For nearly 15 minutes on Saturday afternoon, it looked like Alabama was doomed. Bryce Young was wounded. Arkansas almost erased the Crimson Tide’s huge lead. The world of college football held a collective breath.

For more than three-quarters of Saturday night, it seemed as if the kings had been overthrown. Georgia’s attack bogged down. Missouri pulled ahead by double digits. The foundation of the college football world began to crumble.

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For five games Saturday, Rutgers led Ohio State. No one really panicked here. It’s still Rutgers, and there was a lot of stress.

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After all, the 2022 college football big three — the Buckeyes, Bulldogs, and Tide — survived. Ohio State fell short, Alabama used a couple of long runs to assert their dominance even without Young, and Stetson Bennett rallied Georgia to a 26-22 victory. Order has been restored.

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It was a reminder that the Big Three deserved their place at the top of the sport, but also served as a reminder that no one has a playoff spot in just five weeks.

Young’s injury showed just how elusive title hopes can be, even in a place like Alabama. And Ohio State has its own injury issues at the moment, with three solid defenses on the schedule. Georgia delivered scoundrels in a row against states like Kent State and Missouri. After the game, Kirby Smart shrugged off the difficulties, noting, “Nothing is easy in the SEC.” Kansas State, which beat Missouri by 28 two weeks ago, might disagree, but who are we to argue with a coach who won last year’s national championship?

So what happens if the Big Three don’t survive one of these Saturdays? Who is next in the playoff hierarchy?

If Week 5 didn’t bring shocking disappointments, it did offer some division between contenders and contenders for the Big Three.

At Oxford Ole Miss was in helmets made from the same material used for those Coors Lite cans that turn blue when they’re cold, then delivered a silver bullet to the Kentucky Wildcats’ playoff hopes. That the Rebels won on defense was a strong statement that Lane Kiffin’s team is not a one-dimensional offense. Smart and Jimbo Fisher took the win over Alabama last year, and Kiffin may now be Saban’s former sidekick with the best chance of flipping his old boss.

After North Carolina State beat Clemson in double overtime last year in Raleigh, Dave Doren celebrated with a red Solo cup and a cigar. We doubt Dabo Sweeney would do the same after Clemson’s impressive 30-20 victory over Saturday’s 10th-place Wolfpack tournament (although maybe he’ll have a glass of milk and wheat toast?), but the victory was a statement about that the Tigers will return to the playoff hunt in 2022. DJ Uiagalelei scored three touchdowns, and Clemson’s defense put on a vintage performance, paying almost no rent for his time on the NC State backfield.

Baylor beat Oklahoma State twice last season, but the Cowboys responded with a 36-25 win on Saturday. Spencer Sanders, who struggled hard in two losses last year, threw for 181 yards, rushed for 75 more and scored two touchdowns. Mike Gandy’s team isn’t hugely popular yet, but the Cowboys have won all four games by double figures and, were it not for Big 12 Kansas, would have been the clear favorite to win the league.

Iowa’s plan to put Michigan to sleep on offense also failed miserably. The Hawks scored on each of their first five full passes, which is usually a winning formula, but not against Blake Corum, who batted 29 times for 133 yards and scored a touchdown in Michigan’s 27–14 win.

Meanwhile, Kentucky and the state of North Carolina are likely to fall out of the top 10. Penn State won but filed five losses in an ugly performance against Northwestern. Minnesota failed to move the ball in a loss to the Purdue Boilermakers when star guard Mohamed Ibrahim was out of the game. Oklahoma, Florida and Washington also fell by the wayside in the fifth week.

We only have one Saturday in October. We are still further from the finish line than the starting blocks. There’s no point in making rash statements about contenders at this point, but week five has given a clearer picture than before.

Alabama, Georgia and Ohio continue to win, even if it wasn’t always pretty.

But Clemson, Michigan, Oklahoma and others have themselves reminded that while only four playoff invitations will be sent out at the end of the year, the Big Three don’t need to check their mailboxes just yet.


It’s time to believe in TCU

It’s the same thing we’ve been saying for weeks: it’s time for the rest of the country to take notice of an upstart Big 12 team that opened the season 4-0 and deserves a ranking.

Oh no, not Kansas. We are talking about TCU.

After finishing last season 5-7 and sacking Gary Patterson, the Horned Frogs were hardly considered Big 12 contenders this season, but Sonny Dykes has clearly breathed life into the offense and Max Duggan has emerged as one of the top scoring players. countries. QB.

If you didn’t believe it until Saturday, then TCU’s 27 points in Oklahoma in the first quarter should have convinced you. And if you’ve ever wondered how many big draws it takes before Brent Venables’ head explodes, well, this game certainly tried to provide the answer.

TCU gained 668 yards in the 55–24 win, including four games of 60 yards or more.

Duggan was superb, throwing for 302 yards and three touchdowns, as well as running for 116 yards and scoring two more balls. If the stat line looked familiar to Sooners fans, it should. In the playoff era, the only other Big 12 QB with 300 passing yards, 100 rush yards, three TD passes, and two on the ground in the same game was Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts in 2019. Duggan is only the eighth player in the playoff era from any conference to hit those marks against an enemy with a strength of 5.

So, if Oklahoma can be officially crossed out of the playoff contenders, isn’t it time to start thinking about TCU as the eventual Big 12 champion?

This is the Horned Frogs’ first 4-0 start since 2017 and they now have notable wins over the Sooners and SMU. They scored 38 points in each of their first four games, and according to research by Sportzshala Stats & Information, 55 points against Oklahoma was the most points allowed by the Sooners since the 2019 Peach Bowl. He came against Joe Burrow and LSU. Oklahoma last allowed 55 points or more against an unranked opponent in 2016. That case was against Patrick Mahomes. Yes.

However, for all the deserved attention that TCU’s big win will receive, it’s worth noting that the Horned Frogs failed to realize their mid-game trolling. Roger Maris’ family will now be required to attend every TCU game until the Horned Frogs reach 62 points.


The rebels have drenched the UK, but the schools are still flying high

On Saturday, Ole Miss’s defense dealt a brutal blow to Kentucky’s SEC hopes 22-19, and then after the victory, Ole Miss’s social media team dealt an even more brutal blow.

Somewhere, John Calipari is sipping bourbon, throwing darts at a photograph of Shaheen Holloway he keeps on the wall, and laughing. Yes, Kentucky remains a basketball school.

The Wildcats had chances for a road win, but an early safety made Will Lewis’ finger look like he was trying to use his hands to drive a long division and was left with a remainder.

But not all is lost for basketball schools.

Kansas had a message for those cowards who voted in the AP poll by holding the Iowa State Cyclones just 26 yards off the ground in a 14-11 victory. Jalen Daniels Heisman’s campaign suffered a bit as he completed just seven passes for 93 yards (we’re guessing he had foul problems early on), but the defense more than made up for the offense’s shortcomings.

Syracuse also went 5-0. Orange played Wagner, who may or may not have been a group of schoolchildren standing on each other’s shoulders, dressed in raincoats and tank tops.

And UCLA beat the Washingtons in a claim on Friday night, also taking the Bruins 5-0.

Throw in 4-1 starts from North Carolina and Maryland, and the basketball schools look terribly good on the grid, even if Kentucky didn’t get their one shining moment in the Ole Miss.


Pac-12 deserves some respect

After years without a playoff team, 2022 is shaping up to be a Pac-12 year. Well, except for Colorado.

The league may still be a playoff underdog – though USC and UCLA could certainly offer an olive branch before running into the Big Ten – but there’s no shortage of really fun teams playing in the West.

The Utahs’ Week 1 loss to Florida seems more and more inexplicable every week, both because of the Gators’ struggles since that win and because the Utahs have clearly dominated. Saturday’s 42-16 rout of Oregon State was marked by four touchdowns by Cameron Rising and three interceptions by Clark Phillips III, who quickly made a name for himself as the nation’s top defenseman.

USC allowed Arizona State to last three quarters before finally putting an end to the Sun Devils’ suffering 42-25 and the Trojans are now moving to 5-0. That gives the Pac-12 two 5-0 teams for the first time since 2017, when Washington and Washington State opened lossless for five weeks.

Washington, Washington State and Oregon are also 4-1, while Oregon State, California and even Arizona have been fun (if not necessarily good) for five weeks. Jayden de Laura threw for 484 yards and six touchdowns in Arizona’s win over Colorado on Saturday, while Washington State’s Cameron Ward threw for 343 yards and three touchdowns in the win over California.

So it’s clear the Pac-12 deserves some respect in 2022 – or at least that’s what Kevin Warren is telling TV networks that he’s pushing for more to be added…