Week Five of College Football is Over….What Just Happened?

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Source: The Des Moines Register

Big Ten Looms Large Five Weeks In

Source: The Des Moines Register

By Myles Woodman

The Big Ten is no joke this year; it’s not just Ohio State dominating the field and getting their nearly-automatic bid. The Big Ten owns half the College Football Playoff and nearly half of the Top Ten.

The great: Iowa, Iowa, Iowa. This is the best Hawkeyes squad that college football has seen in decades, if not ever. They have two ranked wins to their name already vs 17 Indiana and @9 Iowa State. This team has what it takes to win playoff games now. They have a huge game coming up hosting #4 Penn State in what is no doubt the biggest game of the college football season yet on the way. The winner I would put above Georgia at 2, the loser can still make it in if they win out the rest of the games. I would say that the Big Ten, while it has a lot of self-sabotage left, is finally as dangerous as the SEC. On the flip side is Penn State who will have to deal with a hostile environment outside their own in Happy Valley for the first time this season. They took down an SEC powerhouse at home hanging 28 on the Auburn Tigers defense but that is not going to be the same against Iowa’s defense. This game will be a midwestern defense struggle and I would be surprised if we saw either team score more than 30. After both averaging 33.2 and 30 respectively.

The good: I am obligated to start with Ohio State even if they are not undefeated like both of the Michigan teams. Yes, they have a home loss to a team that just fell on its face against Stanford. Despite that, the CFP committee has them ranked 7th. Are they overrated? Maybe. It does not matter though, the committee loves the Buckeyes and they have tests at home vs #4 Penn State and #11 Michigan State. If they handle those teams in Columbus. They close the regular season in the Big House @Michigan. Their job the next two games is to prove they do not struggle with bad teams, unlike former head coach Urban Meyer (now 0-4 after a TNF meltdown).

Michigan teams have not really impressed the committee yet, but they did what they had to do so far as Michigan ranks 9 and MSU 11. The Wolverines did go on the road and beat Wisconsin, but that team is just deflating by the second as they are unranked, 1-3 and winless within the division. MSU went on the road beating Northwestern and #24 Miami but aside from that it took an Overtime interception to beat Nebraska. While there is a lot of buzz on both campuses, there is a reserved optimism until they go out and prove it either against each other or Penn State. The biggest question still remains for Michigan though. Can Harbaugh beat OSU?

The ugly: Wisconsin. What happened? Ranked 12th in preseason you lose at home to Penn State (understandable and not season ending because of PSU’s dominance). You follow that up by beating up on Eastern Michigan and losing two straight, in Chicago’s Soldier Field against Notre Dame and crushed at home against Michigan. You are dead last in the Big Ten (not tied, dead last.) You have managed to schedule all your tests within the first four weeks and failed every test. The badgers are so bad I cannot with a degree of certainty say they will go to ANY bowl game. I’d be surprised if they even came near to a .500 win percentage for the rest of the season. By the time Iowa comes to town October 30th you will have to pay students to attend the biblical slaughtering that will take place. You are a big ten team scoring 18.5 points per game. You gain less yards per game than New Mexico State. I feel bad for your third ranked defense who is constantly on the field as you cannot maintain drives to save your life. Focus on basketball, please and thank you. 

Is it finally the year of the Non Group of Five? 

Cincinnati: After Cincinnati handled a Big Ten team on the road against Indiana, they went on the road against number 7 Notre Dame, they promptly shut them out in the first half and went on to win 24-13. This win is by far the biggest in program history and vaulted them up to #5, knocking on the door of the College Football Playoff. This team is great, I would put them above any team with one loss and their right up there with the big boys. Now obviously there is a lot of time left in the season as Cincinnati is soon to begin its American Conference play with no real obstacles for the next month. But if you want it to happen, it just about has to be Cincinnati.

BYU: independent BYU is 5-0 after taking care of business against Utah State. Their big wins include Pac-12 #21 Utah and #19 Arizona State. They still have tests against Boise State at home and @Baylor. I wouldn’t put them ahead of an undefeated or even a one loss team so they would need to win out and get some help. If they manage to weather the storm against the four groups of five teams remaining, I would not be surprised to see them at least mentioned in the CFP conversation and certainly in a New Year’s Six bowl game. 

Coastal Carolina: Yes, they’re undefeated. Yes, they beat aforementioned BYU last year and yes, they are ranked top 15. But the Sun Belt cannot offer them enough competition to get them into the playoff. The entire NCAA loves what Jamey Chadwell has built after CCU was in the FCS just years ago. But if your best wins include destroying basketball school Kansas (a school that rushed the field after beating an FCS school) and winning by 3 @ Buffalo. You can’t hang with the SEC. I would give it a few years and maybe a bid in the American conference or simply, a better schedule and we will then see their name dropped. Until then, curse the Sun Belt and focus on playing @Appalacian State on the 20th. 

SEC top dawgs prevail in SEC play.

The undefeated #8 Arkansas, coming off a huge upset against Texas A&M in AT&T stadium, rolled into Athens, Georgia to play the #2 Bulldogs. While Arkansas was ranked in the top ten for the first time since 2012, they never really had a chance. The Hogs immediately gave up 27 unanswered, digging not a hole but a crater for their offense. And while neither side of the ball was operating well, the special teams did worse! Giving up a blocked punt for a touchdown and missing a 37 yard field goal. Final score 37-0. Georgia’s stellar defense which gave up more points to UAB than it did #3 Clemson and #8 Arkansas combined will have to shut down Bo Nix and the Auburn Tigers on the road. 

Bama does what Bama does best. Win home games. Does Alabama need to play at home anymore? It’s almost a formality at this point as they obliterated Ole Miss; half it was 28-0, but Ole Miss actually won the second half utilizing garbage time to make the first loss of their season a respectable 42-21 in Tuscaloosa. 

Going to the other side of the Iron Bowl, Auburn goes into Louisiana and gets a huge win. It was all LSU to start with a Kayshon Boutte 31 yard touchdown reception and pair of mid range field goals made it 13-0. Auburn would miss a field goal and turn it over on downs for their first two possessions. LSU would continue dominating the game to start the second half scoring another two field goals to go up 19-10 going into the fourth quarter. Bo Nix would soon bring it within two scoring a five yard rushing touchdown. After five punts by both teams Nix would get the ball on Auburn’s own 8 and mount a 92 yard drive in Baton Rouge. He converted two third downs with his arms to Shaun Shivers and handed the ball off to Jarquez Hunter who punched in the one yard eventual game winner. The Tigers defense stepped up big shutting LSU out in the fourth and catching the game winning interception.

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