With apologies to Mr. Osato from You Only Live Twice, this season is starting to round into shape. The top five on my ballot fell together nicely. I suppose that one could quibble with Alabama being the #1 team in the country despite the fact that its marquee win isn’t as good as those of LSU or Oklahoma, but I started the year with the notion that Bama is the best team in the country and I haven’t seen anything to disabuse me of that notion. Put the Tide on the field against the Tigers or Sooners and I think that Saban/Smart’s defense would strangle either one. Alabama and LSU really look like mirror images of one another. After a season in which the SEC was dominated by high-powered offense, led by Auburn showing that a team can win a national title with an average defense, the elite teams in the conference look like mirro images of one another: deep, athletic, well-schooled defenses, paired with physical running games and game manager quarterbacks. It’s a Tony Barnhart wet dream. Jarrett Lee versus A.J. McCarron can take him back to John Lastinger against Randy Campbell.
However, my pick for the other half of the national title game is lnot exactly looking strong on the defensive side of the ball. What the hell, Brothers Pelini? Seven returning starters on a defensive unit that finished seventh nationally in yards per play allowed and you allow 38 points on 6.2 yards per play to Washington? At home? The week after you allowed 29 points and 5.5 yards per play at home against Fresno State? That date in Madison in two weeks is not looking good for the Huskers.
And speaking of the Midwest, in case you’re wondering, the answer is yes, I did enjoy filling out a ballot that did not include Michigan State, Notre Dame, or Ohio State. My only regret from the weekend is that aesthetically speaking, the Miami-Ohio State game would have been better if it were in the Orange Bowl.