Senior College Football Columnist

Power Poll: With this defense, time to get serious about Notre Dame

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Snyder's Wildcats got an upset in Norman, where O.U. was 14-0 vs. ranked foes under Stoops. (US Presswire)  
Snyder's Wildcats got an upset in Norman, where O.U. was 14-0 vs. ranked foes under Stoops. (US Presswire)  

When are we going to get serious about Notre Dame?

The team half the country loves to hate has a plan. Just don't ask what it is week-to-week. They bludgeoned Navy, survived Purdue and punished Michigan State. On Saturday, the Irish caused Shoelace to throw up all over his shoes (five turnovers by Michigan's Denard Robinson).

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That, of course, kept with Notre Dame's new-found identity. It didn't make sense. Robinson had owned the Irish in his career. Not this time. He accounted for 228 total yards but had only one run of 20 yards. A lot about Notre Dame's season doesn't make sense to date. The coach brought in to modernize the offense has had to rely on a smothering D.

Please, please don't ask Brian Kelly any question that contains the words "quarterback" and "controversy."

If there is a river than runs through it, it is the force of nature known as Manti Teo. (More on him below.) For now, N.D. joined the national assault on the Big Ten going 3-0 against the Not So Large 12. That qualifies as almost good news for the Big Ten. Just don't mention the initials M-A-C or I-O-W-A around Jim Delany.

Other big movers this week: Kansas State, Florida State, Western Kentucky and Oregon State.

Parentheses indicate previous rank.

Dodd's Power Poll
RankTeam (Previous)Comment
1Alabama (1)
Overall: 4-0
Conference: 1-0
Feel sorry for Tide players. The opponent actually scored. It's going to be a brutal week under Senor Nick. For those keeping score it was 134 unanswered points before Florida Atlantic punched it in. During its past 18 games (1,020 minutes) Alabama has trailed for only 25 minutes, 12 seconds.
2Oregon (3)
Overall: 4-0
Conference: 1-0
Call it the Noah's Ark offense -- one of every species in 49-0 rout of Arizona. Two passing touchdowns, two running touchdowns, two field goals, two pick sixes and a two-point conversion.
3Florida State (7)
Overall: 4-0
Conference: 2-0
The 'Noles gave up their first touchdown of the season. OK, they gave up their first five touchdowns of the season. More importantly, FSU announced to the world it is back with 667 yards of total offense. They have a LaMichael James of their own in Chris Thompson and a Heisman candidate in EJ Manual. That about cover it?
4LSU (3)
Overall: 4-0
Conference: 1-0
Either it was a typical SEC game or LSU's offense is beginning to develop cracks. For we'll call it the former. Sam Montgomery's safety was the difference in a 12-10 win. Tigers travel to Florida in two weeks.
5Georgia (4)
Overall: 4-0
Conference: 2-0
Aaron Murray completed his first 12 throws against Vanderbilt and moved into second-place on Georgia's career TD passes list behind David Greene. Vandy is not impressive.
6Florida (5)
Overall: 4-0
Conference: 3-0
It's hard to believe Jeff Driskel and Jacoby Brissett split the first half of the opener against Bowling Green. Driskel looks more comfortable every snap after a 38-0 win over Kentucky. The Gators have two weeks to rest before hosting LSU.
7Stanford (6)
Overall: 3-0
Conference: 1-0
Saturday was the Cardinal's Monday which means Wednesday is its Friday and ... ah, forget it. Stanford readjusted their calendar during a bye week to get ready for Washington on Thursday.
8South Carolina (8)
Overall: 4-0
Conference: 2-0
Missouri got smacked upside the head with SEC physicality. The Tigers fumbled five times (losing one) in a 31-10 loss that could have been worse. Carolina's Connor Shaw completed his final 20 passes with a hairline fracture in his right throwing shoulder.
9Kansas State (15)
Overall: 4-0
Conference: 1-0
Bob Stoops had lost three times at home in 14 seasons with the Sooners until Collin Klein became the Big 12's "it" quarterback behind Geno Smith. Sorry, Landry Jones. Guys Bill Snyder's age should be telling kids to get off his lawn. Instead William the Conqueror continues to slay 'em.
10Notre Dame (12)
Overall: 4-0
Conference: N/A
Manti Teo: Man. The driving force behind N.D.'s suddenly powerful defense is also becoming a legend in his senior season. Thousands of Notre Dame fans wore leis at the Michigan game to honor their warrior who lost his grandmother and girlfriend before the Michigan State game. "I love this school," Teo said. He should.
11Texas (9)
Overall: 3-0
Conference: 0-0
Now it gets interesting for the idle 'Horns. They play Oklahoma State, West Virginia, Oklahoma and Baylor the next four weeks. Don't look now, but the top three most efficient passers nationally are all from the Big 12 -- TCU's Casey Pachall, West Virginia's Smith and Texas' David Ash.
12USC (11)
Overall: 3-1
Conference: 1-1
It wasn't a total rehabilitation for the Trojans' bruised bodies and psyche, but it beat getting beat down by Stanford. Coming into the game, Matt Barkley had barely completed half his passes thrown beyond the line of scrimmage. He was efficient against Cal, completing 22 of 34 for 192 and a pair of touchdown to Marqise Lee.
13West Virginia (13)
Overall: 3-0
Conference: 0-0
Please welcome the new Big 12 favorites. Smith threw as many incompletions (nine) as he had for the season against Maryland. Tavon Austin has 34 catches in three games to lead FBS. That's more completions to one player than six teams have had for the season.
14Ohio State (17)
Overall: 4-0
Conference: 0-0
I'd be worried about the Bucks going into league play but there isn't a team they can't beat ... or lose to. With Ohio State banned, you want a favorite for the Leaders Division? How about Purdue?
15TCU (19)
Overall: 3-0
Conference: 1-0
This was supposed to be a down year. New, better conference, missing a lot of key parts. Surprise, Frogs could be 8-0 before heading to West Virginia on Nov. 3. Gary Patterson's working defensive magic as usual. Frogs have given up one touchdown.
16Oklahoma (10)
Overall: 2-1
Conference: 0-1
The Sooners are officially in crisis mode. That Kansas State loss looked a lot like the meltdown to Oklahoma State last December. What in the name of Josh Heupel has happened to Landry Jones?
17W. Kentucky (25)
Overall: 3-1
Conference: 0-0
The Hilltoppers' biggest crowd ever -- more than 23,000 -- equals about half an LSU tailgate. Who cares? Western Kentucky put up more than 500 yards on Southern Miss in a 25-point win. The 'Toppers have beaten teams from three different conferences. Now the real work begins -- a Sun Belt showdown next week at Arkansas State.
18Northwestern (20)
Overall: 4-0
Conference: 0-0
It was only South Dakota and it was only the plucky Wildcats (winning 38-7), but haven't we seen this before? Say, in 1995? All I know is there are only 16 teams that are 4-0 and Northwestern is one of them. In a putrid Big Ten, why not the Wildcats? They open the conference schedule this week against Indiana.
19Oregon State (NR)
Overall: 2-0
Conference: 1-0
Love Mike Riley, love In-and-Out Burger. What's not to love about the Beavs? After beating UCLA, Riley took the team to In-and-Out on their way out of L.A. This guy was on the hot seat? Name another team that has beaten two top 20 teams. Oh yeah, Alabama. Double-doubles for everyone.
20Clemson (14)
Overall: 3-1
Conference: 0-1
Lost in Florida State's second-half blitz was a masterful play-calling performance by Clemson OC Chad Morris. He still might have the best set of offensive weapons in the country.
21Nebraska (NR)
Overall: 3-1
Conference: 0-0
OK, OK I give Husker Nation. You're in the Power Poll. But the exchange rate on 73 against Idaho State is 30 against Wisconsin. Are we clear?
22Wisconsin (22)
Overall: 3-1
Conference: 0-0
Bret Bielema has changed his O-line coach, his quarterback and had to change his (injured) tailback against Texas-El Paso. This is a Hummer missing a cylinder or three.
23UCLA (16)
Overall: 3-1
Conference: 0-1
Just when Johnathan Franklin was about to get Heisman buzz, Oregon State clamps down (12 carries, 45 yards).
24Michigan State (18)
Overall: 3-1
Conference: 0-0
Automatically dropped for letting Eastern Michigan hang around way too long. The Eagles were that close to making it the greatest day in MAC history. The offense has to get better or the locker room is going to be as contentious as Mark Dantonio's postgame presser. Ohio State is next.
25Louisiana Tech (NR)
Overall: 3-0
Conference: 0-0
The Bulldogs are 3-0, scoring at least 50 in each game after smoking Illinois. Plus 21 in turnovers during a 10-game winning streak. Only LSU and Georgia have been better during that span. How about 17 for 17 in the red zone with 16 touchdowns? Might as well put Sonny Dykes on the Arkansas short list.

Anyone in need of a credential from all the BCS title games? Dennis Dodd has them. In three decades in the business, he's covered everything from the Olympics to Stanley Cup to conference realignment. Just get him on campus in a press box in the fall. His heart lies with college football.
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