Hess: After the dust settles, Alabama still appears dominant in college ball (column)
September 23, 2018
Believe it or not we have reached the quarter pole of college football's regular season. Some teams couldn't have started the season better, while other teams are wishing they could hit the reset button.
I'm looking at you, Colorado State.
The dust is starting to settle now that we have reached this point in the season, and Alabama is unsurprisingly dominant.
UGA has finally joined the club of elite teams and has shown that last season was no fluke.
LSU has gone unbeaten and what is more impressive is the players are able to understand what coach Ed Orgeron is saying.
Ohio State keeps winning regardless of who is wearing the headset on the sideline.
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Kentucky and Duke are ranked in the AP poll, I have a strong feeling they won't be when basketball season starts in November.
Despite having the week off, Colorado has garnered more AP votes than last week and are the first team left off in the top 25 poll. If the Buffs win against UCLA on Saturday, Sept. 28, expect them to be in the top 25 in a week.
I thought Colorado State had turned the corner after beating SEC opponent Arkansas two weeks ago. Although it's looking like Arkansas is in contention for one of the worst teams in FBS. But after Saturday's loss to FSC Illinois State, I'm not so sure the Rams will ever turn the corner this season.
To put Saturday's loss into perspective, Illinois State is only the third best team in its own conference, let alone in the FCS. I'd be surprised if a non-SEC team has ever beat an SEC team and lost to an FCS team in the same season.
Although the Rams loss this week was embarrassing, it wasn't the worst loss of the weekend. Ranked Virginia Tech lost to FCS Old Dominion, 49-35. This is a team in Old Dominion that lost to Liberty 52-10 earlier in the season. At this point there is no team in the ACC that can compete with Clemson. It doesn't matter who the Clemson quarterback is, pencil them in for the playoff.
'You could do better'
Alabama coach Nick Saban asked the media after Saturday's blowout win over ranked Texas A&M, "I'd appreciated it, if, you know, you would sort of look at some of the things we didn't do so well and write about that so maybe I can show it to the players and say, 'Look here, man. Here's something you could do better.'"
Since I know Saban will be showing the Vail Daily to the team in Tuscaloosa, I'll do my best:
For one, the Crimson Tide didn't score 50 points for the first time this season, they scored 45 against Texas A&M.
The kicking hasn't been perfect on the season, kicker Joseph Bulovas has missed one field goal on the season.
The defense allowed 23 points, most this season, and looked gassed down the stretch.
For the first time all season, Alabama did not score a non-offensive touchdown.
The Crimson Tide allowed a 99-yard touchdown drive, the longest of Saban's tenure at Alabama.
Oklahoma escaped an overtime game against Army with a win and that makes two weeks in a row the Sooners were unable to win in a convincing manner. The Red River Shootout in two weeks looks to be an exciting matchup as Texas has beaten two ranked opponents in back-to-back games after opening the season with a loss to Maryland.
Oregon had Stanford all but beat, until the Cardinal made an amazing comeback.
The game turned on a controversial play at the pylon. An Oregon touchdown, which would have made the game 31-7, was called back after it was ruled the player hit the pylon without crossing the plane with the ball. On the very next play, Stanford returned a fumble for a touchdown and cut the lead to 24-14.
However, what really doomed the Ducks was instead of kneeling the ball on three-straight downs, leading 31-28, to give Stanford back the ball with 10 seconds left, Oregon elected to run the ball. They fumbled on second-and-3 and after that Stanford had the momentum.
Stanford can boost its playoff resume against Notre Dame this weekend. The ND/Stanford game will be one of two top 10 matches on Saturday. Penn State will host Ohio State in a game that could determine the Big Ten East.
With three more games featuring two ranked teams this weekend, in addition to the ND/Stanford and Ohio State/Penn State games, Saturday should be a fun day.