If you have been waiting for upsets, then Week 5 was the week for you. Four of the top 10, six of the top 15, and eight of the top 21 teams got taken down this week. The Big Ten owns five of the top 11 teams (four from the Big Ten East… just saying) and Alabama and Georgia continue to dominate the top with Penn State and Iowa close behind. The Pac 12 continued the yearly tradition of opening the season promising and then slipping up a few weeks in while the Big 12 is floating. Last but not least, the Group of Five made a statement in South Bend. The question begs, will this be the most eventful week of the college football season?
Say Goodbye to The Pac-12
Technically, there is just barely an outside shot for the potential Pac 12 champ to get into the playoff. I believe at this point the only team capable of getting in from the Pac 12 is Oregon, given that they went into the Horseshoe and beat Brutus and the Buckeyes Week 2, which is easily the conference’s best win to this point. However, Oregon came in extremely sluggish against the Stanford Cardinal, and while they did all they could to take the game into overtime, they couldn’t overcome the rough start. The Pac 12 top to bottom has been the weakest Power-5 conference in the past few years. Oregon would have to win the rest of their games fairly handily and hope a Big Ten, SEC, or Big 12 contender slips up at least twice along the way to even have a reasonable chance in my eyes. In other words, see you next season Pac 12.
Group of 5 = IN?
With Cincinnati overpowering the Irish on the road this past weekend, the Group of Five is finally in a prime position to slide into the playoff conversation. SMU is surging right into the top 25 as well, giving the Bearcats a ranked opponent on the backend of their schedule and another opportunity to showcase their worth. Their defense ranks top 30 nationally in yards per game and top 10 in yards per play and team passing efficiency defense while forcing 8 interceptions in just four games. The Bearcats quality of opponents was their downfall until they went into South Bend and made a statement beating the Irish. Denying a one loss Cincinnati is one thing, but an undefeated Bearcats team with wins over Notre Dame and SMU is another.
Time to Talk About The Sooners
Oklahoma survived yet another close game against Kansas State, a team that continues to give them problems year after year. Oklahoma may be undefeated, but the game against Kansas State was their fourth game in five weeks that has been decided by 7 points or fewer. That wouldn’t be saying much except for the fact that they haven’t even played a ranked team yet. That all changes this week in the Red River Rivalry game when Steve Sarkisian’s 23rd ranked Texas Longhorns battle the Sooners. Oklahoma’s defense has struggled this season against moderate offenses and the Longhorn’s offense will be like nothing they’ve seen yet this season. Texas needs a statement win to vault themselves back into a playoff conversation and nothing screams statement win more than a convincing win over the Sooners.
SEC Powers Prevail
Coming into this past weekend, the talk was all about two SEC bouts: Ole Miss vs Alabama, and Arkansas vs Georgia. People wondered whether Lane Kiffin’s Running Rebels could challenge the Crimson Tide and if the Razorbacks could make it interesting against the Bulldogs. The short answer is a resounding no. Alabama and Georgia proved again why they are ranked first and second in the country. The Bulldogs’ defense would be the reason I would personally elevate them to the top spot, pushing the Crimson Tide to two, but unfortunately I don’t make the AP poll. Georgia shut out a Razorback offense that came in averaging around 30 points per game, holding them to just 9 first downs and 3 of 12 on 3rd down. Arkansas’ offense managed just 162 total yards (87 passing and 75 rushing), while the Bulldogs’ offense did most of their damage primarily on the ground. The passing offense has been a slight concern for Georgia, but with the defense they have, it remains to be seen whether or not it will ever be a concern. This Georgia team is reminiscent of another SEC team just two years ago led by a transfer quarterback (hint: think LSU). The only difference is in which facet of the game they dominate.