A number of upsets rocked the college football landscape this past weekend, as four of the prior Top 10 teams in the Associated Press poll suffered losses.
The Amway and AP rankings look drastically different ahead of Week 6. One point of agreement came in the form of the biggest riser. After a resounding 38-10 triumph over Ole Miss, Florida has moved from the Top 25 fringe to the Top 10, rising from 25th to 11th in the AP and 22nd to 12th in the Amway.
|Latest Associated Press, Amway College Football Rankings|
|AP Rank||Team||Amway Rank||Team|
|1||Ohio State||1||Ohio State|
|15||Notre Dame||15||Notre Dame|
|Source: AP.org; USAToday.com|
Barely removed from the disastrous Will Muschamp era, his successor, Jim McElwain, is making quite the impression in his maiden season in charge in Gainesville.
Ohio State remains No. 1 thanks to avoiding an upset bid at Indiana by a score of 34-27. The reigning national champions have benefited from a favorable schedule but hardly look like the juggernaut that won the top prize in the inaugural College Football Playoff.
Let's look ahead to the top contests on tap for Week 6 and predict what will transpire after a rather shocking recent slate. The complete schedule can be found at ESPN.com.
Week 6 Predictions
As long as Ohio State has Ezekiel Elliott in the backfield, it has a chance to control possession and exact demoralizing physical punishment on the opposition.
Elliott helped the Buckeyes escape Bloomington, Indiana, Saturday with their undefeated record still intact, racking up 274 yards rushing and three scores. ESPN's Mike Greenberg feels Elliott has a chance at NCAA football's most prestigious individual hardware:
It's almost as though Ohio State has more talent than it knows what to do with on offense, counting on its superior skill players to execute a simplified offense for chunk plays. Thanks to Elliott, it's working to a large degree on the ground, but the quarterback play by Cardale Jones leaves something to be desired.
With the loaded supporting cast Jones has around him and how much opponents will be keying in on Elliott, look for the Buckeyes to finally play to their ability against Maryland at home this week. OSU will finally look like the No. 1 team in the land with a great performance on both sides of the ball.
If Elliott is going to keep his Heisman campaign going, though, he'll need some big numbers to contend with the likes of LSU's Leonard Fournette, who already has 864 yards and 11 touchdowns running the ball in 2015.
Despite his transcendent skills, Fournette deferred praise to his offensive line following Saturday's 44-22 win over Eastern Michigan in which he unwittingly became the first SEC player to post three straight 200-yard rushing games.
"I didn't know until Coach Miles told me, but it's a special feeling," said Fournette, per NOLA.com's Jerit Roser. "Just knowing that we made history as a unit. It's not just me. They made history with me. I congratulate them and thank them for protecting me and blocking for me."
The key for the Tigers is to avoid a letdown on a Week 6 road trip to slumping South Carolina before a home showdown with the Gators follows. Considering Fournette has had three straight 200-yard rushing games, there's no indication he'll slow down against a Gamecocks defense yielding 4.89 yards per carry.
Speaking of potential letdowns, Florida must guard against just that on the road Saturday against Missouri. The Gators' dominance against Ole Miss suggests the team will handle the circumstances just fine, though.
Fox Sports' Colin Cowherd weighed in on how well McElwain has brought Florida together so swiftly:
Only two Top 25 matchups are on tap for Week 6. One of those is top NFL QB prospect Jared Goff leading California on a tough test at Utah—a team that has seven votes for No. 1 in the AP poll. The Golden Bears and Utes rank in the top 10 in turnover margin, so this contest will come down to who makes fewer mistakes.
Goff is a great leader, but Utah is too strong across the board to drop the game at home.
The other Top 25 clash comes from the Big Ten in the form of two surprising programs. Coach Jim Harbaugh has sparked Michigan right away and has a huge opportunity to climb in the national rankings in Ann Arbor Saturday versus Northwestern.
ESPN Stats & Info highlights how big of a step forward Northwestern has taken this season thus far:
This should be a classic, throwback type of Big Ten affair, because the Wolverines and Wildcats are second and fifth, respectively, in total yards allowed per game. Northwestern only concedes an average of seven points, while Michigan gives up just 7.6. Those are the two best rates in the country.
Thanks to home-field advantage and a superior offensive mind in Harbaugh at the helm, look for Michigan to protect the Big House and emerge with a 13-10 victory.
Note: Stats courtesy of NCAA.com unless otherwise indicated