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Week 5 Pollin’ and Trollin’: Please Bama Don’t Hurt ‘Em

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But the Tide are no longer #1

Clemson v Virginia Tech
Celebrating the move to #1
Photo by Michael Shroyer/Getty Images

While it was a depressing weekend of football for LSU fans, it was another great weekend of college football for general fans. The races aren’t exactly becoming clearer, if anything, they are becoming more muddled as more and more legitimate contenders emerge. Well, except for the top two, those are the same.

So it goes.

1 Alabama. Bama has responded to the decline of the SEC and the erosion of its strength of schedule by now just beating the breaks off people. Hey, if you can’t play good teams, might as well blow out bad ones.

2 Georgia. You know, maybe this is the year the Dawgs don’t blow it.

3 Auburn. Basic competence is in rare supply around the SEC, and it makes Auburn an elite team in the conference.

4 Florida. Only Florida could make the decision to start the worse quarterback and then be saved from themselves when the opposing defense broke his collarbone, allowing the better player to come on and dominate the second half. When things are going your way, they are going your way.

5 Texas A&M. This isn’t an endorsement, it’s a lack of viable options. Christian Kirk is awesome, though.

6 Kentucky. Managed to squeak out a win over a terrible EMU team in their hangover from their inexplicable Florida loss. That’s going to haunt them all season.

7 South Carolina. At 3-2 overall and 1-1 in conference, South Carolina has the 7th best resume in the SEC. That’s just sad, though they do have that win over NC State.

8 Vanderbilt. Yes, they’ve lost two conference games without winning one, but they’ve lost to two of the best teams in the SEC and things should turn around as the schedule eases up.

9 Mississippi St. A team that has lost consecutive games by around 30 points still ranks 9th. That’s how terrible the bottom half of the conference is.

10 Arkansas. Well, um… they played TCU sort of tough. And they didn’t lose to a Sun Belt team, so there’s that.

11 Ole Miss. Let’s face it. A lot of teams are going to lose by 50+ points to Bama. That doesn’t make you special.

12 Tennessee. Experienced on of their worst losses in school history, but at least it was to a good football team.

13 LSU. The Tigers have lost to a Sun Belt team and a conference game against a team that lost its next two SEC games by a combined 67 points. They’ve been awful.

14 Mizzou. But still not as bad as Mizzou. The Tigers took a week off from getting their brains bashed in.

ACC

1 Clemson
2 Miami
3 Virginia Tech
4 NC State
5 Georgia Tech

It’s almost impossible to make sense of the ACC right now. Florida St struggled to beat Wake Forest, Duke-Miami was a marquee matchup, and Georgia Tech is undefeated and atop the Coastal Division. The one thing that does make sense is this: Clemson is awesome. They now have wins over Auburn, Louisville, and Virginia Tech and none of those teams really challenged the Tigers. This is not a fluke, Death Valley is home to the best team in the country.

Big 12

1 Oklahoma
2 TCU
3 Oklahoma St
4 West Virginia
5 Kansas St

A week of holding serve in the Big 12. Oklahoma St struggled against Texas Tech, but I wouldn’t read too much into that. Lubbock is a hard place to play. WVU and K-State are still a level below the true contenders, but are probably good enough to throw a wrench into the works. But thanks to that early win, it’s essentially a two-horse race right now between TCU and Oklahoma. There’s a lot of season to go, but both of those squads look like the standout teams of the conference.

Big Ten

1 Penn St
2 Wisconsin
3 Ohio St
4 Michigan
5 Michigan St

Penn St didn’t even break a sweat blowing out Indiana, while Wisconsin hung tough before finally beating back a pretty good Northwestern team. Ohio St and Michigan are both unbeaten in conference and still legit national title contenders. That’s an impressive top four with a pretty steep drop to #5. There’s plenty of teams that could claim that slot, but let’s highlight Sparty this week. It’s only fair to give them a turn. They won a typical ugly slugfest with Iowa, bouncing back from their blowout loss to Notre Dame. It’s too early to say they are back, particularly with a 20-point loss on the resume, but Sparty should be in a good position to ruin the season of one of the contenders. They get their first chance next week at the Big House.

Pac-12

1 Washington
2 Washington St
3 USC
4 Utah
5 Stanford

Wazzu’s win over USC was the big news of the week, but it’s still not enough for them to take the top spot from Washington. It was a great win, but it was also a home win on a Friday night by 3 points. They had the perfect confluence of factors to pull the upset, and to their credit, they did so. But being the top dog requires more than just one perfect night. However, it does throw the Pac-12 South race into chaos. Wazzu and UW now look like they are on a collision course for the most meaningful Apple Cup in history, but the South has four teams with one loss, and division leading Utah has just one win, and that was over an Arizona team of questionable quality by a single score. That division is poised to cannibalize itself, as it doesn’t look like there are any easy wins.

Current Playoff Bracket

1 Clemson
2 Alabama
3 Oklahoma
4 Penn St

Clemson and Bama are the runaway leaders right now, both impressing with their quality in opposite ways. Clemson is beating really good teams, notching more quality wins than anyone else in the country. Bama can’t buy a quality win, so they are simply laying waste to everything in their path to an almost comical degree. I’m bumping Penn St up to the field primarily due to the quality of the Big Ten. Right now, it’s too early to judge teams across conferences, but right now I’m more confident in the Big Ten than the Pac-12. Oklahoma still has that super quality out of conference win over Ohio St, turning them into the biggest Buckeye fans in the nation outside of Columbus right now. We tend to forget games as the season goes on, so let’s keep that center of mind: Oklahoma beat Ohio St on the road. That should matter.