What It All Means: Week 5
Okay, so who’s No. 3?
Do we all really have to start paying our full and undivided attention on Iowa now?
We know how this works. Great coaching, great lines, great consistency in the system, come up with plenty of wins over the mistake-prone and weak-minded, lose to the big guy on the slate, and then move on.
And that puts all the pressure on this week when Penn State comes into Iowa City.
The Nittany Lions are fourth in both polls, the Hawkeyes are third, and the winner of this takes a massive step forward in the Big Ten Championship and College Football Playoff chase. The difference is that Penn State still has Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State to deal with. Iowa doesn’t.
The Hawkeyes have trips to Wisconsin and Nebraska, and that’s about it as long as there isn’t a gag against Minnesota.
Is Oklahoma ready to step up and be that No. 3 team?
It hasn’t looked or played like it so far, but it’s 5-0 and has a chance to claim its stake to the spot behind the Tide and Dawgs if it can beat Texas.
Cincinnati, Michigan, Michigan State, and even with one loss, Ohio State, are all in range in the polls, but all that matters is where they’re going to be in the first week of November when the real rankings – the College Football Playoff version – are released.
But after this weekend with Oregon and Notre Dame both losing, and no other great options to throw into the mix, there’s a gigantic chasm between 1-2 and the rest of college football.
In this race, being 3 and 4 matters to get a shot at the fun.
Week 5 set us all up for this debate to get a whole lot easier over the next few weeks.