This week’s edition of Jabesblog College Football comes from the friendly skies as I type next to my beautiful wife on the start of our vacation. Although last week saw two more contenders fall (Alabama and Utah), it started to bring clarity to the overall picture.
1) Wisconsin completed step 1 of their four-step process, grinding out a workmanlike victory over Purdue. The first half showed the expected rust and slight letdown coming off two huge victories and a bye week. The offense continues to show its depth by moving in almost interchangeable parts at RB, OL and TE due to injury. This will again be tested this week with Peter Konz almost certainly out and John Clay likely out. It was the defense though that stepped it up against the Boilermakers, finally generating some turnovers which swung the momentum and ultimately the game to Bucky.
2) Wisconsin is firmly entrenched in the debate of best 1-loss teams – but has a very difficult resume to digest. On one hand, Wisconsin has two very impressive victories – including one on the road – that very few other teams can match. They are also playing their best football now – unlike say a Michigan State who may have peaked a little early. On the other hand though, the combined record of the four non-conference opponents is 8-28. Right now the human polls have them as the best or 2nd best 1-loss team, which speaks more to current play than September.
3) Two teams showed why they wear the uniforms and helmets they do this past week. The Big “I” on Indiana’s helmet should stand for inexcusable this week, as in inexcusable to drop the game-winning TD in the end zone against Iowa. Indiana showed why they are well, Indiana. They better hope their basketball program turns around.
4) The other is Iowa State – another traditionless program who can snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. I can understand the urge to go for the win against heavily favored Nebraska on some level. If that is your choice though, send out your offense that has scored 30 points on the day. I realize you lose the element of surprise, but after seeing the holder throw that pass, the element of execution would have been the far better choice.
5) As you will see below, I have a change at #2 in the Jabesblog Top 5. I am now drinking the TCU kool-aid. We don’t really know how good Utah is I suppose, with Pitt being their most impressive win. What I do know is TCU provided one of the top 3 most impressive wins of the year (see Wisconsin over Ohio State or Oregon over Stanford). TCU has shown the best offense/defense balance in the nation and for one week, deserves to be bumped in my rankings.
6) Here are some stats to digest related to the top teams – Oregon is currently averaging 54.7 ppg – TCU has allowed 85 the entire season. TCU has ramped it up during conference play, allowing just 3.9 ppg in 6 games. Boise State must feel like the bridesmaid in all this. The Broncos 47ppg ranks second to Oregon, but still lags over a TD behind. Boise has also allowed just 6.5 ppg in conference play, second to the Horned Frogs. Finally, here is the average margin of victory of the 4 remaining undefeated teams – Oregon – 37.0, TCU - 32.9, Boise State – 34.4 and Auburn – 17.9.
7) Cam Newton still leads the Heisman chase, but the recent allegations can’t help but hurt his cause a little bit. I am an innocent until proven guilty guy, so he is still #1 on my mythical ballot. LaMichael James stays #2, with Kellen Moore #3.
8) Jabesblog Top 5 – 1) Oregon 2) TCU 3) Auburn 4) Boise State 5) Stanford – yes, I think Stanford is the best 1-loss team right now.
9) Week 11 is a little light on big-time match ups – so the Game of the Week is Auburn hosting Georgia. If Auburn is a Top 2 team, they should take care of business here. With Alabama still looming, there is the chance the Tigers/War Eagles overlook this one.
10) Others to keep an eye on – or just go on vacation this weekend like me – South Carolina plays at Florida for the SEC East championship and a date with Auburn in December. 1-loss teams who play at least decent opponents include Ohio State hosting Penn State, Stanford at Arizona State, Oklahoma State at Texas and Utah at Notre Dame. Finally, Oregon is at Cal, never an easy road game.