Written by: John Stocco
Remember when I wrote about Notre Dame and Virginia’s preview and I said it could be a letdown game for Notre Dame? Week 5 was a letdown week for every single college football fan. Let’s get right into it. I think the College Football Playoff is already set. I know that sounds completely insane because any given Saturday a team can get knocked off, but I can say with 100% confidence that 3 of the 4 spots in the College Football Playoff are already determined.
People are going to overreact like they usually do with Clemson barely beating North Carolina. Props to North Carolina and Mack Brown for playing a great game. It’s a game that they lost but in the end, they’re going to build from this loss in the recruiting game and they’re a lot closer than people think. Clemson, in the end, is going to win the ACC, and they’re going to be undefeated. The vibe for Clemson isn’t high right now because people expected them to wipe the floor with North Carolina, but they took their foot off the gas pedal yesterday and it was closer than it should have been. Lawrence, Higgins, Etienne, and their defense who’s just as good as last years will take care of business in the ACC.
Alabama, I mean, what else can I say? Tua Tagovailoa is the Heisman favorite, and they have the best receiving core in college. If there’s one complaint to come out of Alabama it’s their defense, and that was expected when Dylan Moses tore his ACL. You might be thinking, it’s Alabama, next man up right? Dylan Moses is the leader of that defense and was a projected first round pick. That’s not easy to replace even for Alabama. As time goes on and the bye week is here, Alabama’s defense will improve, and the pressure is on Raekwon Davis, Anfernee Jennings, and Xavier McKinney as their schedule gets tougher down the road. They have a much tougher road than Clemson, as they have LSU and Auburn coming up on their schedule. The greatest college of all time, three first round players, and two players that will end up going in the top 10, the last team that you should worry about facing a tough schedule is the Crimson Tide.
Just move Alabama up north and there you have Ohio State. Justin Fields is giving Tua a run for his money in the Heisman vote. He looks exactly like Cam Newton at Auburn. The Ohio State offense is a never ending machine. Fields has a big build like Cam, the arm strength like Cam, and the legs like Cam that keep on moving no matter what type of hits are coming. He has 23 total TD’s, 0 INT’s, 1,358 total yards, with a QBR of 95.4 which is 3rd in all of college football. Fields completely tore apart Nebraska’s offense as it just looked way too easy for him just like it does every week. Fields is a monster, and the athleticism surrounding him is off the charts. Oh, and let’s not forget, they have arguably the best edge rusher in college football who’s going to be a top five pick in the draft in Chase Young. Ohio State is the total package, and if you want to say they’re the best college football team in the nation, how can you argue that? They haven’t faced great competition, but they’re smoking teams out of games in the first quarter. That game against Nebraska was over before fans even found their seats. I see nobody in the Big Ten even coming close to Ohio State.
Undefeated teams fighting for the fourth spot: Georgia, Oklahoma, LSU, Auburn, and Wisconsin. Starting with Georgia, even though they’ve been incredibly successful the last three years, and they just beat Notre Dame, Georgia is a team that you rarely hear about. Georgia is an elite program. They have everything you need to win any game on any Saturday. Jake Fromm who proves that he just gets it. He makes safe, smart, accurate throws, he has great composure, excellent leadership, and he knows how to win the big game. DeAndre Swift is an excellent dual threat running back, and they have the best offensive line in the SEC. Oklahoma has an offense that is a masterpiece. Beautiful play calling by one of the best in all of football, Lincoln Riley. Turning around the career of Jalen Hurts, and never ending playmakers that can change the game in a split second. LSU has the most impressive win so far this college football season against Texas in Austin. With that on their resume, and Joe Burrow being college football’s breakout star, they’d get that 4th seed if the season ended today. Auburn is another undefeated SEC team who’s showing excellent growth week after week, and even better coaching by Gus Malzahn. A team that could run the ball against any defense and their defense can stop some of the college's best players. And then you have Wisconsin. Wisconsin is the only hope for people who hate the Buckeyes. Jonathan Taylor is the best running back in college, and their defense has never looked better than it does right now.
One loss teams still in the hunt: Notre Dame and Texas. Notre Dame not being in a conference is really going to hurt them in the end and it’s a shame. Even with the one loss, I think they’re a legit team that can win. Explosiveness coming from the passing game, while their running game is slowly improving week after week, and a very underrated defense. The Longhorns have one more shot to make their case. October 12th, Texas vs. Oklahoma. If Texas can pull off the upset at the Cotton Bowl, with some of these undefeated teams taking a few losses, you can make the case for Texas. Losing to LSU early might prove to be a great thing if LSU keeps looking this great. The Longhorns have one loss, but a win against Oklahoma, and a Big 12 Championship under their belt, you have to consider Texas as one of the top four teams in college football.