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Poll Watch: Miami Hurricanes Slip after being Dismantled by Alabama

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Along with some other big names in the ACC, Miami fell in both the AP Top 25 and Coaches Poll

NCAA Football: Alabama at Miami Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Saturday was bad. It was Tommy watching his brother getting beat in Goodfellas, bad. Outside of a hard evening for Miami Hurricanes football, it was also a brutal one for the other ACC contending teams, well maybe not for the Virginia Tech Hokies . Both the Clemson Tigers and North Carolina Tar Heels suffered losses in the first week of college football. And FSU lost a nail biter to Notre Dame. However, it was an exciting time for the FCS. Montana beat the Washington Huskies for their fifth-ever win over a ranked FBS opponent. ETSU destroyed the Vanderbilt Commodores 23-3, UC Davis took care of Tulsa, and several other matchups caused enough chaos to remind us why college football is so great.

Defense ruled the weekend. And if you don’t believe me, just ask Sam Howell’s INT stat line. Penn State also had crucial picks against Wisconsin quarterback Graham Mertz. Defensive plays like that led to their 16-10 win over the Badgers. The Iowa Hawkeyes also had three interceptions against star Indiana quarterback Michael Penix Jr. In the Clemson vs Georgia game, Christopher Smith’s pick six broke the scoreless deadlock. It was also a game that after it ended, it became pretty clear that the SEC can really get two teams in the College Football Playoff. The top ACC teams looked shaky and the Oklahoma Sooners and Oregon Ducks didn’t look dominant. A shuffle of Alabama, Georgia, Texas A&M or any other one-loss SEC team may have a chance to sneak in.

Speaking of those powerhouse teams, it’s time to take a look at how those matchups shifted the landscape of the college polls. Let’s get into the surges, and unfortunately for Miami, the drops in the AP Top 25 and Coaches Polls this week.

Coaches Poll

NCAA Football: Alabama at Miami Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

1. Alabama Crimson Tide

2. Georgia Bulldogs

3. Ohio State Buckeyes

4. Oklahoma Sooners

5. Texas A&M Aggies

6. Clemson Tigers

7. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

8. Cincinnati Bearcats

9. Florida Gators

10. Iowa State Cyclones

11. Oregon Ducks

12. Iowa Hawkeyes

13. Penn State Nittany Lions

14. USC Trojans

15. Texas Longhorns

16. UCLA Bruins

17. Wisconsin Badgers

18. Utah Utes

19. Coastal Carolina Chanticleers

20. Ole Miss Rebels

21. Virginia Tech Hokies

22. North Carolina Tar Heels

23. Oklahoma State Cowboys

24. Miami Hurricanes

25. Arizona State Sun Devils

Other Teams Receiving Votes: Auburn 123; Michigan 99; Louisiana State 95; NC State 81; Liberty 78; Brigham Young 65; Indiana 58; Texas Christian 49; Central Florida 48; Florida State 34; Michigan State 33; Kentucky 28; Pittsburgh 20; UL Lafayette 19; Kansas State 19; Boston College 19; Appalachian State 15; Southern Methodist 14; Rutgers 11; Arkansas 11; Maryland 9; Tennessee 7; Nevada 7; Fresno State 7; Army 7; Tulane 6; Virginia 5; San Jose State 5; Missouri 5; Ball State 5; Marshall 3; UAB 2; Air Force 2; Charlotte 1.


AP Top 25

NCAA Football: Georgia at Clemson Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

1. Alabama Crimson Tide

2. Georgia Bulldogs

3. Ohio State Buckeyes

4. Oklahoma Sooners

5. Texas A&M Aggies

6. Clemson Tigers

7. Cincinnati Bearcats

8. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

9. Iowa State Cyclones

10. Iowa Hawkeyes

11. Penn State Nittany Lions

12. Oregon Ducks

13. Florida Gators

14. USC Trojans

15. Texas Longhorns

16. UCLA Bruins

17. Coastal Carolina Chanticleers

18. Wisconsin Badgers

19. Virginia Tech Hokies

20. Ole Miss Rebels

21. Utah Utes

22. Miami Hurricanes

23. Arizona State Sun Devils

24. North Carolina Tar Heels

25. Auburn Tigers

*The AP website is crazy right now. The poll will be updated with the other teams that received votes when the site seeks medical or html attention. *

Analysis

NCAA Football: Ohio State at Minnesota Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports

This weekend we saw two teams from the same conference emerge as the favorites to win the national championship- Alabama and Georgia. And the polls agree. In a battle of heavyweights, Georgia toppled Clemson 10-3. Clemson did not come away looking like a national title contender. Their offensive line was tossed around by Georgia and without gamebreakers like Travis Etienne (now in the NFL), D.J. Uiagalelei and the offense looked flat. They literally rushed for a net of 2 yards. Uiagalelei was sacked seven times and Georgia’s defense caused a negative play an average of once every 6.5 snaps. It was also the worst scoring output of the Dabo Swinney era. Georgia moved up to 2 in the country and Clemson was pushed down to 6 after the loss.

In the other top-rated quarterback showcase, Oklahoma’s Spencer Rattler threw a pair of picks which almost let the Tulane Green Wave pull off an upset. Neither Oklahoma’s offense or defense looked spectacular in the 40-35 victory. Texas A&M’s Haynes King also threw two picks in the Aggies 41-10 destruction of Kent State and Iowa State’s Brock Purdy also looked inconsistent in a 16-10 victory over Northern Iowa. The up-and-down performances at quarterback for these ranked teams didn’t do much damage as Oklahoma only slid to 4, Texas A&M blowout landed them at 5, and Iowa State remained in the top 10 at 9.

But, the games also made me decide that if any team plans on competing with Alabama for the national championship, the quarterbacks on all of these contending teams will have to play way better than they did this weekend.

Also in the SEC, LSU showed that 2020 was not just a hiccup. The Tigers were held to 53 yards on the ground by the UCLA Bruins defense in the 38-27 loss. UCLA also dominated Hawaii last week by the score of 44-10. The back-to-back wins for Bruins has them ranked at 16th. Ole Miss’ and Matt Corral’s dominant 43-24 performance against the Louisville Cardinals moved them from unranked to 20th this week.

The Longhorns’ sophomore running back Bijan Robinson touched the ball 24 times, had 176 total yards, and two touchdowns against previously ranked Louisiana. Along with great play by first-year quarterback Hudson Card, the Longhorns won 38-18. Steve Sarkisian’s opening week as Texas’ new coach took to 21 in the polls.

The erratic Big Ten was on full display this weekend. After Iowa’s dominant 34-6 win over Indiana, they have emerged as the most impressive team from the Big Ten West. They also surged to 10 in the AP Top 25.

Penn State’s 16-10 road victory over Wisconsin led to a jump in the rankings from 19 to 11. Jahan Dotson exploded for 5 catches, for 102 yards, and 1 TD. He gave the Nittany Lions an explosive element on the outside and impressed. The Nittany Lions defense also closed the door on the Badgers as they were trying to get a game-tying or game-winning score. The Badgers fell to 18.

A few teams that did no damage to themselves this weekend were USC and Cincinnati. The Bearcats still remain the favorite to punch their tickets to the Group of Five’s New Year’s Six, even though the rest of American Athletic Conference showed how disastrous it is on the field this week. Cincinnati beat Miami (OH) 49-14 and Desmond Ridder looked like the only QB draft prospect who came to play on Saturday. The Trojans also beat San Jose State 30-7. The good weekend for both teams landed the Bearcats 7 and Trojans at 14 in the the AP.

In the ACC, Sam Howell threw the first fourth-quarter interceptions of his career against the Hokies in UNC’s 17-10 loss to the Hokies. Howell’s wide receivers struggled to get separation all night and to make plays against VT’s secondary. Braxton Burmesiter marginally outplayed Howell, who turned the ball over in key situations. Also Raheem Blackshear looked like a mismatch every time he got his hands on the ball. The Tar Heels’ performance didn’t do much to quiet the “overrated” murmurs from the offseason. UNC fell all the way to 24 in the AP Top 25.

Speaking of overrated, Notre Dame is back to their old selves. Or the Florida State Seminoles offense is better than we think it is. The Fighting Irish outlasted FSU to notch a 41-38 victory. Mckenzie Milton did his best to mount a comeback after leading a the Seminoles on a 4th-quarter tying TD drive. But the Notre Dame squeezed it out by a FG. in overtime. As a result, Notre Dame stays in the top 10 and got the 8th spot in the AP.

And last but not least, we have Miami. Alabama saw no resistance during their easy 44-13 win against the Canes. New and starting quarterback Bryce Young was outstanding with 344 yards passing and four touchdowns. The Bama defense also had their way with D’Eriq King and the Hurricanes offense all afternoon. It was a complete slaughter. The Tide out-gained the Canes 501-266 in yardage. And even worse, it looked effortless on their part. This was always going to be a tough game for Miami but as a measuring stick, the Canes looked outmatched, out-coached, and like they didn’t belong on the same field as Bama. The loss dropped Miami to 22 and will have the looking for some answers before they take on Appalachian State this weekend.