After five weeks of college football, there are 19 undefeated teams remaining. Some look dominant, some look worrisome, some remain enigmas heading into the adult portion of their schedules. Here is how they stack up heading into this weekend.
Alabama Crimson Tide [4-0] The Process has begun. It is close to finished. Alabama outlasted Texas A&M and were on anything but “upset alert” against Ole Miss. Their one tough game remaining before Atlanta is LSU, at home after a bye week.
Oregon Ducks [4-0] Third in yards per play offense. Fourth in yards per play defense. The Ducks have played mediocre opponents, but those mediocre opponents looked as though they were playing a different sport.
Stanford Cardinal [4-0] Top 25 offense and defense. Two emphatic wins against ASU at home and at Washington State. The Cardinal have Washington, Oregon and UCLA left on the docket. All three games are at home.
Ohio State Buckeyes [4-0] The Buckeyes put down the Badgers at home. The trouble for them is it may be their best win of the season. If Northwestern, Michigan or both take tumbles, Ohio State’s 13-0 may mean little.
Clemson Tigers [4-0] Clemson has not put it all together yet. They are averaging fewer than six yards per play on offense. They labored a bit against N.C. State. But, that win over Georgia looks better by the week. If the Tigers can beat Florida State and South Carolina…
Washington Huskies [4-0] The Huskies are 16th in yards per play offense and third in yards per play defense. They played live opposition in three of their first four games. Brutal stretch the next three weeks: at Stanford, Oregon, at Arizona State. If they emerge from that unscathed, they are a BCS title contender.
Florida State Seminoles [4-0] Jameis looks like he will be famous. But the Noles have not been tested yet and coughed and sputtered against Boston College. Their next four games (Maryland, Clemson, N.C. State, Miami) will tell us more.
Baylor Bears [3-0] The Bears have played three body bags, but outscored said body bags 209-23 in three games. It would have been worse had they actually tried in the second halves. The issue for them is the back end of their schedule. Last Five Weeks: Oklahoma, Texas Tech, at Oklahoma State, at TCU, Texas.
Louisville Cardinals [4-0] The Cardinals have looked dominant, against teams they should dominate. Rutgers and UCF on back to back week night games should tell us more.
Oklahoma Sooners [4-0] The Sooners have been more explosive with Blake Bell at the helm. Not sure if they belong in the elite class yet, but they will have opportunities to prove it at Baylor and at Oklahoma State.
Maryland Terrapins [4-0] The Terps have beaten teams they should beat soundly and crushed West Virginia. After the debacles the last two years, that’s something to celebrate. Eight or nine wins and a solid bowl game could put the once under fire Edsall in “Coach of the Year” discussion.
Miami Hurricanes [4-0] Miami has played one real team, Florida. They did beat them, though it wasn’t an especially impressive performance. The Canes are relevant, but not quite “the U.” Still waiting to hear from the NCAA.
UCLA Bruins [4-0] They impressed against Nebraska in Lincoln and won on the road last night. Still not quite sold on their offense against quality opponents. They play away to Stanford and to Oregon in consecutive weeks. They follow that, after a respite against Colorado, with a stretch at Arizona, Washington, Arizona State, at USC to close the season. “Very good” could mean 8-4 to 9-3
Northwestern Wildcats [4-0] The Wildcats can score. They also play down to their competition a bit. Opportunities to resolve the doubt against Ohio State and Wisconsin the next two weeks. They also have an at Nebraska, Michigan, Michigan State stretch later in the year.
Michigan Wolverines [4-0] After consecutive stinkers, the Wolverines are fortunate to be on this list. They have had a bye week to reconfigure the line and rebuild Devin Gardner’s confidence. If they don’t look improved against Minnesota, strap on the Maize and Blue crash helmets.
Missouri Tigers [4-0] The Tigers are healthy, scoring points and beating the teams in front of them. The trouble is they play in the SEC now. They still have to play Georgia, Florida and South Carolina in consecutive weeks and Ole Miss and Texas A&M to close the season. 7-5 would help Gary Pinkel build some momentum. Maybe they pull off an upset to get to eight.
Texas Tech Red Raiders [4-0] Kliff Kingsbury has swagger. The Red Raiders should be 6-0 heading into Morgantown on Oct. 19. Just not sure they are built for the long haul through the Big 12 schedule. That said, they face Baylor and Oklahoma State in Lubbock. Texas does not look so imposing of a road task. The Big 12 looks wide open this year.
Fresno State Red Raiders [4-0] Undefeated with a soft schedule in front of them. The Bulldogs are lined up to bust into the BCS. What’s worrisome: three FBS wins by six points in regulation. They also needed two special teams touchdowns to open a 16-point lead against Cal Poly.
Northern Illinois [4-0] The Huskies have two Big Ten road wins, against Iowa and Purdue. Their defense, 93rd in yards per play, leaves a bit to be desired. That said, they only face two teams that may be able to hang with them. They look primed for an 11-2 or 12-1 trip to Detroit.
Houston Cougars [4-0] This is not a bounce back to the Sumlin era. The Cougars have three road FBS wins. Fair play to them. They play the three best teams in the AAC (Rutgers, UCF and Louisville) on the road. They also play BYU and Cincinnati at home.
[Photos via USA Today Sports]
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