A Look Around College Football – Week Six
The 2012 college football season exploded with offense in week five. Six different games witnessed a first half in which at least 56 points were scored. West Virginia and Baylor led the pack in "shootout world," producing a 70-63 game won by the Mountaineers in which more than 1,500 total yards were posted. The very idea of a "shootout" must be couched in a new framework. Texas and West Virginia both needed a lot of offense to win their Big 12 openers on Sept. 29, and they'll need a lot more firepower this weekend when they meet in Austin, Tex.
Another shootout emerged from the Southeastern Conference, a league that ordinarily doesn't light up the scoreboard. Georgia outpaced Tennessee, 51-44, and needed a late turnover by Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray to hold on. The Bulldogs lost receiver Michael Bennett to an injury in practice this week. They will need other pass catchers to step up as they go to South Carolina to take on the Gamecocks in the SEC East game of the year, a contest that will have a lot to do with the eventual division champion. There's really no way to read what will happen in the Palmetto State. South Carolina and Georgia were both extremely sloppy in week five. The Gamecocks and Bulldogs both won but looked horrible in the process of gaining 5-0 records. Offensive line play has been noticeably inconsistent for both teams, and that will be an issue since the Dawgs and Gamecocks both lay claim to having one of the best defensive lines in the United States.
Week five readjusted the Pac-12's list of contenders. Stanford looked awful in a four-point loss to Washington, but Oregon State emerged as a threat by winning at Arizona. Arizona State remained in the hunt with a win over California.
In the ACC, bad news dominates the landscape. Virginia Tech lost a second game to a Big East opponent this season, falling to Cincinnati on a 39-yard touchdown pass with 13 seconds left in regulation. Georgia Tech lost by 21 points at home to Middle Tennessee. Virginia lost at home to Louisiana Tech. These developments are depressing for ACC fans, but they're wonderful breakthroughs for the Big East, which has three unbeaten teams (Cincinnati, Rutgers and Louisville); the Sun Belt, which enjoyed several moments in the sun in September (especially Louisiana-Monroe's win at Arkansas); and the Western Athletic Conference, who might be able to put the aforementioned Louisiana Tech squad into the race for a BCS bowl berth.
In the Big Ten, Ohio State's one-point win over Michigan State established the Buckeyes as the best team in the conference. Since Ohio State is ineligible for the league championship, however, the result threw both division races into a state of advanced chaos.
The big games for week six: LSU at Florida; West Virginia at Texas; Washington at Oregon; Nebraska at Ohio State; Michigan at Purdue; Georgia at South Carolina.
By Matt Zemek
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