Week 5 Rundown
It almost happened. There was almost the out-of-nowhere colossal upset that would have created some upheaval. But it wasn't meant to be. North Carolina came one horrible two point play call away from beating #1 Clemson. If anything, this game shows that Clemson might be a little vulnerable and they have no margin of error. The ACC is having such a down year, it seems like one loss would knock Clemson out of the Playoff picture no matter how much people think they are one of the "best" teams. The eye test can only take you so far when compared to on field results. But this will probably just be a slight blip on the Clemson radar as they march on to another Playoff appearance.
Notre Dame-Virginia was one of the two games between ranked opponents. Their maligned rush defense held Virginia to 4 yards rushing and came out on top 35-20. It will be tough for Notre Dame to crack the Playoff field with one loss since they have no conference affiliation. So they need to run the table and beating a top 25 opponent will only help their case as the season goes along.
In the other ranked matchup, USC fell to Washington on the road. I think the majority of people saw this one coming. USC has a true freshman, 3rd string quarterback playing and inconsistency is going to be expected. He had a tough time making reads against Washington's zone defense after he had a good game against Utah's man coverage. It will be an up-and-down year for the Trojans.
Auburn had a good win against Mississippi State setting up a top 10 showdown with Florida next week. Texas A&M struggled with Arkansas which isn't a great sign even though it's a rivalry. Alabama actually trailed against Ole Miss for awhile, but then they went off as usual. Georgia and LSU were on bye, so that's probably why it felt like there wasn't much action in the SEC this week. Come to think of it, every team has 2 byes this year due to how the calendar fell. Maybe that's why it has felt like there is a lack of high profile matchups every week compared to years past. There is a high probability more than one quality team will be off on any given week.
In the ACC the results pretty much solidified that after Clemson there is a huuuuuge drop off. Let's run it down. On Friday Duke destroyed Virginia Tech by 35 points. The situation in Virginia Tech gets worse every year. Not sure how long that coaching staff is going to last there. Pittsburgh (a team that just last week beat UCF somehow) needed a 4th quarter touchdown to beat FCS Delaware 17-14. Georgia Tech managed a whopping 2 points against Temple. Not a good look for the conference right now.
In the Big XII Oklahoma keeps rolling. Oklahoma State does their usual thing and knocks off a ranked foe at home. And Baylor beat Iowa State after blowing a 20 point 4th quarter lead. For some reason Game Day showed up to Lincoln for the "marquee" Big 10 matchup between Ohio State and Nebraska. Ohio promptly went on to win 48-7 leading 38-0 at half. Penn State effectively ended September national champions Maryland with a 59-0 killing. Wisconsin struggled with struggling Northwestern pulling out a 9 point win. And Michigan State barely beat Indiana with the final score inflated by a zero-time-on-the-clock touchdown due to Indiana trying a miracle 100 lateral play. And Iowa is still undefeated as the calendar turns to October. That means look out for Iowa this year.
The PAC 12 didn't have any crazy PAC 12 after dark games this week, but the conference's last undefeated team did go down as Arizona State beat Cal on Friday night.
I think what all this adds up to is the SEC is going to get 3 teams in the Playoff, plus Notre Dame somehow. Oh my gosh. Can you imagine the talking heads/fans/message boards if that comes to pass! There would be an expansion to an 8 team playoff immediately this offseason. But the chaos that looks so promising at the end of September usually doesn't come to pass.