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Who Needs a Blog Poll 2021: Week 7 — Defense is back en vogue

What do the vast majority of the nation’s Top 10 teams have in common? It’s not necessarily a high-flying offense

Penn State v Iowa Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images

What is our takeaway from Week 6 of the 2021 season? Defense still wins games. That may not be the case for championships, but for big-time meaningful games in the regular season? Defense is still king.

Forget Alabama stoning Ole Miss last week; instead look to teams like Notre Dame and Michigan getting clutch defensive stops on the road. Look at Iowa regrouping after some early punches and then shutting down an explosive Penn State team in a battle of Top 10s. Look to a bad A&M team forcing two home TOs to spring the upset against Alabama. Look at the path of destruction Arizona State is leaving in its P12 wake. The cream of the G5 teams? All Top 20 defenses: Liberty, Coastal Carolina, Cincinnati, Appalachian State, San Diego State, Nevada, ULL. And on and on.

It remains to be seen if that trend holds the rest of 2021 (and especially in the playoffs), but in a high-scoring Week 6, it was the defense that took center stage.

Here is your Blog Poll for Week 6.
Usual caveats apply: The criteria are nebulous, far-ranging, and capricious — strength of schedule, bad and good coaching, injuries, exigent circumstances, home/away results, defense or lack thereof, offense or lack thereof, line play, power poll-ishness, can you cover a spread (Vegas is pretty smart about how good a team is), head-to-head where possible or prudent, and my own lying eyeballs.

2021 Blog Poll, Week 6

1 Georgia 2
2 Iowa 5
3 Cincinnati 4
4 Ohio State 7
5 Oklahoma 9
6 Michigan 6
7 Coastal Carolina 8
8 Alabama 1
9 Ariz. State 11
10 Penn State 3
11 Oregon 12
12 Kentucky 16
13 Ole Miss 18
14 NCSU 13
15 Wake Forest 15
16 Michigan State 17
17 Notre Dame 20
18 Oklahoma State 19
19 BYU 10
20 Liberty 21
21 SDSU 23
22 Texas A&M --
23 SMU --
24 Houston --
25 Arkansas 14
DROPPED OUT Army, Texas, Oregon State
  • Iowa, Georgia, Cincinnati, Michigan, Liberty, San Diego State, Oklahoma State, and many others on this list require no introduction. These dudes smother you and get just enough offense to get the job done.
  • Alabama takes a tumble — rightly, and for many reasons: it’s a sloppy and soft-ass team, one that doesn’t focus nearly enough, with entitlement and attitude problems, lacking an identity, really lacking in leadership, and marked by personnel and chemistry issues at practically every position group. But — hey! At least Alabama hired a clown to mismanage the offense. If only someone had warned us of this very thing, calling O’Brien’s hire “the self-inflicted wound that would cost Alabama at least one game.
    I don’t think that this Alabama team is done losing either unless it gets its sh** together in practically every way, pronto. Sorry, guys. You’ve played 6-7 quarters of complete football all season. And all I see as of mid-October is a tremendously dysfunctional waste of talent...talent that could still conceivably win it all in January. Zero margin for error on any play, in any game, the rest of the way. (If someone wants to get me an early Christmas present, BTW, I will settle for an elite offensive coordinator and offensive line coach. WHO KNEW HIRING NFL WASHOUTS WAS A BAD IDEA?!).
  • In January, after the Tide’s poorly-considered hiring of Football Voldemort, and the diaspora of Alabama’s offensive coaching staff (and exodus of NLF talent), I threw a hundred bucks on Ohio State win the national championship. The first 2-3 weeks, that looked like a bad call. But as Stroud has gotten more reps, he’s vastly improved. This team is going to shatter B1G scoring records this year. And as much as Buckeye Fan doesn’t want to embrace it, the new OSU identity is following a similar trajectory that Alabama’s has of-late: if you hit 50-55 points a game, you can afford defensive liabilities...and lord knows, OSU has them.
    In an offensive era, this is still my favorite to win it all in January.
  • Speaking of offense, oh, buddy. I’m not sure where that creative Sooners’ scheme has been all season, but it showed up at just the right time and place. That was the game Steve Sarkisian was hired to win; it was a game that should have been won; and it was once again, Big Brother Dirt Burglar kicking in the Longhorns’ teeth and then stealing their lunch money. That was as funny as it was pathetic.
  • Are you prepared to talk to your children about a world with a Top 10 Kentucky team? We’re so close to that reality. Levis was the missing ingredient all along — that, and the East is a special kind of awful.
  • Someone get Sam Pittman about half a dozen defensive linemen out of the Portal. I’m not sure if Mizzou or the Razorbacks are softer up front.
  • Lane Kiffin will always have a play ready. And it will usually work. This team plays better than its talent level.
  • BYU is going to regret that bad home loss to a moribund Boise State team that was teetering on life support.
  • I’m still not feeling Oregon, y’all. I was sky high on Arizona State before the season though; and somehow that was underselling this team. All that separates the Sun Devils from legitimate playoff chatter is one incredibly derpy quarter at BYU. Looking at the rest of the schedule, I think ASU will roll the Ducks and we get Oregon-ASU for the P12CG, with a playoff berth on the line.