Sport College Football Playoff Picture for Week 5: Georgia brings strong case for No. 1
Florida QB Anthony Richardson tosses 75-yard touchdown pass on first attempt after replacing Emory Jones
As Florida rotates quarterbacks, Richardson made a statement with his first opportunity on Saturday.Starter Emory Jones struggled on the team’s first two drives against USF, completing just one 20-yard pass on three tries. That appeared to prompt a change, with Anthony Richardson taking over on the next drive.
After one month, the College Football Playoff is starting to come into focus.
Alabama will be atop the AP Top 25 heading into the first week of October, but there is a case to be made for Georgia after its first four games. Those two SEC powerhouses appear to be on a collision course, but a lot can happen over the next nine regular-season weeks.
WEEK 4 TAKEAWAYS:
Who else is in the mix? Oregon and Oklahoma likely would have the next two spots based on their first month, but several other unbeaten teams would be in contention.
The first set of CFP rankings will be released Tuesday, Nov. 2. Each week, Sporting News will break down the playoff picture:
Notre Dame put on blast for Peacock streaming deal, poor showing vs. Toledo
It really was not a good look for the Irish to let Toledo nearly beat them. The College Football Playoff committee will no doubt remember Notre Dame’s sluggish start to the year, and it’s reasonable to presume the Fighting Irish will fall down the current AP rankings and coaches poll next week.Check out some of the ways the Irish got served on the Twitterverse after their poor Week 2 performance: Notre Dame fans, when they beat a school by 3 that they should’ve beaten by 30 pic.twitter.
Four in the College Football Playoff
1. Georgia (4-0)
If the CFP rankings were released this week, then the Bulldogs would almost certainly be No. 1. Georgia continued to roll with a 62-0 victory in Week 4 over Vanderbilt. The Bulldogs outgained the Commodores 532-77. Georgia has allowed 23 points through four games, and the Week 1 victory against Clemson was no fluke. The Bulldogs can tack on another top-10 victory against Arkansas at Sanford Stadium in Week 5.
2. Alabama (4-0)
The Crimson Tide will remain No. 1 in the AP Poll after extending their win streak to 18 games. Jameson Williams returned the opening kickoff for a 100-yard touchdown, and Alabama routed Southern Mississippi 63-14 at home. Bryce Young hit 20 of 22 passes for 312 yards, five touchdowns and one interception. The Crimson Tide enter a telling two-week stretch against Ole Miss and Texas A&M. The Rebels have the top-ranked offense in the FBS under former Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin. Young has been brilliant to this point. Now, he can make a Heisman Trophy statement opposite Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral.
Bob Stoops issues non-denial when asked about USC rumors
USC is in the hunt for a new football coach, and Bob Stoops certainly isn’t doing anything to dispel rumors that he might be interested. © BRYAN TERRY via Imagn Content Services, LLC Bob Stoops wouldn't confirm or deny wanting the USC job. Stoops appeared on SiriusXM’s ESPNU Radio on Wednesday and was asked about chatter potentially linking him to the USC job. Stoops admitted he “can’t control rumors” and refused to respond to reports about whether he had been contacted or not. However, he went on to suggest that he would certainly be open to overtures.“I’m enjoying my opportunity to work with Fox.
3. Oregon (4-0)
Oregon pulled away in the fourth quarter of a 41-19 victory against Arizona in a game that was tense early in the second half. The Ducks ran just eight plays in the third quarter and allowed Arizona to hang around after building a two-score lead at halftime. Anthony Brown, CJ Verdell and Travis Dye combined for 28 rushes for 178 yards, and Brown added three passing TDs. The Ducks also came up with five interceptions. Oregon resumes its Pac-12 North rivalry with Stanford next.
4. Oklahoma (4-0)
Oklahoma continues to live dangerously. The Sooners beat West Virginia 16-13; their third one-score victory against a FBS opponent. Oklahoma has yet to get on track with Spencer Rattler at quarterback despite a loaded offense that had high expectations coming into 2021. That said, Oklahoma remains unbeaten and still is the team to beat in the Big 12. The Sooners have lost their last two meetings against Kansas State and a trip to Manhattan, Kan., is next on the schedule.
OC Eric Bieniemy focused on Chiefs, not links to USC job
Bieniemy has long wanted to lead an NFL squad but hasn't received an opportunity he's more than earned with his work alongside Chiefs head coach Andy Reid.On Tuesday, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy "will emerge as a head-coaching candidate for USC" at some point. Bieniemy has long wanted to lead an NFL squad but hasn't received an opportunity he's more than earned with his work alongside Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, but Bieniemy told reporters Thursday he's concentrating on getting his current players ready to face the Baltimore Ravens this Sunday night.
5. Penn State (4-0)
The Nittany Lions should be the first team out based on September victories against Wisconsin and Auburn. Penn State beat Villanova 38-17 in Week 4 and Sean Clifford passed for 401 yards and four touchdowns, but it averaged 2.4 rushing yards in the victory. A home matchup against preseason Big Ten darling Indiana, which won a 36-35 overtime thriller between the teams last year, is next.
6. Arkansas (4-0)
We will not be surprised if the Razorbacks make this kind of jump in the polls. They dominated the first half in a convincing victory against Texas A&M at AT&T Stadium. Arkansas swept Texas and Texas A&M, and it did so with an efficient rushing attack and flashy defense under second-year coach Sam Pittman. Can the Hogs knock off the Dawgs?
Four to watch
7. Notre Dame (4-0)
Cincinnati will be ranked higher in its matchup with the Irish, but Notre Dame still has the inside playoff track as long as it stays unbeaten. The Irish pulled away with 31 fourth-quarter points in a 41-13 victory against Wisconsin that allowed Brian Kelly to pass Knute Rockne for most coaching wins in program history. Notre Dame has a serious quarterback question and issues running the football. The Irish likely have to run the table as a result.
Dillon Gabriel suffers injury on final play of UCF loss, had arm in sling
On the final play of the game, UCF tried a hook-and-ladder play. Gabriel got injured on the play and headed off on a cart. #UCF QB Dillon Gabriel is back up and walked off on his own power to the medical cart. Riding the cart to the locker room, Gabriel clearly in pain… looked to be grabbing his lower body, hip area. Not entirely sure though. — Jason Beede (@therealBeede) September 18, 2021 Gabriel was spotted with his left arm in a sling. There was some speculation that he injured his collarbone.
8. Iowa (4-0)
Iowa trailed 14-7 at halftime against Colorado State, and the Rams limited Tyler Goodson to 57 yards on 18 carries. The Hawkeyes clamped down in the second half for a 24-14 victory, but it was an unremarkable performance heading into Big Ten play. They can't afford to look past a date at Maryland before a huge cross-over showdown against Penn State on Oct. 9.
9. Cincinnati (3-0)
The Bearcats had a bye week to prepare for Notre Dame in what will be the Group of 5's best case for having a team in the CFP. Former Bearcats coach Brian Kelly and defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman will be on the opposing sideline, and it's not hyperbole to call this the biggest game in school history. Luke Fickell has led the Bearcats to 11 consecutive regular-season victories.
10. Ohio State (3-1)
Freshmen Kyle McCord and TreVeyon Henderson started in a 59-7 get-right blowout of Akron. Will that be the backfield combination for the rest of the season? The Buckeyes are the only one-loss team on this list, but the fact remains third-year coach Ryan Day has yet to lose a Big Ten game. Rutgers, Maryland and Indiana are the next three games on the schedule. Ohio State will be in the mix until it gets a second loss.
Penn State's James Franklin is still fuming over officiating error against Auburn .
During the second quarter of Saturday’s game, the referees somehow managed to take two downs from the Nittany Lions on an intentional grounding call instead of one. It essentially led to Penn State punting on third down instead of fourth, which had Franklin fuming at halftime. Franklin still wasn’t over it on Thursday. On the "Penn State Coaches Show," Franklin admitted the team had to “clean up” some penalty issues. He then took the opportunity to take a shot at the SEC officiating crew that handled the Auburn game.“I think we have Big Ten officials this week,” Franklin said, via Mark Brennan of 247Sports.