I’ve often noted that the football polls are nothing more than popularity contests that trade upon name recognition and reputation as much as actual performance on the field.
Consider: Northwestern is undefeated, and has beaten a ranked opponent - Stanford. Yet the Wildcats are in 17th place.
Stanford beat USC, but is now ranked behind the Trojans because…well because it’s an opinion poll.
Michigan State’s position behind Ohio State is significant insofar as it demonstrates that after years of excellence, the Spartans are finally gaining national credibility. Last week two lonely columnists gave them first-place votes. This week seven did. If Ohio State continues to sputter along against feeble opponents, the much-anticipated matchup of No. 1 and 2 in Columbus may end up with the Spartans being the favorite.
Amazing, when one considers how things were only a few years ago.
HOW ABOUT THOSE ZOOMIES! Air Force looked solid. They were fast, relentless and confusing. Some critics have issues with MSU’s performance, but the Falcons are a legitimate threat. After MSU took a commanding lead, Dantonio (as is his wont) took his foot off the gas and tried to get the running game going.
It didn’t work because without a credible pass threat, the Zoomies kept 8-9 players in the box. Good as it is, it’s hard to create a hole when you are outnumbered 2-1 in the trenches.
The secondary remains a concern but here again, the triple option left MSU spread very thin. In addition, the cadets aren’t known for throwing deep balls, which clearly caught the Spartan defenders off guard.
All in all, given the let-down after Oregon, the Spartans didn’t look half bad.
Contrasted with the Buckeyes, they looked positively great.
MEANWHILE, IN THE BIG CUPCAKE HOUSE: Just as I was noting how things have changed in East Lansing, it’s also interesting to see the once-miiiiighty Skunk Bears reduced to celebrating home victories against winless Mountain West squads.
It is strange to see the ESPN/ABC/SEC ticker offer top 25 scores and then note that Jim Harbaugh successfully routed a patsy in his second home game. I’m reminded of the way toddlers are potty trained, with each successful excretion treated as a cause for joyful celebration.
Clearly Harbaugh is able to make da poo-poo in the pot-pot, and it speaks volumes that the college football industrial media complex regards this as breaking news.
SEC? WHAT SEC?! Oh my goodness the most overhyped conference in the land is making utter fools of themselves. Louisiana State might be legitimate, but it’s hard to know given how overrated Auburn was coming into the game.
Kudos to Texas Tech. for twisting the knife on Big Ten apostate Bret Bielema. The only thing that would make this even more fun would be if Arkansas then goes on a tear through the SEC West and proves that Toledo is the dominant team in the conference.
And who didn’t enjoy watching Nick Saban’s opening fail against Ole Miss? It has long been rumored that Saban’s success was the result of a Faustian bargain one cannot help but wonder when the payment is due.