Week 5 is upon us and what a way to start the second month of the college football season. We have 5 playoff implication games on tap for our viewing (and debating) pleasure this weekend, with most of the attention being focused on the college football hotbed SEC. 10 teams enter a big time weekend game still believing they will make the #CFBPlayoff. Come Sunday morning, half of those dreams will sail wide left (like Steelers K Josh Scobee's career). Although, the way this season is going, a few teams not playing in these high profile games may just see their playoff dreams go up in smoke as well.
See how 5+5 = 10 now? Week 5 + 5 ranked match ups = 10 teams fighting for the playoff lives. Ok glad you all understood the basic math. But this is college football now math class, let's focus on the exciting stuff!
As is routine, before we dive into this week's games, we need to review our #PowerRankings. Each week in this space will be a comparison between the AP Top 6 and the #TwineTime Top 6....usually with some debate.
1. Ohio State (LW: 1) 1. Michigan State (1)
2. Michigan State (2) 2. Baylor (2)
3. Ole Miss (T3) 3. Ole Miss (5)
4. TCU (T3) 4. Ohio State (4)
5. Baylor (5) 5. UCLA (NR)
6. Notre Dame (6) 6. Georgia (NR)
The AP had a pretty boring week with the rankings. I, on the other hand, had a bit more fun. I thought some of the action on the field last weekend showcased a bit more than perhaps the AP voters are willing to credit. A few thoughts:
- Michigan State and Baylor remain in the top spots. Sparty's victory over Oregon took a hit though with the Ducks being destroyed by Utah, at home, last weekend. Baylor still has not beaten anyone of significant stature, but they are still putting up the big offensive numbers. Still on the fence with their defense though.
- Ok Rebels fans, I am giving you more love this week than last week. Ole Miss did barely beat a bad Vanderbilt team last week so it might seem weird to move them up. This life up the ranking is more about lack of seizing the day from the teams around them though.
- Ohio State was unimpressive yet again. Oh sure they won by 26 points...at home....against a weaker MAC opposition in Western Michigan. This is not the Western Michigan team most thought we would see this season. They are struggling. But Ohio State struggled as well. If it wasn't for the 17 point second quarter, every other quarter of the game was basically a draw between both teams. One hot quarter may get you a win against the Broncos, that won't be enough against the top ranked teams on the #RoadToRepeat
- Welcome UCLA and Georgia. With TCU barely escaping Texas Tech and Notre Dame beating up a winless UMass, neither team was as impressive as the two teams breathing down their necks entering last weekend. UCLA destroyed then-16th ranked Arizona ON THE ROAD!! The Bruins chalked up 56 points for a 26 point victory. That is how you impress with a 26 point victory Buckeyes...take notes now. Georgia steamrolled Southern but it was yet another impressive game by the entire team, led by Nick Chubb's 131 rushing yards, that gain massive attention. The Bulldogs are starting to look more and more like the true class of the SEC.
Speaking of the SEC, as mentioned above this is their week. What a line up of games: Alabama at Georgia, Ole Miss at Florida and Mississippi State at Texas A&M. All 6 of these teams are ranked. All 6 still have aspirations of winning the SEC and making the playoff. For 3 of these teams, the road will be much more difficult after the weekend. For 2 in particular, Alabama and Mississippi State, the road to the playoff may just explode as 2 losses leaves little hope for a playoff spot. No question where the Games of the Week are this week....focus your attention on the South East!
Last week was a tough one on the #TwineTime pick'em challenge. Here I thought I would get better at this as the season moved on...yet it appears I am going in the opposite direction. Wrong on my focused games of the week....somehow missed a few games all together. I did have one highlight, my Upset of the Week 2.0 proved correct when FCS James Madison went on the road to SMU and knocked off the Mustangs. But seriously starting to wonder if I know anything about this sport anymore? Or maybe this season is just chalked full of parity it is next to impossible for anyone to be correct 85% of the time. Yeah, let's go with Option B here...my ego could use the pick me up heading into this week's action.
Last Week: 34 - 19 (64%)
Overall: 141 - 42 (77%)
GAME OF THE WEEK: (8) Georgia def. (12) Alabama - Without a doubt the big Game of the Week. Bama already has a loss and knows they cannot suffer another one if they want to get back into the #CFBPlayoff this season. The Bulldogs know the same thing...win this game and they all but eliminate a HUGE rival from playoff contention. Georgia has been on the losing end of tough SEC games in the past and on the verge of rising to the top of the conference. This is their season...they just have to seize the moment. This will be a game of Dawgs RB Nick Chubb vs. Tide QB Jake Coker. Who will have a better game? Or perhaps the better question is which D can step up and stop the other offensive threat?
UPSET OF THE WEEK: Indiana def. (1) Ohio State - This is the absolute biggest upset of the week I think I could call all season. Buckeyes enter Memorial Stadium as the #1 ranked team and defending champions. They are 22.5 pt favorites. Am I crazy? Well yes...sort of. The Buckeyes have struggled to score points and their defense is not the same one who successfully stopped the high-flying Oregon Ducks in the championship game last season. The Hoosiers are undefeated and playing at home. They have a capable QB in Nate Sudfeld putting up respectable numbers. They also possess a strong rushing game led by Jordan Howard. This would be a HUGE upset if it happens. I not only think this COULD happen, I think it WILL happen.
UCF def. Tulane - Time for the Knights to pick up their first win of the season.
Houston def. Tulsa
Missouri def. South Carolina - How will the Tigers react after the tough loss last weekend to Kentucky?
Pittsburgh def. Virginia Tech - The Backyard Brawl! Gotta love this rivalry. Remember when Tech was set up perfect for a National Championship game appearance and all that stood in their way was one win vs rival Pitt? Tech fans and alumni still remember....
Penn State def. Army - The Nittany Lions could be 4-1 after this game. Sure, why not!
Iowa State def. Kansas - I am sticking with my previous statements of Kansas being perhaps the worst program of the Big Boy conferences.
(23) West Virginia def. (15) Oklahoma - The Moutaineers really snuck into the Top 25 didn't they? Barely anyone noticed and now here they are looking to position themselves as the true dark horse for the Big 12 title. Well, this is the time to step up. West Virginia's schedule truly is an October Horror Movie...they play Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Baylor and TCU. And only the game vs. the Pokes is at home. YIKES! Can they run the table? Doubt it. Can they pull the upset in Norman, quite possible.
(4) TCU def. Texas
(22) Michigan def. Maryland - The Wolverines are a Return of the Living Dead story. Many not expecting them to be ranked and 3-1 right now...here they are though ready for the start of B1G play.
(2) Michigan State def Purdue - Yawner for the Sparty B1G opener.
(16) Northwestern def. Minnesota - Ok I am drinking the purple juice now and hoping on the Wildcats bandwagon....if they beat the Gophers. I still have high hopes for Minnesota but if they cannot win this game perhaps the Gophers are overrated in my mind...and the Wildcats are underrated. Role reversal starting next week if I pick this correctly.
(19) Wisconsin def. Iowa - This was tempting as the upset game of the week actually. Iowa is a quiet 4-0 team. They are playing some great ball right now and you almost want to see another team challenge the usual big guns in the B1G. But with this game being played in Madison, and remembering how Iowa struggled at Iowa State earlier this season, all signs point to a Badgers win.
NC State def. Louisville - Quick who had the Wolfpack undefeated heading into this match up, favored to win and to go 5-0? Yup, just what I thought...silence!
Ohio def. Akron
Toledo def. Ball State - Might be time to propel the Rockets into the Top 25 voters.
Northern Illinois def. Central Michigan
UMass def. Florida International - Yup I am calling this an upset pick...well not really since UMass is favored here. The Minutemen are coming off an absolute, back alley, soccer hooligan style beating against the Irish last week. They are 0-4 on the season and look horrible. And they are the favorite? Yikes, how bad is FIU? I guess we find out this weekend.
Navy def. Air Force - The Commander in Chief Trophy will have a strong front runner with whichever side comes away victorious in this game. Army does not look to be a threat at all.
Appalachian State def. Wyoming - Yay Cowboys, we are friends again. I picked you to lose last week and you did. *High Five* No? Ok perhaps we can't be friends since I have little faith in you winning a game this year but at least we are on the same page now. Only took almost 2 years.
Bowling Green def. Buffalo
Miami (OH) def. Kent State
(5) Baylor def. Texas Tech - Our first litmus test between Baylor and TCU. TCU barely survived the Red Raiders last week. Baylor comes in gun blazing ready to show the nation they are the top team in the Big 12. Baylor is 17 pt favorite at home. Expect another high scoring game here...but, unlike TCU last weekend, I expect Baylor to pull away midway through the 3rd quarter.
Marshall def. Old Dominion
Western Kentucky def. Rice
Duke def. Boston College - Ok Dukies....you just dominated a ranked Georgia Tech, no time for a victory hangover this weekend.
(11) Florida State def. Wake Forest - Anyone else have a hard time seeing #11 in front of the Seminoles name in the ranking? Do people really believe THIS is the 11th best team in all of college football? Really?
Georgia Tech def. North Carolina - I still believe GTech is one of the better teams in the ACC. But they REALLY need this win.
Auburn def. San Jose State - Remember a few weeks back when people were saying Auburn was an SEC threat? Remember #TwineTime disagreeing from the beginning and saying this team would be the first major AP highly ranked team casualty of the season to disappear into 2015/16 season oblivion? Hmmm who was right this time? #TakeThatAP
(24) California def. Washington State - The Bears would be 5-0 on the season with this win. Wow!
(20) Oklahoma State def. Kansas State
East Carolina def. SMU
Nebraska def. Illinois
Southern Mississippi def. North Texas - The Mean Green stay winless on the season.
(3) Ole Miss def. (25) Florida - I know both teams are ranked here. And the Gators are playing at home. And Ole Miss is only 6.5 pt favorite. But does anyone actually believe this will be a close game? Florida feels more like the Harry Houdini of the SEC, escaping games with victories when perhaps they should be losing. I don't think the escape act will work this time. Ole Miss is too strong, too fast, too explosive. Florida, enjoy your time in the Top 25...it will be short lived.
Tennessee def. Arkansas - Wow what a tough beginning of the season for these two clubs. Both were considered dark horse contenders to really push for an SEC title. Some media even predicted Arkansas as a Top 6 team in the nation. Tennessee had a similar crystal ball feel when the season kicked off. Many expecting them to maybe not contend for a spot in the SEC championship game this season, but be only a game away. Neither has looked anything like the team many expected on paper. Both teams need a W here to turn around their season quick!
(9) LSU def. Eastern Michigan - Another opportunity for the Tigers to roll over a weak opponent before the schedule gets difficult. All LSU needs to do this week is avoid injuries.
Middle Tennessee def. Vanderbilt - Could Middle Tennessee be the best football program in the state of Tennessee this season? Memphis might have something to say about that mind you.
Louisiana Tech def. Louisiana-Lafayette - The battle for....maybe second best program in the state of Louisiana this season?
Nevada def. UNLV - This game will answer the big question on everyone's mind this season...just who is the best college football school in the state of Nevada?
Colorado State def. Utah State
Troy def. South Alabama
Arkansas State def. Idaho - Both teams are 1-3 on the season. Arkansas State is STILL a 22 pt favorite at home. YIKES!! Are the Vandals really THAT bad?
Georgia Southern def. Louisiana-Monroe
GAME OF THE WEEK 2.0: (21) Mississippi State def. (14) Texas A&M - The Bulldogs already have a loss against them, a respectable one mind you vs. LSU. The Aggies are undefeated but enter the real meat of their schedule this month, playing the Bulldogs, Alabama and Ole Miss. The winner of this game will position themselves as a major threat in the SEC West. This game is all about Dak Prescott. I think he will have the game of his season outslinging a strong Aggies team. This one will go down to the wire....hell let's hope for some OT...or 4.
Kentucky def. Eastern Kentucky - Yay Wildcats, you are the best team in your state. But, this season, UK is not settling for just that title. Kentucky is 3-1 on the season right now and has strong aspirations of moving up the SEC rankings.
(7) UCLA def. Arizona State - Ok the Bruins clawed up the Wildcats in the desert last weekend. Arizona is a better team than their state rivals, Arizona State. UCLA is at home this week. Yeah, I smell another #BruinsBlowout
GAME OF THE WEEK 3.0: (12) Clemson def. (6) Notre Dame - The last of the Big Games of the Week. Both of these teams are undefeated and both feel they can make a run at the playoff. However, Notre Dame needs this victory more. They have looked unimpressive in their first 4 games of the season, besting weak opponents as well. They do not have a conference to fall back on so suffering a loss can almost eliminate them from playoff consideration. Honestly, even if Clemson was to lose, the Tigers still should win the ACC and, if they run the table after this week, I would still position them higher than the Irish. Clemson is playing at home...at night...with all the focus on them. This is a situation in the past where Clemson would...well be Clemson...and completely fall apart. If they really are a top contender and want the respect they keep asking for every season, it's time to put up or shut up. Deshawn Watson should have a massive game and lead this team to, what could be, the start of a magical season in Death Valley.
UTEP def. Texas - San Antonio - Beep beep! Roadrunners stay winless.
New Mexico def. New Mexico State - Yay the match up to crown the ultimate football school in the state of New Mexico. Yay, once again it goes to the Lobo's. Yay....beer time!
Oregon def. Colorado - Well, how will the Ducks react to the embarrassing loss at home last week? Somehow they are going to have to regroup and get back to #DucksFlyTogether or their season will really be lost. The Buffs couldn't have asked for a better time to play Oregon either. Ducks coming off a horrible loss, team in shambles and on the road. Can the Buffs seize the upset opportunity?
Boise State def. Hawaii - Hawaii away from the island? Yeah probably not. At Boise State? Ok, not happening.
San Diego State def. Fresno State
(18) Stanford def. Arizona - The Cardinal are back slowly climbing the rankings. After suffering, what was thought to be at that time, an embarrassing loss to Northwestern, Stanford hasn't looked back since. And with the Wildcats continuing to win, the loss only looks better every week. Could Stanford really be the best team in the Pac-12 North and have a legit shot at the conference title? I don't think the Wildcats are quite as bad as UCLA made them look last weekend but this will be a character game for this team. Head into Palo Alto and be handed another defeat, the season will be considered a disappointment. Go on the road and knock off a highly ranked Stanford team, season hope restored. With #Pac12AfterDark mentality, perhaps this game will be closer than many expect.
Put your feet up college football fans and enjoy the action this weekend. We should be in for a treat...and perhaps a few upsets along the way. See you next week!