College Football Week 5 Takeaways and Questions for Week 6 Slate

Georgia tight end Brock Bowers’ 40-yard touchdown reception with 2:52 left in the fourth quarter against unranked Auburn may have looked like an impressive six points, but it accomplished a lot more than that.

Bowers’ catch put the nation’s top-ranked college football team ahead in a game they trailed into the third quarter at Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Stadium. The win kept intact Georgia’s winning streak in the “Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry,” now at seven games. And, maybe most importantly, it extended the Dawgs’ winning streak to 22 games, keeping the defending two-time champion at the top of the AP Top 25 and Coaches polls.

Bowers’ eight catches for 157 yards had people around the country discussing him as a possible Heisman Trophy candidate.

Georgia Bulldogs Tight End Brock Bowers
Brock Bowers of the Georgia Bulldogs is chased by D.J. James of the Auburn Tigers on the way to the go-ahead touchdown during the fourth quarter at Jordan-Hare Stadium on September 30, 2023, in Auburn, Alabama.
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

“But who can argue that there’s a better football player anywhere in the country?” Georgia head coach Kirby Smart said to reporters about Bowers after the game.

Bowers has a challenging climb to win the award. It has been over 70 years since a tight end won a Heisman Trophy. Larry Kelley, in 1936, was the first at Yale. Leon Hart won in 1949 for Notre Dame. On top of that, since 2000 only four players who weren’t quarterbacks have won the award.

Several quarterbacks, especially in the Pac-12, had performances last week that showed their value to voters.

Caleb Williams and Shedeur Sanders QB battle

One of the primary displays of quarterback prowess came during the Colorado loss against USC.

Caleb Williams, the defending Heisman Trophy winner, tied a career high with six touchdown passes in Southern Cal’s 48-41 victory against Colorado at Folsom Field.

As impressive as Williams was, Shedeur Sanders also held his own.

Sanders rushed for a 25-yard touchdown before halftime and threw for 371 yards with four touchdowns. Sanders helped the Buffaloes come back from a 48-21 deficit to get within one score with a 16-yard pass to Jimmy Horn Jr. with less than two minutes left.

Williams and the Trojans held on, but voters will look favorably on Sanders keeping the Buffaloes in the game on the heels of an embarrassing loss.

For anyone hoping the Buffaloes would go away quietly after Oregon’s obliteration, Saturday’s comeback was a rude awakening. If the Buffaloes would’ve folded after such a deficit, it’d be hard to picture them with a viable chance of remaining relevant this season. Another beatdown against a top-10 team would have further slowed momentum for head coach Deion Sanders’ squad.

Instead, the Buffs gave fans more reasons to follow their journey from last season’s 1-11 record.

“If you can’t see what’s coming with CU football, you’ve lost your mind,” Coach Prime said after the game. “You’re just a flat-out hater. If you can’t see what’s going on and what’s going to transpire over the next several months, something’s wrong with you.”

Time will tell if Prime is correct, but people will be watching this week’s game at Arizona State.

SEC highs

Raise your hand if, at the beginning of the season, you had Kentucky or Missouri with a better record than Alabama after Week 5.

No. 21 Missouri is 5-0 for the first time since 2013, led by quarterback Brady Cook and receiver Luther Burden III. The Tigers beat Vanderbilt last week and host a reeling No. 23 LSU team for a noon kickoff on ESPN.

No. 20 Kentucky downed Florida rather handily. It’s hard to know what to make of the Gators, who started the year with a loss against Utah, beat Tennessee, and got blasted by the Wildcats. However, Kentucky handled business, setting up a game against a Georgia team that has struggled with slow starts in games this season.

Wildcat running back Ray Davis had a career-high 280 rushing yards against the Gators. Davis leads one of the best rushing attacks in the conference against Georgia, which allowed nearly 300 rushing yards against Auburn.

Is this the week Georgia finally gets down by too many points for a comeback, or will the Dawgs reassert dominance?

SEC lows

LSU’s chances of competing for a playoff spot are likely gone after a loss against Ole Miss in Oxford. LSU’s defense struggled against the pass against Ole Miss, giving up four touchdowns and nearly 400 yards. Missouri’s Cook set an SEC record earlier this season for most attempts without an interception, making for an intriguing game against LSU between ranked schools.

The Rebels, meanwhile, kept their SEC West title hopes alive with the win against LSU. They’ll still need help to overcome Alabama after losing to the Crimson Tide last week. Alabama’s victory against Mississippi State pushes their record to 2-0 in conference play heading into a matchup against Texas A&M.

The Aggies are 2-0 in SEC action after a victory against Arkansas in Dallas for a neutral-site game. How real are the Aggies or the No. 11 Crimson Tide? We’ll learn a lot about both teams this week.

Notre Dame stays in the mix

The Irish overcame a fourth-quarter deficit in a hostile environment on the road against Duke. A loss against the Blue Devils following the tough home defeat the previous week against Ohio State would have practically eliminated the Irish from contention.

Next up for the Irish is a game against No. 25 Louisville on the road. Louisville is a surprising 5-0, including Saturday’s win against N.C. State. The Cardinals are ranked for the first time since being in the AP Top 25 for two weeks at the start of the 2020 pandemic season.

Is Michigan the best team in the nation?

The Wolverines haven’t played the toughest schedule through their first five games, but they’ve scored over 30 points in each contest and have looked dominant in the wins, including Saturday’s 45-7 drubbing of Nebraska.

Michigan travels to play Minnesota this week. The Wolverines are 20.5-point favorites against the Gophers, according to Monday’s odds on BetMGM.

Game of the week

There won’t be a game with more implications for the playoffs next week than No. 3 Texas against No.12 Oklahoma. It’ll be their last time facing off as members of the Big 12 with both teams headed to the Southeastern Conference next season.

Texas, coming off a win against a ranked Kansas team, is 5-0 for the first since 2009 when the Longhorns last won the Big 12.