Based on the first four weeks, it seemed as if they would find competition with teams like Ole Miss, Arkansas and Florida after impressive starts. This Saturday’s games proved Bama and UGA are in a league of their own.
College Gameday took the trip to Athens, Ga. on Saturday for a top 10 matchup between the No. 2 ranked Georgia Bulldogs and the No. 8 ranked Arkansas Razorbacks.
The Dawgs stomped the Razorbacks 37-0 leaving College Gameday probably wishing they’d picked a closer game to attend.
The Dawgs got off to a 21-0 start in the first quarter, and never allowed Arkansas a second of momentum. Not only could Arkansas not get on the scoreboard, they could barely get the football on Georgia’s side of the field. They were held to just 162 yards of total offense. Defensive tackle Devonte Wyatt accumulated six tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, and 1.5 sacks by himself. The Bulldogs smothered the Razorbacks offense.
Offensively for Georgia, they ran the ball at will. Georgia ran 67 total plays in this game. 56 of those were runs. They ran the ball an astounding 84% percent of the time including 11 straight plays at one point in the second half.
Arkansas knew Georgia would run the football. The whole stadium knew they were running it, but it didn’t matter. They still averaged 4.9 yards a carry.
It was just a case of one team totally outplaying another team. Georgia is bigger, faster, and stronger, and they proved it on just about every down.
Heading into this game, Arkansas’s hopes were incredibly high. It was the first time they’d been ranked in the top 10 since 2012. They’d just come off of big wins against two ranked teams, 40-21 against then ranked No. 15 Texas, and last week, 20-10 against then ranked No. 7 Texas A&M.
Last week’s win against Texas A&M was convincing, and boosted the narrative that Arkansas deserved a top 10 ranking. Now having seen what A&M did today, we know that is not the case.
Texas A&M lost 26-22 to a rebuilding Mississippi State team today, who already has two losses this year against Memphis and LSU.
It’s clear now that A&M is nowhere close to as good as we thought they were. Which in turn seems to prove that Arkansas’s win over them didn’t mean as much as we thought it did either.
This Texas A&M team came into this season ranked No. 6, and were many analysts and college football fans’ sleeper pick to make it to the playoffs. Now they’ll be lucky if they’re still ranked.
Elsewhere in the SEC West, Ole Miss wasn’t able to back up their recent hype either. Coming into this game, Ole Miss was the No. 12 ranked team in the country. They almost beat Alabama last year, losing a thrilling game 63-48. This year, talks of a much improved defense and even better starting quarterback in Matt Corral had fans on high alert for a possible upset this time around in Tuscaloosa.
The Tide controlled this one from the very beginning and didn’t look back. The Tide went up 28-0 at halftime and dominated in all facets of the game. Ole Miss was able to make it a little closer at the end, so just seeing the 42-21 final score without watching the game may not convince fans of how much of a beatdown this game proved to be.
The electric Ole Miss offense, led by Corral, a player many consider to be a Heisman trophy award contender, was averaging 635 total yards a game through its first three contests. That same offense was only able to muster up 291 against Alabama, the majority of those coming in the second half when Bama rotated some of their backups in on defense. Offensively for Bama, they were as efficient as it gets.
They controlled the clock, having almost 38 minutes of possession, passed for 241 and rushed for 210. Alabama’s running back Brian Robinson, Jr. had a field day, running for career highs of 36 carries, 171 yards, and four touchdowns.
Prior to the Ole Miss game, Alabama utilized a running back by committee approach for much of its first four games. Robinson elevated his play and now deserves to be the top running back, especially in clutch situations moving forward. He’s also one of the reasons for the following statement.
Make no mistake, Alabama again proved it deserved the No. 1 ranking.
Moving over to the SEC East, the Florida Gators were upset 20-13 on the road against the Kentucky Wildcats, marking their first home win against the Gators since 1986.
Florida’s hopes of an SEC championship were still very much intact heading into this one. They gave Alabama everything they could handle in a 31-29 nail-biting loss two weeks ago and had their eyes set on Georgia in a game that would decide the East.
In the process, they forgot about Kentucky.
Florida was averaging 36 points a game in their first four contests, but was only able to put up 13 against the Kentucky defense. It was a struggle for quarterback Emory Jones and the entire Florida offense, only converting four of 13 third down opportunities.
Midway through the third quarter, Florida attempted a field goal that would have extended their lead to 13-7. The field goal was blocked and returned 78 yards for a touchdown putting Kentucky up 13-10. A fourth quarter interception and multiple missed throws by Jones cost the Gators a chance at a comeback.
Now with two losses, Florida would need to beat Georgia and another Georgia loss in the SEC in order to win the East. From the looks of Georgia’s performance today, two regular season losses does not seem likely.
Week five of college football was crazy, but especially in the SEC. It taught quite a lot. People now know that Texas A&M, Arkansas, Ole Miss and Florida aren’t quite as good as what they thought they would be. It’s also evident that Georgia and Alabama are even better than than originally anticipated, even though it did not seem as if that was possible. It’s now obvious that these two teams -- Alabama and Georgia -- are in a league of their own, in the SEC, and perhaps in all of college football.
Can any college football team challenge Alabama or Georgia the rest of the season? If not, we will see Bama and Georgia remain at the top and play for the SEC Championship, and then later the National Championship.
You will find Hamby on Twitter here: @Jason_Hamby14
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