The games played this past weekend, ending Week 5 of the college football season, ushered in the second third of the season. There have been surprising upsets so far, some serious injuries to key personnel, and more than a few seasons already appear to be disappointments for the fans of a number of schools. Teams are at a crossroads. Unless they can find a way to separate themselves from the pack, a spot in the playoffs is unlikely.
4. Penn State
10. Ohio State
11. Washington State
15. Oklahoma State
16. Virginia Tech
19. San Diego State
21. Notre Dame
23. West Virginia
24. NC State
Fell out of Top 25: LSU (25), Mississippi State (24)
Major Games of the Weekend (Week 5)
#14 Miami defeats improved Duke
On Friday night, Duke, one of the surprise packages of the season, hosted #14 Miami. Duke was 4 – 0 going into this game, but you would have never guessed that at the end of the game. Duke really did nothing in this game. What worked for them against other opponents fell flat against the Hurricanes. The Blue Devils were not able to throw the ball for any big gains, but that can be expected when facing one of the best defenses in the country. The game ended 31 – 6, but Duke still looks to have a good year, even after this game. Expect Duke to be a contender for a bowl game over the holiday season.
#16 Washington State upsets #5 USC
Both of these teams were undefeated going into this game, but Wazzu pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the season so far. USC clearly has one of the best offenses and defenses in the country, but so does Wazzu. Luke Falk threw for 340 yards and scored two TDs for Washington State, giving him 16 for the season, among the best numbers in the country. The Trojans showed they have some work to do if they want to be competitive against the other elite PAC 12 teams. Don’t count out Wazzu for a spot in the PAC 12 title game after their big win over USC, 30 – 27.
#7 Georgia defeats Tennessee (shows why they could be national title contenders)
Once again, the Tennessee Volunteers showed the nation why they are a fraud. At the beginning of every season, or so it seems, the polls rank them in the Top 25. But once they face real teams, the Vols completely fall apart on both sides of the ball and on special teams. After stumbling out of the gate amidst high expectations, they usually manage to finish strong, allowing them to just barely make a bowl game. That will probably be the case again this year. On Saturday, they lost to Georgia 41 – 0. The offense for both teams wasn’t important; the defense of the Georgia Bulldogs was the star of this game. QB, Quinten Dormady, managed to throw for a mere 64 yards for the Vols, while Jake Fromm threw only 84 yards for the Bulldogs. Georgia only scored one offensive touchdown, while the rest of the points came from field goals and the defense. However, Georgia looks like a national title contender. If any of the top four teams lose, Georgia most likely will take their spot.
Michigan State beats Iowa in another heartbreaker for Hawkeyes
Once again, Iowa lost another close game to a tough Big 10 opponent, falling 17 – 10 to the Michigan State Spartans. The Hawkeyes are a very solid football team, and it was surprising to see them lose two close games in a row, both of which went down to the wire. But then again, neither of the teams they lost to are pushovers. Penn State is a Top 5 team, and Michigan State quickly rebounded after a loss to Notre Dame. Last year, Michigan State had one of the worst records in the Big Ten, but things seem to be changing in Lansing. The Spartans look like the team they used to be. However, only time will tell if they can hang with the big dogs of the Big 10 in the coming weeks.
#15 Oklahoma State defeats Texas Tech in Big XII shootout
Nothing like another Big XII shootout. The conference is known for some of the best offenses in the country, gaudy offensive stats, and thrilling, high-scoring action with tons of passing yards. Even the terrible teams like Baylor somehow score more than 40 points on a regular basis. The game ended 41 – 34 after a battle of high octane offenses. Even though Tech lost, they still have some of the best offensive numbers over the past several years in both the Big XII and the FBS. Oklahoma State probably won’t break into the Top 5 this season, since they lost to TCU in Week 4. They should, however, make one of the bigger bowl games if they continue to put up strong numbers every week. They clearly have an offense to be reckoned with, and most Big XII teams won’t be up to the task of stopping them.
#2 Clemson defeats #12 Virginia Tech in battle of ACC powerhouses
Defending national champion Clemson kept the dream of a repeat alive by defeating ACC rival Virginia Tech in a key early season matchup in Blacksburg. The Hokies looked decent on both sides of the ball, despite falling 31 – 17. The depth and sheer athleticism of the Tigers were simply too much for Virginia Tech to overcome. Look for Virginia Tech to bounce back, and look for Clemson to continue winning.
#1 Alabama destroys Ole Miss 66 – 3
This game was ugly, at least for the Rebels. Not only did Ole Miss look terrible, but it makes you wonder if they can ever return to the glory days of yesteryear. On every series, Alabama showed us that they have the best offense in the country. They have scored a combined 125 points in their last two games and their defense has only allowed 3 points in that span. And those 3 points were scored in this game when the Rebels managed to kick a field goal. If Alabama continues to score like this and totally shuts down their opponents, it is almost guaranteed that they will win the SEC title and play for the national championship.
Upsets of the Weekend
Utah State def. BYU 40 – 24
#16 Washington State def. #5 USC 30 – 27
Maryland def. Minnesota 31 – 24
Troy def. #25 LSU 24 – 21
FAU def. Middle Tennessee 38 – 20
New Mexico def. Air Force 56 – 38