What You Need To Know
What was important in Week 4?
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In case you missed any and all the fun, here's all you really need to know from the
fourth weekend of the 2012 college football season.
F.S.U = F.U.N
Florida State went ballistic on Murray State to start the season, took it easy on Savannah State in a shortened game, and blew away Wake Forest. But to put up 49 on a fired up Clemson team with everyone watching is something different. E.J. Manuel has put himself into the wide-open Heisman chase, and the defense, once it decided to start trying harder and with more intensity in the second half, showed off its incredible speed and athleticism. Going to Miami might be a fight, and dealing with a road date at Virginia Tech will be a major test, but after this win and after the way the team played when pushed, it might be a fun ride for the nation's No. 2 scoring offense until the regular season finale against Florida.
Notre Dame matters
The BCS enthusiasm has been tempered a bit by realistic Irish fans who get that their team has flaws. The offense isn't great and it's not consistent, while the quarterback situation will be a storyline all year unless Everett Golson progresses as a passer in a big hurry. However, after winning its Big Ten championship by going 3-for-3 against the struggling conference, the hype and the talk of really, really big things happening will start to build. The schedule remains nasty, but with each passing week and each good win – Stanford is up next – the team looks ready for the challenge. The mistakes have stopped and the defense is allowing just nine points per game. Next up is Miami in Soldier Field in Chicago. Get ready. Each and every week will
bring a new storyline with this team.
Kansas State is hitting its stride
Oklahoma and defensive coordinator Mike Stoops had two weeks to prepare for Collin Klein and the running game, and it didn't matter. John Hubert and Klein formed a deadly 1-2 punch against the Sooners, while the Wildcat defense did its part by holding Landry Jones and company down until late. At 4-0 including wins over OU and Miami on the résumé, now it's time to start thinking about the big picture possibilities. Beating Kansas in two weeks is a must, and the West Virginia game is on the road, so now that Bill Snyder's club has gotten over one of the hardest hurdles in college football, the ranking and respect will shoot up in a hurry.
SEC Least no more
Even with LSU's problems against Auburn, the SEC West still appears to have the two biggest killers up top. Alabama and LSU are true national title contenders, but the rest of the division has its issues with Arkansas going into the tank, Auburn losing three games before October, Texas A&M losing to Florida and Ole Miss still trying to improve. Mississippi State is unbeaten, but it hasn't exactly looked great so far. Now, the SEC East that was the far weaker of the two divisions over the last few years appears to be terrific with Florida, Georgia and South Carolina all unbeaten and all appearing to be serious conference title contenders, while Tennessee's passing attack appears to be a dangerous X factor. Kentucky and Vanderbilt are the weak links, and Missouri hasn't exactly taken the league by storm, but at least now the best conference in college football should be more interesting than just the November 3rd showdown between Alabama and LSU.
Everyone is showing their flaws except for …
Alabama, and maybe Georgia, but the Dawgs don't have the best of offensive lines. Oregon looked shaky in the first half against Arizona – at least as shaky as a team could be that ended up winning 49-0. South Carolina's O line is suspect; Florida's passing game is mediocre; and Florida State got ripped up in the first half by a Clemson team that's good, not phenomenal.
At least Clemson was able to crank up the offense on Auburn to start the season. LSU wasn't able to do that in an odd 12-10 victory. Oklahoma lost, West Virginia didn't blast away Maryland, and Kansas State is still a bit too one-dimensional to start talking about the national title, even with the great win over the Sooners.
Meanwhile, with everyone else showing their Achilles' heel, Alabama kept on chugging along with another dominant performance. Granted, beating up Florida Atlantic 40-7 is hardly anything to get excited about, but unlike just about all the other national title contenders, the Tide appears to be a 100% completely and totally focused and without a major weakness. Coming up soon, though, are road games at Missouri and Tennessee to finally test the Alabama pass defense a bit.