Mike Leach’s best Wazzu team to date earned a signature win on Friday night. Georgia continued to do one hell of a Bama impersonation. Troy pulled an upset and did a Twitter touchdown dance. Clemson scored yet another top-15 win.
That’s all great. But Bama still has to be named the team of the week. Hey, I don’t like it any more than you do.
Team of the Week: Alabama (def. Ole Miss, 66-3)
Remember a couple of weeks ago, when we could pretend Alabama wasn’t its normal self? Jalen Hurts still couldn’t complete balls downfield, and his read progression was basically “throw to Calvin Ridley or tuck and run.” The defense wasn’t generating as much havoc as we were used to.
Sure, the Tide were still winning. But they were vulnerable. Simpler times.
No, Vanderbilt and Ole Miss aren’t all that great. The Rebels are in limbo. The Commodores play in control and will likely attend a decent bowl, but they don’t have the horses to race with a top-10 team. You would expect Alabama to beat these teams comfortably.
Bama beat these teams by 122 points. A week after pounding Vanderbilt by a 59-0 margin, Nick Saban’s vengeful Tide beat Ole Miss even worse: 66-3.
One-hundred twenty-two points. There are 51 FBS teams that still haven’t scored that many in 2017. Alabama beat just two conference foes by that amount. I’m repeating myself to make it feel more real.
Of all the blowouts the Tide have handed out during Nick Saban’s 10-plus years in Tuscaloosa, the most they had ever outscored opponents over a two week span was 98 points — they beat Western Carolina and a three-win Auburn by 49-0 margins each. They won the national title just over a month later.
Ole Miss is better than Western Carolina, and Vanderbilt is better than that Auburn team.
The stats don’t stop there.
- Points over the last two weeks: Bama 125, opponents 3
- Yards: Bama 1,290, opponents 331
- First downs: Bama 64, opponents 31
- Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa: 32-for-51 for 429 yards, five touchdowns, and no interceptions
- Receivers not named Ridley: 23 catches, 326 yards, five touchdowns
- Damien Harris, Bo Scarbrough, and Najee Harris: 53 carries, 428 yards, seven touchdowns
- Opposing quarterbacks: 21-for-51, 203 yards, no touchdowns, three picks
The Crimson Tide have an unsettled quarterback situation, a receiving corps in transition, and a defense that still isn’t making as many disruptive plays as we got used to seeing the last couple of years. And they are averaging 46 points per game and allowing nine. Oh, to have Bama Problems.
Other Teams of the Week
2. Washington State (def. USC, 30-27)
The Cougars came into Week 5 ranked in the top 30 in both offensive and defensive S&P+ (special teams, too, for that matter), and their dynamic, frenetic defensive front kept USC’s increasingly banged-up offense off-balance all Friday night. What a nice win for an increasingly balanced Leach squad.
3. Georgia (def. Tennessee, 41-0)
Tennessee had exactly one gain of more than 10 yards against Georgia— SB Nation CFB (@SBNationCFB) October 1, 2017
Georgia took the ball at the end of ithttps://t.co/jN7rOGATuI
I wrote about this game as it happened, and for Butch Jones’ sake, I won’t say much more here. Georgia looks like what Georgia hoped it would look like when it ditched Mark Richt for Kirby Smart. Let’s see if the Dawgs can keep it up.
4. Troy (def. LSU, 24-21)
Timing is everything. Steven Godfrey’s Neal Brown feature first goes up on Friday, and Troy pastes LSU on Saturday. Coincidence? I think not.
5. Clemson (def. Virginia Tech, 31-17)
Ho hum, another methodical, comfortable “take a quality opponent’s best shot, then put the game away late in the first half” win for the defending national champs.
6. Miami (def. Duke, 31-6)
The numbers have liked Richt’s Canes all year, and they very much looked the part against what had been a sturdy, aggressive Duke.
7. Auburn (def. Mississippi State, 49-10)
Gus Malzahn’s Tigers couldn’t protect their quarterback against Clemson and briefly couldn’t protect the ball against Mercer. Otherwise, they’ve looked every bit as good as I thought they could in the preseason. They’ve now beaten SEC foes Missouri and MSU by a combined 100-24 in the last two weeks. If not for Alabama, we’d consider that dominant.
8. UCF (def. Memphis, 40-13)
Good lord, the Knights are a wrecking ball this year. Thanks to weather, they took three weeks off after knocking FIU around in Week 1. Since their return, they’ve beaten solid Maryland and Memphis teams by a combined 78-23. They have played like a top-20 team so far, maybe even better than that.
9. Penn State (def. Indiana, 45-14)
Remember how Ohio State struggled to put Indiana away until well into the second half? Yeah, Penn State was up 28-0 after one quarter. I say it every week, but the Nittany Lions continue to look the part of a contender.
10. Marshall (def. Cincinnati, 38-21)
Just wanted to point out that after collapsing from 10-3 to 3-9 in 2016, Doc Holliday’s Herd is thundering again. They surged to a 24-0 halftime lead in Cincinnati, and they’ve basically had one bad quarter all year — they gave up 20 points in the second quarter of a 17-point loss to NC State. Otherwise, they’ve looked like Marshall is supposed to look.