Sunday, July 21, 2024

College football Week 6 overreactions: LSU is wasting a special season, Oklahoma punches its ticket to CFP

On paper, college football’s Week 6 looked fairly mundane. But once the dust settled on Saturday’s action, it ended up being one of the wildest weekends yet. Seven teams ranked inside the AP Top 25 lost, including a few massive unranked upsets. 

No. 12 Oklahoma proved its worth by beating No. 3 Texas, handing the Longhorns their first loss of the year and derailing their College Football Playoff hopes. It was a cornerstone win for Brent Venables and his program, who got run off the field a year ago against the Longhorns. 

Meanwhile, No. 13 Washington State, No. 17 Miami and No. 24 Fresno State all lost to ranked opponents. Washington State was technically an underdog on the road against UCLA, so it wasn’t an upset in the purest since. But the Cougars’ are one of the highest-ranked teams to lose to an unranked team this year. 

The divisional races in the SEC gained some clarity, as No. 11 Alabama held off Texas A&M and No. 1 Georgia demolished No. 20 Kentucky. Elsewhere, No. 21 Missouri lost to No. 23 LSU and now has ground to make up if it wants to stay in the SEC East race. 

Suffice to say, there is a lot of ground to cover from this slate. Here are our biggest overreactions from college football’s sixth week. 

What is Miami doing? 

No, this question isn’t just directed towards Miami’s amazing blunder in its 23-20 loss to Georgia Tech. For those still outside the know, a quick recap: The Hurricanes had the ball in Yellow Jackets’ territory, up 20-17, with 30 seconds left to play. Georgia Tech didn’t have any timeouts. Instead of kneeling the clock, like any sensible team would do, the Hurricanes ran the ball. Don Chaney Jr. fumbled, Georgia Tech recovered and the Yellow Jackets went 74 yards in three plays to score a game-winning touchdown. 

The sad thing is, this isn’t new for Mario Cristobal. He did almost the exact same thing five years ago at Oregon in a loss to Stanford. That’s evidence that Cristobal has barely grown as a coach in that span, and it also raises the question: where is Miami going? 

Cristobal is still making the same old mistakes. Miami has a tough road ahead with North Carolina, Clemson, NC State, Florida State and Louisville still on the schedule. With a loss like that against Georgia Tech, any of those five games could be chalked up as a loss. Cristobal doesn’t even have recruiting to fall back on this cycle. The Hurricanes’ 2024 class currently ranks outside the top-15 of 247Sports Team Composite rankings. Saturday won’t help in that department. 

I’m not suggesting the administration needs to make a move on Cristobal. That being said, he better provide some sort of direction or vision for the program. Soon.  

LSU is wasting something special

LSU’s offense is playing well enough to win a national championship, especially given how wide open this season has been so far. Quarterback Jayden Daniels is on a Heisman Trophy pace. He ranks in the top five of almost every major passing category, and his 19 touchdowns through the air in LSU’s first six games are more than he had all of last season. 

All of this on top of the fact that he has 422 rushing yards and four touchdowns. LSU’s offense is putting up numbers that would make its historic 2019 squad impressed. And yet it’s all going to waste. 

LSU isn’t going to make the College Football Playoff. The Tigers have already made sure of that with a 4-2 record at the midway point of their season after holding off No. 21 Missouri in a 49-39 victory on Saturday. It can almost all be blamed on a shockingly bad defense, which cost LSU a game against Ole Miss despite the fact the Tigers scored 49 points. At least Daniels can hang his hat on a fantastic showing in his final year of eligibility. 

Every conference race is wide open

Except for one. Sorry that anyone ever doubted you, Georgia, but we’re all eating crow. The SEC still runs through Athens, Georgia, and it doesn’t look like there’s anyone in either division that can do anything about it. Maybe things will change by the time the Bulldogs reach Atlanta, but this one looks like chalk. 

Fortunately, the same can’t be said for any other power conference. The ACC and the Pac-12 are both total logjams at this point. Picking a champion out of either league seems like a complete dart throw — certainly not something that can be done with complete confidence. 

Michigan is the odds on favorite in the Big Ten, but you never know with Ohio State and Penn State hanging around. Oklahoma is pacing the way in the Big 12, yet no conference has a bigger reputation when it comes to sheer chaos. 

Oklahoma, welcome back to the College Football Playoff

Speaking of the Sooners, welcome back. What a job Brent Venables has done in a year. Last season, Oklahoma didn’t score at all in a 49-0 loss to Texas. Not only did OU score first in Saturday’s Red River Rivalry, the Sooners kept scoring until they secured a 34-30 win against the third-ranked Longhorns — their biggest rival. 

Not just that, but Oklahoma entered the College Football Playoff conversation in emphatic fashion. Looking ahead, Venables’ squad might just have the easiest path left among realistic playoff contenders. 

There’s a good chance that Oklahoma doesn’t see another ranked team until the Big 12 Championship. On paper, its hardest remaining game is on the road against a Kansas team that might not have its starting quarterback. BYU and West Virginia have had solid seasons thus far, but the jury’s still out on whether or not they’re actually good. Oklahoma’s way to the final four is wide open. 

The Mountain West will have a team in New Year’s Six

This isn’t even that bold of a prediction. The Mountain West is playing phenomenal football and, if you’re not already paying attention, that’s your loss. It’s going to break the American Athletic Conference’s grip on New Year’s Six bowls and send one of its teams to a very prominent postseason game. 

And it won’t even be Boise State, which has the Mountain West’s deepest tradition of making a New Year’s Six bowl, and was the conference’s last team to reach that point in 2014. Instead, there are four MWC teams that could reach that stage. 

Air Force is pacing the pack. The Falcons are 5-0 with an average margin of victory of 25.4 points. Fresno State was ranked No. 24 before it lost to Wyoming Saturday night, which puts the Cowboys ahead in the NY6 race. Wyoming already has a win against Texas Tech on the resume, and it pushed top-10 Texas all the way into the fourth quarter. Keep an eye on UNLV, as well. The Rebels are 4-1, their only loss coming on the road against No. 2 Michigan. 

The Cover 3 crew talks Oklahoma, Texas, Miami, Alabama, Texas A&M and more. First, unpacking another wild edition of the Oklahoma-Texas rivalry and Miami’s late-game miscues before diving into the projections for the new college football rankings in the AP Top 25. Then it’s on to the biggest takeaways from Alabama’s win against Texas A&M, Louisville’s win against Notre Dame, how LSU downed Missouri and much, much more from a chaotic Saturday in the sport.  

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