CFB Playoff: Recapping the Top Five


A week in which #2 Florida State had a bye, the rest of the top five was still in action, all of which bent, but only one broke. 

#1 Mississippi State won at Kentucky 45-31

Kentucky was exactly where they wanted to be in the 4th quarter. The Wildcats were within one score late in the 4th and attempted the onside kick, but it was returned for a 61-yard touchdown and that all but iced the game for the Bulldogs.

Major holes were shown in the Bulldog defense in this contest, as it allowing 504 total yards, but they did manage to show up when they had to. With the 124th-ranked passing defense in the country, Mississippi State had questions that needed answers in their defensive backfield; they weren’t answered on Saturday.

Kentucky QB Patrick Towles played the game of his life with 390 yards passing on 24/43 passing, and 76 yards rushing on 23 attempts. Towles’ tremendous performance ultimately was not enough to knock off the #1 team in the country.

MSU QB Dak Prescott played a solid game, but not a great one. He was 18/33 with 216 yards, a touchdown, and a pick. MSU RB Josh Robinson ran for 198 yards on 23 carries however, and made a major impact in this game, because the Bulldogs out rushed the Wildcats 326-103.

Mississippi State proved they are not as unbeatable as everyone presumed they were. Away from home, Mississippi State simply played different football, and do not look nearly as motivated. With games at Alabama, and Ole Miss, the Bulldogs must improve if they want to remain undefeated.

#2 Florida State Bye Week

What a week for the Seminoles to draw a bye: every other top five team was on display and none of them looked impressive. The hating on the ‘Noles should come to a halt, at least until Thursday night with they travel to Kentucky to take on the Louisville Cardinals.

#3 Ole Miss lost at #24 LSU 10-7

Despite the rest of the top five looking unimpressive, Ole Miss was the only one to fall this weekend. This game was a defensive battle throughout, and everyone knew the day would come where the Rebels offense would have to truly win the game and that did not happen tonight. LSU made the plays when it had to, and ultimately prevailed.

The Rebels had the opportunity to kick a 42-yard field goal to tie the game with 9 seconds left, but were called for a false start penalty followed by an LSU time out. The Rebels ultimately decided to run one more play to try to pick up a couple more yards, but QB Bo Wallace opted to throw a ball toward the end zone, and it was intercepted, giving the Rebs no chance of tying the game. I personally agree with the call to run one more play with that much time left, but the QB has to know to (1) not take a sack and (2) not throw a risky pass.

Wallace was 14/33 passing with 176 yards a touchdown and an interception. LSU QB Anthony Jennings was 8/16 with 142 yards passing a touchdown and 2 interceptions. If not for a Leonard Fournette fumble on the Ole Miss 3-yard line and a missed field goal, LSU could have held an early 10-0 lead instead of having to come from behind in the final minutes. Fournette had 113 yards rushing on 23 attempts.

With this loss, No.1 Mississippi State and No.2 Florida State remain the only two unbeaten power-five teams.

#4 Alabama won at Tennessee 34-20

Alabama jumped out to a 20-0 lead, saw it fade, but went to halftime up 27-10. The Tide were never really on upset alert, but Lane Kiffin’s return to Knoxville made this game interesting to watch.

Tennessee Sophomore QB Josh Dobbs came into this game for his first start of the season, and did not disappoint, throwing for 192 yards on 19/32 passing with 2 touchdowns and an interception. He was also the Vols’ leading rusher with 75 yards on 19 attempts, inlcuding a 30-yard scramble.

Alabama QB Blake Sims played well also, with 286 yards on 14/24 passing and 2 touchdowns. Alabama WR Amari Cooper had 224 yards receiving on just 9 receptions, inserting himself into the Heisman discussion. He was 1 of 3 Alabama players who even caught a pass in this game.

Alabama’s offense is still the exact same as a year ago, running the ball to open up play-action, but with the Amari Cooper effect it’s tough going trying to stop Bama’s running game and passing game. Blake Sims is also capable of running the ball out of the play-action. With this win, Alabama moves to 7-1.

With showdowns at newly-found LSU, vs. Mississippi State, and Auburn, the Tide still have quite a bit of work to do if they want to insert themselves in the college football playoff.

#5 Auburn won vs. South Carolina 42-35

This was a back and forth contest with both clubs tied at the end of the 1st 7-7, at halftime 21-21, and at the end of the 3rd 35-35. In the 4th quarter, Auburn ultimately shut-out the Gamecocks and prevailed 42-35.

USC QB Dylan Thompson posted 402 yards passing on the Tiger defense, but ultimately cost his team with 3 decisive interceptions. Heisman hopeful Nick Marshall was 12/14 with 139 yards passing and a touchdown, but also had 89 rushing yards on 10 attempts.

Each team put up 500+ yards, South Carolina with 535 total yards, and Auburn with 551 total yards. South Carolina managed to run 24 more plays than the vaunted Tiger offense, with a total of 86 plays compared to the Tiger’s 62 plays. The fact that Auburn was still able to gain 16 more yards of offense in 24 less plays says a lot about their offense, but still shows weakness in their defense, especially the secondary.

With the loss, South Carolina now falls to 4-4 on the season, and with the win Auburn now sits at 6-1 on the season and in a 3-way tie for 2nd place in the SEC West.