College football has five weeks in the books, but there is still a long way to go. Each week more is learned about each team, even though not everything can be known. Putting the pieces together on college football each season is part of why fans love it. With that being said, here are five things learned from week 5.
1. OSU’s toughest game is behind them; Give the ball to the best player in crunch time
Although it looked like Ohio State would be heading home with a loss, the Buckeyes turned it around just in time to get a win at Penn State. It was a tough, emotional game full of excitement in a crazy environment and the Buckeyes should be happy to squeak out a win.
With that being said, Ohio State will not have a stiffer test all year. Their two remaining tough games are at Michigan State, who have had their fair share of struggles this year, and at home against Michigan. Seeing as the Buckeyes have only lost to the Wolverines once in the last 13 meetings and Michigan has struggled early in the year, Ohio State is looking like a great pick to make the College Football Playoff.
Another takeaway from this game has to be that in crunch time, coaches have to give it to their best players. On a fourth and five in a do or die situation at the end of the game, Penn State ran the ball against a defense that had bottled up running backs all day. The Nittany Lions took the ball out of quarterback Trace McSorley’s hands and it ended up being a fatal mistake. McSorley had 286 passing yards, two touchdowns through the air and 175 rushing yards for the game and was denied the opportunity to win the game for his team.
2. Notre Dame is legit with Ian Book
Notre Dame had a big game in their own right on Saturday night, beating Stanford 38-17. This was quarterback Ian Book’s second start of the season and the offense looks very productive with him at the helm. He had 278 passing yards and four touchdowns against the Cardinal. In his two starts, Notre Dame is averaging 47 points per game.
With the big win and momentum, Notre Dame may be able to make their first College Football Playoff. The rest of their schedule is manageable with games against Virginia Tech, Syracuse and USC being some of the toughest matchups. The downside for Notre Dame is that they may not have the most quality wins and lack a conference championship. Even so, the Irish are sitting in a great position after inserting Book into the lineup.
3. The Pac-12 and ACC are in trouble
It is still early, but there are two conferences that are in danger of missing the College Football Playoff for a variety of different reasons. This is good news for the SEC, Big Ten and the Big 12. Why are these two conferences in trouble?
The Pac-12 took a huge hit with Stanford’s loss at Notre Dame this weekend. That leaves only one undefeated team through five weeks in Colorado. The Buffaloes look solid, but aren’t expected to make a College Football Playoff run. With contenders Oregon, Washington and Stanford all with one loss already, one team needs to win out, which is extremely tough. There is a slight chance that these teams could afford another loss, but that would take a disaster scenario, as no team has ever made the CFP with multiple losses.
For the ACC, they still have two undefeated teams. Clemson was able to sneak away with a win over Syracuse and has quarterback issues moving forward if Trevor Lawrence isn’t healthy. NC State should be a solid team, but isn’t being taken seriously as a CFP contender. Miami has an outside chance of making noise with just one loss, but that amounts to all of the CFP contenders from the ACC. Being that it is only five weeks in, that’s a problem. The ACC is hoping Clemson doesn’t slip up and lose any games, because if they do, they could be on the outside looking in for the CFP.
4. WVU’s defense is good enough to win the Big 12
The college football knows about Will Grier and the high-powered West Virginia offense. What people might be doubting is if West Virginia’s defense (and the team in general) is good enough to win the Big 12. This season the Mountaineers have a team capable of winning a Big 12 Championship.
This week West Virginia scored a lot of points in the first half and held on in the second half to beat a ranked Texas Tech team on the road. They slowed the Red Raider offense just enough to win the game and forced them to throw three interceptions. West Virginia doesn’t have the best defense, but has some solid speed, which will help.
With Oklahoma struggling defensively right now, West Virginia should be able to beat Oklahoma, at least once, but maybe twice if they get a rematch in the Big 12 Championship Game. The Sooners allowed 21 points against Army and 33 against Baylor in the last two weeks. With West Virginia’s offense, the Mountaineers should be able to score more on that defense. That means that WVU’s defense just need to get a few key stops and turnovers to be able to beat Oklahoma this season. There is still a long time until they play, but if WVU can beat Oklahoma, they can win the Big 12.
5. The Red River Rivalry will be a top 20 matchup
Oklahoma and Texas will play in week 6 in their annual rivalry. After Texas’ rough start to the season there had to be some doubts about how relevant this game would be. After rattling off four straight wins, this game features one great team and one still on the comeback.
The Longhorns held Kansas State to 14 points and look to be a team that can grind out wins. There are still issues with the team, mainly on offense. They do however, have playmakers at the wide receiver position who could give any team trouble.
Oklahoma had a scare against Army two weeks ago, but bounced back this week against Baylor. Kyler Murray has the offense rolling even after being benched to start the game for being late to practice. With him at quarterback, Oklahoma can give any team trouble.
As always, it is better when rivalries feature ranked teams and are competitive.
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