Well, this was a wild week. It started on Friday night when USC lost to Washington State, effectively knocking USC out of contention for the playoffs. At the same time it elevated Washington State to dark horse contender along with the other Washington team. Alabama completely destroyed Ole Miss. Georgia shut out Tennessee in Knoxville. Then LSU suffered a humiliating loss to Troy. To make matters worse for LSU, not only was this homecoming but they paid Troy almost $1 million to play the game.
In other areas of college football, the Clemson-Va Tech game didn't live up to the hype. The final score was 31-17 but 14 of Va Tech's points came in the 4th quarter, long after the game had been decided. Mississippi State, who two weeks ago was considered to be the second best team in the SEC, suffered yet another humiliating loss this time to Auburn. How they were even ranked for this week's game speaks to how highly people still view the SEC even in a year where the SEC is clearly down.
On to the playoffs. For the first time this season I will also be doing rankings outside the playoff teams which will appear differently, but I will explain below. Also, now that I am bringing rankings into the blog I will no longer list dark horses as the rankings will show who my dark horses are.
Alabama got revenge for their home loss to Ole Miss two years ago, and then some. They easily won 66-3. Ole Miss is a bit of a train wreck this season after Hugh Freeze was fired shortly before the season began. Alabama seems to be on a mission right now. They want to get back to the National Championship game again and they are just leaving teams in their wake.
Up next: At Texas A&M
Going into the game I thought Virginia Tech might have a chance to pull off the upset against Clemson, or at the very least keep it close. Though they did end up losing by 14, it was never that close of a game. Clemson and Alabama are clearly the two best teams in the nation right now. Neither team has really broken a sweat in their games and look headed for a third straight meeting for the National Championship. The season is still very young and anything can happen.
Up next: at home against Wake Forest
I was a bit off last week in the Oklahoma's up next. It is Iowa State but the game is this week. Oklahoma had Week 5 off. They did not play so there is really no reason they should fall out of the playoffs, no matter what else happened in college football. They had the week off to prepare for Iowa State, while Iowa State lost a close game to Texas. It will be interesting to see how this game goes. It's also a morning game.
Up next: at home against Iowa State
Penn State had an easy time with one of the bottom dwellers of the Big Ten, Indiana. After their close come from behind win against Iowa the week before I was interested to see if they would come out with a bit of headache. They did not. Saquon Barkley, who is a Heisman contender, had a very pedestrian day as he only ran for 56 yards on 20 carries with no touchdowns. Oh yeah, he did throw a TD pass and returned a kickoff 98 yards back for a TD.
Up next: at Northwestern
I did just want to say one more thing (or two) about my playoff projections. As all the top conferences now have a championship game I will never project two teams from the same conference in the playoff. In the old BCS system it was possible to have two teams from the same conference in the Championship game (LSU, Alabama). In the playoff system that really should not happen since if there are two teams from the same conference in the playoff hunt, they will meet in their conference championship and the loser SHOULD fall out of playoff contention. Also, as I noted above I will not knock a team out of the playoff for the crime of having a week off, no matter what happens in the rest of the league that week. I have never understood the polls punishing or rewarding teams during a week off. They did not play, so logically they should stay at their rank the week before.
Each week I will rank the top 20 teams outside of the playoff. I will rank them 1-20 instead of 5-24. It may not make a lot of sense but to me I am ranking the best 20 teams outside of the playoff picture. I will rank the teams similar to the way I do the NFL teams. Undefeated teams will get the benefit of doubt over defeated teams. For teams that have losses on their record I will look at who those losses were to.
1. Washington, up next: at home vs Cal
2. Georgia, up next: at Vanderbilt
3. Washington State, up next: at (20) Oregon
4. TCU, up next: at home vs (18) West Virginia
5. Michigan, up next: at home vs Michigan State
6. Utah, up next: at home vs Stanford
7. San Diego State, up next: @UNLV
8. Miami, up next: at Florida State
9. Wisconsin, up next: at Nebraska
10. South Florida, up next: at home against Cincinnati
11. Auburn, up next: at home against Ole Miss
12. Oklahoma State, up next: off
13. Louisville, up next: at (19) North Carolina State (10/5)
14. USC, up next: at home against Oregon State
15. Ohio State, up next: at home against Maryland
16. Virginia Tech, up next: at Boston College
17. Notre Dame, up next: at North Carolina
18. West Virginia, up next: at (4) TCU
19. North Carolina State, up next: at home against (13) Louisville (10/5)
20. Oregon, up next: at home vs (3) Washington State
Best of Week 5
How can Troy not get it's own mention after getting paid nearly $1 million to play LSU during their homecoming and coming away with the win. Not only that, the official Twitter feed of Tulane sent out a tweet thanking LSU for having them over for homecoming. It was brutal, it was epic. LSU is BAD but they still should have been able to beat Troy. Troy did what they needed to do to win the game an pull of the biggest upset of the season.
Washington State beats USC
This game took place on LATE Friday night. In fact, when the game ended it was 1:30 AM Saturday morning, so college football fans only needed to wait a little less than 10 hours for the next college game to begin. It was a slug fest from the get go as both teams were tied at 17 at the half. Washington State got a field goal with 1:40 left on the clock to take the victory 30-27.
Worst of Week 5
Really this can be just the worst of the season so far:
Outside of Alabama, Georgia, and Auburn (already with 1 loss) the rest of the conference is a dumpster fire. But this week that dumpster fire burst into a 5 alarm fire. Tennessee was shut out at home by Georgia, 41-0, Ole Miss looked like a high school team playing Alabama losing 66-3, Mississippi State continued their embarrassing run losing to Auburn 49-10, and of course LSU lost at home during homecoming to Troy 24-21. The league is just stinking it up this year, yet Florida and potentially Texas A&M will be ranked this week. Not based on how they are playing this year but solely based on how dominant the SEC has been over the last decade plus. This is a down year for the SEC. Not sure who will be the best conference this year, though the Pac-12 is in the lead.
Most intriguing game of Week 6
Obviously the most intriguing game of Week 5 turned out to be the Pac-12 after dark game between USC versus Washington State and not Clemson versus Virginia Tech.
#3 Washington State at #20 Oregon
This should be another great game in the Pac-12. To top it off it is not a Pac-12 after dark game as it will begin at 7 pm Central time. If Washington State can pull off the win they will solidify themselves as a team in playoff contention. If Oregon can pull off the upset they will put themselves in line for being in contention. There is a lot on the line for both teams.
Pac-12 After Dark
There are two after dark games this week (Stanford at Utah and California at Washington) but I do not really expect either game to be that great. Out of the two I would be much more inclined to see Stanford upset Utah.
#9 Wisconsin at Nebraska
I am not actually calling for the upset but I could see a closer game than the experts think it will be. The game is in Lincoln and the Huskers will be trying to recover their pride after losing at home to Northern Illinois. Wisconsin is a pound it on the ground team. Nebraska, if they can get their passing game going, could simply outpace Wisconsin. It could be a great game, depending on which Nebraska defense shows up.
Other notable games
Arkansas at South Carolina
Michigan State at Michigan