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Who Needs A Blogpoll: Week Four - UCLA, Utah Become Merchants Of Woe

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And, Tennessee and Auburn lost, so that's always nice.

Four on one usually isn't a good thing, Ducks.
Four on one usually isn't a good thing, Ducks.
Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday was one of mixed emotions, for me. I got to see Auburn and Tennessee lose, the latter quite painfully as the Vols blew a 13-point lead with five minutes to play. The 4th and 14 toss and catch for a 64 yard touchdown was a very nice dagger. Then, Mississippi State toyed with Auburn in 60 minutes of a smothering game that was not as close as the final score.

But, alas, I did see the Alabama Crimson Tide defeat the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks as well. The first thirty minutes of that game were as disjointed an offensive performance as anything we've seen since the Shula era. Jake Coker was late on his reads by half a second consistently. The offensive line decided to revert to its lack of interior push we've seen the past few weeks. Jackson, in particular, was hit or miss. The wide receiver play was abominable, with no less than three sure touchdowns dropped. Coker only hit 17 of his 31 passes, but at least 8-9 of those misses were on his receivers. Billy Napier needs his allowance taken away for a week.

There were positives, to be sure: This is categorically the best defense in the country when everyone is communicating, and they eliminate mental mistakes or execution errors. The Warhawks were shutout, were held to 37 yards in the first half, and with the mix of veterans and freshmen, the defense was as seamless as the Tide have looked in years. The Tide batted down or tipped nearly a dozen passes, forced the option to the inside, created turnovers, and registered six sacks. Welcome back. We've missed you, scary defense.

Also, Lane seemed to learn his lessons in the second half of the game re: Coker's relative strengths. This isn't a player who's going to drop back and beat you in the pocket with his decision-making. He's simply not smart enough at the position, nor is his release quick enough. But, when the pocket is moving, when his decisions are limited, when he can use his athleticism, then Coker can do what the offense does best to move the ball. Let's hope it's a lesson that sticks around next week as the Tide travel to Athens.

Finally, show your boy Adam Griffith some love. He played a superb game and looks to be healthy for the first time in 18 months. He is perfect on his kicks and PATs the past two weeks.

That said, Alabama is not atop our blog poll, and, given the performances of others ahead of them, actually slips slightly outside of the Top 10 this week.

Rank

Team

Last Week

1

Michigan State Spartans

1

2

UCLA Bruins

5

3

Ole Miss Rebels

3

4

Notre Dame Fighting Irish

2

5

Texas A&M Aggies

4

6

Ohio State Buckeyes

7

7

LSU Tigers

6

8

Utah Utes

20

9

Georgia Bulldogs

9

10

Clemson Tigers

8

11

Alabama Crimson Tide

10

12

Baylor Bears /

Oklahoma Sooners

11

15

13

TCU Horned Frogs

12

14

Florida State Seminoles

17

15

USC Trojans

18

16

Stanford Cardinal

-

17

Northwestern Wildcats

24

18

Oklahoma State Cowboys

19

19

Florida Gators

-

20

Wisconsin Badgers

22

21

Mississippi State Bulldogs

-

22

California Golden Bears

25

23

Michigan Wolverines

-

24

Memphis Tigers

-

25

Kentucky Wildcats

-

Also Considered

Toledo Rockets - I mean, why not? You beat the ones on your schedule, and the Rockets led by Alabama transfer Phillip Ely have done that. The front four is very good, and not just for a MAC team, either.

Boise State Broncos - Absolutely throttled Virginia - but they should. Virginia is terrible.

Miami Hurricanes - Holding steady for now.

NC State Wolfpack - Again, holding steady until conference play starts.

West Virginia Mountaineers - Beat the Sooners this week and we'll talk.

Be Gone

Oregon Ducks - A complete dismantling by the Utah Utes, 62-20...in Autzen. Normally I have to wait until October or so to laugh at the Duck's implosion. This box score will keep me warm on cold nights.

BYU Cougars - That wasn't a fluke. Michigan lined up and just whipped their ass nine ways from Sunday.

Arizona State Sun Devils - It was men versus boys last night versus the Trojans. This team still has some losing ahead unless Berkovici can get on track and the defense man-up.

Arizona Wildcats - How a team rushes for over three hundred yards and gets blown out is beyond me. The most Rich Rod of all Rich Rod losses.

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets - Has played two decent teams and gotten smacked both times. With Arkansas and Auburn, this year's biggest disappointment to date.

Oh, Hai!

Memphis Tigers - How does Justin Fuente follow up a 10-win season and a bowl win? By very likely running the table outside of a game versus Ole Miss...and I wouldn't sleep too easily at night if I were the Rebels. Passed the AAC's most difficult test on Thursday.

Kentucky Wildcats - Why not? 3-1 and it's not an illusory record either. They dominated Mizzou on the road. It's possible that this team finishes 2nd or 3rd in the East. How they're winning is more improbable for an Air Raid team - with punishing defense.

Florida Gators - McElwain has a familiar formula: The team wins by running, making just enough plays in the air, and playing solid defense. Improbably sitting at 4-0 and tied atop the East with UGA. Barring a collapse by either team, the WLOCP will settle the division.

Mississippi State Bulldogs - This team could have hung 40 on Auburn last night if they cared to. Dak Prescott is much more of a pocket threat than a running presence this season, and is excelling with a deep WR corps. The no-name defense defines blue collar toughness.

Stanford - You're forgiven for the loss to Northwestern. The offense is finally finding the identity it should have had all along: RTDB.

Michigan Wolverines - The only team to give Utah a fight. Had the Wolverines had a competent QB, and that not been the first game of the season, Go Blue would be 4-0. Should have little enough problem with most B1G competitors as they improve every week. The shellacking of BYU was not a fluke.

Social Promotion

UCLA - When Josh Rosen is in a rhythm, the Bruins are the PAC 12's most complete team. Last night they dismantled a good Arizona team every way possible: air, ground, defense, special teams.

Utah - Not exactly a sleeper team anymore, huh? The special teams are exemplary, the passing game is efficient, and the Utes have a nice running game to boot. I don't think the Utes go undefeated, but for now they're my favorite in the North.

Northwestern - Market correction for undervaluing the Stanford win.

Cal - Guess who's forced the most turnovers in the nation? The Golden Bears, with 14 through September. The defense won't hold up forever, but they'll beat someone they shouldn't.

Are any of these teams any good?

TCU, Baylor, Oklahoma. I've watched all three. Baylor tore apart an overmatched Rice squad. TCU won on a non-catch in the waning seconds. Oklahoma is a cipher. Baylor is probably the best of a pedestrian troika.

Held Back

ND - Finally looked mortal against an awful UMass squad yesterday; the game was very close nearing halftime. The injuries have to start catching up, as the Irish lost a seventh starter to a season-ending boo boo. The Domers play Clemson this week; let's see how they handle a competent defense.

Clemson - I am just not impressed with Deshaun Watson. The Tigers could be hell on wheels if they turned it over to their powerful running game and superb defense (advice I give their conference-mates, the FSU Seminoles.)

Slight dip for LSU, Texas A&M who derped around with inferior competition all day. The Aggies still can't stop the run, the zone defense was suspect as hell, and the offense looked beatable yesterday. Like Alabama, this could be an 11-win team or a 9-3 one.