Numerous upsets occurred in the Top 10 this Saturday, that caused a shake-up within the polls. After witnessing many top contenders struggle against inferior unranked opponents at home. It is easy to indicate that a few Power 5 conferences may not be as strong or as weak as everyone thought.
Bama bounces back and Florida continues to rise
So, you thought Nick Saban’s Alabama squad would just lie down after being picked as underdogs for the first time in five years wouldn’t you? Well, I hope no one forgot that the Crimson Tide’s run is still not over and that they still possess an imposing ground attack led by Derrick Henry.
Alabama needed this win badly in order to keep their playoff aspirations alive. With the statement road win, this sets themselves up nicely heading into their next biggest road test on October 17th at Texas A&M. Alabama’s offense still isn’t fully functioning. Jacob Coker is missing wide open men on occasion, but all in all he is doing what Saban wants him to do and that’s limiting turnovers and setting up the play action accordingly. Coker for now maintains a wide edge over Cooper Bateman as the team’s starter and even if Alabama resorts to feeding the ball regularly to Henry, the Tide are still fine.
A lot of the high hopes that was pinned onto Georgia this season so far has been accurate. Nick Chubb, even amidst a slow start yesterday delivered when the Bulldogs needed him. Chubb ran for 146 yards on 20 carries and 1 TD. However, Grayson Lambert, who had been hardly challenged this season met his match when he went up against a ferocious Crimson Tide pass rush. Lambert’s accuracy was untimely and led to 1 interception and a total QBR of 2.0. Although Georgia took a hit in the standings, dropping from #7 to #19, they are in every bit a candidate to take home the East division. Relatively, a neutral contest against Florida might just be the only hurdle left in their way.
Speaking of Florida, it turned out that an overwhelmed Chad Kelly and a Rebels defense were swallowed up and turned into gator bait last night in Gainesville. Through September, Ole Miss was playing the best football out of anyone in the country. Kelly was hitting all of his open targets and never became rattled against the pressure…until last night. It is safe to say that Florida really was a victim of being underappreciated.
Since Jim McElwain made the decision to go with a two-QB system, the Gators offensive production has soared. Regular starter Will Grier has found rhythm both on the ground and through the air the last several weeks. Grier had yet to throw for over 200 yards in a game heading into Week 4 and since then has thrown for 584 yards and 6 TDs. His completion percentage has been sporadic, but in the long run when dealt with dual threat QB Treon Harris and bulldozing tail-back Kelvin Taylor to help share the carries, Florida’s offense has shown that it is beyond one-dimensional.
Aside from an offense that’s slowly improving, Florida’s defense continues to lock-down opposing offenses. Currently ranked 22nd in the nation in total defense, the Gators have thrived on making quarterbacks pay with their vaunted secondary. Defensive back Vernon Hargreaves finished last night with a season-high 7 tackles and forced his third interception in five games. With a trip to Baton Rouge upcoming on the Gators schedule, Florida must continue to refine their 15th best run defense in the country to the max as Leonard Fournette will soon come calling.
Pac 12 might not have a worthy playoff team after all
Oh UCLA, everyone believed in you and you let us all down with your debacle at home against 2-2 Arizona State. Josh Rosen who has been making all of the right plays this season, fell victim to errant throws and no support from Paul Perkins on the ground. It didn’t help matters that the Bruins defense allowed over 400 total yards of offense, and nearly 75% of the yardage was from an inconsistent passer in Mike Bercovici.
Utah had a bye this week, but right now them and Cal share the award of being the two lone unbeatens in the conference. That label will change next week as College Gameday takes a visit to Salt Lake City Utah, where Cal’s Jared Goff faces off against a stout Utes’ defense.
Most of the talk should be geared towards Cal, but still with a loaded schedule upcoming, it’s tough to address that they can finish off the season out strong. On the opposite end, Stanford curb-stomped Arizona and did so with a flawless offensive performance from QB Kevin Hogan and RB Christian McCaffrey. Right now looking as the favorites from the North, nothing is clear to who is the best in the South. USC and UCLA can still make their dream season a reality if they run the table. USC hosts Utah in two weeks, so for the Trojans to maintain their conference hopes, and playoffs alive that game could be an important one for the division.
Right now, after a plethora of losses to teams that were thought to be playoff material. Them being Ole Miss and Georgia from the SEC, Pac 12’s UCLA and Notre Dame. If potentially a few more losses occur from the Pac 12 South, the presumable conference champion could play itself out of the playoff picture.
Move over Sparty and Ohio State, TCU and Baylor are stating their claim for #1
It’s not a misnomer, Ohio State and Michigan State through the first five weeks of the season HAVE NOT played like the top two teams in college football. For Ohio State, the fine line so far between taking over the opposition and playing down to it is razor-thin. With the exception of a dominating second half in their season opener against Virginia Tech, the Buckeyes have looked nowhere near the best team that everyone seemingly envisioned.
Perhaps it’s the lack of competition in their conference. But the offensive performance that Ohio State has manufactured is anything but overpowering. Cardale Jones, who was undoubtedly labeled as the Buckeyes No. 1 starter has looked tentative and inexperienced. Outside of a few accurate throws, his arm strength and accuracy doesn’t resemble anything at all like his counterpart J.T. Barrett. Over the course of Jones’ five games, his completion percentage is just 57%, not to mention he distributes a 1:1 TD-Int ratio. Ohio State’s defense has stood tall all season so far against the run but has been beaten more times than they would like to through the air.
Moving J.T. Barrett as their permanent starter should be a big strongpoint on Urban Meyer’s radar. Despite the shortage of minutes, Barrett knew how to manage and run this offense before it gained momentum last season. In addition, Ohio State’s offense should run through Ezekiel Elliot the rest of the way. Ohio State has looked relatively lethargic and inept when Elliot’s carries are cut to a premium. In all of the games where Elliot has been handed the ball of 25 times or more in a game this season, OSU’s offensive efficiency ranks 25 spots higher than when Elliot’s touches are limited.
For some reason, Michigan State being ranked #2 doesn’t compute. Sure they won a dog fight at home against Oregon for the second game of the season, but hold the breaks, this isn’t the same Oregon team that everyone has seen over the years. The Ducks are a 3-2 team who has no identity on defense and has no quarterback play. Right now, amid controversy Michigan State’s best win so far doesn’t compare to TCU’s or Baylor’s.
TCU and Baylor have received heavy criticism for their soft defenses, but truth be told both of their wins over a highly efficient offense like Texas Tech and a tough defensive minded Minnesota team stand out more. Plus, TCU and Baylor aren’t just playing down to its competition, their severely beating them from all sides of the ball.
Top Performers in Week 5
- QB Mason Rudolph (Ok. State)– 34/55, 437 yards, 3 TDs against K-State
- QB Patrick Mahomes (TTU)– 32/50, 415 yards, 3 TDs against Baylor
- QB Brandon Doughty (WKU)– 28/38, 409 yards, 4 TDs against Rice
- RB Ezekial Elliot (Ohio St.)– 23 carries, 274 yards, 3 TDs against Indiana
- RB Larry Rose III (NMSU)– 21 carries, 260 yards, 3 TDs against New Mexico
- RB Leonard Fournette (LSU)– 26 carries, 233 yards, 3 TDs against Eastern Michigan
- WR Roger Lewis (BGSU)– 10 receptions, 201 yards, 1 TD against Buffalo
- WR Donovan Harden (GSU)– 5 receptions, 179 yards, 1 TD against Liberty
- WR Ajalen Holley (ULM)- 8 receptions, 166 yards against Georgia Southern