Duke takes down Northwestern 38-14 for the Blue Devils’ third straight win to start the season. The AP Poll now ranks them at No. 18, and the Blue Zone breaks down the new Top 25:
Blue Devils crack the top 20
For back to back years, Duke has started the season 3-0, a true sign of excellence from head coach Mike Elko. Taking a 17-7 lead into the half, the Blue Devils came out hot in the second, outscoring the Wildcats 14-0 in the third quarter. Holding up in the fourth, Duke covered the 17.5-point spread, proving its dominance against Northwestern. A big win over a Power Five opponent captured the voters’ attention, bumping the Blue Devils up three spots heading into their first road contest at UConn before Notre Dame comes to Durham for a big Week 5 matchup. The No. 18 is the highest Duke has been ranked in the AP Poll since 1994.
Low tide in Tuscaloosa
Although the team came out with a win, Alabama struggled mightily against USF on Saturday, causing the poll to drop it out of the top 10 for the first time since the 2015 season. The Crimson Tide have tried three different quarterbacks already this season, with none of the three being particularly effective.
This comes in the midst of the third straight disappointing season for head coach Nick Saban’s standards, with many beginning to question if a dynasty is beginning to fall in the SEC. Although they have finished in the top five of the AP Poll for the last two seasons, the usual dominance from the Tide has not been there, with an abundance of games similar to last weekend showing up over the past three seasons. Just a week ago, they lost a streak of 21 straight wins at home, and Saban’s team is no longer considered the creme de la creme of the SEC, being replaced by the Georgia Bulldogs — the back-to-back national champions
Alabama begins league play next weekend, with a revenge game against the Ole Miss Rebels and their always potent offense under head coach Lane Kiffin. Including that game, Saban’s squad will play seven straight conference opponents. As such, the Tide do still control their own destiny, and winning out will take them to the SEC championship in early December. It is possible, but a major turn offensively will be necessary for it to occur.
DJ Got Us Fallin' in Love…?
The Oregon State Beavers are ranked at No. 14 after a 3-0 start, led by former top recruit DJ Uiagalelei. The Beavers travel to Pullman, Wash., next weekend for their first conference game, facing a top 25 Washington State team that also looks promising. Although it plays in a tough Pac-12, Oregon State’s offensive capabilities make it a true contender for the CFP playoff if the Beavers keep at this pace.
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