Stuart McNair

Alabama should continue to be number one in this week’s polls

There will be a little shakeup in this week’s football polls

The major polls elected to wait until Monday to announce this week’s top 25. The Associated Press poll of sportswriters and broadcasters and the Coaches Poll are ordinarily fairly close, and likely will be again this week, although there is some shakeup.

And one can’t help but wonder why the polls waited for the outcome of Georgia’s win over South Carolina? Neither is within shouting distance of the top 25.

Houston has been the fair-haired child of those who think the so-called Group of Five – teams from lower level conferences that are not part of the Power Five. The Cougars seemed to have only two difficult games on their schedule this year. Houston defeated Oklahoma, which several teams will do this year, and has yet to play Louisville. One of those tough teams was not expected to be Navy, but the Midshipmen knocked Houston (5-1) out of any conceivable College Football Playoff conversation for the rest of the season.

That doesn’t mean Houston won’t continue in the conversation, but it is only because the loss to Navy doesn’t take any luster off Cougars Coach Tom Herman, who will continue to be the hottest name among those Power Five teams looking for a new coach.

Although Alabama (6-0) Coach Nick Saban wasn’t happy with his team’s performance Saturday, a 49-30 win over 16th ranked Arkansas in Fayetteville is the stuff that keeps the nation’s Number One team in that position, as it has been all season.

Ohio State (5-0) will remain No. 2 based on its extraordinary talent than on its win over Indiana.

Clemson (6-0) was expected to struggle at Boston College Friday night, but the Tigers of Coach Dabo Swinney handled the situation looking like the team that was tops in the polls going into last year’s College Football Playoff. Clemson deserves to stay No. 3.

After that it gets a little scrambled. Many will have Michigan (6-0) in that fourth spot, but the performance of Washington (6-0) elevates the Huskies into what I would judge to be the top four.

Based on strength of schedule, Texas A&M (6-0) would be my fifth team, and even though Louisville (4-1) has a loss, it was a down-to-the-wire loss at Clemson, and I would put the Cardinals sixth.

Michigan (6-0) comes in seventh, lower than most polls have them primarily because of its very weak schedule.

Mike Riley’s Nebraska team has earned a spot in the top 10 at eighth.

No one wants to see Baylor in the College Football Playoff because of the off-season revelations of a football program out of control, but the Bears (5-0) appear to be a solid top ten team, in at No. 9.

Tennessee (5-1) has had its struggles, but the Vols have a team of very good players and hang on at No. 10.

The first two-loss team in our poll is Ole Miss (3-2), whose losses were to Florida State on the road in the first week of the season and to No. 1 Alabama. We put the Rebels at 11.

Two other Southeastern Conference teams belong somewhere in the top 25, although we have a bitter taste about Florida’s (4-1) shenanigans in not getting its game against LSU played over the weekend. The other is Auburn (4-2), whose losses have come at the hands of undefeated top 10 teams.

We won’t really try to rank the entire top 25 because no one has asked us to vote in any poll, but we’re aware that teams like Wisconsin, Boise State, Virginia Tech, Florida State, Miami, the aforementioned Houston, West Virginia, and Utah have a case.

And we think Arkansas (4-2) would beat a lot of those teams that will make it into this week’s top 25.

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