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Sunday, September 24, 2006

Who's the Best?

We've seen four weeks of college football now, and while the major polls have not changed from their original position on Ohio State, anyone who watched Penn State push the Buckeyes around has to be wondering. Meanwhile, the Trojans' offense for the second consecutive week looked more ordinary than in years' past. Notre Dame, the bandwagon choice at the start of the year, just barely kept its title hopes alive in East Lansing. Miami and Florida State are already on the outside looking in.

All of this leads me to one conclusion: the Auburn Tigers should be the nation's top-ranked team. Of the undefeateds, Auburn has played in the toughest ballgame to date - a gutsy 7-3 victory over LSU. Ohio State beat Texas, but the Longhorns looked nothing like Vince Young's national championship squad of a year ago. And the Buckeyes' struggles against a Penn State team that got absolutely thwacked by Notre Dame suggests they aren't as unbeatable as the media would lead you to believe. The same can be said of Southern California. An anemic Pac-10 (the decimal point has been misplaced one spot to the right for a few years) likely will allow the Trojans to march into its last game of the season undefeated. (I predict they will not survive that showdown with Notre Dame, whose defense will be buoyed by seven games of experience for its fast freshmen defensive backs.)

In contrast, Auburn just looks mean so far this year. They may not have the offensive pizzaz that Ohio State is capable of, but no team can match Auburn's balance -- and their defense is just nasty. This may be the year Tuberville's kids finally get invited to the dance. Woe to their dance partners.

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