The playoff picture is finally coming together. We’re finally getting into the part of the season where “elimination games” come into play. Of course, we learned a lot more about the college football season besides what the playoff picture looks like. We learned that Texas is a tire fire and Charlie Strong’s time in Austin may be limited. We saw that Ohio State and Michigan State are vulnerable and the rest of the Big 10 is eager to get a crack at them. We learned that the Gators are for real and Ole Miss certainly isn’t. Finally, Iowa is still undefeated. How do we tell the children about this?
#1 Ohio State 34, Indiana 27
So… How long does this Cardale Jones experiment last? I mean, I get why Jones is the starter; he has a higher upside and did win Urban Meyer a national championship, but he’s not playing like a starter this year. I wrote about Cardale Jones and his draft stock, along with the issues he has earlier this week. Plain and simple, if not for the heroic efforts of Zeke Elliott, Ohio State would have lost this game. Zeke had touchdown runs of 55, 65, and 75 yards that spurred Ohio State to the victory. Indiana had a chance to win this one late, but couldn’t convert on 4th down and goal with their backup quarterback.
Ohio State looks vulnerable, and with Penn State in two weeks, they need to get their act together. Either Cardale Jones needs to improve, or he needs to ride the bench.
#2 Michigan State 24, Purdue 21
Err… Is it just me, or are we seeing a trend here? Seems like the top teams in the Big 10 might not be the best after all. Michigan State survived this scare from Purdue, but they suddenly look as vulnerable as Ohio State. With their win over Oregon looking less and less impressive, is it time for us to realize Michigan State is overrated?
#25 Florida 38, #3 Ole Miss 10
Raise your hand if you saw this one coming.
No one? Me either.
Looks like the Florida Gators are for real. They finally have their quarterback, as Will Grier passed for four touchdowns in the first half alone and their receiving core is suddenly dangerous very dangerous with Demarcus Robinson, Antonio Callaway and Brandon Powell. Florida’s offense didn’t do anything spectacular in this game, in fact they used a lot of underneath and short routes and dinked and dunked their way to the end zone. But Ole Miss couldn’t stop it and so they kept using it. In the clip below, Powell takes a short pass from Grier and turns it into a 77-yard touchdown. Missed tackles and poor coverage was the theme of the day for Ole Miss’ defense.
On the flip side, the Gators defense was dominant. They forced four turnovers and limited Ole Miss to 69 total yards rushing. Florida’s defense is nasty and definitely among the best in the nation. Jonathan Bullard, Bryan Cox, and true freshman CeCe Jefferson are monsters on the defensive line, Antonio Morrison is a freak at linebacker, and the Gators might have the best secondary in the nation with Brian Poole, Jalen Tabor, Quincy Wilson, Keanu Neal and Marcus Maye. Oh yeah, how could we forget about Vernon Hargreaves, who might be the best cornerback in the nation? Just watch his eyes on this interception. That’s talent.
Meanwhile, Ole Miss isn’t in a terrible spot with this loss. They still own the tiebreaker over Alabama and are in control of the SEC West. Assuming they win out and make it to the SEC Championship, they have a very good shot of returning to the playoff conversation.
#4 TCU 50, Texas 7
TCU scored 30 points in the first quarter. 30!
This was an embarrassment. Yes, Texas is rebuilding and the talent is vastly different between the two teams but Texas should never be blown out like this. This game was like watching a train wreck. You know it’s terrible and you shouldn’t watch it, but you can’t turn away.
The seat isn’t quite hot for Charlie Strong, but it’s starting to warm up.
#12 Clemson 24, #6 Notre Dame 22
If you were expecting some sort of offensive explosion from this game, you watched the wrong game. In fact, this game was decided by defensive play. Clemson only had 296 total yards of offense (97 pass, 199 rush). Deshaun Watson, for all the hype he had been given before this game, had very pedestrian numbers (97 passing yards, 2 TD, 1 INT, 93 rushing yards, 1 TD). This Clemson offense that was billed to be explosive and that could score from anywhere on the field was mostly held in check.
In fact, Notre Dame out-gained Clemson by 141 total yards (437 to 296). DeShone Kizer, starting in his first big road game, threw for 321 yards, rushed for 60 and scored three total touchdowns on the day. Kizer actually looked more impressive out of the two quarterbacks. He stood tall in the pocket and showed off his huge arm when he delivered passes down the field in the pouring rain. If you were looking at this game from a purely statistical standpoint, Notre Dame would seem like the heavy favorite.
But the Fighting Irish committed four turnovers on the day and Clemson’s defense held on just long enough for the win. Clemson couldn’t run out the clock following a Notre Dame fumble and Kizer threw his second touchdown on the day with just seven seconds remaining in the game. Notre Dame called a quarterback sweep for the two point conversion to tie the game and Kizer was stuffed by the Clemson defense, preserving the win.
Clemson’s defense was the story of this game. They bent under pressure, but didn’t break and stopped the crucial two-point conversion that would have tied the game. Cornerback Mackensie Alexander might be the most underrated player in the nation and held Will Fuller, the terrific Notre Dame wide receiver, to just two catches for 37 yards. There is no doubt Clemson has cemented itself as a playoff contender after this win.
Also, ESPN had the nerve to cut over Dabo’s epic speech at the end of the game. Rude.
Arizona State 38, #7 UCLA 23
It was only a matter of time before UCLA’s fantastic undefeated run with Josh Rosen ended. The losses for UCLA were just too much in this game and Arizona State was able to do whatever it wanted offensively, compiling 425 total yards of offense in their best performance of the year. Arizona State seems to be fluctuating between a good and bad team, as they had just come off a 42-14 loss at the hands of USC. They might be Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, but they are dangerous moving forward in the Pac-12 South race.
Meanwhile, it seems like UCLA’s injury losses were too much for them. They really missed injured linebacker Myles Jack in this game, who recently announced he was dropping out of school and preparing for the 2016 NFL Draft (a smart move, in my opinion). The “Chosen Rosen” was fine in this game, but the ground game had a bad day and the offense just couldn’t keep up with the Sun Devils. UCLA is still very much alive in the Pac-12 race, but these injuries are killer for a team’s momentum.
#13 Alabama 38, #8 Georgia 10
So what did we learn in this game, children?
We learned that Alabama should never be an underdog.
At game time, Alabama was a 2 point underdog to Georgia on the road in Athens. At halftime, people remembered that Alabama is the most talented team in the country when they were up 24-3 in the torrential downpour. Simply put, Alabama was just better. It seems like all it takes is that one loss each year for the Tide to full kick into gear. If you remember, Alabama has only had one undefeated season under Nick Saban, but they’ve still won three national championships. That means the other two times they won it all, they’ve had a regular season loss. Their loss to Ole Miss wasn’t a killer for this team’s momentum, it might of actually been motivation to push themselves further.
Alabama limited Georgia to just 299 yards of total offense and just 106 through the air. In fact, 83 of those yards came on a single Nick Chubb run, which was essentially in garbage time. Take away that run, and they held Georgia to just 216 yards of total offense, which is good for just 3.1 yards per play. They made Greyson Lambert look like the Virginia transfer that he is, not the Greyson Lambert that set the NCAA completion record against a very bad South Carolina team. Lambert was eventually benched for Brice Ramsey, who hit only one pass for 20 yards. The Tide’s defense was dominant in this game. They limited Georgia to just 3-17 on third downs and Georgia only averaged 3.2 yards per pass, which is insane.
Offensively, Alabama seems to finally have found their scheme. Offensive coordinator
Joey Freshwater Lane Kiffin called 47 run plays to only 19 pass plays, a very good ratio considering Derrick Henry is your primary back. Jacob Coker was efficient through the air and true freshman Calvin Ridley caught five passes for 120 yards and a score. This Alabama offense isn’t any special, but they are efficient and it’ll be very, very hard to stop them in the future.
#14 Texas A&M 30, #21 Mississippi State 17
Hey, remember when Mississippi State was the #1 team in the country last year? Seems like so long ago…
So we can all agree that Kyle Allen is the best quarterback in the SEC, right? The former five-star prospect has a 13-2 TD/INT ratio through five games and has the Aggies undefeated and looking to a potential SEC West title. He shredded the Bulldogs in this game, throwing for 322 yards and two scores. Star defensive end Myles Garrett continues to look like a future top-5 pick in the NFL Draft but the most surprising story from College Station might be the play of the defense as a whole. Garrett and fellow defensive end Daeshon Hall have combined for 13 sacks so far and the defense is ranked 63rd in the country for yards given up per game, significantly better than their 103rd place finish last year.
Texas A&m has a bye week this week, but then faces Alabama at home in what should be the biggest game of the season for the Aggies and a critical game to determine the fate of the SEC West.
#15 Oklahoma 44, #23 West Virginia 23
How about them Sooners? The Big 12 race might not just be down to Baylor and TCU after all. Baker Mayfield had another huge day through the air (320 yards and three scores) and Oklahoma’s defense picked off West Virginia quarterback Skyler Howard three times for the victory. The new Air Raid scheme looks like its working well as Oklahoma’s passing game continues to be the strength of the offense. They currently rank 10th in the country with an average of 358.3 passing yards per game.
Oklahoma faces Texas next week in the Red River
Shootout Rivalry Showdown, which should be an easy win for the Sooners. The schedule really favors the Sooners, as they don’t face TCU or Baylor until the end of November, but do get those two in back to back weeks. If Oklahoma keeps winning, they should easily see their stock rise enough to get consideration for the playoff.
Iowa 10, #19 Wisconsin 6
So Iowa is undefeated.
Let that sink in for a second.
Other than that, Iowa and Wisconsin combined for 16 points. That’s all you need to know about this game.
Another week gone and the playoff picture finally looks that much more clear. Alabama rebounded, Florida and Clemson made their case for the playoff, and the Big 10 might not be all it was made out to be. Next week, GameDay travels to Utah for their game against undefeated California. It’ll be a good chance for you to check out the best quarterback prospect in the draft: Jared Goff of Cal. Undefeated Northwestern (that feels weird to say) travels to Michigan to take on the Fightin’ Harbaughs (who might be the best team in the Big 10) and we have a lot of games that looked a lot better in preseason, but not so much now. Clemson-Georgia Tech, Georgia-Tennessee, and Alabama-Arkansas have all lost their appeal. I won’t be attending Florida State-Miami, but that’ll be the highlight of the night for me.
Finally, I leave you with the best tweet of week five because Baylor-Texas Tech, also known as the BU-TT game, combined for 1,316 yards of total offense.