B/R's College Football Weekly Awards: Week 5
Hopefully, you like new things. Because every week is seemingly moving us closer to an atypical College Football Playoff.
Alabama and Georgia remain top contenders, but the list of unbeatens in power conferences is continually dwindling. Five more undefeated ranked teams fell in Week 5, including No. 3 Oregon and No. 9 Notre Dame—the latter to Cincinnati.
Welcome back to B/R's Weekly Awards, where we implored you to invite pandemonium. And in Week 5, it arrived. That chaos headlines our trip through Saturday's action and into Week 6.
If you're new here, hello! Every Monday this season, B/R will distribute a handful of awards. Some will review the previous weekend's slate, and others will preview what's coming up. A few topics might be humorous or downright strange. Let's unveil some winners.
Team of the Week: Georgia Bulldogs
In case you're still doubting, the Georgia Bulldogs provided a little more reason to believe. They are simply overwhelming.
While shutting out No. 8 Arkansas 37-0, the defense held the Razorbacks to just 162 yards. Arkansas only rushed for 2.6 yards per carry and completed three passes of 10-plus yards, running a single red-zone snap on 10 possessions.
Sure, the Dawgs ran for 273 yards and three touchdowns. The four-headed backfield monster of Zamir White, James Cook, Kenny McIntosh and Kendall Milton is incredibly impressive.
But if you can't score, you can't win.
Georgia has surrendered a meager 23 points in five games, and every bit of the defense's performance looks sustainable.
Looking at UGA's remaining schedule, the upcoming stretch of Auburn, Kentucky and Florida—all ranked teams—is its toughest hurdle. Because of this defense, though, the Dawgs will be a heavy favorite in each one.
Storyline of the Week: Cincinnati's Playoff Chase
The basic, necessary background info: Through seven editions of the College Football Playoff, no team from a Group of Five conference has been included in the field.
Western Michigan put together an undefeated season in 2016 but never climbed higher than 15th in the CFP poll. UCF followed with back-to-back unbeaten years, finishing 12th and eighth in 2017 and 2018, respectively. And in 2020, Cincinnati was eighth—a very objectionable, underrated place, but that's a different story.
The basic, necessary takeaway: The CFP selection committee hasn't given Group of Five teams a legitimate shot. Barring a season of total chaos combined with a marquee win or two, that wasn't going to change.
Well, that chance may have arrived!
After toppling No. 9 Notre Dame on Saturday, the Bearcats have started the season 4-0 with an excellent road win. Two weeks ago, they also defeated Indiana on the road. Those victories give Cincinnati's 2021 resume a strong foundation.
Additionally, only 10 undefeated power-conference teams (plus BYU) remain. And based on future matchups, the number is guaranteed to drop by at least five.
It's too early to crown the Bearcats, who must navigate eight AAC games, a definite contender. Then, if they keep winning, the CFP selection committee needs to prove it's paying attention and rank Cincinnati in a deserving spot.
Whether the Bearcats stay undefeated matters most. At the very least, however, the CFP path exists.
#TeamChaos Wins of the Week
Cincinnati moved one step closer to its playoff-crashing #TeamChaos moment with the victory over Notre Dame.
And a host of others helped the process.
Stanford clipped No. 3 Oregon 31-24 in overtime, ensuring there won't be an undefeated Pac-12 team this season. Kentucky landed a 20-13 triumph over No. 10 Florida, which now has dropped two games. Mississippi State handed No. 15 Texas A&M its second loss, stealing a 26-22 win in College Station.
Plus, both No. 12 Ole Miss and No. 21 Baylor fell in Week 5. Neither result was surprising—Alabama and Oklahoma State don't fit that billing—but they aided the #TeamChaos cause.
Keep it coming, 2021.
Fortunate Bounce of the Week: Florida State's Touchdown
When a team is struggling, it sometimes feels like every break goes the other way. The deflected pass or bouncing ball always seems to find the opponent's hands.
One month into the season, 0-4 Florida State probably had some of those thoughts. Already this year, the Seminoles have crushing losses to Notre Dame and Jacksonville State when they undoubtedly had a chance to leave with a win.
Perhaps their luck is turning.
Midway through the third quarter against Syracuse, FSU held a 16-13 lead and was threatening for more. At the 3-yard line, Jordan Travis snapped a screen to Ontaria Wilson, who dropped the ball—which had been thrown backward, making it a fumble.
In September, maybe Syracuse would've picked up the fumble. But in October, the ball somehow found Andrew Parchment's hands and ended with an FSU touchdown.
Later, a last-second field goal handed the 'Noles their first win of the season. A little luck never hurts.
Oblivious Man of the Week: Vanderbilt's Flag-Runner
Every weekend, we see particularly odd decisions and strange plays. But usually, it's a player or coach who provides the moment.
Friends, let's talk about Vanderbilt's flag-runner.
After the Commodores scored their first touchdown in an eventual win over UConn, they lined up for the extra point. Normal stuff. Nothing to see here, really.
And then, suddenly, he appeared. Scurrying along the back of the end zone, blocking the view of both officials waiting for the kick, there he sprinted. Blessing the universe with his undesired presence, earning an eternal place on the internet, there he ran.
Maybe he was blissfully unaware of what he'd done.
Me? I hope he won a bet.
Week 5 Rundown
Bizarre Stat of the Week: Taulia Tagovailoa's Interceptions
Although he'd assembled a tremendous opening month, Taulia Tagovailoa didn't land in our latest Heisman Trophy rankings. We wanted to see him play against Iowa, which has a stellar defense. How'd it go? Well, let's put it this way: Per Jason Starrett of The Athletic, 105 players had thrown more interceptions than Tagovailoa's one. Five picks later, he left the contest as the nation's leader in interceptions.
Buzzkill of the Week: Alabama Crimson Tide
While hyping the Ole Miss offense this offseason, we constantly said it didn't make the Rebels a real SEC contender. They had to prove that against top competition. Unfortunately, the concern proved true. Stinkin' Alabama did Alabama things, stopping two early fourth-down attempts to build a 28-0 first-half lead. Ole Miss played aggressively, and we have no qualms with that. But Alabama shut the Rebels down.
Absurdity of the Week: Triple-Fumble in South Carolina's Win Over Troy
South Carolina put pressure on Troy quarterback Taylor Powell, and he fumbled. That's normal! South Carolina picked up the ball, yet fumbled again. Rare, but it happens! South Carolina defensive back Jahmar Brown scooped it up and strolled toward the end zone for an easy touchdown. Well, no; Brown flipped the ball in celebration right before he crossed the goal line, and it rolled out of bounds for a touchback. How does this keep happening?
Best Week 6 Storylines
As conference games come rolling in, so do Top 25 matchups. Week 5 featured four, and several more are on tap for Week 6.
The marquee matchup is a Top Five showdown between No. 4 Penn State and No. 3 Iowa. Both teams enter at 5-0, and the winner will establish itself as a prime College Football Playoff threat.
Key SEC games to know are No. 2 Georgia at No. 18 Auburn, No. 13 Arkansas at No. 17 Ole Miss and No. 1 Alabama at Texas A&M and LSU at No. 16 Kentucky. There could be some clear separation in the SEC standings next weekend.
The slate also features the Red River Rivalry between No. 6 Oklahoma and No. 21 Texas. With respect to Oklahoma State, the winner will be the Big 12 front-runner.
In short: Championship races are starting to get serious.
Follow Bleacher Report writer David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR.