For weeks, there was a general consensus.
Georgia was crowned the No. 1 team in college football after a blistering start, and the Bulldogs just naturally settled into the position.
After a wild and weird Week 5, however, it’s time to reassess. Georgia was pushed to the brink on the road by Missouri. Alabama, despite being without its Heisman-winning QB for the second half, powered past Arkansas. And Ohio State continued to cruise right along.
As we exit Week 5, a major question remains. Which team is No. 1 in all of college football?
Let’s explore the case for all three and decide.
The Case for Alabama
The Crimson Tide now have road wins over Texas and Arkansas through five weeks of football. Alabama has also scored 49 or more points in all but one game this season.
Assuming he’s healthy moving forward—and we’ll get to that momentarily—quarterback Bryce Young has perhaps the highest ceiling of any player in all of college football. And with running back Jahmyr Gibbs seemingly just getting started with his new team, it is possible that this offense is still scratching the surface on what it will ultimately become.
Oh, and there’s Nick Saban. He changes this conversation and pretty much every conversation when it comes to assessing greatness. His history with this team gives you comfort given just how normal winning has been.
The Case Against Alabama
Bryce Young’s shoulder. We have to start there. While all of college football hopes that Young is on the field and healthy sooner than later, an injury to Young’s throwing shoulder against Arkansas certainly is something to watch.
There are also still lingering concerns about Alabama’s offensive line and the other pieces on offense. The Crimson Tide’s leading wideouts Saturday were both freshmen. This could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on perspective.
Regardless, Alabama is still searching for more consistency at the position. After the scare against Texas, one can’t help but still be somewhat hesitant.
The Case for Georgia
The defending national champions are unbeaten, and Georgia’s blowout victory over Oregon is still one of the most impressive performances of the year.
On offense, the Bulldogs have options. Quarterback Stetson Bennett has largely been excellent, and tight end Brock Bowers is one of the best players in the entire country.
In general, the roster is loaded. Kirby Smart has done a brilliant reloading after losing so many players to the NFL draft. The defense has future stars all over the field, and the depth at tight end might be the greatest in the history of college football.
The Case Against Georgia
What happened against Missouri?
Sure, winning on the road in the SEC is difficult. There’s no doubting that. But Georgia was flat and fortunate to come away with a 26-22 win. The offense was sluggish, and the Bulldogs looked overmatched on the line of scrimmage for a great deal of the game.
In general, one could take issue with a handful of Georgia’s wins this year. The Bulldogs were “meh” against Samford and struggled a bit against Kent State.
This latest performance feels like either a wake-up call or a sign of struggles to come.
The Case for Ohio State
Despite dealing with some injuries early in the season, the offense has been fabulous. Since scoring only 21 points against Notre Dame in the opener, the Buckeyes have averaged more than 55 points per game.
Quarterback C.J. Stroud has largely been brilliant, and there’s no reason to expect any different moving forward. He’s not alone, and this unit will be difficult to stop once wideout Jaxon Smith-Njigba and running back TreVeyon Henderson are a full go.
On defense, this group looks lightyears better than the unit we saw last year. Jim Knowles’ arrival has been massive, and Ohio State has yet to allow more than 21 points in a single game.
The Case Against Ohio State
The best win to date is?
The Buckeyes beat Notre Dame, which felt significant at the moment. They also beat Wisconsin badly, although the Badgers were just blown out by Illinois at home. While Ohio State can only play the teams on its schedule, it’s fair to question just how great the competition has been thus far.
Given the numbers and the fact that Ohio State has won every game by double digits, this feels like the only significant knock as of now. With that said, it’s a very real one.
Since Week 1, the answer has been Georgia. The Bulldogs wowed the CFB universe with a dominating performance over Oregon. That performance ultimately carried over to this point.
Now, however, we’re making a change. Georgia’s close call against Missouri is enough to bump the Bulldogs from the top. Although we don’t know the full extent of Young’s injury, the fact that he was able to return to the field in uniform feels like a good sign. It’s also worth noting that backup QB Jalen Milroe looked solid when thrown into action.
Ohio State is right there. We just need to see it against better teams. With a game at Penn State looming, that moment is coming.
Alabama is No. 1, although the situation is fluid. Another wild week in college football has given us plenty to think about and process. Here’s to many more weeks like this to come.