nick saban yells on the sideline
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The latest AP Top 25 poll is out and after nine weeks of the 2021 college football season only one thing is clear. Georgia is the best team in the country. After that, everyone has their ideas about who should be in the first College Football Playoff Top 4. That, by the way, will be released Tuesday, Nov. 4.
Let’s take it one step further and include a fifth team. More often than not, the initial CFP Top 4 does not include the four teams that make up the playoffs. If that’s the case this year, maybe No. 5 moves up at some point. Anyway, here’s the real college football Top 5, one sure to cause a stir.
No. 1 – No Surprise
Until someone else proves otherwise, Georgia is absolutely the best college football team in America. They have laid waste to four nationally ranked teams and the Bulldogs defense could be one of the best ever. What makes Georgia’s defense even more special is that they are giving up just 6.6 points per game – first in the nation, of course – in an era where teams score at unprecedented levels.
Head coach Kirby Smart and company have four regular season games remaining. The Bulldogs should win them all – Missouri, Tennessee, Charleston Southern, and rival Georgia Tech. Smart will then likely face his former mentor Nick Saban and Alabama in the SEC title game and it would surprise no one if both teams, regardless of the outcome, make the final CFP.
No. 2 – Oklahoma
Here we go. “But the Sooners barely beat Nebraska then only beat West Virginia by three…blah, blah, blah.” Yep, you can argue all you want, but the Sooners have done something that teams like Alabama, Ohio State, and a couple others have not – win all their games.
Remember when BYU won a national championship? If you’re too young, yeah, BYU won a national title long before even the BCS. The Cougars didn’t win any awards for strength of schedule that season, but they did win ALL of their games.
The Sooners offense is starting to come around now that freshman Caleb Williams has taken over at quarterback. Since their 16-13 win over West Virginia, the Sooners have put up 37, 55, 52, 35, and 52 points. If they win the Big 12 for the zillionth time in a row, then the Sooners are in. No question.
No. 3 – Ohio State
And, here we go again. “But they lost…and they lost at home…blah, blah.” Yep, the Buckeyes did lose. They lost to the seventh-ranked team in the nation. Since then, they obliterated five opponents before disposing of a ranked Penn State team that always plays Ohio State tough.
The Buckeyes put up 33 points on a very good Nittany Lions offense. Prior to that? How about 54, 66, 52, 59, and 41? C.J. Stroud has figured it out and the Buckeyes on their way to another Big Ten title. They will run into an unbeaten Michigan State on Nov. 20. They play the AP No. 5 Spartans at home and they’ll face rival “That Team Up North” aka Michigan on the road on Nov. 27. Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh has yet to beat the Buckeyes.
No. 4 – Cincinnati
Well, the Bearcats – No. 2 in the AP poll – are 8-0. They beat two Power 5 programs – Indiana and Notre Dame – both on the road. The win over Notre Dame was impressive. The one over Indiana…meh, but it was a convincing win over the Hoosiers.
Since then, the Bearcats have been getting the best out of their opponents. Navy scored 10 points in the fourth quarter to make it look closer than the 27-20 score indicated. Last week, the Bearcats underwhelmed in a 31-12 victory over 1-7 Tulane.
Look, Luke Fickell’s team might be the best Group of 5 team to ever even have a shot at the CFP. They play great defense and QB Desmond Ridder can make plays on offense. Until someone beats them – SMU comes to town on Nov. 20 – the Bearcats stay in the Top 4.
No. 5 – Michigan State
But, what about Alabama? Yeah, what about them? A failed two-point conversion saved the Tide in a 31-29 win over Florida, who is now 4-4. Then, there was the one where they fall behind 24-10 only to come back and appear to have a win over Texas A&M. Instead, Alabama decided to stop playing defense and give the Aggies a 41-38 win.
Sparty defeats the Wolverines but has one heck of a schedule left.
That, ladies and gentleman, opens the door for good ‘ole Sparty himself. Mel Tucker has the Michigan State Spartans back in the thick of it. After beating in-state rival Michigan last week, the Spartans are 8-0 and control the Big Ten East Division. They still must face Ohio State (Nov. 20) and Penn State (Nov. 27), but the Spartans have the recipe for success. Just enough defense (20.5 points allowed per game) combined with the nation’s second-leading rusher, Kenneth Walker III who has 1,194 yards and 14 touchdowns on the ground so far in 2021.
There you have it. The real college football top five.