The Report Card : Week 5 Analysis of the Power 5 Conferences
A Weekly Look at the Power 5 Conferences and Independents
On November 3, 2015 the College Football Playoff Committee will present its first rankings of the season–rankings that will be based on strength of schedule, head-to-head results, comparison of results against common opponents, conference championships won and other factors.
Each week, The Rebel Walk’s Jeff Tetrick presents a national report card on the Power 5 conferences and independent schools. The aim is to rank and grade the 5 conferences based on the cumulative results of each league’s teams that weekend.
Jeff will offer a brief weekly summary for each conference and, as the season progresses, suggest which teams are most likely in the hunt for a playoff berth. The Independent schools will have a section but not be ranked with the conferences. Below are the criteria as well as his rankings for Week 5.
Report Card Criteria:
Good Day: Regardless of the score, a win over a non-Power 5 school is a good day. When conference play begins next week, a team who plays great but loses the game can be placed in this category.
Key Losses: A loss to a non-Power 5 team is a key loss. As well, a loss to a non-conference Power 5 school is a key loss because of the missed chance to make the claim that conference A is better than conference B. When conference play begins next week, a team who is upset or is outplayed by a significant margin will be placed in this category.
Week 5 Power 5 Conferences Report Card
1. Big 12
Key Wins: 5 TCU, Oklahoma, Baylor, Oklahoma State, Iowa State
Good Day: 0
Key Losses: 5 Texas, West Virginia, Texas Tech, Kansas State, Kansas
The Big 12 was the only conference that saw all of the favored teams win their games last weekend. TCU and Baylor scored a ton of points against in-state rivals Texas and Texas Tech, respectively. Oklahoma beat #23 West Virginia by 3 touchdowns at home, while Oklahoma State got a field goal in the final minute for the second straight week to edge Kansas State and stay undefeated.
In the playoff conversation: #2 TCU, #3 Baylor, #10 Oklahoma
Key Wins: 5 Texas A&M, Alabama, Florida, Missouri, Arkansas
Good Day: 4 LSU, Auburn, Kentucky, Vanderbilt
Key Losses: 5 Georgia, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Tennessee, South Carolina
It was a wild weekend in the SEC. Texas A&M quietly moved to 5-0 with its second win of the season over a Top 25 team. Alabama reasserted itself in the playoff picture with an emphatic win over Georgia in Athens. Florida surprised everyone in dominating Ole Miss at The Swamp. LSU continues to win with a strong running game, but the Tigers quarterback play was horrible against Eastern Michigan. LSU is a playoff contender for now, but it is hard to see the Tigers beating any of the top teams in the league without solid quarterback play.
In the playoff conversation: #7 LSU, #8 Alabama, #9 Texas A&M, #11 Florida, #14 Ole Miss
3. Big Ten
Key Wins: 6 Northwestern, Michigan State, Ohio State, Iowa, Michigan, Illinois
Good Day: 1 Penn State
Key Losses: 6 Minnesota, Purdue, Indiana, Wisconsin, Maryland, Nebraska
The Big Ten featured its top teams winning games, but a couple of close finishes raised more questions about Ohio State and Michigan State. The Buckeyes held off Indiana by deflecting a fourth-and-goal pass in the endzone as time expired. Meanwhile, the Spartans hung on to defeat a one-win Purdue team by a field goal after a massive second-half collapse. Northwestern roared to 5-0 by shutting out Minnesota. The Wildcats have the nation’s top-ranked defense and own the most impressive resume in the Big Ten, so far. Iowa stunned Wisconsin in Madison behind a stifling defense, while Michigan posted its second straight shutout over lowly Maryland. Traditional power Nebraska continues to fall from grace, suffering an embarrassing loss to Illinois after blowing a 13-point fourth-quarter lead.
In the playoff conversation: #1 Ohio State, #4 Michigan State, #13 Northwestern
Key Wins: 4 Arizona State, Stanford, Oregon, Cal
Good Day: 0
Key Losses: 4 UCLA, Arizona, Colorado, Washington State
The PAC-12 was filled with some surprising results over the weekend. The biggest surprise was a disappointing Arizona State team dominating unbeaten and seventh-ranked UCLA in the Rose Bowl. Stanford completely overwhelmed Arizona 55-17 to win its fourth straight contest after a loss to Northwestern in the season opener. The Cardinal have the best resume among PAC-12 playoff contenders to date. Cal got a stiff challenge from Washington State, while Oregon found its offense in a win over Colorado.
In the playoff conversation: #5 Utah, #16 Stanford, #17 USC, #20 UCLA
Key Wins: 6 Clemson, Duke, North Carolina, Florida State, Louisville, Pitt
Good Day: 0
Key Losses: 6 Miami, Boston College, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, NC State, Virginia Tech
The ACC finally got a signature win when Clemson took down #6 Notre Dame on Saturday night. The Tigers owned the Fighting Irish for more than 3 quarters but had to stop a two-point conversation on the final play to secure the upset. Florida State struggled to beat lowly Wake Forest. North Carolina rallied from a 21-point deficit to beat Georgia Tech in Atlanta. Duke won a defensive fight with Boston College, while Miami was beat up by non-Power 5 team Cincinnati. By far the weakest Power 5 league, the ACC still has a shot at having a playoff team if Clemson or Florida State can go undefeated.
In the playoff conversation: #6 Clemson, #12 Florida State
Key Wins: 0
Good Day: 1 BYU
Key Losses: 2 Notre Dame, Army
The luck of the Irish ran out in Death Valley. Clemson dominated #6 Notre Dame for 3 quarters, then withstood a furious rally in the final minutes. The Fighting Irish are out of the playoff race unless they can upset both USC and Stanford later in the season.
BYU defeated UCONN over the weekend, while Army suffered a close loss to Penn State in Happy Valley.
In the playoff conversation: #15 Notre Dame
This section is our guess at which teams or conference champions the Selection Committee would choose or leave out based on the body of work up to that point in the season.
Based on week 5, if the College Football Playoff was today, the Selection Committee might go with…..
1- Texas A&M (SEC) versus 4-Stanford (PAC-12)
2- Northwestern (Big Ten)versus 3-TCU (Big 12)
On the outside…..
Jeff is a college sports fanatic who was able to recognize many D1 team logos by kindergarten. Growing up, Jeff played football, baseball, basketball, and ran track/cross country. Jeff’s love for college sports was expanded while running track/cross country at Indiana University, where he earned a General Education degree and attended every sporting event possible when not running for the Hoosiers. A proud parent and husband, Jeff resides in Oxford. His wife is an Ole Miss graduate, and Jeff has a year of post-graduate studies at Ole Miss under his belt. Jeff and his family can be found at just about any Ole Miss sporting event throughout the year. Jeff follows the idea of God, Family/Friends, and Football as a way of life. Writing about Ole Miss sports plays to Jeff’s love affair with collegiate athletics perfectly!