Well, Alabama passed its first big test, but just barely. The Crimson Tide had to rally from a 13-point deficit in order to keep Ryan Mallet and Arkansas from finalizing their upset attempt. The win came courtesy of classic Alabama football, though, as their defense picked off Mallet two times late in the game and reigning Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram punched in a 1-yard score with 3:18 left in the fourth to preserve the victory. Ingram finished the game with 157 yards and his 54-yard touchdown run in the first quarter was his third rush of over 45 yards this season after only having two all of last season. This past week was just one of their many tests, though, as they face Florida at home next week and must to go to South Carolina the following week. The joys of being No.1 are endless, aren’t they?
Texas was the week’s biggest disappointment as they got absolutely manhandled by UCLA at home, 34-12, and consequently got dropped from No. 7 all the way down to No. 21. I’m not sure if Texas just isn’t that good or if they simply weren’t focused, but either way, there’s no reason to be beaten by 22 at home against a team that isn’t anywhere near them in terms of talent. It’s also possible they were looking ahead to the Red River Rivalry game with No. 9 Oklahoma this Saturday, which if they play like they did last week, will be even uglier than their loss to the Bruins.
Oregon survived somewhat of a scare against Arizona State, but pulled out the 42-31 win thanks to their defense, which forced seven turnovers and scored two defensive touchdowns. The most glaring statistic was the 597 yards of offense Oregon surrendered to the Sun Devils. Obviously, this was offset by the seven turnovers, but they will need to sure up their defense if they want to beat a very tough Stanford team that is averaging 48 points per game this season. This brings me to my next point, the Stanford Cardinal, which may be the most overlooked, underrated team in the nation. They have a chance to change that, though, when they go to Autzen Stadium to face the Ducks this Saturday night. A win against the No. 4 Ducks on the national stage would definitely put the Cardinal on the map, and with the way they’re playing right now, it doesn’t seem too crazy to predict.
The NC State Wolfpack jumped into my top-25 this week and could even move a couple spots higher with a win against Virginia Tech this weekend. The Wolfpack, led by their redshirt junior quarterback Russell Wilson, is 4-0 and just got done whooping up on Georgia Tech in their house, 45-28. Wilson, a two-sport athlete, may be one of the most unknown good young quarterbacks in the nation and has already thrown for 11 touchdowns to just one interception. Maybe the craziest thing about Wilson’s success is the fact that his focus over the summer was on baseball, not football. He was drafted by the Rockies in the fourth round of the MLB draft and missed all of spring practice, but returned in the fall with no noticeable drop off. What makes the Wolfpack dangerous, besides Wilson, is their big, strong, senior-led receiving corps (Jarvis Williams, 6-foot-4 and Owen Spencer, 6-foot-3) and their fierce, opportunistic defense, which is giving up just 18.8 points per game and has forced nine turnovers already this season.
Submitted by Steve Giles