The week got a start on a Tuesday with Louisiana handing Appalachian State their own head on a platter.  This was a thorough whipping by a Ragin Cajuns team that has been under the radar for the most part since their early season loss to the Longhorns.  The Mountaineers looked dreadful in this game. Their only road win of the season was at Georgia State.  App are a different team on the road than in their own stadium.

Friday had a handful of games with big programs.  To see my review of Clemson at Syracuse, click here.  Another big one was Cal at Oregon.  The Golden Bears are having a hard season, but the Ducks have lost their starting running back for the year, who seemed to be their key player.  Oregon won this game by a touchdown, but it sure appears that they will not be the same team moving forward that defeated Ohio State in the Horseshoe. Meanwhile in California, San Diego State pulled out a victory against San Jose State to remain undefeated, quietly waiting in the shadows if a certain G5 team stumbles.

As for Saturday, the story was Purdue shocking Iowa and knocking them from the undefeated ranks.  Purdue, as a program, is building a reputation as a giant killer.  Not just winning against highly rated opponents but winning big.  They didn’t score as many points against Iowa as they did against Ohio State a few years ago, but this time they did it on the road, which may be even more surprising. With Iowa dropping in the polls, it brought up the question “Who should be #5?”

I think most agree that Georgia is #1, and Cincinnati belongs in the Top 4.  While some dropped Alabama with glee after they lost to A&M, and some have dissed Oklahoma because of pre-Caleb Williams offensive woes, most seem to agree they now belong in the Top 4.  The AP and Coaches poll agree those are the Top 4, and agree somewhat on #6-10:

RankAP PollCoaches Poll
1GeorgiaGeorgia
2CincinnatiOklahoma
3OklahomaCincinnati
4AlabamaAlabama
5Ohio StateOhio State
6MichiganMichigan
7Penn StateMichigan State
8Oklahoma StatePenn State
9Michigan StateOklahoma State
10OregonOregon

Same teams, slightly different order, but what is this based on?  There are a lot of people who feel the Buckeyes have been playing much better since their early loss to the Ducks, and the eye test agrees.  What about the resume? We need to consider who teams are playing when we put them under the eye test.

Let’s look at records, best loss, best wins, and road wins:

TeamRecordLost ToBest WinRoad Wins
Ohio State5-1Oregon (5-1)Minnesota (4-2)2: Minnesota (4-2),
Rutgers (3-4)
Michigan6-0N/ANebraska (3-5)2: Wisconsin (3-3),
Nebraska (3-5)
Michigan State7-0N/ANebraska (3-5)?
Rutgers (3-4)?
4: Northwestern (3-3),
Miami (2-4),
Rutgers (3-4),
Indiana (2-4)
Penn State5-1Iowa (6-1)Auburn (5-2)1: Wisconsin (3-3)
Oklahoma State6-0N/ABaylor (6-1)2: Boise State (3-4),
Texas (4-3)
Oregon5-1Stanford (3-4)Ohio State (5-1)1: Ohio State (5-1)

The one thing that jumps out immediately is Sparty’s four road wins.  I have a ton of respect for what Mel Tucker is doing in East Lansing.  No one has more than half the road wins as Sparty, but the quality of the opponents is less than spectacular.  They haven’t beaten an FBS team with a winning record all season.

Michigan is very similar – not one win against a P5 team with a winning record.  They did beat Western Michigan, who is 5-2.  I did consider listing them as Michigan’s best win, but the Nebraska win was on the road.

We also see that Ohio State has the best loss of the year against Oregon.  I think most of us are a little surprised that Minnesota is 4-2 right now, but they are, and that gives Ohio State a good win, with a couple decent road wins.

Oregon has the win against the Buckeyes, but we also must consider that they had Verdell for that game, and he is done for the year now. Their best win since he was hurt is Cal, and a loss to Stanford. That is why the polls have them at #10, and I agree with that assessment.

Penn State’s win against Auburn is starting to look better, and the loss to Iowa was to a very good team when the Lion’s were playing most of the game with their backup quarterback, but one win all season on the road, against a Wisconsin team that hasn’t impressed.

Then we get to Oklahoma State.  Undefeated.  Best win against Baylor, who has only lost to the Cowboys.  Two decent road wins, on par with Ohio State.  This is a close contest, but I lean towards Oklahoma State right now.  It’s not a slam dunk – I had to split hairs to get here.  I also think there are a couple things going against the Pokes.  First, most people haven’t watched a ton of their games.  Secondly, most people think of them, and their head coach, as also rans, so I think a lot of people just assume they will blow it at some point before the end of the season.

If we are basing it strictly on resume to this point, the answer by a slim margin is Oklahoma State.  I can’t fault anyone who makes the argument that the eye test and evaluation of talent on the field should push Ohio State above Oklahoma State right now.  When I get a chance to see the Buckeyes pass the eye test against Michigan, Michigan State and Penn State, I probably will agree with that assessment.

There was a lot more that happened this past weekend though:

  • Coach Kiffin got a few more golf balls for his collection in Knoxville (way to be classy Vol Nation!).
  • Coach O will be out of a job soon.  There are a lot of jokes there, but truth is if he doesn’t get a head job from someone, he will make someone very happy coaching their defensive line.
  • Utah asserted themselves as the leader in the PAC 12 South – who would have thought that a few weeks ago?  
  • NC State looked darn good at Boston College.  They still have Wake Forest, but if they can get that win, they will have the Atlantic division title. Even if they lose to the Tar Heels at the end of the season, the Wolfpack will own the tiebreaker with Wake and Clemson.
  • What is up with the Florida Gators? Noted that they played on the road at Baton Rouge, but seriously? They are firing their coach after the season.  Dan Mullen, you must do better.  You might be on the hot seat next season if the Gators get blown out by Georgia, and that sure seems likely right now.
  • Caleb Williams looked good in his first start.  The excitement sure has increased for the Sooners now, right?  Just keep in mind that true freshmen can have bad days.  Not saying it will happen, but the defense is good enough to win a championship if the offense his doing well. If the offense isn’t doing well, the defense may find themselves challenged to win the game on their own, depending on the opponent.
  • Pittsburgh continues to look very good. Kenny Pickett is playing very good football right now.  I wonder if he is moving at all on draft boards.
  • Congrats to UConn! You won a football game!  It was Yale, but you won!
  • Congrats to South Carolina! You won an SEC game! It was Vanderbilt, but you won!  In all seriousness, kudos to Coach Beamer for making the switch to Zeb Noland on the last drive.  That paid off.

Another fun weekend of college ball!

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