Auburn dominates Arkansas
Nebraska finally plays some good teams
West Virginia is a omplete team
Toledo is the best team you haven't heard of
Alabama loses Eddie Jackson
Playoff primer; Remember, it is still way too early to know anything
Don’t look now but Gus Malzahn is finally coaching a team with a good defense. Kevin Steele has worked wonders in Auburn in getting Blue Chip productions out of his Blue Chip players throughout the defense. The headlines from their winning streak, capped by a 56-3 drubbing of Arkansas, is the 543 rushing yards and the efficiency of quarterback Sean White. But, they also only gave up 3 points to a ranked SEC team. Auburn is now in the top 20 in both total offense and defense including third Nationally in scoring defense and rushing offense. Looking ahead to the Iron Bowl, in games where both teams have 9 wins Auburn is 9-3 since 1966.
Nebraska is experiencing quite a turnaround this year under Mike Riley. Nebraska is ranked in the top 10 and look poised to move up if they can win the next two weeks against Wisconsin and Ohio State. What we’ll find out is just how good this Nebraska team, whose best victory to date is against Oregon, really is. Two victories only assures the Huskers a spot in the BIG Ten Championship Game, where they will likely need to defeat Michigan. Still the Huskers are in playoff contention as October draws to a close for the first time in many years.
West Virginia looks to be the best team from outside the 4 major conferences to crash the BCS. (I don’t really consider the Big 12 to be on the same level as the SEC, BIG Ten, Pac-12, and ACC.) What is interesting about the Mountaineers is that they are winning with defense as well as offense. This looks like Holgerson’s best shot at getting a premium job like LSU or Texas at the end of the year.
Those folks that only follow the Top 25 teams, or the major conferences, are missing out on what could be a very interesting game between two great teams in the MAC. PJ Fleck and Western Michigan are getting all of the headlines but Jason Candle and Toledo are quietly putting together a great season. Quarterback Logan Woodside is leading the country in passing efficiency and looking like a pro while doing so. The late season matchup between these two teams should be one of the most fun games in November to watch.
Losing Eddie Jackson will absolutely hurt Alabama. The Crimson Tide has looked susceptible to downfield passing offenses this season, despite their talent at cornerback, and losing Jackson in the center of their defense could expose them even more, especially with LSU’s receiving tandem on the horizon. Alabama recruits better than anyone in college football so they will be able to plug in a talented player at the position, just not an experienced player. Not having Kirby Smart as the defensive backs coach might also hurt them during this transition.
And Another Thing
What do Ohio State, LSU, Baylor, and TCU have in common? Each were undefeated and ranked in the top 5 at this point last season. They went a combined 11-9 after that. Alabama has games left with LSU and Auburn, and possibly Florida. Michigan still plays Ohio State and in the BIG Ten Championship game. Baylor and West VIrginia both play each other, and Oklahoma. Nebraska we talked about earlier, and Clemson plays FSU this weekend. Washington and Clemson look like the two best bets to finish undefeated but there is still a lot of football left to be played. And, due to the playoff system, a number of other games will matter.