We would hate to have Nick Saban say anything bad about us during one of his upcoming press conferences, so Tiebreaker.com is pleased to roll with the Tide until we have reason to believe it’s no longer prudent to do so.
No. 1 Alabama (7-0)
In researching the history of Alabama’s rivalry with Tennessee – which renews Saturday in Knoxville – we learned of a tradition that began during Bear Bryant’s tenure as the coach of the Crimson Tide.
Two members of Bryant’s staff, both Tennessee graduates, took to lighting up stogies whenever Alabama would beat the Vols, which was more frequently than not.
Thing was, Bryant did not like cigar smoke, but he happily dealt with the smog because his program had no greater rival in those days.
Did you know that because the NCAA now has rules against tobacco use, some programs actually self-report secondary violations when someone lights up. Apparently, where there is smoke, there must be fire.
We mention this because there likely will be a run on cigars in Tuscaloosa again since Alabama (7-0) has won the last 11 meetings and are double-digit favorites to make it a dozen.
If there has been any concern around campus this week, it’s been what do to about quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, whose banged up knee was aggravated in last week’s win against Arkansas. Some have suggested Saban just give the kid the week off.
If he sits, what’s the difference, really? Tua hasn’t had a pass attempt in the fourth quarter all season. And the Tide has done quite well without him.
No. 2 Ohio State (7-0)
So, you don’t think college football is a business? Well, the reaction around Columbus this week would have convinced you otherwise after defensive end Nick Bosa, the heart of the Buckeyes defense, announced he was giving up the remainder of his eligibility to prepare for the NFL Draft.
Bosa played with a groin injury earlier this season and then suffered abdominal injury in the win over TCU. Instead of more rehab and BCS glory, he stepped out because he knows, everyone knows, he will be a top three pick in the 2019 NFL Draft and that’s where the cash (maybe $30 million) lives.
Bosa, the brother of Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa, ends his career with 17 sacks. Needless to say, opinion was mixed about his decision, although Urban Meyer was supportive.
Will this have any impact on Saturday when the Buckeyes (7-0) play Purdue? Nope, not a bit. Ohio State is a 13 ½-point favorite over the Boilermakers, who are coming off a 46-7 win over Illinois last week. In last week’s 30-14 win over Minnesota, QB Dwayne Haskins threw for over 400 yards for the second straight week.
You know what they say? The best defense is an offense.
No. 3 Clemson (6-0)
The Tigers (6-0) play North Carolina State, which is also unbeaten (5-0) and will also benefit from coming off its bye week. This will be a big deal for the Wolfpack. Not since 2000 have they played an October game when both teams have been undefeated.
Clemson’s offensive power is not as understated as N.C. State, which leads the FBS in third-down conversion percentage (.609) and has run the ball 188 times and passed the ball 188 times this season. The Tigers should be able to handle that.
The question is what will N.C. State and its top 15 run defense do about QB Trevor Lawrence (69-of-100, 888 yards and 11 TDs) and his deep backfield of Travis Etienne, Lyn-J Dixon and Adam Choice. Those guys accounted for almost 700 offensive yards in the 63-3 yawner over Wake Forest two weeks ago.
No. 4 Notre Dame (7-0)
If you think diagnostic information has gotten out of hand in baseball, just wait until to see this: ESPN has developed a football power index by which it determines what chance a certain team has of winning a certain game. And this week it says Notre Dame (7-0) has a 65.5 percent chance of beating USC in the final game of the season! And that won’t be played until Nov. 24.
We at Tiebreaker.com beg to differ: We think the Irish is a 74.7 percent favorite to beat the Trojans, horse and all, and we chalk this up to the prevalent anti-ND bias so pervasive in this nation. ESPN must have a lot of Boston College graduates in its analytics department.
Hey, we know ND didn’t inspire Rockne hyperbole with its 19-14 win over Pittsburgh last week. QB Ian Book has been a revelation and although it may have taken him a little time, he did end up hitting Miles Boykin for the TD that won the game. Last week was one for the Irish defense to shine.
The Irish are off this week. They play Navy (2-4), which is really struggling this season, in San Diego on Oct. 27.
No. 5 Georgia (6-1)
Look, last week was a bad one for many teams in the Top 25. West Virginia lost. Washington lost. Penn State lost.
And LSU crushed Georgia (6-1) in Baton Rouge, 36-16.
We are of the opinion that you can’t win them all. Who knows, maybe someone will even beat Alabama and maybe Michigan is to the point where it can topple Ohio State.
The point is, we are not ready to give up on Georgia. Let’s first see what happens against Florida on Oct. 27 in battle for first place in the SEC East.
The Bulldogs still have a excess of great running backs in Elijah Holyfield, James Cook, D’Andre Swift and Brian Herrien. We know he didn’t have a great game against LSU, but there are a lot of teams in the SEC that wish they had QB Jake Fromm.
If the Bulldogs have lost their bite, it might be in the defensive line. LSU pounded though it for 275 yards and three TDs. That was not easy to watch.
We forgive and are willing to forget.