After six weeks the SEC and Big Ten are responsible for half of the nation’s 16 undefeated teams. Each conference boasts four and, more important, seven of the eight are legit College Football Playoff contenders.
Hence, those two conferences stand above the rest when it comes to CFP worthiness.
No disrespect to the fantastic job Matt Rhule has done at 5-0 Baylor, though it is a pair of other 5-0 teams, No. 6/5 Oklahoma and No. 11/11 Texas, that again represent the Big 12’s best hope. Saturday’s meeting in the Cotton Bowl could be the first of two between the programs. That’s what happened last year when the Sooners got payback in the conference championship to advance to the CFP while the Longhorns were left standing on the wrong side of the velvet rope.
The ACC has Clemson while the Pac-12 is bereft of undefeated teams. No. 13/13 Oregon (4-1) is as good as it gets right now.
It will be interesting to see how things unravel from here on out given the many heavyweight matchups looming. The number of unbeatens in the SEC will be decreased by at least one come late Saturday night with Florida (6-0) traveling to LSU (5-0) in what will be the second straight top-10 matchup for the Gators.
Dan Mullen’s team toppled visiting, previously undefeated and then-No. 10 Auburn on Saturday, 24-13. Though the No. 12/12 Tigers slipped to 5-1, they are by no means out of the playoff picture. They will be unless quarterback Bo Nix can elevate his game above the level of the true freshman that he is. He ranks 92nd nationally in pass efficiency, which will not cut it against the conference’s other three unbeatens that appear the schedule: LSU, Georgia and Alabama.
As for the Gators, they will not play in The Swamp again until November 9 against Vandy, four days after the initial CFP rankings are revealed. Until then, there is the aforementioned trip to Baton Rouge and a date at South Carolina. A bye that will potentially allow for two weeks worth mega-hype precedes the annual showdown in Jacksonville with Georgia. First things first, and that is dealing with Ed Orgeron’s Bengal Tigers.
Georgia, 5-0 and No. 3 team in both polls (tied with Ohio State in AP), sports a resume that includes a victory over top-1o Notre Dame. Kirby Smart’s Bulldogs are at home the next two weeks against South Carolina and Kentucky prior to the clash with the Gators. A trip to Auburn and a visit from Texas A&M are also on the back half of the schedule.
Alabama will face its first ranked opponent this week when the Tide travels to College Station. LSU comes to Tuscaloosa on November 9 in what could be a battle between a pair of 8-0 teams and Heisman candidates in Tua Tagovailoa and Joe Burrow, who are top two nationally with 23 and 22 touchdown passes, respectively. Auburn comes to Bryant-Denny Stadium for the 84th Iron Bowl.
Prior to traveling to Alabama, LSU has this week’s visit from Florida followed by a trip to Mississippi State and a home-field clash with Auburn.
A former SEC resident, Justin Fields, is doing just fine at Ohio State (6-0) where he leads the nation in points responsible for with 156. The Georgia transfer helped navigate the No. 3/4 Buckeyes through some resistance for the first time this season, but they still pulled away to beat visiting Michigan State by 24.
In what could be the first of two matchups between the teams, the Buckeyes host Wisconsin on October 26. A month later Ryan Day’s team finishes the regular season with a visit from Penn State and a trip to play “That Team Up North.” Ohio State will seek to make it eight straight over the Wolverines.
The Badgers, who have posted three shutouts and are allowing 5.8 points per game, ran through, around and over Michigan two weeks ago. So, at least one of their five wins is over a quality opponent. Wisconsin, No. 8 in both polls and led by the nation’s second-leading rusher (149 yards per game) in Jonathan Taylor, should receive a test from visiting Michigan State on Saturday. Two weeks after traveling to Columbus, UW receives a visit from Iowa.
Penn State, at 5-0 and No. 10/9, survived a close encounter in Week 3 at Pitt, but has otherwise blown through a soft schedule that has benefited redshirt sophomore and first-year starting quarterback Sean Clifford.
The schedule gets hot and heavy the next three weeks with trips to Iowa and Michigan State sandwiched around a visit from Michigan. Should James Franklin’s Nittany Lions survive and remain unblemished, a trip to Indianapolis for the conference championship will likely be on the line in Columbus on November 23.
Minnesota? P.J. Fleck has the Golden Gophers off to a 5-0 start for the first time since 2004 and they could be 8-0 heading into November. However, barely getting past South Dakota State, Fresno State (2OT) and Georgia Southern and conference wins over injury-ravaged Purdue and lowly Illinois (combined 3-7) do not create much excitement. They will, though, have a say in how things shape up in the Big Ten and possibly the playoff picture with Penn State and Wisconsin coming to town in November.
Hold on tight, SEC and Big Ten fans, the next two months should be a fun ride.
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