Sentinel college football writer Matt Murschel answers your questions about the college football season. To submit a question for future mailbags, email, Facebook or tweet them.
Q: Which undefeated team is most overrated? – Dave
A: As we enter the fifth week of the college football season, there are 27 teams who have yet to suffer their first loss. If you are looking for an overrated team I would look no further than TCU. The Horned Frogs are ranked 14th in the coaches’ poll with wins over Grambling State, Kansas and Virginia – all three have a combined record of 3-8. Sure, the defense is ranked ninth in the nation in total defense (268 ypg) but those numbers a bit skewed considering the level of competition. For that matter, I think Mississippi State is a little overrated. The Bulldogs have four wins but only one quality one against division-rival Auburn. The other three are Jackson State, Troy and South Alabama. Not the best competition. They won’t get their first test until Oct. 27 against Alabama.
Q: What has been more important to winning teams so far: offensive points or defensive stops? – William
A: Tough call on that one. The top team in the country – Alabama – is winning games with a strong defensive effort. The Crimson Tide have the third-best defense in the country (185 ypg) and have two shutouts to their credit this season. Oregon, on the hand, is ranked 49th in the nation in total defense but is ranked fifth in the country in total offense. For me, I think defense is always key to winning championships. Just ask the SEC, which has won the past six BCS national championships with some pretty good defenses.
Q: If you could go back in time to the start of the season and give one single team less than 10 words of advice who would talk to and what would you say? – Jeffrey
A: Wow. I guess if I could jump into a DeLorean and travel back in time to the start of the season I would visit Lane Kiffin at USC and tell him to focus on protecting Matt Barkley. The Trojans quarterback has been sacked six times so far this season and teams have been applying the pressure and forcing him to make crucial mistakes including five interceptions. He was only sacked eight time all of last season and threw only seven interceptions. It was that pressure that cost USC against Stanford.
Q: This season has turned into being about who can beat Alabama, so who CAN beat Alabama? – Brad
A: At this point in time, Alabama is heads and tails better than everyone in college football. The Tide will have challengers – Mississippi State (Oct. 27) and LSU (Nov. 3) – and there is always the Iron Bowl against Auburn Nov. 24 but I just don’t see anyone making a serious threat. This could be one of Nick Saban’s best coaching jobs especially considering the amount of talent this team lost on the defensive side of the ball.
Don't forget about Matt's Murschel's weekly mail bag. If you have any college football questions you would like answered or just issues or players you would like his thoughts on please email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @osmattmurschel.