Tuesday Question ... Who's No. 4?
If Florida, Texas, and Alabama are the three best teams in the nation, who's No. 4? The CFNers try to answer that in the latest Tuesday Question.
Tuesday Question ... Sept. 29
Who's No. 4?
Q: Who's No. 4?
Assuming it's Florida, Alabama, and Texas as the
unquestioned top three, in some order, No. 4 is
probably Virginia Tech, Auburn has a say in the
matter, .and Houston probably deserves it.
There's one thing I do know; LSU is as soft a No. 4
in the current Coaches' Poll as they come. The
struggling Tiger team is that high on name
recognition alone, and anyone who saw the
down-to-the-wire win over Mississippi State and also
watched Auburn's dismantling of the Bulldogs, with
390 rushing yards and five touchdowns, knows who the
better team is. The Auburn 41-30 win over West
Virginia isn't getting enough credit, either.
And no, Boise State isn't the fourth best team in
America. It's good, really good, but the home win
over a flaky Oregon team isn't enough. It's not like
beating Oklahoma State in Stillwater and following
it up with a win over a pumped up and focused Texas
Tech. Houston has the two best wins of any team in
America (outside of my No. 4 team) and cranked out
the nation's No. 2 offense while doing it. If Texas
did what the Cougars did, many would be shifting
their No. 1 votes from Florida.
For now, I'm putting Virginia Tech as my four.
Nebraska is good, and the Hokies found a way to win
with a tough defensive day to clamp off solid Husker
drives, and then came the Miami dismantling. The
Canes had looked like a possible top five team and
it was undressed and spanked by the Virginia Tech
lines, running game, and pass rush. Beating Nebraska
and Miami earns Tech the spot just on the outside
looking in, but give it two weeks. The trip to
Georgia Tech could change that up in a hurry.
Q: Who's No. 4?
A: There's no easy answer on that No. 4 team now that Ole Miss proved unworthy of the spot last Thursday night. I think ultimately a team, like Oklahoma, Ohio State, or Virginia Tech, could wind up filling that void, but I can't see slotting a one-loss team that high or this early. Does anyone have a more impressive road win than the one 4-0 Iowa delivered Saturday night? Cincinnati is looking as if it could have a special season. Raise your hand if you've beaten two quality Big 12 South schools, the way Houston did in September. Geez, I'm really dancing around this question. I'd leave LSU at No. 4 by default because no one else is worthy of the honor. And, while not all that impressive getting there, the Tigers have three dubyas over BCS schools, including the opener in Seattle, which is closer to a quality win than it was on Sept. 5.
Yeah, without hesitation, I'd leave Florida, Texas, and Alabama among the top three teams. What has any of them done to deserve a demotion? In fact, if the regular season was over, I'd probably pit Florida against Alabama in a Rose Bowl classic, leaving Texas to cry bloody murder for a second straight year.
Q: Who's No. 4?
Keeping in mind that polls shouldn't be released until the second week of November at the very earliest, and that early-season polls should vary wildly from week to week based on changing results and resumes, the No. 4 team in America should be Virginia Tech. The Hokies played Alabama tough, and then beat Nebraska (even though they needed some good fortune to do so), followed by the thumping of Miami.
No, it's not Florida, Texas and Alabama, only because the Gators and Longhorns haven't beaten any giants yet. Once they do, they will be duly elevated. For now, a results-based top 3 (in accordance with the methods used by Doug Lesmerises of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer) should have Alabama on top, followed by Houston and then Boise State.
The big thing to realize is to not get your knickers in a twist. This season has that wacky 2007 vibe; plenty of upheaval lies ahead.
Q: Who's No. 4?
It's tempting to throw Boise State into the four spot behind the Big Three, especially after Oregon's rout of California, but if you're looking for the nation's fourth-finest squad, it's Oklahoma. The Sooners were dismissed as soon as they fell apart in the second half against Brigham Young, and they deserved to fall, since that late Cougar drive had nothing to do with Sam Bradford's shoulder injury. OU has since won two games and shown itself to have the potential to have one of the strongest defenses in the country. The Sooners are slapping people around along the front seven, piling up the tackles for loss, and making it hard of late for enemy QBs to do much of anything. Go ahead and disparage Idaho State and Tulsa, but the Golden Hurricane has averaged 45.7 ppg in its games against teams other than Oklahoma, which shut out the high-powered Tulsa attack two weeks ago. The Sooners are running the ball well, thanks to DeMarco Murray and Chris Brown, and backup QB Landry Jones has looked sharp in his two games as a starter. If the offensive line continues to mature – and it has allowed two sacks all year and paved the way for 4.9 yards/rush – the Sooners will continue to be formidable. The big question, of course, is Bradford. He threw a little last week, and coach Bob Stoops refuses to say whether he'll play against Miami this week. Even without Bradford, the Sooners have a good shot against the ‘Canes. With him, they can take out Texas in a couple weeks. If that happens, all will fine, and OU can start preparing to play the winner of the Florida-Alabama game for all the marbles.