NCAA Football Report (Week 5)

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The NCAA has seen a lot of the usual suspects at the top of the rankings this year but there are some unexpected undefeated teams at week 5. These teams have been flying under the radar but are slowly creeping up into the BCS conversation. First Clemson has been one of the biggest surprises as they beat the ACC favorite Florida State Seminoles. The Seminoles were the first big challenge for the Tigers as the Seminoles were ranked #15 and Clemson was not on the top 25. In a season changing game the Tigers beat the Seminoles and entered into the top 25 for the first time this season. Last week Clemson was ranked #13 and were facing the #11 Virginia Tech Hokies in another test that would make them move up in the rankings yet again. The Tigers took full advantage of this opportunity as they beat the Hokies 23-3 and moved into the top 10 as they look to continue the climb to a BCS Bowl. As the Tigers continue to climb so does a former great team that had been in the top of the rankings for years until the fell down outside the rankings. The Michigan Wolverines are riding there QB affectionately nicknamed “Shoelace.” Denard Robinson has this nickname because he never ties his shoes and nobody will want him to after the way he has been running all over defences. Robinson has burned defences with his arm and his feet and brought the Wolverines to the Top 25 again. Robinson has changed the Wolverines but the defence is what has been winning games for Michigan as a very good shutdown group that allows Robinson to continue running all over the NCAA. The biggest question for Michigan is whether or not they can keep it up or if they will falter like in previous years. With the dominance performances by Michigan the Blue and Maze could be back and it is in large part due to Denard Robinson aka “Shoelace.” Another surprise team has been the Illinois who have snuck in to the top 25 with almost nobody noticing. The Fighting Illini have quietly come out to a 5-0 season and are now ranked 19th in the nation after their win against Northwestern 38-35. The Illini are not as meteoric as Michigan and Clemson but they are slowly sneaking up into the top of the rankings. If they can get by some of their conference big names they may be able to shoot up the rankings but it will be tough. There are also a number of other teams undefeated including Kansas State who was able to beat Baylor and their QB Robert Griffin to earn a top 25 ranking. Houston is one team that has not gained the respect that many 5-0 teams get as they remain undefeated but are on the cusp. Behind the arm of one of the best QB that nobody is talking about in Case Keenum, Houston has gone out to an undefeated start. All of these teams have come out quick and with 9 weeks left the toughest games are yet to come. This usually leads to the great debate over which team is a real threat to make it to the BCS Bowl. It seems like the best two teams in the undefeated club are the Clemson Tigers and the Michigan Wolverines. The Tigers are becoming the favorites in the ACC after beating the two preseason favorites and are through their toughest spot. They still have some challenges in Georgia Tech and South Carolina that may hurt them but with their performances and confidence they could pull it off. Michigan does not have much in their way to have an undefeated season as the only currently ranked teams they will face are Illinois and Nebraska who are both beatable. With Michigan’s history if they stay undefeated they will be in a BCS at the end of the season. These teams will battle it out to remain in the Top 25 and try to enter into the National Championship conversation.

The top of the rankings saw some changes for the second week after LSU took over the top spot from Oklahoma. LSU continued to keep their top spot after a convincing win over Kentucky that solidified their top spot. Meanwhile Oklahoma continued to fall down the standings after a dominant win over Ball State 62-6 but could not keep their ground. Alabama moved up from the 3rd spot after beating Florida 38-10. The two SEC teams have taken out the Oklahoma Sooners who are from the Big 12. The SEC bias is making itself known as LSU and Bama have overtaken the Sooners without the Sooners doing anything that waranted them falling to #3 in two weeks. With the SEC being the best conference every team in the conference tends to be looked at in a different light. Alabama’s win against Florida was essentially considered better than Oklahoma’s dominance over Ball State. Granted Ball State is not a good team and if the Sooners had made it close it would have been bad. The Sooners did not let it get close though as Ball State only earned 6 points to Oklahoma’s 65 but it was not considered as good as a win against Florida. Alabama did not dominate Florida but they did win convincingly and even though Florida was ranked they were not as good as many had believed. Alabama won the game and took over the 2nd spot in the top 25 as Oklahoma was left wondering how they can possibly get back to the top. With two SEC teams at the top the National Championship will involve one when they face each other on November 5th. For Oklahoma it is a matter of time if they continue their perfect season they will benefit from the conference play that will have to happen.

Heisman Watch:

1. Andrew Luck, QB (Stanford)

Luck was at it again after Stanford’s week off and he was facing the biggest rival for the Cardinal which is never an automatic win. As Luck went up against UCLA he burned them for another great performance as he begins to pull away from the challengers. Luck threw for 227 yards and 3 TDs that gave him even more room in the Heisman race after poor performances by some of his biggest competition. Luck also showed a little skill in the receiving game making an amazing one-handed catch at the sideline that will be on highlights reels for a while. Luck again stays at the top as he is easily the best QB in the NCAA and has yet to do anything to upend his Heisman bid.

Stats (4 games):

71.4 cmp%

1,013 yds

11 TD

1 INT

178.0 rtg

 

2. Russell Wilson, QB (Wisconsin)

Thanks to some poor performances by some of the favorites Wilson got the chance to move up in the race and did it with a great performance. The Wisconsin Badgers faced their toughest test in Nebraska and Wilson led his team to the win. Wilson threw for 255 yards and 2 TDs against a great team. This has solidified his rise to the #2 spot in the Heisman race as he was able to burn a very good defence in a week where other QBs faced lesser teams and struggled. Wilson will need to continue his performances if he hopes to beat out Luck for the Heisman but he is making progress.

Stats (5 games):

74.8 cmp%

1,391 yds

13 TD

1 INT

216.9 rtg

 

3. Robert Griffin III, QB (Baylor)

Griffin has been the sensation of the year as he has been one of the most diverse QBs in the NCAA and has brought the Bears to relevance. This week Griffin took on the Kansas State Wildcats in what could have been another easy win. The Bears did not get the win however as Griffin took a small hit to his race. Thanks to some bad performances he moved up in the rankings. The majority of his movement was caused by his completed dominance over K-State that did not translate into another win. Griffin threw for 346 yards and 5 TDs as he did everything he could to pull out the win. Unfortunately his race hopes are teetering if Baylor continues to lose but if they can continue to win he could be at the top soon.

Stats (4 games):

82.3 cmp%

1,308 yds

18 TD

1 INT

230.3 rtg

 

Notable Challengers:

4. Kellen Moore, QB (Boise State)

73.9 cmp%

1,137 yds

14 TD

4 INT

170.8 rtg

 

5. Marcus Lattimore, RB (South Carolina)

124 rsh

677 yds

5.5 avg

9 TD

 

AP Top 25:

1. LSU Tigers (1)

2. Alabama Crimson Tigers (3)

3. Oklahoma Sooners (2)

4. Wisconsin Badgers (7)

5. Boise State Broncos (4)

6. Oklahoma State Cowboys (5)

7. Stanford Cardinal (6)

8. Clemson Tigers (13)

9. Oregon Ducks (9)

10. Arkansas Razorbacks (18)

11. Texas Longhorns (17)

12. Michigan Wolverines (19)

13. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (21)

14. Nebraska Cornhuskers (8)

15. Auburn Tigers (–)

16. West Virginia Mountaineers (22)

17. Florida Gators (12)

18. South Carolina Gamecocks (10)

19. Illinois Fighting Illini (24)

20. Kansas State Wildcats (–)

21. Virginia Tech Hokies (11)

22. Arizona State Sun Devils (25)

23. Florida State Seminoles (23)

24. Texas A&M Aggies (14)

25. Baylor Bears (15)

 

Key Scores:

#7 Wisconsin Badgers 48 – 17 Nebraska Cornhuskers #8

– In the closest rankings game of the week Wisconsin took home the win with a great performance by Heisman hopeful Russell Wilson

 

Kansas State Wildcats 36 – 35 Baylor Bears #15

– The Baylor Bears had been undefeated largely behind Robert Griffin III and his performance and the performance continued but it did not result in a win

 

#13 Clemson Tigers 23 – 3 Virginia Tech Hokies #11

–  Clemson continues their rise through the Top 25 in the NCAA rankings and beating the ACC favorite Virginia Hokies have given the Tigers even more reason to believe

 

#3 Alabama Crimson Tide 38 – 10 Florida Gators #12

– The Crimson Tide took on their conference rival in Florida and beat the #12 team to move up to the #2 spot in the Top 25

 

Key Matchups Next Week:

#3 Oklahoma Sooners vs. #11 Texas Longhorns (Oct. 8th; 12:00 pm)

– Oklahoma will try to stop their falling ranking in one of the biggest rivalries in NCAA as they take on Texas in the Red River Rivalry

 

Boston College vs. #8 Clemson Tigers (Oct. 8th; 3:00 pm)

– Clemson will look to continue their rise up the rankings and it could be a challenge to move up by beating Boston College but it is still fun to watch the Tigers

 

#1 LSU Tigers vs. #17 Florida Gators (Oct. 8th; 3:30 pm)

– Florida took a beating in the SEC last week and will try to make up for it in another SEC matchup with the top ranked LSU Tigers

 

#15 Auburn Tigers vs. #10 Arkansas Razorbacks (Oct. 8th; 7:00 pm)

– Auburn had the biggest jump after being unranked and jumping to #15 this week but the Razorbacks will look to bring them back down by beating them on Saturday

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