• A weekend that didn't see a top-10 upset produced the biggest movement yet in the top half of our ranking. Plus, some highlight-worthy moments and what to look forward to next week.
By Ross Dellenger
September 28, 2019

For 14 precious minutes, the college football world got quite the tease on Saturday. That’s the amount of time that Clemson and Alabama were simultaneously losing to North Carolina and Ole Miss, respectively.

The Crimson Tide eventually won 59–31, and Clemson escaped Chapel Hill with a 21–20 win, only after stuffing the Tar Heels on a two-point conversion in the final two minutes. As you’ll see below, our Top 10 got a shake up, direct results of Clemson’s scare and beatdowns by Ohio State, Penn State and Auburn.

Below is The Rundown, which includes the best and worst from Week 5, plus what to look forward to next week. 

Top 10… Teams

1. Alabama

Last week: 2
Last game: Beat Ole Miss 59–31
Next game: Oct. 12 at Texas A&M (after bye)

The Tide rolled in record-breaking fashion. WR DeVonta Smith set single-game marks for receiving yards and TDs and Tua Tagovailoa passed for more TDs (six) than any player in Alabama history.

2. LSU

Last week: 3
Last game: Beat Vanderbilt 66–38 (in Week 4)
Next game: Saturday against Utah State

The Tigers got a well-earned off weekend. QB Joe Burrow told local reporters he’d spend his Saturday watching college football games, specifically his former team, Ohio State, playing at Nebraska. He saw a blowout.

3. Clemson

Last week: 1
Last game: Beat North Carolina 21–20
Next game: Oct. 12 vs. Florida State (after bye)

The Tigers survived in one of their worst performances in two-plus seasons. Because of the close call, we dropped them a couple spots in our top 10. Don’t worry—they’ll have plenty of time to make up the ground.

4. Ohio State

Last week: 6
Last game: Beat Nebraska 48–7
Next game: Saturday vs. Michigan State

This was supposed to be the Buckeyes’ toughest test of the season so far. They led 31–0 15 minutes into the game and have now shown us they belong in the top four.

5. Georgia

Last week: 4
Last game: Beat Notre Dame 23–17 (in Week 4)
Next game: Oct. 5 at Tennessee

The Bulldogs had a bye ahead of a trip to Knoxville, Tennessee, to renew a rivalry game that hasn’t recently been very… rival like. Georgia has won seven of the last nine.

6. Oklahoma

Last week: 5
Last game: Beat Texas Tech 55–16
Next game: Saturday at Kansas

The stars are aligning for an epic battle in the Red River Shootout in Dallas between the Sooners and the Longhorns. Can Texas—or anyone—slow down OU and QB Jalen Hurts?

7. Auburn

Last week: 8
Last game: Beat Mississippi State 56–23
Next game: Saturday at Florida

Wooo boy. The big game of Week 6: Tigers and Gators in the Swamp in a game with serious SEC implications on the line. Auburn dispatched Mississippi State easily on Saturday, and the Gators took care of Towson.

8. Texas

Last week: 9
Last game: Beat Oklahoma State 36–30 (in Week 4)
Next game: Saturday at West Virginia

The Longhorns, fresh off a bye, should be ready for a West Virginia team that has surprised some people in coach Neal Brown’s first few games.

9. Wisconsin

Last week: 7
Last game: Beat Northwestern 24–15
Next game: Saturday vs. Kent State

This was an ugly weekend for the Badgers offense, but their ferocious defense stood tall, scoring two touchdowns. If Wisconsin wants to challenge Ohio State, it will need to find more offense outside of Jonathan Taylor.

10. Penn State

Last week: NR
Last game: Beat Maryland 59–0
Next game: Saturday vs. Purdue

The Nittany Lions entered this weekend allowing the third-fewest points in the country. They actually improved on that state, shutting out the Terrapins in a Friday night trouncing in College Park.

Top 9… Numbers to Know

1. 319

Average passing yards for Oklahoma QB Jalen Hurts… in the first half. Hurts has thrown for 1,276 yards in his four first halves this season, along with 12 touchdowns.

2. 12

The combined number of points that Duke beat Virginia Tech in three games since 1981. And then came Friday night at Lane Stadium, when the Blue Devils thrashed the Hokies 45–10.

3. 30

Career wins by Hurts. He is 30–2, 26 of those wins from his time at Alabama. 

4. 1

Passes of 20 or more yards that USC completed in a loss at Washington on Saturday. The Trojans’ Air Raid offense was, indeed, grounded, and head coach Clay Helton’s seat goes from hot to hotter.

5. 80

AJ McCarron’s record for career touchdowns at Alabama, which Tua Tagovailoa eclipsed on Saturday in the win over Ole Miss.

6. 30

Total points this season that Wisconsin’s defense has allowed. The Badgers beat Northwestern 24–15 on Saturday. 

7. 20

Indiana QB Mike Penix’s consecutive completions in a loss at Michigan State, which is a school record. He finished the game 33-for-42 for 286 and three TDs. His team lost 40–31.

8. 10

Number of third-down conversions—in the first half—for TCU in its 51–14 demolition of Kansas. Here’s where it gets outrageous: The Horned Frogs had 10 chances to do so. That’s right—10 for 10. They finished 14 for 19.

9. 8–0

Ryan Day’s record as a head coach. He went 3–0 last year as interim in place of the suspended Urban Meyer, and his Buckeyes are 5­–0 this season. 

Top 8… Conferences Through Five Weeks

1. SEC

The league’s basement is not good (Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Arkansas and Ole Miss), but its penthouse is amazing (Alabama, LSU, Auburn and Georgia).

2. Big Ten

Ohio State is the leader, of course, but the Big Ten has a group of, what appears to be, strong teams to challenge for New Year’s Six bowls, including Wisconsin, Penn State, Michigan State and Iowa. The conference has five undefeated teams. 

3. Big 12

There are two—Oklahoma and Texas—and everyone else. The drop off seems pretty steep, but the cellar dwellers (Kansas) aren’t as plentiful as some other leagues, namely the SEC.

4. Pac-12

Despite not having an undefeated team, the guys out west might have the deepest conference. At the bottom of the league are UCLA, Oregon State and Stanford, but everyone else is pretty solid. 

5. ACC

From top to bottom, this is the worst Power 5 league. The ACC could have as many as five teams not reach bowl eligibility. It’s tough to find a real challenger nationally aside from, of course, Clemson. 

6. Mountain West

Half of the Mountain West teams have winning records, and the conference had a national-best seven wins over Power 5 teams through the first couple weeks. Boise State is the highest-ranked G5 team.

7. AAC

A whopping seven programs in this league hold a winning record (just one fewer than the ACC’s total). UCF dropped a heartbreaker at Pitt, but SMU and Memphis remain undefeated.

8. Sun Belt

Undefeated Appalachian State has the conference’s best victory (over North Carolina), but there are some other respectable clubs in the league: Louisiana, Arkansas State, Coastal Carolina and Troy. 

Top 7… Teams That Have Most Disappointed Us

1. South Florida

It’s one thing for Charlie Strong’s club to get manhandled in the season opener by top-10 Wisconsin, but then SMU—SMU!—whipped the Bulls 48–21 Saturday. They also lost at Georgia Tech, another team on this list.

2. Stanford

OK, so the Cardinal did have a tough opening five-game stretch, but who expected three losses over that stretch? David Shaw & Co. got back on the winning track at Oregon State on Saturday.

3. Florida State

The Seminoles haven’t really played splendid football all season, from blowing an 18-point lead at home to Boise, escaping against UL-Monroe and nearly collapsing against Louisville. It’s been rough. 

4. Purdue

The high expectations for the Boilermakers and their Heisman Trophy candidate have come crashing down via injury. PU dropped to 1–3 with a 38–31 loss at home to Minnesota. QB Elijah Sindelar and WR Rondale Moore were both knocked out of the game.

5. Mississippi State

The 3–2 Bulldogs were supposed to lose at Auburn, but not this way. The final score, 56–23, was a shocker. So was that home loss to Kansas State.  

6. South Carolina

Will Muschamp’s team got back on track against Kentucky on Saturday, but the Gamecocks blew the opener against North Carolina and got out-played at Missouri.

7. Georgia Tech

It was unfair to expect Geoff Collins’s first year to be some stunning success, but the Yellow Jackets lost to The Citadel and were shut out offensively Saturday by Temple, Collins’s former team. 

Top 6… Videos You Gotta See

1. Angry Rich

During Ole Miss’ 59–31 loss at Alabama, CBS television cameras caught offensive coordinator Rich Rodriguez in the coaching booth, and he was having a bad moment.

2. Punter with wheels

Western Carolina’s Caleb Ferguson isn’t your normal punter. He’s also a running back and, boy, did he show it on this fake. Ferguson ran for a 69-yard touchdown in the FCS Catamounts’ loss to Chattanooga. 

3. Virginia Tech’s robot dog

The Hokies debuted on Friday night a robotic dog to perform pushups each time VT scores a touchdown. It didn’t see much action. Justin Fuente’s team lost 45–10 to Duke in a shocking defeat at Lane Stadium. Still, here’s the dog, equipped with a football helmet and all.

4. Pretty Smitty

Alabama receiver DeVonta Smith, whose nickname is Smitty, set single-season Alabama receiving records for yards (274) and touchdowns (five). Check out his best TD.

5. Injury to insult

Auburn smashed Mississippi State on Saturday, jumping out to a 21–0 lead in the first few minutes. To make matters worse during that stretch, the Bulldogs lost their starting quarterback and their mascot to injury. An Auburn player barreled into Bully, State’s live bulldog, while the dog chilled on the sideline (he ended up being OK).

6. For the win

Tied at 14 with under 10 minutes left at North Carolina, Clemson needed something. What they got was a 38-yard touchdown strike from QB Trevor Lawrence to WR Tee Higgins.

Top 5… Games That’ll Be Good Next Week

1. Auburn at Florida

The weekend’s marquee matchup resides in the Swamp. Both teams are ranked in the top 10, but the Gators’ best win was a sloppy game at Kentucky. The Tigers have two of the best Ws in the country (at Texas A&M and vs. Oregon).

2. Michigan State at Ohio State

We didn’t say the games will be good as in close, but good as in… Ohio State is good and the Buckeyes are poised to potentially chase the Spartans out of the stadium.

3. Iowa at Michigan

The Wolverines got back on track with a 52–0 win over Rutgers, but this one will be a much tougher test. The Hawkeyes come in undefeated, having allowed 34 points all season.

4. Baylor at Kansas State

The Bears escaped in a win over Iowa State to remain undefeated, but this’ll be the stiffest test yet. They’ve beaten Rice, UTSA and Stephen F. Austin. Not really a Murderers’ Row.

5. Cal at Oregon

The Ducks are off a bye, and the Bears are off their first loss of the year, a heartbreaker to Arizona State in which they lost their starting quarterback.

Top 4… Coaching Calls

1. For two!

UNC coach Mack Brown rolled the dice against top-ranked Clemson on Saturday. Instead of kicking a game-tying extra-point, the Tar Heels went for two. The option play failed, but we like the call.

2. Houston and Its QB

There was a lot of drama earlier this week about the goings-on down at Houston, where star QB D’Eriq King elected after four games to take a redshirt. Coach Dana Holgorsen went along with the decision, confident in his backup QB. That guy, Clayton Tune, ran for 100 yards and passed for 124 in the Cougars’ 46–25 win at North Texas.

3. Trust in your kicker

Baylor coach Matt Rhule sent out a redshirt sophomore kicker who had never attempted a field goal in his college career on fourth-and-4. John Mayers knocked through a 38-yard field goal to beat Iowa State. 

4. Field level

Michigan OC Josh Gattis called the Wolverines game Saturday against Rutgers from the field as opposed to his normal press box location. The result: the Wolverines won 52–0. However, again, they were playing Rutgers. Either way, Jim Harbaugh and players says Gattis’s new location helped.

Top 3… Big Man Moves

1. Wisconsin OLB vs. Northwestern O-lineman

This was a big man foot race between Badgers’ 240-pound edge player Noah Burks and Wildcats’ 290-pound offensive lineman Sam Gerak. Burks wins, returning an interception 68 yards for a score, but Gerak made a valiant effort at the very end, with a dive heard ’round the world.

2. It’s a fake!

During Texas Tech’s loss at Oklahoma, the Red Raiders converted a nifty fake punt that involved a snap to 295-pound Jaylon Hutchings. He rumbled for the first down.

3. Big man catches ball

Notre Dame defensive lineman Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa, a 285-pounder and Tua Tagovailoa’s cousin, picked a fumble out of the air from Virginia quarterback Bryce Perkins. It was a thing of beauty. Who said big men can’t catch?

Top 2… Coolest Things From Saturday

1. Wendy’s on the water

Talk about great marketing. The fast food chain Wendy’s stationed a floating restaurant on Union Bay, on which Husky Stadium sits.

2. Smoke’em if you got’em

Charlotte and Appalachian State gave us some incredible alternate helmet decals on Saturday, each depicting a figure doing the same things: smoking a pipe.

Top 1… Bottles of Booze

A few weeks ago, we wrote about a decades-old bottle of Jack Daniel’s that once belonged to former Longhorns football coach Darrell Royal and now is prominently on display in UT athletic director Chris Del Conte’s office. The good folks at Jack Daniel’s noticed the story. And so they sent to Del Conte a bottle of Jack Daniel’s with a nice note.

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