After further review: Week 5
Georgia and Alabama continue on their path to a highly anticipated collision.
Georgia and Alabama continued to display their dominance this past weekend, while three Top 10 teams tumbled.
Let’s not waste any time and take a look back at Week 5 of the season:
The Bulldogs and Crimson Tide are on a collision course to potentially play twice this season—that’s how dominant and how much better Georgia and Alabama are compared to the competition. Zamir White rushed for 2 TDs and recovered a blocked punt for another score, the Bulldogs rushed for 273 yards and held the ball for 36 minutes, and they needed only 72 passing yards in a physically dominant 37-0 win over Arkansas. Meanwhile, Alabama used Brian Robinson Jr.’s career-high 171 rushing yards and 4 TDs touchdowns as well as a defense that limited Ole Miss to 291 total yards—one year after allowing the Rebels to gain 647 yards—in a victory over a team that came in leading the nation in yards (635) and points (53) per game. It is truly beautiful to watch these SEC behemoths week in and week out, and I cannot wait for the SEC title game that—barring anything wonky—should take place between these squads.
Oregon had so much capital with its non-conference win at Ohio State, but a lot of that went out the window Saturday when the Ducks fell in overtime to Stanford on The Farm. Now, the Pac-12 finds itself without a viable College Football Playoff candidate barring chaos. However, the Buckeyes are seemingly on the rise, which means the Ducks could still have one of the best wins of the season if they can bounce back from the loss to the Cardinal and run the table. Keep in mind the Ducks played without OC Joe Moorhead and were missing some players to injury. The Cardinal also scored the tying points on an untimed down to end regulation. A loss is a loss—and it’s a really tough one for the Ducks. But there is still CFP hope, as the selection committee could weigh those aforementioned factors. The Ducks would not be in this position, though, had it not been for several self-inflicted wounds: an incomplete pass to stop the clock and save a Stanford timeout, a targeting penalty on star DL Kayvon Thibodeaux, a roughing-the-passer penalty and a pass interference call. Avoidable mistakes that could ultimately cost the Ducks.
Iowa looks like the best team in the Big Ten, no offense to some of the league’s other strong teams. Kirk Ferentz’s squad scored on nine consecutive possessions during one stretch and led 34-7 at the break on the road Friday night against Maryland. The defense is nasty, and now the Hawkeyes are readying for a massive tilt against Penn State, which also very much looks the part of a Top 5 team. Michigan has a critical road test at Nebraska this week after exorcising its Wisconsin demons. And then there is Ohio State, which you just KNOW is going to round into form. It’s already happening. The Buckeyes scored on their first six possessions against Rutgers, but of course their defense will need to improve and make some big plays against stronger competition. Still, this offense is averaging over 555 yards per game and can help the Buckeyes be a CFP player if they run the table.
Bijan the beast
Texas beat a Big 12 nemesis behind the strong rushing of star RB Bijan Robinson, who racked up 216 yards and 2 TDs on 35 carries in a 32-27 victory over TCU, which was 7-2 against the Longhorns since joining the conference. It was a big win for first-year head coach Steve Sarkisian, who inherited a great asset in Robinson. The loss to Arkansas remains a tough pill to swallow, but it could sting a lot less with a win this week over Oklahoma. Robinson had just five carries against the Sooners last season. He needs closer to 25 combined touches—carries and receptions—this week for the ‘Horns to emerge as Big 12 title contenders.
My newest Top 25:
There are some really good games on the slate this week:
Early Week 6 look-ahead
Stanford-No. 22 Arizona State (Friday)
No. 6 Oklahoma-No. 21 Texas
No. 13 Arkansas-No. 17 Ole Miss
No. 2 Georgia-No. 18 Auburn
Boise State-No. 10 BYU
No. 4 Penn State-No. 3 Iowa
No. 9 Michigan-Nebraska
No. 14 Notre Dame-Virginia Tech
LSU-No. 16 Kentucky
No. 1 Alabama-Texas A&M
*Is it unraveling for Ed Orgeron at LSU? The Tigers dropped a 24-19 home tilt to Auburn on Saturday night, and it’s clear this program is a shell of its 2019 self. The Tigers are just 8-7 since winning the national championship, and Orgeron has not been able to find suitable replacement coordinators on both sides of the ball. Losing players to the NFL and dealing with a COVID-impacted season certainly affects a football team, but there is an under-performance problem in Baton Rouge. And that’s a staff issue. The rest of the ‘21 slate is tough, so this offense is going to have to find a way to start running the football and protect the quarterback, and this defense needs to find a way to get off of the field on third down. How in the world are the Tigers rushing for just over 70 yards per game? The Bayou Bengals need to get a grip on their season or else Orgeron could be in trouble. Remember, a Title IX lawsuit against LSU alleges Orgeron and some in the administration protected athletes from Title IX claims. Throw in a mediocre season and things could get even messier in Baton Rouge.
*There have been some rough Michigan showings in Madison in recent years. This past Saturday was not one of them. Jim Harbaugh’s squad claimed a 38-17 victory over the Badgers at Camp Randall in a game it never trailed. The defense came up huge and knocked out Badgers QB Graham Mertz, and a pair of turnovers helped to seal the deal in the second half. Wisconsin was held to just 43 yards on 32 carries—a tremendous Wolverines defensive effort. Meanwhile, the Badgers dropped to 1-3 for the first time since 1990.
*Tennessee has become a really interesting team under Josh Heupel. The Volunteers destroyed Missouri on the road a week after holding their own in Gainesville. Hendon Hooker is a solid QB, and the matchup against South Carolina this week is huge because a win would more than likely set up the Vols for a bowl game.
*Boise State is 2-3 for the first time since 2001, which underscores how good of a Group of Five program it has been for the last couple of decades. The Broncos fell at home to a really good Nevada squad and have dropped consecutive home games for the first time since 2015. I’d expect Andy Avalos to keep this program running smoothly, however. The Broncos just need a little more consistency on both sides of the ball.
*Big win for Mississippi State and head coach Mike Leach at Kyle Field. Now, Jimbo Fisher really needs to keep this season together for Texas A&M.
*Mark Stoops can coach, and he knows defense. Florida’s offense was stymied in the red zone during the fourth quarter of its loss to Kentucky, which beat the Gators at home for the first time since 1986. The Wildcats are 5-0 for the first time since going 10-3 in 2018 and just the fourth time in 70 years.
*Cincinnati took care of its non-conference business, and now Luke Fickell and his staff need to keep the team focused so it takes care of business in the AAC. The ‘Cats used another strong defensive effort, recording three first-half takeaways, and the deep passing of QB Desmond Ridder to knock off Notre Dame in South Bend to position themselves nicely for a breakthrough campaign. If the Bearcats run the table and still do not get into the CFP, it’s hard to envision a Group of 5 team ever getting in during the current four-team format.
*Pittsburgh QB Kenny Pickett is on fire. Over his last three games, he has tossed 15 TDs to break Dan Marino’s school record over a three-game stretch (13 in 1981). He also has thrown at least four scoring passes in three straight games—the longest streak by an ACC QB since NC State’s Russell Wilson (2009). He could be the Panthers’ best chance at a Heisman Trophy winner since Larry Fitzgerald was in town.
*Minnesota RB Trey Potts remains hospitalized in Indiana for an unspecified medical issue that happened late in Saturday’s game at Purdue. The redshirt sophomore left the field in the fourth quarter of the team’s 20-13 win and was treated by its medical staff before being transported to a local hospital. The school issued a statement Monday noting his condition is improving. Potts has become the Gophers’ top RB after star Mohamed Ibrahim suffered a ruptured Achilles in the season opener.
I can’t wait for Week 6 to begin, and we get two Thursday games this week with No. 15 Coastal Carolina taking on Arkansas State and Houston battling Tulane.
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