Week 5 showed us the beauty that is going to be the 2015 college football season, a season to remember. Yes, my friends, this week's games showed us just how competitive so many teams are and in my opinion foreshadowed what is certain to be remembered as a wacky & unpredictable season.
1. Let's start at the top with #1 Ohio State, #2 Michigan State and #3 Ole Miss. In Bloomington, Indiana led the Buckeyes at halftime and darn near tied (or beat) them on the final drive. Ohio State was sloppy, fumbling the ball four times (losing two) and Cardale Jones threw one pick. Urban eventually realized that Zeke is pretty tough to stop and he carried the Bucks to victory. Michigan State opened a 21-0 lead...and then watched that nearly evaporate in the second half. Purdue was driving late with a chance to tie or win it; but simply could not convert enough first downs on their final possession. Purdue, who hasn't won an FBS game in 364 days, lost by 10 to Marshall, 27 to Virginia Tech and 7 to Bowling Green; but nearly beat the #2 (?) team in the country...in East Lansing. As for Ole Miss, there really isn't much that needs to be written. Geoff Collins' defense dominated the Rebels. Jimmy Mac's Florida Gators are 5-0.
2. #4 TCU and #5 Baylor did what current day TCU & Baylor do. They hung a bunch of points on in-state programs and moved on. TCU's beatdown of Texas was historic.
Baylor & Texas Tech combined to score 98 points, with 63 coming from Baylor.
Baylor quarterback Seth Russell joked (I think) this past week that one of their goals was to score 100 in a game. Baylor visits Kansas next week. Be nice, Art. Be nice. Also, keep this date in mind, Friday November 27th. That's when these two meet up, at TCU. Points on points on points. Prepare accordingly.
3. #6 Notre Dame just couldn't get started...until it was almost too late at Clemson. Notre Dame did mount a tremendous 4th quarter comeback with both their offense and defense making the plays they needed to; until that very last play they needed. Notre Dame scored with under 15 seconds to play; but their two point attempt was stoned, and Dabo is still dancing.
4. #7 Georgia found out the hard way that a pissed off Nick Saban is not something you want to face.
5. LSU, a 44 point favorite, beat Eastern Michigan by 22. Despite having Leonard Fournette in the backfield, in the first half Les & Cam Cameron decided to dedicate their first half to giving their quarterback Brandon Harris the opportunity to get some down field passes under his belt. My eyes told me that Harris threw the ball pretty well. The stat sheet says my eyes aren't very good. The truth is almost every pass he threw was catchable. His receivers either didn't make the catch or in a few cases the defenders made nice plays on the ball. Regardless, in the second half Les wisely decided to let his featured back eat, and oh did the man eat. Leonard Fournette became the first back in the history of the SEC to run for 200 yards in three straight games. Herschell never did it. Bo Jackson never did it. Shaun Alexander in his prime never did it. _____ never did it. Nope. No one has ever done it. Leonard Fournette is special.
6. Unbeatens - Ohio State, Michigan State, TCU, Baylor, LSU, Utah, FSU, Clemson, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Northwestern, Oklahoma State, Cal, Florida, Iowa, Toledo, Memphis, Houston, Temple, Navy.
7. Texas was embarrassed, again, Saturday. Late in the 4th, they were down 50-0; but let's rewind it back a bit. Losing 37-0 at halftime, a Texas defensive back used his phone to check twitter. Ok, that alone is embarrassing. Oh, but it gets worse. The player retweeted some random fan who had tweeted that the player and another player should transfer to Texas A&M. Read that again. A Texas player publicly tweeted during halftime of their game that he and another player should transfer to A&M.
When told about this after the game, Charlie Strong responded that he was not aware of this but did add that his players should not be on their phones during halftime. I just...I mean...what? New lows.
8. Stanford couldn't find their offense in their week one loss at Northwestern (who by the way is now 5-0 and headed to Ann Arbor this upcoming week). Since that game though, Stanford has run off four straight wins, averaging over 40 points per game. Nice turnaround for David Shaw and Mike Bloomgren's offense.
9. Nebraska is 2-3. Sounds real bad right? Well, have a look below. They are "that" close to being 5-0. Its a game of inches.
10. South Carolina is 2-3. Les is bringing Leonard to town this upcoming weekend. Plenty of stranger things have happened; but let's assume LSU wins that one. South Carolina would be 2-4 with Vanderbilt coming to town the following weekend. I don't know that Steve could handle a home loss to Vandy. I'm worried we, college football, might be on the verge of losing Steve Spurrier the coach, and I don't like that. Not one bit.
11. The SEC West is still the SEC West. The top 4 teams in that division, whoever you think those four are, are going to beat each other up. No one knows who will be left standing; but whoever survives the West, if healthy, will be a contender.
12. When Tim Beckman was fired just before the season I cautioned everyone that I expected Bill Cubit to rally these players and have a way better than expected season. Guess what, it's happening. The Illini are 4-1. Their next four are at Iowa, Wisconsin, at Penn State and at Purdue.
I'd be surprised if Illinois didn't win at least two of those four. They then have Ohio State, at Minnesota and vs Northwestern. Bill Cubit is taking this team bowling. Will that be enough to earn him the job?
Now, the rest of the story...
a. UCF (0-5) is a dumpster fire.
b. Arizona State beat UCLA 38-23. Tom Bradley might want to have his guys work on tackling & effort.
c. Nevada lost to UNLV.
d. Fresno State, Wyoming, UCF, Western Michigan & San Diego State have 4 combined wins. The only FBS win of those four though, was tonight's win by SDSU over...Fresno State. Hey, at least someone got a W.
e. Joey Jones and his South Alabama crew won the inaugural belt, in the battle for the belt with Troy, 24-18. Love that they created a belt for that game.
f. Zach, who usually writes this column, and his wife Tracy were blessed to welcome their third child, a son, into the world Friday night. Please join me in congratulating them. Mother and child are doing well.