League play against better competition has a way of exposing teams that are not as good as their AP Top 25 ranking.
The proof came in college football’s 7th week as 5 ranked teams were upset, and 6 more ranked teams had weak performances in logging another win.
The ranked teams that were upset included #5 Stanford, #7 Georgia, #12 Oklahoma, #18 Michigan and #19 Northwestern.
Last week we said that Stanford was not in the same class as Alabama, Oregon and Clemson. The Cardinal validated our suspicion by traveling to unranked Utah and getting upset 27-21. Stanford dropped to #13 in the Poll as a result.
#25 Missouri had brought a 5-0 mark to Georgia and beat the Bulldogs at home by 15 points, 41-26. #12 Oklahoma traveled to unranked Texas and lost by 16 to Mack Brown’s Longhorns, 36-20.
#18 Michigan was on-the-road at unranked Penn State and gave up 43 to the Nittany Lions in 4 overtime periods while scoring 40. You would be totally mistaken if you think the Wolverines have a defense. They don’t, and it’s showing.
#19 Northwestern was the worst of the lot. The Wildcats took a trip to unranked Wisconsin and got slammed by 29, 35-6.
We said last week that both Georgia and Oklahoma had lame victories, and now they have both lost, Oklahoma on-the-road for the first time, and Georgia at home for the second time. Michigan and Northwestern got drop-kicked out of the Top 25 to be replaced by Auburn at #24 and Wisconsin at #25.
Six more ranked teams had lame victories this week.
#3 Clemson at home needed 14 last quarter points to get by an unranked 3-3 Boston College team, 24-14. Clemson (6-0) can no longer to be mentioned in the same breath as Alabama and Oregon with this testy result.
#9 Texas A&M traveled to Ole Miss (3-3) and barely outlasted the Rebels by a field goal, 41-38. The Aggies can talk all night about Johnny Manziel (Johnny Football), but there is no way they are going to win the national championship with their lack of defense. A&M is giving up more points than vendors passing out hot dogs.
#15 Baylor on-the-road could only get by an unranked 2-4 Kansas State team by 10, 35-25. The Bears, sporting a spotless 5-0 mark, have played the 105th toughest schedule so far among 124 Division 1-A schools. Talk about lame. The Bears jumped up to #12 in the Polls by taking down a 2-4 Kansas State team. Go figure.
Only #8 Louisville at 125th has played an easier schedule so far, and Baylor and Louisville have had the easiest schedules among the top 30 rated Sagarin teams. No wonder Baylor and Louisville are still unbeaten.
#20 Texas Tech at home could only beat an unranked 1-4 Iowa State team by 7, 42-35. The Red Raiders (6-0) advanced to #16 in the Poll; only drunks and homers would know why.
#23 Northern Illinois at home could only beat an unranked 1-6 Akron team by 7, 27-20. And #24 Virginia Tech at home could only down an unranked 3-2 Pittsburgh eleven by 10, 19-9. That’s not exactly scoring power on the part of the Hokies.
In game that did matter, #10 LSU (6-1) at home turned away #17 Florida (4-2), 17-6. The Tigers advanced to #6 in the Poll, and Florida dropped to #22.
In the game that mattered most, #2 Oregon traveled to #16 Washington and reminded the Huskies about who is getting it done by winning by 21, 45-24. Washington held its own until the 3rd quarter, and then it was no match. The win by the Ducks was their 10th straight over a proud Washington program with a Don James heritage.
The Huskies (now 4-2) needed to lose by a touchdown or less to retain its national recognition as an emerging national contender. It would have been OK for them to lose by 14 since Oregon was favored by 14, but losing by 21 does not get it done.
Nonetheless, the Huskies, because they have played the 2nd toughest schedule (7th nationally) among the Top 25 teams, only dropped to 20th in the Poll. Utah, which upset #5 Stanford, has played the 3rd toughest schedule (9th nationally) among the Top 25.
There must have been a jinx on Washington teams this week because Washington State University (4-3) hosted Oregon State (5-1) and lost, 52-24. The score was even at the end of the 3rd quarter when the Beavers scored 4 touchdowns in the last quarter as the Cougars fell apart. One step forward and two steps back for Mike Leach’s Cougars.
It probably won’t matter a hill of beans, but unranked Houston is now 5-0. That’s the good news for Houston Cougar fans; the bad news is that they have played a hodgepodge of nobodies.
To cut to the chase, the two best teams in the country after 7 weeks of play are Alabama and Oregon. At this point, it would be nonsense to say there is a close third. There is not. Alabama will remain #1 until, and if, the Crimson Tide loses. Ditto for Oregon at #2. This is not rocket science, it is simply how consistently you win, and the margin of victory.
In a final note, the mighty SEC set a record this week with no less than 8 teams among the AP Top 25 Poll. There is, of course, #1 Alabama, followed by #6 LSU, #7 Texas A&M, #11 South Carolina, #14 Missouri, #15 Georgia, #22 Florida and #24 Auburn.
The record for the most teams from one conference in a regular-season poll has been 7, done many times. That said, it pays to be in the SEC because the Southeastern Conference has been recognized as the best in college football for many years. It is as if the SEC just out shouts everybody else.
Maybe it has something to do with the fact that an SEC team has won the national title for 7 straight years—Alabama in 2009, 2011 and 2012, Florida in 2006 and 2008, LSU in 2007 and Auburn in 2010. Yeah, for the uninitiated, that’s all you need to know. Everything else is superfluous, and not worthy of discussion.
And now, me Irish says it’s Jameson time. If you don’t know Jameson, you are hopeless.