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College Football Top 10 -- Week 4
by Wayne Root - 09/21/2012
1) Alabama---The Tide was on the road, in a hostile environment and playing in a downpour against Arkansas. Eddie Lacy helped Alabama open Southeastern Conference play in style. Lacy ran for three touchdowns and the No. 1 Crimson Tide forced five turnovers in a 52-0 win over Arkansas. The win is Alabama's 21st straight to open conference play. So much for any apparent problems for Bama. AJ McCarron was 11 of 16 passing for 189 yards and a touchdown. The defense has now pitched back to back shutouts! Nothing worked against a Crimson Tide, which extended its shutout streak to nine quarters in the win.
2) LSU---LSU moved up one spot after USC lost and the Tigers defeated Idaho 63-14. The victory gave LSU (3-0) an NCAA FBS record 40th-straight non-conference regular season victory while extending its nation-long regular-season winning streak to 16 games. The second-ranked LSU Tigers open up SEC play this weekend, when they hit the road for the first time this season, taking on the Auburn Tigers are Jordan-Hare Stadium. Auburn finally found the win column last weekend, outlasting a tough ULM squad, 31-28 in overtime. Despite the slow start, Les Miles thinks Auburn is still a dangerous opponent. The home team has won 11 of the last 12 matchups, including a 45-10 LSU win in Baton Rouge in 2011. A lethal offensive attack, LSU is putting up a gaudy 48.3 ppg this year, moving the chains at will on the ground (269.3 ypg), opening up the passing lanes for QB Mettenberger.
3) Oklahoma---The Sooners were off last week. This Saturday they host Kansas St. The trip to Norman will be their first road game of the season for KSU. Landry Jones will have to step up his game this week with his receivers. What we have seen from the Oklahoma receiving crew is that Kenny Stills is the go-to guy averaging 120.5 yards per game. This was the Stills many fans expected to see last season as he was crowned the next number one receiver. Up to this point, the Sooners have implemented a run heavy offense with great success averaging 7.1 yards per carry. The potential here, with an offensive line that lacks depth and has been forced into a bit of shuffle, is that Kansas St. can limit what the rushing attack is capable of producing. Oklahoma has a talented group of receivers, but as of yet, they have not to lived up to the hype. This is one of the better games for this weekend.
4) Oregon---Oregon defeated Tennessee Tech 63-14 last week in their last practice game before opening up conference play this week at home against Arizona. There are the typical highlights from last week all designed to pad the numbers. The Oregon Ducks finally face off against a legitimate opponent as Rich Rodriguez brings his Arizona Wildcats into town for a late night kickoff at Autzen Stadium. Arizona has been a pleasant surprise in the Pac-12 so far this season. After struggling with Toledo in their opener, Arizona put up 59 is a dismantling of Okahoma State, and followed that up with a 56-0 shutout of FCS South Carolina State. This game marks the first trip outside of Tucson for Arizona, as well as the best opponent they have played to date. Oregon will need to exploit the Wildcats defense. The Ducks -- who are listed as a 23 point favorite over the Wildcats blew through their first three opponents by a total score of 162-73.
Oregon's starters have played roughly half the time, in part because none of the games has been particularly close.
5) Florida State---The Noles whitewashed the Deacons of Wake Forest in impressive fashion, 52-0. Just a warm-up for this weeks huge ACC clash. A top-10 collision course is set for Tallahassee this weekend, as the fourth-ranked Florida State Seminoles take on the 10th-ranked Clemson Tigers in a crucial Atlantic Coast Conference affair. This is not just ACC play, this is a division game, and a really, really critical ball game on the schedule. While Clemson is the defending champion, Florida State is viewed as the ACC favorite in 2012. The Seminoles were criticized for a lack of competition in the first two weeks, recording routs of both Murray State (69-3) and Savannah State (55-0), but jumped into ACC action last weekend with similar results, recording a 52-0 shutout of Wake Forest. Because of their schedule of playing 3 patsies thus far, it's very hard to know exactly how talented this team is so we'll get to see Saturday night.
6) Georgia---WOW! Georgia hung on to beat Florida...Atlantic, 56-20. No stats to report. This week they get to host cross-state rival Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt opened the season by hosting South Carolina, and they put up a fight but a late Gamecock touchdown gave the visitors a 17-13 victory. Georgia has yet to be seriously tested in streaking out to a 3-0 start, piling up convincing wins at home against Buffalo (45-23) and Florida Atlantic (56-20), and on the road over Missouri (41-20). The all-time series between these two squads dates all the way back to 1893. The Bulldogs have been especially dominant of late, winning 16 of the past 17 meetings. Heisman-hopeful Aaron Murray is the catalyst for the offense, having completed nearly 64 percent of his passes (51-of-80) for 842 yards with a stellar touchdown-to-interception ratio (eight-to-two).
7) South Carolina---The Gamecocks beat up on lowly UAB last week, 49-6. That was their last warm-up, as they now get into the meaningful part of their schedule as they host Missouri. There's no controversy for South Carolina's Steve Spurrier, not concerning the status of starting quarterback Connor Shaw, or the Southeastern Conference's suspension of safety D.J. Swearinger. Dylan Thompson has thrown for 507 yards and five touchdowns in relief of Shaw the past two games. Shaw could not play the 2nd half last week as his hairline fracture in the shoulder took another hit.
SC still has Marcus Lattimore but his numbers are not that good thru 3 games. He's rushed for just 235 yards and end zoned it 4 times. Cancel his trip to New York City at the end of the year.
8) West Virginia--WVU played as Dan Snyder's guest in DC against James Madison and won 42-12. This week is another warm-up against Maryland. Geno Smith went to complete 34 of 39 passes for 411 yards, moving past Marc Bulger (8,153) to set the school record for career yards passing (8,191). You had to love his press conference after the game. "I had five incompletions," the quarterback said. "I could've completed all five of those." The loudest roar from the crowd was when James Madison forced West Virginia to punt late in the first half. WVU is a 4 TD favorite this week, so not much news for last week or this week on finding their actual strengths and weaknesses.
9) Stanford---Last week USC and Matt Barkley came into Palo Alto looking to see if their "Luck" had changed since Andrew Luck had moved on to the Indianapolis Colts. The fans, millions of viewers and all the Wayne Root faithful knew what to expect. The game was put on "Upset Alert" by Root and the sharp players in Vegas. And after everything was over, the Cardinal prevailed 21-14. (It technically was not an upset as many thought Stanford would win outright). Now it's back to study hall for Stanford as they get this week off before traveling to play Washington.
10) Notre Dame---The Fighting Irish nudged Clemson out of the Top Ten after their first 3 games with last Saturday highlighted by winning at Michigan St as predicted and given to thousands of Wayne Root clients. The 20-3 final was impressive in that Notre Dame has done very little in the past few years. The Fighting Irish are off to their best start in 10 years, with the type of marquee victory that's eluded them for almost as long. The Fighting Irish (3-0) snapped a six-game losing streak against ranked teams and beat a top-10 opponent for the first time in seven years. The last time a top-10 team scored fewer than Michigan State did at home against the Irish was in 1966 when they shut out USC 51-0. Notre Dame had its best showing on defense anywhere against a top-10 opponent since beating Texas A&M 28-3 in 1993. This week their celebrations better be short and over as the Irish host Michigan. It's always good when the Irish are relevant in College Football!!
They're Coming to get You!!
15) Kansas St