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Who Needs a Blogpoll Week 4 sees a three-way log jam at the top.

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Alabama loses some ground, as others rise

NCAA Football: Oklahoma State at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Just a reminder, the completely arbitrary alchemy that goes into the blogpoll: “takes into account some combination of a power poll, SOS, injuries, derpy playcalling and/or coaching, luck, consistency, and the oh-so-nebulous “eyeball test.”

Of those, consistency is a key ingredient for a championship run, along with catching a few breaks and avoiding injuries.

This week, Alabama loses some ground simply because this is not only a battered team, it is not a consistent team either side: mistackles, losing the ball in the air, inconsistent line play, a QB trying to learn a playbook (and the position,) sputtering drives, a feast or famine running game, a nonexistent return game, mental mistakes, and all those freshmen and sophomores seeing meaningful snaps in turn making freshman and sophomore execution errors.

Saban would call that “playing to a standard.” And the Tide have mostly played hard, but they’ve certainly not played to standard. Bear in mind, we are always most critical of our own flaws. No one in the country wants to play this team when it is on: the issue is getting them to actually be “on” in all three phases for four quarters.

That said, there are still probably only three other (healthy) teams in the country that can hang with the Tide for four quarters. Alabama has defeated one of them. Not coincidentally, the others find themselves bottlenecked at the top for national supremacy: You can’t say with any certainty that either of these would absolutely beat another.

Not this week, at least.

Week 4 Blogpoll.csv

Rank Team Last week
Rank Team Last week
T1 Alabama Crimson Tide 1
T1 Oklahoma State Cowboys 2
T1 Clemson Tigers 3
4 Oklahoma Sooners 4
5 Penn State Nittany Lions 6
6 Washington Huskies 12
7 Florida State Seminoles 7
8 Michigan Wolverines 8
9 Wisconsin Badgers 10
10 USC Trojans 5
11 Ohio State Buckeyes 12
12 Georgia Bulldogs 13
13 Virginia Tech Hokies 14
14 Mississippi State Bulldogs --
15 West Virginia Mountaineers 17
16 Washington State Cougars 16
17 Iowa Hawkeyes 20
18 Utah Utes 22
19 San Diego State Aztecs --
20 Memphis Tigers --
21 TCU Horned Frogs 24
22 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 24
23 Miami Hurricanes 25
24 LSU Tigers 8
25 USF Bulls --
Dropped out
Auburn Tigers
Stanford Cardinal
Lousiville Cardinals
Considered
Louisville
Auburn
UCF Knights
Texas Tech Red Raiders
Oregon Ducks

A few notes:

Mississippi State’s issues were always going to be on the defensive end. This team’s ceiling would be dictated by Grantham’s defense. Welp. I, and many others, underestimated how quickly of an impact he would have. The offense has weapons for days, and an athletic, physical front seven is playing out of its mind. Pretty much the same strengths here apply to West Virginia and Virginia Tech. That would be a fun round-robin.

State may not be as good as they looked last night, but LSU may be that bad. You can’t ignore the lost players and penalties, because those targeting calls and flags go straight to the heart of preparation. This team was not coached well. Worse, they were bullied on both sides of the ball. And even worse, they flat gave up with most of the fourth quarter remaining. That was as badly a prepared and motivated an LSU team as I’ve seen in a decade. The honeymoon is over for Orgeron.

What you think of Clemson’s domination of Louisville and Auburn depends on what you think of the Cardinals and Tigers. I’ve never been high on the Cards: soft defense, terrible offensive line, lack of an established running game, and a quarterback who is downright dreadful against competent defenses. There’s some more losing in store for them. I had some issues with Auburn too: As of now, this is not a Top 25 team. The offense turtles, Kamryn Pettway is out of shape. Stidham is not a good quarterback through a quarter of the season, period. Too many three and outs; too many interceptions. The defense is playing far above itself to bail out a woeful offense, but the SEC schedule is about to be quite unkind if the Tigers can’t get it together.

Clemson’s offense gives me pause. Like Alabama, it is not playing to the sum of its parts. Kelly Bryant is still shaky at times. I’m not sure the running game can win for them if the Tigers absolutely have to have it. Red zone play has been spotty. This team will be seriously challenged to score against Florida State. That said, they’re still among the best in the country and certainly the best in the ACC (for now.)

We’ve been much higher on Oklahoma State than anyone else. They’ve rewarded that faith. This team has the nation’s most terrifying offense and a solid, opportunistic defense. Bedlam is going to be...well, Bedlam.

Ohio State, Oklahoma, TCU, all went airborne to pad their stats in the 4th quarter for style points. TCU was probably ranked a little low. Ohio State was too. Nothing any of these teams did on the field Saturday merited raising them in the WNaBP, this was just a market correction. See also, Georgia, Utah.

After a bad first half against Utah State in the opener, Wisconsin has been a ridiculously good ball club.

The Wolverines aren’t ever going to wow you; they just play really fundamentally-sound ball-control football that eats the clock, controls the line of scrimmage, pounds the ball, and smothers the other team. It is refreshing to see in 2017, and few teams do it as well. See also their poorer cousins in the B1G West, Iowa -- only the Hawkeyes have a better passing game. That is not going to be a cakewalk road trip for Penn State next week: it’s a really losable road opener, in fact.

Last week we said that Memphis a lower-Top 25 team. They showed that. Also we opined that San Diego State was probably the best G5 team. The blogpoll reflects that: Don’t let the final score fool you -- they dominated Stanford.

I’ve been stanning for the Huskies all season: I had them in the playoffs. Nothing has changed. The offense has come along, the defense is beasting, special teams are wonderful. This is the most complete team in the Pac 12. Speaking of, that’s why the Trojans dropped: They’ve played one good game against a Stanford team we all overrated. They were in a dogfight with Western Michigan, and struggled with a crappy Texas team.

Look at you: Purdue, Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Texas Tech, Maryland -- you’re all on the cusp of being kind of good teams.

Watch out: I still think Notre Dame has a lot of potential. The ‘Domers can still win 8-9 games.

Playoff Projections (not the best four, the most likely four): This has not changed since the preseason, and looking ahead at the schedules, I don’t see a reason to for now: Alabama, Oklahoma State, Washington, Ohio State

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