NCAA College Football Week 5 RecapMonday, October 3, 2011 21:40
Week 5 college football recap, but alarming margins of victory between games involving ranked teams.
Haves and Have-Nots
Week 5 has come and gone, and what’s that, no talk of conference realignment?
Yes, it’s true. Thankfully. And just in time for conference play and the first really big weekend of the season. (Of course, the weekend was not devoid of off-the-field news–the fallout from Ohio State’s ongoing scandal will continue with three players out next week against Nebraska–but at least that is news of a different sort).
Like most of the top tier tilts so far in 2011, the main draw of Week 5 ended up being a laugher. #8 Nebraska visited #7 Wisconsin in the Cornhuskers’ first ever Big Ten game–after which, Nebraska may have been rethinking its decision to switch conferences. Last year’s Big Ten co-champs (and Rose Bowl participant) Wisconsin absolutely dominated the conference’s new arrivals 48-17.
The Cornhuskers were not alone in Top 25 losers. In all, 8 ranked teams fell, 5 in upsets…and three of those to schools not in the Top 25. Kansas State tripped up #15 Baylor 36-35, #20 TCU fell to SMU at home in overtime 40-33 in the always dangerous rivalry game–I maintain that no matter what the relative seasons of two teams, anything can happen in a rivalry showdown–and outgoing Big East member Pittsburgh crushed #16 South Florida 44-17. The losses were particularly painful for the TCU Horned Frogs and South Florida Bulls, knocking them out of this week’s Top 25…and for the non-BCS conferences overall, as TCU’s exit leaves only #5 Boise State in the polls amongst non-Big 6 schools.
One thing apparent from all the Top 25 losses this past week is the difference in the level of play this year between college football’s haves and have nots. Even with the SEC dominating the BCS Championship the last few seasons, the pool of teams at the top had been fairly wide. But take a look at the score differentials from the seven games in which ranked teams lost this week (differential in parentheses):
#7 Wisconsin 48, #8 Nebraska 17 (31)
#3 Alabama 38, #12 Florida 10 (28)
Pittsburgh 44, #16 South Florida 17 (27)
#13 Clemson 23, #11 Virginia Tech 3 (20)
SMU 40, #20 TCU 33 (7)
#18 Arkansas 42, #14 Texas A&M 38 (4)
Auburn 16, #10 South Carolina 13 (3)
Kansas State 36, #15 Baylor (1)
Four of those losses were by 20 or more points, and the average margin of victory was a shade over 15 points. Those top four differentials all came in conference games to boot. Not promising for interesting games and general competitiveness for the rest of the season.
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