Oct 27, 2012; Norman, OK, USA; Oklahoma Sooners head coach Bob Stoops argues a holding call against line judge Todd Reese in the second quarter that brought back a touchdown against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

2012 Week Nine Top Four: Alabama, Kansas State, Notre Dame and Oregon


Kansas State and Notre Dame are playing the role of spoiler this season, as Alabama and Oregon hope that their success over the past few years intimidates their upcoming opponents and keeps the voters on their side.

1) Alabama(8-0)

Trending: Up | Previous Rank: 2 | Next Opponent: LSU Tigers

Defending BCS champion Alabama has dominated each of its opponents this season.  The Alabama schedule has not been as difficult to date this season as it has been historically.  That changes a LITTLE this Saturday when the Crimson Tide travel west to Baton Rouge to play the LSU Tigers at Tigers Stadium. LSU is the only team to beat Alabama since November 2010.  

2) Kansas State(8-0)

Trending: Up  | Previous Ranking: 3  | Next Opponent: Oklahoma State Cowboys

Bill Snyder has Kansas State well prepared on the sidelines, and Collin Klein leads it on the field.  Klein had FOUR touchdowns on Saturday against Texas Tech, distributed evenly between air and ground.  Look for Klein to continue his dominant play against Oklahoma State at home this weekend in Manhattan, Kan.  The Wildcat defense is fairly underrated and will keep Kansas State competitive in its BCS pursuit, even if Klein has an atypical game.

3) Notre Dame (8-0)

Trending: Up | Previous Rank: N/A | Next Opponent: Pittsburgh Panthers

The Fighting Irish certainly have been lucky this season, with a last second win against Stanford and some shady calls against Oklahoma propelling Notre Dame into the national championship discussion.  The next three weeks should be a cake walk with games against Pittsburgh, Boston College and Wake Forest.  Look for the Irish to get beat by USC in Los Angeles in the final week of their regular season and pluck at Brian Kelly’s four-leaf clover.

4) Oregon (8-0)

Trending: Sideways | Previous Rank: 4 | Next Opponent: USC Trojans

Oregon is averaging 53 points per game.  While the Ducks are undefeated, their season really begins in earnest on Saturday against USC in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.  The Ducks and Trojans match-up will give the nation a better idea of whether or not Oregon can legitimately vie for a national championship this season.


On the Outside Looking In:

LSU (7-1)

Trending: Sideways | Previous Rank: N/A | Next Opponent: Alabama Crimson Tide

LSU has had two weeks to prepare for its game against Alabama.  If the Tigers can cause two or three turnovers against the Crimson Tide, then they will have a good chance of upsetting their arch-rival at home in Tigers Stadium on Saturday night. Death Valley will truly shake.





Tags: Alabama Crimson Tide Football Kansas State Wildcats Notre Dame Fighting Irish Oregon Ducks

  • Andrew

    your ND hate is pretty sad…the stanford game it is arguable that the TD should’ve counted, but its also arguable that the whistle was blown dead and that ND who had stanford’s RB stopped subsequently stopped playing allowing him to twist into the end zone. And if you watch the replay, many players including Manti Teo the star linebacker run away from the pile after hearing an obvious whistle, when they were in position to continue to block him from having any chance of spinning into the end zone. As for shady calls versus oklahoma, the flag on oklahoma’s first half tying rushing TD was certainly late, but also not the wrong call (It was a clear hold that made a huge difference as its unlikely bell would have scored had the man who was going to seal the edge hadn’t been held so blatantly), and the flag was thrown much sooner after the play than TV would have you believe, but since the camera’s panned to bell celebrating and the TV station announcers and cameras both praised Bell’s run and did not pick up quickly on the flag, it made it look worse than it was. A late call, but not “shady” or the wrong one. As for any other “shady” calls, if you are referring to Teo’s interception or something, that was a clear interception and while it was close, very very very few people would agree with you that it was the wrong call. You sound like Bob Stoops after the game, blaming everything on “judgement calls.” Almost every penalty is a “judgement call,” but almost everyone would agree those two penalties, which are all I can think of that one could even call “shady,” were the correct calls. Regardless, a 30-13 win over Oklahoma was not completely decided by two calls, and the Irish likely would have won the game regardless (albeit in a closer game), had both of those “shady” calls, that most people think were the correct calls, had gone in Oklahoma’s favor. ND’s defense is elite and their offense is severely underrated and improving every game as Golson, who is young but talented, continues to mature. ND plays their best in big games as well, the sign of a well-coached and clutch team. If you think that they are going to lose to USC that is fine, but calling ND lucky because they had a few close calls go in their favor in big games, despite the fact that pretty universally people agree they were the correct calls, and despite the fact that those calls would not by any means guarantee ND would lose those games, is pretty biased and shows an inherent ND hate. You can hate ND if you want, but letting your bias into articles makes them of poor quality and diminishes you as a writer. Let the bias go, or anything you write about ND and even college football in general loses a lot of its luster and legitimacy.

  • Author

    You make the point that the ref blew the whistle on the goal line play against Stanford . . . the ref should not have blown the whistle. The player was not down and was continuing to move toward the endzone
    When the refs make a late holding call on the road to take-away a touchdown AND do not announce the call on camera or to the patrons in the stands the call is shady. It reminded me of the calls on another ABC 8pm broadcast in 2010 against Boston College where the refs make 2-3 shady calls that gave ND a 14-0 lead early in the 1st Q. Boston College lost 31-17. It was Kelly’s first game coaching at Boston College and ABC made a point of saying that Kelly grew up a Holy Cross fan and that his father was not a fan of BC. If you watch the game, Sean McDonaugh even calls out the refs for the calls being iffy. It all adds up.
    There is a track record in big games this season of the refs favoring ND.

  • Author

    The irony of Notre Dame and the NBC broadcast is that they use Doug Flutie(bc grad) in the pre-game, Mike Mayock for the color analysis(bc grad), they use Bruce Springsteens songs going into commercials in the pre-game(son is a bc grad), they play Dropkick Murphy’s repeatedly in the stadium during game(boston band, who opens their shows playing the bc fight song “For Boston.”
    Notre Dame even needs to one up BC in hockey by joining hockey east and signing a deal with NBC Sports to be the home of ND hockey.
    Can’t let the other Catholic school with sports be good at anything. Total Complex.
    Don’t be surprised if BC makes a play Bob Diaco.

  • Frank P.

    No. What Andrew was saying was that when the ref DID blow the whistle (causing some players, including heavy-hitter Te’o to stop playing and celebrate), it was certainly a legitimate view that Taylor’s forward progress had stopped. We all know that he eventually tiwsted some more and dove in (fumbling), but it’s not an unreasonable call that forward progress had stopped at the time of the whistle. And I’m sorry, but what “all adds up?” You can cherry-pick plays for every team over the course of 5 years, and make an argument the breaks didn’t go their way. Did you watch Notre Dame last year?? Zero breaks went its way. Give them credit for their accomplishments, none of which are the result of shady ref calls. I mean, read your blurb gain about ND up there, to yourself, and think about what kind of product you want your name associated with. You can post whatever you want, but I’m just saying, it matters. Quality matters, whether you realize it now or not.

  • Author

    As an unbiased observer, the Stanford call was boarderline. Real boarderline. The circumstances around the call in the first Q of the Oklahoma game were as shady as any that I have ever seen. Name me a time when a ref has not announced a call to the crowd or to the viewers on TV. Let alone the fact that it was a touchdown scoring play. IF not announcing the infraction to the crowd and viewers was an ERROR by the refs then it calls into question their ability to make a correct holding call in the first place. I saw a lack of judgement, a lack of awareness and a sideline ref on the Oklahoma side who was obviously telling Stoops that it was not his call(the sideline refs call) in addition to the fact that their was a boarderline holding on the ND run for a TD on Wort – LB in the first Q that was not called. Then all of a sudden after the call for ND and non-call for Oklahoma the game was called cleanly/ well by a Big East officiating crew.
    See what I am getting at there. It all adds up.

  • Kyle Kensing

    The luck debate with Notre Dame’s an interesting one. The Irish have definitely had more close calls than the rest of the top 4, but hasn’t played Colorado, North Texas, etc. It reminds me of K-State last year, a lot of questions about how good it really was based on the number of close games. Of course, *winning* late takes mettle. With officiating, Notre Dame is a program that, if it gets judgment calls, is going to be in neon sorta like Duke basketball. The Stepfan Taylor TD/no TD, Te’o’s INT, and the weird way the holding call on Bell’s TD was not expressed draws more attention because of the WHO. Just my two cents.

    - Kyle