This Might've Been College Football's Early-Bracket Week
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It was fun. It was dramatic.
And, really, it was merely a snapshot of what happened when early speculation and perspectives met up with the first weekend in October.
Three pairings of current Top Ten teams jostling for playoff positioning -- both in conference and nationally -- settled matters in various ways to highlight college football's Week 5:
- Washington rumbled so powerfully over Stanford, the West Coast faultlines beneath them were in jeopardy of being awakened;
- Michigan topped Wisconsin , 14-7, in a 21st-century version of three yards and a cloud of dust; and
- Clemson reminded Louisville who's who in the zoo with a circus act that came down to the last play.
Who knows if anyone will be framing these results the same way in December, but there's no denying the scenery's been better defined in three leagues.
It's a wacky, wide-open conference that features a nine-game schedule and breeds upsets. Chris Petersen's charges will surely take nothing for granted, but what they did to Stanford was reminiscent of 1991:
Next up is a reeling Oregon program. Still, Washington hasn't beaten the Ducks in a dozen seasons.
With the Big House ground now covered in field turf, any dust kicked up can be vaccumed.
Both the Wolverines and Badgers did their share of it, but the end result still looked like the Big Ten's old days, where the D reigned supreme:
For all the hype, though, Ohio State was surely looking on in bemusement.
After all, disposing of Rutgers left the Buckeyes loads of time for other things.
They're on Wisconsin's horizon in two weeks, and have their usual get-together with Michigan at season's end. Not much is decided around the Great Lakes until the Buckeyes weigh in. To date, that reality remains.
Meanwhile, who knew the ACC would be so loaded?
North Carolina's 54-yard field goal at the gun in Tallahassee was further proof that the conference isn't just for hoopsters anymore. There are challengers to Florida State and Clemson, one of whom has garnered serious renown last season and this.
Thus, Louisville's fate now is to scoreboard watch while taking care of business.
They'll get their shot at a quality win down in Houston, where the Cougars have their own agenda that day, but higher aspirations than winning out don't look to be fulfilled unless the ACC does a Pac-12 and totally ignores favorites all season.