Several teams won on paper but lost in the court of Public Opinion.
- Notre Dame quietly controlled Vandy, then decided to collapse down the stretch. The secondary had an awful day for 60 full minutes though, letting Shurmur (yes, that Shurmur) throw for over 300 yards.
- So too did Michigan play with its food. Don’t let the final 15-point margin fool you: nearing the half, it was 7-7...against SMU...in the Big House. Two quick scores opened up what would be the final margin, and the pesky Mustangs never really went away.
- Stanford still can’t run the ball.
- With each passing week, the bloom is coming off the rose that is the Oklahoma Sooners. The defense is going to get gashed a time or two in conference play. But with Kyler Murray and a stout running game, it may not matter until, say, TCU, Texas or Oklahoma State.
- I hate to ding the Mountaineers for Hurricane Flo washing out what would have been a good one in Raleigh, but it is what it is: WVU (and or NCSU) really need a quality H2H win over the other.
- Boise State held up to a few body blows the Pokes threw at them, and the Broncos never gave up. But, as I feared in the preview yesterday, the OKSU front was just too much. It really does just come to brute force talent sometimes, and the Broncos don’t have nearly enough of it — the speed of the BSU linebackers and basically every other unit on the field was stark.
Here’s your Blog Poll for Week 3.
The usual caveats apply: the Blog Poll takes into account strength of schedule, bad/good coaching, injuries, exigent circumstances, defense or lack thereof / offense or lack thereof — with particular attention to the line play of both, power poll-ishness, head-to-head where at all possible, and just a general iffiness/lying eyeballs.
|Alabama Crimson Tide
|Mississippi State Bulldogs
|Notre Dame Fighting Irish
|Ohio State Buckeyes
|West Virginia Mountaineers
|Penn State Nittany Lions
|Virginia Tech Hokies
|North Carolina State Wolfpack
|San Diego State Aztecs
|Arizona State Sun Devils
|Boise State Broncos
|Michigan Wolverines / Fresno State Bulldogs
|22 / --
|Earn your way back
|Wisconsin, USC, Michigan State
|On the outside, but looking good
|Memphis Tigers, USF Bulls, Iowa Hawkeyes, TCU Horned Frogs, BC Eagles
The Worst Rose Bowl : Quick. Name the Big 10’s quality wins this year in out-of-conference play. Ohio State over TCU comes to mind. Then what else? Arguably it’s Minnesota at home over Fresno State. Really. Up next is Penn State over Appalachian State or Maryland over Texas. And they haven’t looked good doing it either, taking it on the chin from other bowl teams: Duke, Notre Dame, Missouri, Arizona State, Colorado, Troy, Akron, BYU, and South Florida. It appears to be a two-team race for the whole enchilada, with everyone else relegated to spoilers. Wisconsin, Michigan State, and Michigan simply don’t have it together after a quarter of the season.
Their opposite number in the Worst Rose Bowl is very likely going to be the winner of Stanford and Washington vs....who? Utah? USC? Arizona State? Not one of those team’s offenses has shown that they are remotely ready for prime time. And, in the case of the South, there are coaching question marks in big red Sharpie across most of entire division. Whence the Duck? Until Oregon begins actual D1 play, we’re leaving them out of this equation entirely.
Jim Delany is praying like hell Ohio State or Penn State can run the table. But, one contender can’t defend the pass; the other can’t stop the run. And both teams are super flaky on the road. Whee! As soft as the Big 10 has looked, it could get passed over by a 1-loss conference runner-up. Again. And deservedly so.
If not, then we’re headed towards the worst Rose Bowl of recent vintage.
Breaking the Log Jam
I’m not happy about this, but LSU has earned its right to be near the top of the Blog Poll. I don’t think anyone watched that game and thinks LSU is a Top 10 team...or that Auburn is either. Both teams have spotty running games, serious problems along the offensive line, receiving corps that scare no one, gaping holes on the interior, and iffy coaching at times. And, yet — a combined 5-1 record with three wins over the Top 10 speaks for itself.
I’m also not happy about Auburn being below Washington based on H2H. But, anytime you dominate a game for most of three quarters and then get outcoached by Ed Orgeron, it’s time to sit in the corner and think about what you’ve done.
The circular firing squad worked itself out nicely: Washington is the (cough) Top Dawg, beating Utah at home. Utah beat San Diego State who in turn beat Arizona State. And the Spartans are below all of that. Like the Trojans and Wisconsin Badgers, they’ll have to earn their way back.
Up next over the next 2-3 weeks: Sorting out the muddled middle of the ACC.
Power Six: The American likes to brand itself as the P6. They can make a good case too, (especially when you look at the middle and bottom of the Power 5 Conferences). The 1st and 2nd tier of the AAC is solid: UCF, USC, and Memphis, See too, Navy, Houston, and Temple (the latter destroyed Maryland on the road yesterday.) Rebuilding Cincinnati picked up a road win against UCLA. It is the very bottom of the AAC that drags it down (SMU, Tulsa, Tulane, East Carolina, UConn — while the Hurricane have been intermittently decent the last decade, three of those teams are as bad as you could want to see on the homecoming schedule — Though, Tulane is slowly but surely rebouning from its two-deade funk.)
Likewise, the Mountain West has three quality teams that could line up with the AAC and give them their money’s worth at the top: Fresno State, Boise State and San Diego State. It is is the middle class and bottom that drag the MWC down in perception, though perhaps not fairly: Air Force and New Mexico have traditionally been competitive bowl teams, ditto for Colorado State (though perhaps not this season.) Hawaii sits at 3-1. Utah State isn’t that much of a pushover, UNLV is playing much better after their disastrous loss to Howard to open 2017, and even lowly San Jose State is playing much better this year. Nevada seems to be nearing the midpoint of its rebuild, has a winning record and may be competitive for a bowl bid. Wyoming has the excellent Craig Bohl, though it is damned hard to recruit in Laramie and the Pokes are in for a long year.
Best G5 Conference
This poll is closed
Y NO LUV 4 SUNBEAST?!