This is the week that teams begin to separate themselves in either a good way or a bad way. Multiple undefeated teams taking on each other, and other undefeated teams taking on major tests, such as Georgia taking on Alabama, Northwestern facing Minnesota and more.
It’s hard for me to say at this point in the season that any team should be considered a “front-runner”, but if there are going to be polls, someone has to occupy that #1 spot. Here are my rankings heading into week five.
Definitely the best win of the season, a 40+ point victory over Oregon on the road. This game really showed me more than anything how overrated Oregon now is, but it’s still impressive regardless. We’ll see if they can hold it up against Cal, Arizona State, and USC over their next three games. They are off this week.
2. Ohio State
I was hesitant about putting Ohio State back up this high, but they probably are the next best team. They struggled against Northern Illinois, but that’s about it. We’ll see how they do against Indiana, which could be a tougher game than people will think. After that, it’s smooth sailing until Michigan State.
Georgia probably has the only resume with four solid wins on it. I put them ahead of Ole Miss for now after comparing Vanderbilt wins, but we’ll see how they do against Alabama this weekend. A convincing win puts them ahead of all SEC teams by a long shot.
4. Ole Miss
Ole Miss still has a great win at Alabama, but it’s diminished behind their performance against Vandy and Utah’s big win the same weekend. If Georgia wins convincingly over Alabama, then they move ahead. If Alabama wins, then Ole Miss becomes the top dog in the SEC again.
5. Michigan State
Outside of beating Oregon, Michigan State’s three other wins are over group of 5 schools by only an average of 15 points, which isn’t super impressive, and they have given up an average of 18 points in those three games. I’ll withhold any harsh judgment at least until they play Michigan in a few weeks. But that Oregon win no longer means as much.
Baylor has quietly whooped three smaller Texas schools in SMU, Rice, and Lamar, but now they get their first actual test with Texas Tech. For now, I’ll leave them here because I have no reason to drop them. We’ll see how they end up after facing the Red Raiders.
Leonard Fournette is easily the best player in college football, but the rest of the team is a little suspect. They only beat Mississippi State by 2, and Syracuse by 10, but both of those were on the road and they crushed Auburn. Their first test won’t come until October 17th against Florida.
8. Notre Dame
Notre Dame has had a couple of close games against Georgia Tech and Virginia, but all of this has come with a back-up QB. That shows how good ND is. However, going on the road to Clemson will be a test I’m not sure they can overcome. For now, they belong in the top 10.
They had a week off to prepare for Notre Dame and the game is at home. If Clemson gets past ND and Georgia Tech next week, they could have a decently easy path to an undefeated season, except for maybe Florida State.
Alabama can prove they are still for real with a win over Georgia this weekend on the road. If they don’t win, it will be a tough road to climb to stay in the hunt for an SEC title. They still have a lot of hard games on their schedule, but they have to start over after the Ole Miss loss this weekend with UGA.
Now for the picks. Some great games this weekend.
Week Five SEC Games
Georgia (-2.5) Alabama
Auburn (-20) San Jose State
Ole Miss (-7) Florida
Tennessee (-6.5) Arkansas
Missouri (-3.5) South Carolina
Texas A&M (-6.5) Mississippi State
LSU (-45) Eastern Michigan
Middle Tennessee (-1) Vanderbilt
Kentucky (N/A) Eastern Kentucky
Week Five National Games
Oklahoma (-7) West Virginia
Northwestern (-4) Minnesota
Baylor (-17) Texas Tech
Ohio State (-20.5) Indiana
Clemson (PK) Notre Dame