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The Buckeyes are starting to find their groove again after rushing the football against Rutgers last weekend. Courtesy photo
The Buckeyes are starting to find their groove again after rushing the football against Rutgers last weekend. Courtesy photo
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Inside Information: College football’s cream rises to top

We are quickly running through the 2021 college football season as we begin to separate the contenders from the pretenders. In Division I, 17 teams remain unbeaten. Time to grade the AP Top Ten through my eyes. But it appears to me that Alabama and Georgia are just too good for the rest.

But that’s why we play the games!

(All games Saturday unless noted)

  1. Alabama (5-0) — The Crimson Tide survived a scare two weeks ago against Florida and stopped the 2-point Gator conversion to win, 31-29. Since then they refocused and doubled up Ole Miss last weekend, 42-21, and are very physical, well-coached and have superior athletes. HC Nick Saban is 24-0 coaching against his former assistants. Next: at Texas A& M. Grade: A+
  2. Georgia (5-0) — Bulldogs, right behind Alabama in every poll, have shown the country what a tremendous defense they bring to play. They have allowed just 23 points through five games, including back-to-back shutouts against Vanderbilt (62-0) and Arkansas (37-0). Next: at No. 18 Auburn. Grade: A
  3. Iowa (5-0) — the surprise Top Ten team surged to No. 3 in the AP poll with a dominant win against Maryland last Friday night. The Hawkeyes defense is allowing a stingy 11.6 points per game. Their offense is somewhat stagnant and boring, however. Well coached and balanced, this team is a grinder. Next: No. 4 Penn State. Grade B-
  4. Penn State (5-0) — Looking like a true power team but desperately looking for a running game. The Nittany Lions already have wins over Wisconsin, Auburn and Indiana. PSU is more physical than in previous years and their defense has been solid. The team focus is apparent, the running game is not. Next: at No. 3 Iowa. Grade: A
  5. Cincinnati (4-0) — The Bearcats are extremely well-coached and dangerous after wins against Indiana and Notre Dame. I believe HC Luke Fickell will be the next USC Trojans coach. If you want a blueprint on how to build a college football team, this is it. Next: Temple (Friday). Grade B+
  6. Oklahoma (5-0) — Do not know what to make of Oklahoma. The Sooners have escaped two games — West Virginia (16-13) and Nebraska (23-16). They have been way below their scoring average after trouncing Western Carolina, 76-0, three weeks ago, and their defense is not trustworthy. Next: vs. Texas at Cotton Bowl, Dallas. Grade: Incomplete
  7. Ohio State (4-1) — One of two teams in the Top Ten with a loss. The Buckeyes are starting to find their groove by rushing the football against Rutgers last weekend. They’re flexing their muscles after a Week 2 loss to Oregon and are starting to find some synchronization after losing QB and field general Justin Fields to the NFL. Beware! Next: Maryland. (Note: The Terps have yet to beat OSU since joining the Big Ten.) Grade B+
  8. Oregon (4-1) — The Ducks dropped to No. 8 from the 3rd spot last week. Lost a tough game to Stanford as they watched the Cardinal score on the final play of regulation, then convert a 2-point conversion to send the game into OT. An ugly 31-24 loss for Oregon. Will use off-week to get healthy. Next: California (Friday, Oct. 15). Grade: B
  9. Michigan (5-0) — The Wolverines have been saying for years, all we need is a quarterback. Well, they got one in Cade McNamara, a junior from Reno, Nevada, who has been spot-on in an unbeaten start. The offensive line has been spectacular early on, and the Wolverines are playing with new, obvious confidence. HC Jim Harbaugh might have something here. Next: at Nebraska. Grade: B+
  10. BYU (5-0) — The Cougars are relentless. Losing Zach Wilson to the NY Jets has given the reins to another solid signal-caller, Jaren Hall, who has been injured. He’s been terrific but is also questionable for this weekend’s game. BYU has won 16 of its last 17 games after winning its first nine games in a row last season. Next: Boise State. Grade: A

***

Knocking on the Door:

  1. Michigan State (5-0)
  2. Oklahoma State (5-0)
  3. Coastal Carolina (5-0)
  4. Wake Forest (5-0)
  5. SMU (5-0)
  6. SAN DIEGO STATE (4-0)

***

NFL Week 4 Grades

A: Buffalo, Arizona, Green Bay, Chargers.

B: Baltimore, Seattle, Cleveland.

C — for Congratulations: Jets and Giants for win No. 1

***

Football picks

College football — Week 6

VIRGINIA +2 1/2 vs Louisville
TCU -1 1/2 vs Texas Tech
WESTERN MICHIGAN  -11 1/2 vs Ball State

NFL —Week 5

NÉW ORLEANS / WASHINGTON  over 44 1/2
PITTSBURGH -1 vs Denver
CLEVELAND +1 1/2 over LA Chargers

Last week: 0-5 (lost three games by one or two points)

Season:  12–12 (50%)

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