College Football Recap, Week 5

Every year, there’s a week early in the season that takes what looked like a simplified layout for the postseason and turns it completely upside down. In 2008, it was Week 5, where all of my top three teams went down. Once again, it appears that there is a large cluster of teams that have moved up into championship contention with remarkable speed, and that if any of them fail to run the table (a likely scenario), the BCS will once again open itself to the collective roar of controversy as several one-loss teams make their case for a chance to play for the title. As for that, time will tell. For the time being, here’s a brief recap of what happened in the shake-up of 2008.

-The writing was on the wall early on, as USC suffered a shocking loss at Oregon State, where they always seem to have trouble. The Beavers were ready, jumping out to a 21-0 lead behind a midget running back who admitted that “they couldn’t find me.” The Trojans made a late push, but it was too little too late, and when Oregon State recovered the USC onside kick to lock up the game, the rush of burnt Orange onto the field was something to behold. I can only pray that they roasted a beaver in celebration.

– So much for “The World’s Greatest Outdoor Cocktail Party” featuring an undefeated #1 vs #2 matchup, as both Florida and Georgia bit the dust Saturday as strong favorites. It’s hard to say which team’s title hopes were damaged the most, but if I have to choose, I’d pick Florida. The Gator defense can’t be giving up 31 points a game to teams like Ole Miss at home and expect much consideration, not to mention that missing an extra point (whether it was blocked or not) in a game-tying situation is simply inconceivable. And aside from that, Florida couldn’t even convert on a 4th and 1 with time winding down that would have kept hope alive for a game-winning field goal attempt. Equally inexplicable was Alabama’s suddenly devastating aerial attack running up a 31-0 lead on a highly touted Georgia defense at halftime. Oh, and that was at Georgia to boot. After such a dominating first half, no amount of second half scoring was going to save the Bulldogs in front of a stunned, blacked out crowd. It remains to be seen just how good Alabama is though, so I still think that Georgia remains closer to the title chase; it is pretty clear that they lost to the better team. Now, a November 8th matchup between Alabama and LSU in Baton Rouge looks like it could hold a ticket to the title game, along with other things, like potential anti-Saban debauchery.

-The ACC continued its free fall, as both Clemson and Wake Forest both lost games they should have won, to Maryland and Navy respectively. At least Florida State was able to knock off Colorado. Amazingly, only the Deacon Demons represent the entire conference in the Top 25, and they do so by the smallest of possible margins. I can’t even begin to think what I’d be doing if I was a Clemson fan. What a waste of a slew of talent, and not for the first time.

– If there’s a sleeper team for the title conversation, it has to be Penn State. The Nittany Lions have played as well as anyone, and looked impressive offensively in their first real challenge, a 38-24 victory over Illinois. The difference may very well be the emergence of QB Darryl Clark combined with a strong running attack anchored by sophmore Evan Royster. The quality of the defense is rarely in question with this team, and such a powerful offensive attack could be lethal. In other Big Ten action, Michigan bounced back from an embarrasing loss at Notre Dame to shock Wisconsin in the Big House after trailing 19-0 at halftime. Words can’t even describe how big of a win this was for the rebuilding program. And, perhaps Notre Dame is for real after all, as Purdue was little match for the Fighting Irish in South Bend.

– Don’t look now, but I have four Big 12 teams in my top 7! Surely that is the first time such a thing has ever happened, and surely it cannot last much longer. I still submit that Texas can’t possibly be as good as they appear, but for the time being, they’re just beating teams too easily to overlook. In any event, you’ll likely be surprised by my new #1. I know for a fact that they’ve never, ever topped the Matty list, but I’m convinced that their offense is second to none.

THE TOP 25 OF THE MATTY:

  1. Missouri (4-0)
  2. Oklahoma (4-0)
  3. Alabama (5-0)
  4. LSU (4-0)
  5. Penn State (5-0)
  6. Texas Tech (5-0)
  7. Texas (4-0)
  8. USC (2-1)
  9. Georgia (4-1)
  10. Florida (4-1)
  11. Ohio State (4-1)
  12. Auburn (4-1)
  13. South Florida (5-0)
  14. Kansas (3-1)
  15. BYU (4-0)
  16. Wisconsin (3-1)
  17. Utah (4-0)
  18. Vanderbilt (4-0)
  19. Boise State (3-0)
  20. Fresno State (3-1)
  21. Oregon (4-1)
  22. Wake Forest (3-1)
  23. Maryland (4-1)
  24. Kentucky (4-0)
  25. Oklahoma State (4-0)

HEISMAN WATCH:

  1. Chase Daniel, Missouri
  2. Sam Bradford, Oklahoma
  3. Max Hall, BYU
  4. Tim Tebow, Florida
  5. Javon Ringer, Michigan State

GAMES TO WATCH THIS WEEK:

#12 Auburn at #18 Vanderbilt, 5:00 CST, ESPN: Auburn has been tested in close games over the past two weeks and should be ready for what will be a hungry Commodores squad. In the end, Auburn appears poised to pull out another narrow victory.

#21 Oregon at #8 USC, 7:00 CST, ABC: Oh dear, I really feel for the Ducks in this one. USC got their wake-up call, and Oregon’s road conquests weren’t flattered by Purdue’s thrashing against Notre Dame. The Ducks all but lost to Purdue on the road in Week 3.

#11 Ohio State at #16 Wisconsin, 7:00 CST, ABC: This is easily the best game of the day, but it isn’t nearly as good as it could have been. While either team could still win the conference, it appears to be for second place at this point. It’s must-win for both teams, although the Badgers, being at home, probably need it more. Ohio State still has chances against Penn State and Michigan at home as well as a road trip to Illinois.

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