Southern Football Report: Top Four after Week 5

Everyone just calm down and breath. It was just the first weekend in October and there is plenty more football to be played. With that being said, here goes nothing (Also, OCR means Opponents Combined Record):

  1. Ohio State Buckeyes 5-0 (1-0) 
    Best Win: 34-27 win at IndianaOhio State Logo
    OCR: 11-13
    Until the Buckeyes are beaten, they deserve to be the number one team in the country. They haven’t played that well up until this point but they are the reigning champs and shouldn’t be moved until someone moves them. I believed it when the likes of Alabama, Georgia & Florida State fell in the polls when they were preseason number one teams and I believe it now. With that being said, the Buckeyes are surely making it difficult to put them number one every week with a whole lot of confidence. It’s been three straight narrow victories over teams who they were expected to pummel yet we haven’t seen it. It’s beginning to look like the Buckeyes could have dealt with a quarterback or two leaving if it meant quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator Tom Herman would have stayed. The Buckeyes should coast through October relatively easy but November is looking more and more interesting with the inspired play of Illinois & excellent play of Michigan.
    Next Up: v. Maryland Terrapins
  2. Northwestern Wildcats 5-0 (1-0)
    Best Win: 16-6 v. (21) Stanford
    OCR: 14-10Northwestern Logo
    Alright everyone just calm down and let me explain. The Wildcats have been one of the true surprises this season and have wins over Stanford and Duke who have lost to no one besides Northwestern. The Wildcats also completely controlled both of those games. They are playing lights out on defense and have already recorded two shutout victories, the most recent one being last week when Northwestern shutout Minnesota for the first conference shutout in 20 years. So far Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald has Northwestern trending in the right direction but the next two weeks could bring it all crashing back down. Back-to-back conference games against ranked opponents Michigan & Iowa will be tough wins especially the first one in Ann Arbor against one of the most improved teams in the country. If Northwestern wins one of those games, they are still in position to make it to Indianapolis but if they win both…Oh boy!
    Next Up: at (18) Michigan Wolverines
  3. Utah Utes 4-0 (1-0)
    Best Win: 24-17 v. MichiganUtah Logo
    OCR: 10-9
    Timing is everything and the Utes are the beneficiaries of good timing and also of being a good football team. They caught the Michigan Wolverines when they still hadn’t found their identity or defense yet, they got to pummel Oregon in Eugene before they fell out of the rankings and while a lot of teams were struggling to win Saturday, the Utes were relaxing at home just watching it all unfold. Utah is one of the top teams in the country make no doubt about it and also have a win against a Utah State team who continues to improve each week despite injuries at the quarterback position. One of these days, the Utes will have to throw the ball to win a game but the way their defense is playing, that might not be the case for a while. Utah still has games against Cal, USC and UCLA as well as road games at Washington and Arizona so there is still a lot of work to be done but the Utah Utes are the real deal in 2015.
    Next Up: v. (23) California Golden Bears
  4. Baylor Bears 4-0 (1-0)
    Best Win: 63-35 v. Texas Tech (Arlington)Baylor Logo
    OCR: 6-11
    Every week the choice between Baylor and TCU has come down to a coin flip but this week it was determined by performance on the field. The Bears came out of the gate firing on all cylinders and ran away from the Red Raiders in a game where the fact that Baylor was the better team was never in question. Maybe the Bears came out so ready to play is because they knew this was their first chance to show the country and the pollsters that they were one of the best teams in the country. So far they have had some questions on defense and still gave up 35 points in the victory but once they settled into the game, Texas Tech couldn’t move the ball. The meat of the Baylor schedule is in November so we still have a ways to go before we truly know how good the Bears are but this past Saturday was the first time we got to see them flex their muscles against a noteworthy team. This is a scary team because they can get the lead on you quickly with the passing game and then beat you running the ball with Shock Linwood who is averaging almost 10 yards per carry.
    Next Up: at Kansas Jayhawks


TCU Horned Frogs – Beating the life out of a Texas Longhorns team ain’t what it used to be but the way TCU did it on Saturday was something to behold. Plus, they scheduled the Longhorns as their Homecoming game. Ouch. This week the Frogs travel to the ‘Little Apple’ of Manhattan Kansas to take on the Wildcats who will surely stay off of twitter during halftime unlike the Longhorns.

Michigan State Spartans – Eleven yards of offense in the second half against Purdue is bad enough but doing it at home in terrible weather was even worse. Kudos to the Spartan fans who stuck around for that nonsense. If there was ever a team to get back on track with it would be the Rutgers Scarlet Knights this Saturday night in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

Top Three One-Loss Teams

Alabama Crimson Tide – It was just like old times between the hedges when the Tide rolled all over the Dawgs despite all the enthusiasm by the Georgia football team in pregame warmups. Alabama will welcome the newly victorious Arkansas Razorbacks to Tuscaloosa this Saturday night and have plenty more opportunities to move up in the polls throughout the season.

Michigan Wolverines – Has anyone looked better on defense the last four weeks than the Wolverines? With that being said, they did play three straight west coast teams on east coast time which played somewhat of a part but we’ll see what Michigan has this week when they play the 13th ranked Northwestern Wildcats. Am I the only one praying to the football gods for a Big Ten East showdown against Ohio State in Ann Arbor on November 28th?

Notre Dame Fighting Irish – Let’s just say that the Irish win the rest of their games and have a resume which includes wins over Navy, USC, Temple & Stanford. Good luck arguing against that. Notre Dame played the best quarter of football so far this season in Death Valley Saturday night in a losing effort. Let’s see how the rebound this week against the Naval Academy.

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