, or if they somehow lose to Bowling Green next Saturday, then it may have to happen soon.
-Fan in the Obstructed Seat