Winning is always great. In the new college football postseason era, winning-out on a decent schedule probably gets you a shot at the championship. But not all is peaches and beer pong in the land of the undefeated. After all, only four teams get a shot at taking home the championship trophy. So, despite being loss-less rocky wins, early injuries, and close games could (and rightfully should) make fans at home a little nervous about the rest of the season. Here are the top three teams, who despite being undefeated, should be worried about going into today’s game.
Auburn – The fact that Auburn (2-0) barely squeaked out a win against Louisville (0-3) and still managed to avoid a drop in the rankings is quite shocking. Louisville went into the season dealing with multiple off-the-field issues, quarterback controversy, and a lackluster run defense. Despite a hot start Auburn looked sluggish in the second half, allowing Louisville a chance at victory up until the very last second.
Auburn eventually dropped eight spots after defeating an unranked Jacksonville State (1-1) in OT. If it weren’t for a botched punt with under a minute left, the Tigers would most likely be heading into today’s game against LSU (1-0) with a loss under their belt.
It seemed as though the game against Louisville could’ve been a fluke- first game jitters perhaps. But the OT victory over Jacksonville State shows that Auburn must re-legitimize themselves as a serious contender before they can move back up.
They have a shot to do so in today’s game against LSU.
Although it may not seem like it from watching the past two games, LSU is Auburn’s first real opponent thus far. A victory against LSU could give Auburn fans, coaches, and players a little relief from what is is shaping up to be a very rocky start. For the Tigers, a big win today could be exactly what they need.
Notre Dame – There were many unanswered questions for Notre Dame going into the 2015 season. Would Malik Zaire be ready to take over as the starting quarterback? Has the defense improved enough to be deserving of the 6th overall defense in college football? After their 38-3 domination over Texas it seemed as though the answers to those questions were yes, and yes. The 6′ 222lb Junior completed 19 of his 22 passes against the Longhorns, racking up a total of 313 yards and three touchdowns. And the defense held Texas to a mere three points. Talks of Notre Dame (2-0) as a likely contender for the playoffs were abuzz.
It seemed as though the doubts vanished, that was until Malik Zaire fell to a broken ankle late in the 3rd quarter last Saturday against Virginia (0-2). The Caveliers began attacking through the air and the Irish secondary was slow to adjust. This forced Notre Dame to respond with an inexperienced, second-string freshman quarterback Deshone Kizer.
Kizer’s first drive was a disaster. He was nervous, flustered, and indecisive. And it showed.
Down 26-27 with 1:54 left on the clock it was up to Kizer to lead the Irish to victory. Kizer looked infinitely more relaxed, completing every one of his passes as he sought to set up kicker Justin Yoon with a game-winning field goal. Unbeknown to Kizer, however, Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly had other plans.
Kelly allowed Kizer to take a shot at the end zone. With a few seconds left on the clock, he launched a 39 yard pass and Fuller snagged it in for the game winning touchdown.
Notre Dame managed to rally against Virginia but not without consequence. They revealed to opponents everywhere that their secondary can be worked. And although Kizer finished strong, there is currently a rather large question mark over the inexperienced quarterback’s head.
Today, Notre Dame will face-off against a tough Georgia Tech (2-0). This is far from a throwaway game, and Irish fans everywhere should be a little nervous about what lies ahead.
Baylor – The Bears are undefeated. They’ve dominated every team thus far, beating their first two opponents with a combined total of 122-52; ultimately allotting themselves the number one total offense in all of college football. To top it off, they have the advantage of easing into what seems like a difficult schedule down the road.
So why should Baylor (2-0) fans be worried? Despite it all, the Bears are the only team in the top 10 who dropped in the rankings after last week’s match-ups. They’ve done everything they could, yet if the playoffs were tomorrow Baylor would be out. This has to be worrisome for Bears fans, many of whom feel like they were snubbed a playoffs spot last season.
With opponents like Oklahoma (2-0), Oklahoma State (2-0), and TCU (2-0) in their future, Baylor needs a ranking high enough to be able to take a loss. As of now they aren’t in that spot.
Ohio State has the burden of being number one, and thus, can only go down in the rankings. However, after Baylor’s recent drop it seems as though they, too, share this burden.
Baylor plays Rice (1-1) 2pm CT and is expected to have another blowout game. But if the Bears fall anything short, don’t be surprised if they drop again.