It’s easy to get too high or too low after each week’s results in college football. Such is the nature of the sport that breeds emotional responses based on what happens positively or negatively every Saturday.
That’s why we’re here. A step back from the action can provide perspective that rightfully will temper some of the misplaced enthusiasm from positive performances and lift up those feeling down in the dumps after negative results.
Week 5 had plenty of examples on both sides of the coin. Here are the five biggest overreactions from the action:
Oklahoma has solved its offensive issues
That’s more like it Oklahoma offense.
After consecutive weeks where the Sooners had the lowest scoring games during the Lincoln Riley era and fans chanted for quarterback Spencer Rattler to be benched, there were signs of life against Kansas State.
Rattler looked like the 2020 version of himself that was brilliant in the second half. He hit 22 of 25 passes for 243 yards and also was effective running when lanes opened up. The 37 points scored Saturday almost equaled the combined 39 generated against Nebraska and West Virginia.
Yet, this was just one performance. The running game still needs to get going, starting this week against Texas. Rattler needs to prove he can’t build upon the performance and avoid shaky decision-making and the offensive line has to protect him. A big day against the Longhorns in the Cotton Bowl would start to generate belief than Riley was right when he said the unit wasn’t far off. And maybe it could be the catalyst for Oklahoma to start living up to its promise.
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Cincinnati will get snubbed by the playoff committee
That seems to be the narrative after the Bearcats beat Notre Dame for their second significant win on the road against a Power Five opponent. First, let’s take a breath. It’s a long way until December and any conjecture about this unpredictable season at this point is premature.
That won’t stop conspiracy theorists. The case against Cincinnati is straightforward. It’s schedule strength won’t be good enough. Indiana was ranked in the preseason and its 2-3 start has dampened the value of that victory. Notre Dame also has been less than dominant in its four wins. The Bearcats need both of those teams to have strong second halves. They’re also hurt by the lack of a contender in the American Athletic unless SMU can remain unbeaten.
Even with those factors working against Cincinnati, an unbeaten finish would put it in the mix with Power Five conference champions from the ACC, Big 12 and Pac-12. Trying to predict how that will sort out now is pretty much pointless.
Auburn is the third-best team in the SEC
OK. Let’s start with the good. A win at LSU in which they trailed by nine in the fourth quarter was huge for the Tigers and first-year coach Bryan Harsin. Bo Nix was Bo Nix again. A lot of good and bad by the junior quarterback that resulted in some clutch plays late that led his team to victory.
Now, the bad. Alabama and Georgia are clearly first and second in the SEC pecking order. It’s still hard to put Auburn behind them with Mississippi, Arkansas and even Florida when you consider the struggles last week against Georgia State at home.
This is a team that lacks consistency, which is not the sign of a team fighting for an SEC title. Let’s see how the Tigers fare against Georgia next week and then the Rebels and Razorbacks in the following weeks before putting any kind of expectation on them.
Ohio State is back to being Ohio State
Demolitions of Akron and Rutgers surely will help the Buckeyes pad their stats and feel better about themselves. They don’t address any of the concerns that showed early in the season against Minnesota and Oregon.
When a team can get physical with Ohio State, is it able to step up to the challenge? Penn State later this month is the first of the contenders that can exploit those weaknesses on both lines of scrimmage. Freshman quarterback C.J. Stroud struggled to carry the offense when it was all on his shoulders. It’s still unknown how he will handle the situation. A defense that allows 400 yards per game also remains a mystery, especially in the secondary. With the competition in the Big Ten East, one would be better off betting on the field than the Buckeyes.
Wake Forest can’t win the ACC
The Demon Deacons are the only unbeaten left in the conference, though there are going to be doubters given their pedigree and lack of perceived talent. Those doubters might want to take a closer examination at this team.
Wake had won four games by at least 21 points before Saturday’s defeat of Louisville. Sam Hartman has been outstanding at quarterback for an offense averaging 38.4 points per game. The defense has also been solid, ranking 28th in points allowed. It’s a balanced team that won’t beat itself.
With three league wins already in the books, the Demon Deacons should cruise through the rest of their league games in October with only Syracuse and Duke left. That sets them up well for a back-loaded schedule that includes North Carolina, North Carolina State and Clemson in November. Just two wins among those three might send them to the conference title game.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: College football overreactions Week 5 starts with Oklahoma’s offense