Here’s your Blog Poll after five weeks of play. The criteria are nebulous and oft subjective: strength of schedule, bad and good coaching, injuries, exigent circumstances, home/away, defense or lack thereof, offense or lack thereof, line play, power poll-ishness, head-to-head where possible or prudent, and my lying eyeballs.
Let’s start with who didn’t make the cut:
- Wisconsin, Michigan State, Oregon and Missouri have played a pretty awful schedule to date. The first respectable teams they faced, they lost (BYU for Wisco; ASU for Sparty; UGA for Mizzou, Stanford for Oregon.) You’re going to have to earn your way back on here.
- I really want to rank Colorado, but undefeated or no, I just can’t quite do it. Let’s see them play a bowl-type team, and then decide. The WR corps may be the best in the nation outside of Alabama and Ole Miss. You can put USF in this same category.
- Boston College’s secondary still scares me too much, and yesterday was the first game of a tough back-end. Let’s reserve judgment. The same applies for Duke. They’ve played really well, but Va. Tech was the first team that had athletes on their level and they got blasted at home in a game that wasn’t as close as the final. We won’t know more about the Dookies until November: October should be breeze for the Blue Devils. Syracuse has been outstanding, but that defensive line is going to cause them some problems. Should be 6-1 going into the 10/27 with NCSU.
- If this were a Top 26, Washington State is next in line. A field-goal road loss to USC is nothing to hang your head over.
|Alabama Crimson Tide
|Notre Dame Fighting Irish
|Ohio State Buckeyes
|West Virginia Mountaineers
|Penn State Nittany Lions
|North Carolina State Wolfpack
|Oklahoma State Cowboys
|San Diego State Aztecs
|Boise State Broncos
|Fresno State Bulldogs
|Virginia Tech Hokies
|Wazzu, Miami, Colorado, Mizzou, Sparty, Wisconsin, Duke, USF
- The chasm between Alabama and the field is as vast as you’ve ever seen. You want to think Georgia can be that team next team up, but I detest the Bulldogs’ identity right now: they’re just out-talenting teams and not even looking good doing it. I seem to recall a legendary ‘Dawg coach that was forced out for this very thing: Kentucky and Florida are going to be a load. Clemson has the same issue as Georgia: a passing team without a quarterback; a defensive team with a bad secondary; throwing out five stars and hoping Jimmies and Joes get it done. Injuries are catching up in a hurry (see also, UGA.)
- Some teams do know who they are and stick to the script: Kentucky will brick fight you in a back alley and it’s working great so far. Georgia can lose to this team and it doesn’t take much imagination to get you there. Notre Dame is the same: great along the lines, strong ground game, and Ian Book has been the truth — they also have the best wins in the nation. Roll LSU into the same category. I still don’t think the Tigers are as good as the record. But, they do what they do and have limited mistakes. That inevitable loss to Alabama in Death Valley is going to be all the more painful.
- Remember when I said there was an SEC team that was playing great along the lines, had a QB that would benefit from a new coach, and would get enough opportunistic scoring to be a problem? Yeah, I totally meant Florida,
not Mississippi State .
- Ohio State would lose two games in the SEC...in the East. When Penn State is shutting down your vaunted offense, and you have to play screen vs. prevent to get some yards and late scores, you have problems. The defense is as soft as advertised. James Franklin put on a clinic of coaching malpractice last night. Maybe the most atrocious 4th quarter of coaching I’ve quite literally ever seen. ‘State fans, you’ve earned your meltdown. I’m not punishing the players though: Penn State dominated that game for 52 minutes. And Dwayne Haskins is in no way a Heisman quarterback. He has Heisman stats, but wasn’t even the best quarterback on the field last night. Sorry, Buckeyes.
- The bloom is off the Stanford-Washington rose. Not that it matters; you get the feeling the Huskies’ are just playing too well on defense to lose to this one-dimensional team. The North may actually come down to the nastiest rivalry in the P12: Ducks-Huskies. And, Washington State is always lurking: they won’t win the P12N, but they can play kingmaker and wreck some dreams.
- Don’t sleep on the Mountaineers, y’all. Seriously. They got up big and then took their foot off the gas, but when they needed a defensive stop, they flipped the switch to get a pick-six. I don’t know that Oklahoma can beat this team. I don’t know that Oklahoma can beat Texas this week, for that matter.
- AApoCalypse: Old CW — Memphis, USF, UCF for the conference title. New CW — The Knights are the class of the conference, but Cincinnati is going to ruin someone’s season. Is there a more quality midmajor that no one is talking about?
- The Mountain West gets paired down from three contenders to two this week: San Diego State hosts Boise State. Bet Fresno State wants a mulligan on that Minnesota game.
- Auburn’s offensive line versus Mississippi State’s defensive line will be ghastly. Then again, ‘State’s offensive line versus Auburn’s front four is just as heinous a matchup. This week’s game could be 0-0...after multiple overtimes.
- Oklahoma State has both one of the best wins and one of the ugliest losses of the season. A critical injury to DT Darrion Daniels is crushing though.
- Finally, if you operate under the assumption that Texas is at least a marginal Top 25 team, then you almost have to include Maryland by default. Loss to Temple notwithstanding, the Terps have two quality wins. That ranking probably won’t last though. A trip to Ann Arbor awaits. The Wolverines aren’t sexy, sleepwalk at times, and are never going to be more than they are. But, is that enough? We’ll see what Blue is made of. Their next four games are: vs. Maryland, at Wisconsin, vs Sparty, at Penn State — any result from 0-4 to 4-0 would be wholly unsurprising.