It seems as if the season just started, but here we are, ready to embark on the sixth week of the college football season.
So far, the season has played out like every other season that has come before it: a few teams have shown their dominance while others have fallen victim to big-time upsets. Upstart squads have been pulled back down to earth by their more experienced competition, while other veteran teams have struggled to get things going.
This week’s action promises to deliver more of the same, and for these teams, they shouldn’t get too comfortable with their new rankings, for they won’t be there for long.
No. 5 Georgia Bulldogs (5-0)
Strong arguments can be made both for and against the Bulldogs being ranked as one of the five best teams in the country, but with a matchup upcoming against No. 6 South Carolina at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, that lofty status is not going to last.
Georgia has one of the most potent offenses in the nation, ranking 11th in total offense with 536 yards per game and eighth in scoring offense, dropping just over 48 points per game on their opposition.
Much of their offense is predicated on an impressive running game, one that will have a hard time running against the sixth best run defense in the nation, allowing less than 80 yards on the ground to the opposition.
It’s not just against the run where the Gamecocks excel: they rank 13th in total defense, allowing just over 288 yards per game while holding their opposition to a paltry 11.20 points per game, the sixth best mark in the nation.
This could be the game of the week, and it’ll be decided late in the fourth quarter, but the Gamecocks will emerge victorious for the third consecutive time over their SEC East rivals, sending the Bulldogs out of the Top 5.
No. 10 Florida Gators (4-0)
The Gators welcome the No. 4 team in the nation, the LSU Tigers, into Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville on Saturday afternoon in what promises to be another excellent display of SEC football for the nation to see.
LSU ranks 24th in scoring offense with 39 points per game, while the Gators check in with 30 points per game, 50th in the nation.
Much of the Gators’ success on offense rides on the legs of senior tailback Mike Gillislee, who has picked up 402 yards and five touchdowns on the ground. Against an LSU defense that ranks ninth in the country against the run, allowing only 83 yards on the ground per game, he’ll have a hard time finding running room.
That’s not to say that LSU’s dynamic backfield of Kenny Hilliard and Spencer Ware will have an easy day against the Gators, as the hosts of this matchup are only allowing just over 119 yards per game on the ground, the 36th best mark in the nation.
This one likely comes down to the play under center, and while neither LSU’s Zach Mettenberger or Florida’s Jeff Driskel are going to be confused with legitimate Heisman Trophy candidates, you have to give the edge to Mettenberger, and that should be enough for LSU to escape Gainesville with a much-needed win to stay atop the SEC East standings.
No. 11 Texas Longhorns (4-0)
The No. 8 team in the land, the West Virginia Mountaineers, walks into Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium with the prohibitive favorite to win the Heisman Trophy under center.
Geno Smith, a quarterback that Big East fans could have told you two years ago was one of the most exciting players in the country, has raised his game to another level this season and has racked up more than 1,700 yards and 20 touchdowns through the air in the first four games of the season.
The Longhorns rank 43rd nationally against the pass and 40th in scoring defense, allowing only 21 points per game, but they have not yet faced a player as good as Smith or an offense as potent as West Virginia’s, which is scoring 53 points per game, the third-highest mark in the country.
It should be an exciting game, but it’s hard to see the Longhorns being able to contain one of the nation’s most explosive offenses with a quarterback who only needs a split second to take advantage of a lapse on defense to put six on the board.
Week 6 AP Poll (first place votes)
1. Alabama (60)
3. Florida State
6. South Carolina
7. Kansas State
8. West Virginia
9. Notre Dame
12. Ohio State
14. Oregon State
15. (tie) Clemson
15. (tie) TCU
20. Mississippi State