Almost every top team faced a tough challenge in Week 4 of the college football season, causing plenty of voters to reconsider their rankings heading into Week 5.
While LSU was the only Top 10 team to lose, there were upset scares involving Florida State, Oregon, Alabama, Oklahoma and Auburn.
This, combined with a few other interesting results throughout the weekend, creates more confusion regarding potential candidates for the College Football Playoff. Until then, we can take a look at the latest Amway Coaches Poll from USA Today, along with Bleacher Report's Top 25.
|2014 Amway Coaches Poll: Week 5|
|Rank||Team||Points||B/R Top 25|
|1||Florida State (36)||1494||Oregon|
|2||Alabama (11)||1466||Florida State|
|8||Notre Dame||1022||Notre Dame|
|9||Michigan State||920||Michigan State|
|16||Mississippi State||523||Arizona State|
|25||Kansas State||128||Oklahoma State|
|via USAToday.com and Bleacher Report|
Coming into Saturday, all eyes were on the battle between Florida State and Clemson. Starting quarterback and reigning Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston was suspended for the game due to inappropriate conduct, leaving the No. 1 team in the country in the hands of backup Sean Maguire.
After a rough start, Florida State was able to make big plays when needed to force overtime. Clemson then failed to convert on fourth down in overtime, allowing the Seminoles to solidify the win on a Karlos Williams touchdown.
Head coach Jimbo Fisher discussed the process of preparing Maguire for his first career start, via Dan Wolken of USA Today:
It was a lot of work we had to do late, late Friday night and early Saturday all day. A lot of things that had to get done, but life gives you turnips all the time. You have to adjust and move on.
I couldn't be prouder of Sean Maguire tonight, what he did for our team and the resolve he had.
Winston will return next week as Florida State looks to remain undefeated and a top contender for the national championship. Fortunately for the Seminoles, they survived one of the toughest matchups on the schedule in his absence and should now have even more confidence going forward.
Meanwhile, Oregon had just as much trouble in a road game at Washington State, barely coming through with a 38-31 win.
Bleacher Report's Barrett Sallee explained the Ducks' shortcomings:
Injuries along the offensive line caused quarterback Marcus Mariota to be under pressure all game long, but he still responded with 329 passing yards and five touchdowns to go with 58 rushing yards in the win.
With UCLA, Stanford and others still looming on the schedule, though, Oregon better figure out how to solve these problems if it wants to stay in the playoff picture.
Oklahoma's and Alabama's games resulted in similar stories, as both needed strong individual efforts to pull away late.
The Sooners were tied with West Virginia on the road at halftime until running back Samaje Perine came alive, finishing with 242 rushing yards and four touchdowns. The Crimson Tide were also tied in the second half against Florida, although they triumphed through the air as Amari Cooper came through with 10 catches for 201 yards and three touchdowns.
This exciting slate on Saturday almost caused us to overlook a great Thursday-night game between Auburn and Kansas State, which the Tigers pulled out thanks to some late mistakes by the home team.
Bleacher Report's Michael Felder was impressed by the win:
No. 8 ranked LSU trailed, 34-10, at home against Mississippi State before almost completing a comeback. Still, a failed Hail Mary attempt sealed the team's fate in a 34-29 loss. ESPN Stats & Info noted the rarity of this result:
On the other hand, Tim Brando of Fox Sports gave credit to the Bulldogs in what should be an exciting SEC season:
It seems likely that whoever wins the SEC West will get an automatic ticket to the College Football Playoff. Then again, a lot can happen over the next few months as upsets threaten to shake up the rankings.
Week 5 features mostly one-sided battles on paper, although that is usually a recipe for the biggest surprises to occur. With an intriguing Pac-12 matchup between UCLA and Arizona State taking place on Thursday, you won't have to wait a whole week to see a great game.