We’re fortunate enough to be able to have enough time to bring back our weekly Five Takeaways articles, and I have to tell you honestly, week five was a doozy. Let’s dive into it shall we?
1) Week of the defenses
The story of the CFSL for the majority of this season has been explosive offense. Quarterbacks and receivers putting up insane numbers, shootouts, and high scoring affairs. This week, was an entirely different story. Sure, we saw a couple of runaway games, but it was the defenses who stood out. We saw some impressive defensive performances this week, from Auburn safety Ollie P. Peters to Florida State defensive end Zak Howard. The defenses won out this week.
2) NOT A GIMME ANYMORE…
The Big Ten, for the last couple of seasons, has been a very simple equation. Ohio State and everybody else. And even then, we’ve been able to peg in Oregon for a playoff spot and then competition between Notre Dame and Michigan. Last season, USC broke that mold and made it come down to Oregon, Notre Dame, and Michigan. With the addition of Texas and the rise of Nebraska, the Big Ten remains up for grabs. USC was pegged as the favorites coming into the season, and there’s still the expectation that they’ll make the playoffs as will Texas, but winning the Big Ten? That’s an entirely different story, one where the Big Ten Crown remains up for grabs. Except for Ohio State I mean, they really can’t win the Big Ten at this point, but it doesn’t mean they can’t find themselves in the playoffs. They’re 1-4 in conference and would need a lot of help, but everybody else can get into the playoffs on their own merits at this point.
3) UPSET OF THE WEEK
Nebraska is the team who has orchestrated back-to-back upsets this season. First, they knocked off Ohio State, and this past week they toppled USC, in a game that the Trojans hope to win to be able to secure their spot atop the Big Ten, at which point they just have to defend it. Instead, Nebraska rolled into the Coliseum and took care of business. So at what point do we stop betting against Nebraska? They knocked off Ohio State, who was expected to win, AND they beat USC who was expected to win handily. Is Nebraska going to be favored against Texas this week? Probably not, but if they beat the Longhorns, can we still really view it as an upset considering the last two weeks?
4) SOME THINGS NEVER CHANGE
While the Big Ten is basically anybody’s race, and Nebraska is pulling the rug out from teams who aren’t expecting it, the SEC remains as it has always been. Chaos. Well, except for Auburn, but even that’s different. Auburn has never won the SEC, and they’re on the cusp of doing exactly that. And yet, this entire conference remains entirely up for grabs, even with Clemson sitting at 1-3 in conference and Miami having yet to win a conference game this season. Sure, Florida’s starting to slide while the Seminoles and Crimson Tide trend upwards, but the fact is, every team in the SEC still has a realistic shot at making the playoffs. As tends to be the case every single season.
5) one of the best?
Texas quarterback Clayton Denny is only a freshman, but his first five games in the CFSL have been remarkable. He’s put up 2,086 passing yards, 15 touchdown passes, and only nine interceptions. To be clear, in Dewey Ainge’s first five starts, he put up 1,778 yards with 11 touchdowns and four interceptions. Ray Tatum? 2,049 yards, 13 touchdowns, and seven interceptions. The only one to have a better five game stretch to start their CFSL career was James Kovach, who put up 2,164 yards and 17 touchdown passes and six interceptions. Kovach’s career had a strong start passing wise, but it did taper off late. Even still, consider the company that Clayton Denny is keeping. Does it mean much in terms of his career’s trajectory? That remains to be seen, but judging by his predecessors, he’s bound to have a great one. Assuming Texas can replenish the receivers who will be graduating this season that is. After all, Denny has to have a couple of viable targets for him to have a similar career as that of Tatum and Ainge.