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Acker Assessment – Week 5

The record may not show it, but Arkansas is one very improved team and they came oh so close to pulling the upset this weekend.

Acker Assessment – Week 5

By: Jon Acker
Here we are one-third of the way through the regular season. My oh my how times flies. ESPN analyst’s consensus “Who’s in?” has: 1. Oklahoma, 2 Alabama, 3. Oregon, 4. Florida State, with Auburn and Texas A&M the first out. That seems reasonable, but Crablegs U remains number 1, inexplicably, in the AP Poll, despite giving up the most points to an unranked team by a number 1 since 1985.

Alabama is number 1 in the Coaches Poll, followed by Crablegs U, Oklahoma and Oregon. Interestingly, in the Coaches Poll, Florida State has 26 first place votes, while the Tide has 15, which means those not voting them number one are placing them further down.

As a stats person it’s no surprise that I love numbers. Power ratings have always fascinated me. I’ve been a big fan of the Sagarin Rating since the 1980s. The latest Sagarin Rating has Alabama on top, followed by Oklahoma, Oregon and Auburn. Florida State is ninth. ESPN has also come out with their own Football Power Index, which has Alabama, Texas A&M and Auburn, 1, 2, 3, followed by Oklahoma.

https://espn.go.com/college-football/statistics/teamratings

How about three SEC teams in the playoffs? How do you think that would sit with fans in the Big Wanna-be conferences? It won’t happen, but two is a real possibility. What’s so interesting about this index is how it calculates the probability for running the table. Alabama has a 3.4% chance, A&M a 2.5%, and Auburn 1.2%. However, Oklahoma has a 20% chance and Florida State a 22.7% chance. That speaks volumes about just how easy their remaining schedules are.

Speaking of teams with weak schedules, Michigan State’s coach, Mark Dantonio made some waves over the weekend by stating he believes only conference champions should make the playoffs. Now, he knows that his only shot, and I mean his ONLY shot, at making the dance is to run the table and have major cannibalization by teams ahead of him at present- meaning two losses for nearly everyone.

I personally think it’s a moot point, because Michigan State will lose again, but it galls me that there are coaches out there that can speak such nonsense and the media nods their head like it’s some profound words of wisdom. Profound foolishness is what it is from a desperate coach that despicably is running-up scores to make style-points. Heck, I may even do the unthinkable and pull for Ohio State and Urban “the new Bear Bryant” Meyer over MSU.

So what did week 5 teach us?

Well, it continues to confirm my notion that Florida State is a pretender. What number 1 team gives up 520 yards and 41-points to an unranked team? It also confirmed just how weak, yet balanced, the SEC East is.

Secondly, how in the world could Georgia and South Carolina not bring their A-game for those contests? It bit the Gamecocks and almost bit the Bulldogs. It also taught us that Arkansas is for real. The Hogs had A&M beat, but great teams find ways to win, and wanna-be’s find ways to lose. Arkansas is still a wanna-be, but they are close to turning the corner.

Thirdly, it seems week 5 also brought focus to the quarterback situation at LSU, with Brandon Harris having an outstanding game. Yeah, it was against New Mexico State, but still… the Bengal Tigers need a signal caller with confidence for next weekend’s big match up with another group of Tigers.

Lastly, week 5 also probably sealed the fate of Michigan coach, Brady Hoke. A big loss to Minnesota on a day dedicated to Lloyd Carr’s (former coach) grandson who has terminal cancer. If that can’t inspire you, what will?

What lies ahead in week 6?

Games between top-25 teams have been scarce so far this year. Week 6 features SIX of these contests. ESPN Gameday is FINALLY going to Oxford for the Ole Miss-Alabama game, a clash between number 3 and number 11. Auburn (5) and LSU (15) go at it on the Plains. Texas A&M (6) heads to Starkville to play Miss. State (12).

Outside the SEC, Stanford (14) goes to Notre Dame (9). Oklahoma (4) goes to TCU (25) and, lastly, Nebraska (19) heads to East Lansing to take on Dantonio’s Desperados (10). In other noteworthy match ups, the Ducks (2) play a seemingly charmed undefeated Arizona team. Ohio State (20) plays a formidable Maryland team whose only loss was by a field goal to West Virginia. Those games could be interesting.

Stay tuned, next week assessments should begin to clear the muddy waters of just how formidable some of these teams really are.

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