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CHRIS DUFRESNE / ON COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Nobody should be No. 1

Alabama fails to impress against Tennessee, which lost to UCLA.

October 25, 2009|CHRIS DUFRESNE

Forget what you may have heard, read, said, e-mailed, faxed or tweeted -- there is no No. 1 in college football right now.

Texas might be 1 1/2 , followed by seven or eight No. 2 teams and then a busload of kids.

Put Florida in the top five followed by a list of concerns ending in question marks.

Throw USC in there somewhere between aisle four and seven, next to the canned peas and the last great team that gave up 482 yards to Oregon State.

After watching No. 1 Alabama hold another exciting field goal clinic, why is Cincinnati No. 5?

After watching No. 7 Iowa beat Michigan State on the game's final play, how long can the Hawkeyes keep doing this?

Iowa is starting to resemble the 2002 Ohio State team that pickpocketed its way to the national title.

That year you said "Oh, the Buckeyes will lose this week" every week until they ultimately beat the team they really had no chance against: Miami.

How could our favorite coaches, who have competent sports information directors casting their ballots, collectively decide Oregon is No. 14 in the USA Today poll?

Maybe Texas Christian, which routed Brigham Young in Provo, is really better than Louisiana State.

Doing comparatives in college football is dangerous -- but sometimes it's all we have, and it's fun.

Last year, Utah held a victory over Oregon State that USC didn't have and that helped the Utes win the final argument against the Trojans in the final AP poll. (Utah finished No. 2 behind Florida).

So here we go again:

You watched Saturday's games and thought:

UCLA, which is now 0-4 in Pacific 10 Conference play, beat Tennessee in Knoxville, 19-15, yet Alabama couldn't score a touchdown at home against the Volunteers?

Alabama won, 12-10, because Terrence Cody, a human eclipse, blocked two field goal attempts and the Tennessee kicker missed another field goal on his own.

After Cody swatted down the final attempt as time expired, he ripped his helmet off in clear celebration before the play was even completed.

A Southeastern Conference official explained that an unsportsmanlike-conduct call would not have resulted in a re-kick because time had expired, but wasn't it still a penalty?

You wonder what would have happened last week had an Arkansas player done that to beat Florida in Gainesville.

The officiating crew in that game, which was subsequently suspended, seemed to call a penalty every time a Razorback glared at a Gator.

Yet, taking off your helmet during the play that beat Tennessee is OK?

At least SEC referees are inconsistent.

Comparative II:

USC lost at Washington this year, 16-13. That's a fact. People will tell you it was backup Aaron Corp's fault because he threw a horrible pass that was intercepted late in the game. He did, and it was.

Corp, though, might have never become a pariah in USC history had Stafon Johnson not fumbled deep in Washington territory and Stanley Havili not fumbled deep in Washington territory.

Washington's entire team beat USC's entire team.

Flash forward to Saturday: Oregon wore black helmets and swept through Washington like outlaws on horseback. The final score was 43-19.

Since a season-opening loss at Boise State, the game in which LeGarrette Blount became infamous and America flipped the channel on Oregon, the Ducks have averaged 38.3 points a game in six straight wins.

Quack is back.

The Ducks are leading the Pac-10 at 4-0, with three of those conference wins in routs.

The mystery of elusive quarterback Jeremiah Masoli's injured knee was answered in Seattle -- it's not a Dennis Dixon deal.

Masoli sat out Oregon's 24-10 win at UCLA two weeks ago and was listed as "day to day" through the Ducks' open week.

Tuesday, when asked for an injury update, Oregon Coach Chip Kelly said of Masoli, "He's a little more day-er to day-er today."

You wondered if this was deja vu Dixon. In 2007, Oregon purposely did not divulge the star quarterback had suffered a torn knee ligament in a game against Arizona State. The world found out in the next game, when Dixon collapsed making a cut.

Masoli, though, took the field in Seattle and then took it to Washington. He completed 14 of 22 passes for 157 yards with a touchdown and rushed for 54 yards with two touchdowns.

"Jeremiah is incredible with the ball in his hands," Oregon tailback LaMichael James said afterward.

Everything about Oregon's season right now is ABS -- after Boise State.

The difference with this Oregon team, though, is on defense. The Ducks entered the game ranked 15th nationally and were even respectable in allowing Boise State only 19 points.

The Ducks' defense was supposed to be a concern this year, with only five starters returning, but it has emerged under much-maligned coordinator Nick Aliotti.

That's right, the same Aliotti who coordinated UCLA's maligned 1998 defense into a job at Oregon.

And, of course, USC is coming to Eugene next week, on Halloween.

USC has not won in the state of Oregon since 2005.

It just might be interesting.

--

chris.dufresne@latimes.com

twitter.com/DufresneLATimes

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