college football week 6 recap: the georgia pyrites strike again!

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Now that everyone’s settled into their conference schedules, the separation between good teams and great teams is well underway. Sort of.

Most Impressive Win
Lots of choices for this category. Could be Texas over Oklahoma. Could be Washington State over USC. Could even be Utah over Cal. Nope. It’s Michigan over Northwestern. The Wildcats got everyone’s attention by holding Stanford to six points in their first game of the season. Since then, Stanford’s been a scoring machine, averaging more than 40 points in their next four games. Not only did Michigan hang 38 points on Northwestern, they also pitched their third consecutive shutout of the season.

The Fightin’ Harbaughs are putting everyone on notice: do not look past the Wolverines. Of course, it gets no easier for Michigan. They host instate rival Michigan State next Saturday in what will be their biggest test of the season (until the next one).

Georgia Bulldogs = Fool’s Gold
I have never, ever, ever, EVER been a believer in the Georgia Bulldogs. Invariably, some hack on ESPN lays it out there early in the season that “this is UGA’s year!” Yeah, easy to say after they beat up on an FCS school in Week 1. After last week’s loss to Alabama, I felt slightly vindicated. Watching Tennessee come back from a 28-3 deficit to win the game. From hereon, the Georgia Bulldogs shall be known as the Georgia Pyrites. Why? Because they’re FOOL’S GOLD!

The Contenders & the Pretenders
I’ll put together my own Top Ten, but let’s look at it this way first: who’s a contender? Who’s a pretender? Let’s get into it:

The Contenders
Clemson (5–0 / 2–0)—They already beat a quality (albeit banged up) Notre Dame. The rest of their schedule comes down to two tough games: at Miami and at home vs. Florida State. Don’t be surprised if the Tigers run the table.

TCU (6–0 / 3–0)—The best team in the nation, if you ask me. Trevone Boykin is a Heisman contender and leads a high-powered offense that has a tendency to hang 50 points on opponents. Try and keep up with them. They dare you.

Notre Dame (5–1)—Against all odds and against all injuries, I’m still leaving the door open for the Irish. I’ve been impressed with ND’s ability to shake off adversity and keep coming back. The Clemson loss was a bitter, bitter pill. Next weekend’s rivalry game against USC will tell us a lot about Notre Dame. I still see ND as having an outside shot to make a playoff.

Ohio State (6–0 / 2–0)—The Buckeyes found their groove again this week against lowly Maryland. Until someone knocks them off, OSU is the top team in the B1G. They’ve got Penn State at home this week. Some are hyping it as a big game. I see OSU rolling over the Nittany Lions. Ohio State’s entire season will boil down to the last two Saturdays of their season. Period.

Utah (5–0 / 1–0)—What’s a Ute? The only undefeated team in what I consider the most competitive of the Power 5 conferences. With every passing week, their opening season victory over Michigan looks more and more impressive. And it would appear Utah flat-out broke the Oregon Ducks! How are they doing it? Well, they’re not flashy. They’re just playing solid, consistent football.

Texas A&M (5–0 / 2–0)—With the exception of Arkansas, A&M is beating everyone handily. In my mind, they’re the best team in the SEC, but that could change this weekend when they host Alabama. Beat ‘Bama, you remain a Contender. Lose? Bu-bye, 12th Man.

The Pretenders
Florida State (5–0 / 3–0)—After Ohio State, Florida State has a pretty weak schedule. All that’s left for them is Clemson and a resurrected Florida. Everett Golson has fit in nicely with the Seminoles. We’ll see if that remains the case, or if he’ll start throwing the ball to DBs, like he did so often in South Bend (when he wasn’t cheating on his exams). But I don’t see FSU getting past Clemson.

Michigan State (6–0 / 2–0)—Sparty could very well prove me wrong. But six weeks into the season and MSU hasn’t really been all that impressive. They win ugly, which certainly counts. But their two conference wins were eeked out over lower-level B1G programs. Like I said, they could prove me wrong. This week at The Big House will be their first big game since beating Oregon in Week 2.

LSU (5–0 / 3–0)—Well, they’re playing like the big boys of the SEC. Right now. They haven’t really beaten any team of great consequence. Sure, everyone’s showering RB Leonard Fournette with well-deserved accolade, but let’s hold off on crowning LSU until we see how they fare against unbeaten Florida this weekend.

Dark Horses
Stanford (4–1 / 3–0)—One constant remains in college football: if you lose early, you can recover. Stanford laid an egg in Week 1, but have been rolling ever since. Their Thursday night game against UCLA this week will be a turning point for both teams.

Iowa (6–0 / 2–0)—Yes, the Hawkeyes are undefeated, but it’s way too early to book your trip to Indy for the B1G championship. They go on the road to Northwestern this week in their biggest test since beating Wiscy a few weeks ago. Iowa plays in the weak division of the conference, so, perhaps you can book a trip to Indy, but let’s hold off on CFB talk.

Florida (6–0 / 3–0)—Don’t look now, but the Gators are quietly climbing the board. After beating Ole Miss and Mizzou, Florida has a couple tough games ahead: LSU and Georgia (I think they’re good, not great). If the Gators are undefeated after the next four games, they could become a contender.

My Top Ten
1. TCU
2. Ohio State
3. Clemson
4. Utah
5. Baylor
6. Michigan State
7. Texas A&M
8. LSU
9. Florida State
10. Florida

The Big Three
These are the three games this weekend with major postseason implications. You should watch each of these games.

Alabama (5–1 / 2–1) at Texas A&M (5–0 / 2–0)—LSU has to play both of these teams. Whomever wins this game is going to challenge LSU for the division title.

USC (3–2 / 1–2) at Notre Dame (5–1)—The Irish should be a heavy favorite in this one, but it’s a rivalry game. We already know USC’s season is effectively over. For ND, a win means they are still in the hunt. The Irish have no room for error.

Michigan State (6–0 / 2–0) at Michigan (5–1 / 2–0)

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh, calmly discussing a matter with an official.

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh, calmly discussing a matter with an official.

The importance of this game has grown with every week Michigan wins. This will be a bloodbath. Sparty needs a signature win to prove they belong in the CFB conversation. This will be Michigan’s biggest test of the season…until the final weekend.

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