Poll Position: Week 5

By REED NELSON

It appears that the voters finally got something right.

Sure, the polls may be trivial just five weeks into the season, but if you can’t hang your hat on a #2 ranking this early, you’re asking for too much.

After a wild Saturday in college football, in which five of the Top 25 teams lost —including #6 Oklahoma and #10 Clemson — and LSU nearly lost to a unranked, crime-riddled, shell-of-its-2010-self Auburn team, Oregon emerged with their first conference shutout since 2003 and their first blanking of Arizona since JFK, beating the Wildcats like a dusty rug to the tune of 49-0.

And, believe it or not, the voters (coaches and writers in this case) actually gave the Ducks some credit. They do love them some SEC football, but it appears that the lackluster performance from Les Miles’ bunch coupled with Oregon’s steamrolling of Arizona initiated a well-deserved flip-flop.

The Top 5 remains SEC heavy (Alabama, LSU and Georgia, with South Carolina knocking on the door at #6) but the rankings do seem to reflect the actual on-field performance rather than the oft-preferred “Geauxxxxxx Tigers” methodology.

You hear that Baton Rouge? This week, it’s Sko Ducks.

If a 49-0 win over a ranked opponent, one that just two weeks ago hung 60 points on a then-#18 Oklahoma State team, wasn’t enough to propel the Ducks into the Top 2, there would have been issues.

The flaws of the ranking system are constantly discussed, yet rarely altered, so consider Week 5 a refreshing break from ineptitude. Oregon made RichRod say uncle1 and the Tigers were a crew of Replacement Refs2 away from losing to Auburn in true Beichick-ian fashion.

Consider justice served, America.

Also, consider Week 5 a rollercoaster where the Pac-12 was concerned. The conference entered the week with five teams in the Top 25 and exit with four, but it wasn’t simple subtraction (The full problem looked like this: 5-3+1= 4. OK, maybe it was simple. But there was addition, too. Never sell yourself short. Onward.). After looking like the Dark Horse favorites in the Pac-12 South,  UCLA looked very mediocre against an eons-better-than-expected Oregon State defense, and for the first time all season, super-frosh Brett Hundley couldn’t find a Bruin on the long ball3. The result? UCLA was rewarded with the second biggest drop (behind Michigan who sunk like a stone against Notre Dame) and Oregon State managed to climb from the unwashed masses of the Unranked and vault into the Top 20.

Oregon State’s win bodes well for Oregon in this, the Year of the Rival (further evidence that Mayans are just sooooo right) because Oregon is still reliant on a Strength of Schedule boost from the rest of the Pac.

Oh, and RichRod never stood a chance. At least he’s back to earth. Life is like, 4,217 times better when this face is on call:

Climbing: Oregon (#3 to #2), Stanford (#9/11 to #8/9), Oregon State (NR to #18).

Falling: Arizona (#21/22 to NR), UCLA (#19 to NR).

Staying the same (a.k.a. Wooderson-ing): USC (#13/12 to #13)

Footnotes

  • Unconfirmed. But Autzen was so loud on Saturday it’s safe to speculate. Get to hate on RichRod again. I’m smiling. That’s confirmed. Jump
  • It sounds like a band. Not a good one, just a band. Thought an explanation for the otherwise inexplicable capitalization was needed on this here Sept. 24, a.k.a National Grammar Day. Jump
  • The underrated factor of the game. Hundley had receivers over the top all second half but, as if by tape measure, calculator and protractor, he kept missing by six inches or less. Cue Al Pacino: “Now I can’t do it for ya, I’m too old. I look around, I see these young faces and I think, I mean, I’ve made every wrong choice a middle-aged man can make… You find out life’s this game of inches, so is football. Because in either game – life or football – the margin for error is so small. I mean, one half a step too late or too early and you don’t quite make it. One half second too slow, too fast and you don’t quite catch it. The inches we need are everywhere around us. They’re in every break of the game, every minute, every second. On this team we fight for that inch.” (Cue Reed tearing up). Jump


Categories: Analysis, Features, News & Notes, Poll Position

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