Halfway through the college football season, there is a new team atop the rankings


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FAYETTEVILLE, AR – SEPTEMBER 26: Stetson Bennett #13 of the Georgia Bulldogs throws a pass in the second half of a game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Razorback Stadium on September 26, 2020 in Fayetteville, Arkansas The Bulldogs defeated the Razorbacks 37-10. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

Cody Feldman, Contributing Writer

Midway through the college football season, there have been some big games that shape how the standings look after week seven.  From top teams like Alabama and Iowa taking big losses, to shocking undefeated teams like Oklahoma State making their case to be in a New Year’s Six game, this season has taken many unexpected turns.

One thing that has been undisputed throughout this season is who the top team has been.  The Georgia Bulldogs are 7-0 with four wins against ranked opponents, and have the best defense in the country, only allowing 6.57 points per game.  With the hardest part of their schedule behind them, UGA looks to finish the season with an undefeated record.  If that happens, a college football playoff berth is inevitable, and they will likely be the favorites to win the national championship.

An awesome part about college sports is how unpredictable the games could be.  Whether you are watching March Madness or the college football playoffs, the outcomes of games can turn out to be very far from what was predicted.  

One example would be the situation with the University of Alabama.  Ranked #1 in the preseason, the Crimson Tide was projected to finish the season with a 12-0 record.  However, Texas A&M had different plans.  The Aggies, coached by former Alabama assistant coach Jimbo Fisher, knocked off Alabama 41-38 in a thriller by hitting a game winning field goal, pushing the Tide down to #5. 

Despite the loss, the Crimson Tide bounced back with a win against Mississippi State to climb back to #4.  In that game, Heisman trophy candidate Bryce Young threw for 348 yards and four touchdowns.  Another team that took a big loss in week six was the Oregon Ducks.  Oregon had previously knocked off the Ohio State Buckeyes to move into a potential playoff spot at #3, until Stanford handed them a 31-24 loss, with Stanford quarterback Tanner McKee throwing for 230 yards and 3 touchdowns.  Now, Oregon sits at #10 and has hopes to make a push up the standings as conference play hits full stride.  

Most recently, the Iowa Hawkeyes were stunned by the previously unranked Purdue Boilermakers.  By the time the game was done, the Boilermakers had a commanding 24-7 lead over Iowa. 

“The difference in the game was that Spencer Petras was off, while Aidan O’Connell brought his best,” said freshman Ryan Krainman. 

He was right, as O’Connell outthrew Petras by 180 yards to destroy Iowa.  This shook up the top of the AP Top 25, as Iowa was pushed down to #11.

It is impossible to predict how the poll will turn out because there are so many teams, you don’t know which ones will shock the world.  Two teams that fit this description are the #8 Oklahoma State Cowboys and the #9 Michigan State Spartans.  Oklahoma State has been one of the most impressive teams so far, beating ranked opponents Kansas State, Baylor, and Texas en route to a Top 10 rank.  

The most surprising team this season so far has been Michigan State, led by Kenneth Walker III.  They are 4-0 in Big Ten play, have a big win over Miami, and Walker leads the NCAA in rushing yards with 997.  For a team that was predicted to win 4 games, 7-0 so far is not too shabby.  They hope to continue their winning streak against their undefeated rivals, the Michigan Wolverines. 

“Michigan is a serious contender for the college football playoff just like they were a few years ago,” said freshman Jordan Golan. 

The Wolverines are 6-0, and have one of the best rushing attacks in the country.

The biggest surprise, which has confused a lot of fans, is that Cincinnati is #2 in the AP Poll.  They are undefeated, having slaughtered almost all of their opponents, but that is not the problem.  The Bearcats are in the AAC, which is not a Power 5 conference, or even close to being one.  This raises concern that if Cincinnati goes to the playoffs, they would not put up much of a fight.  We will see what coach Luke Fickell has in store as Cincy is on track to make the CFP and showing no signs of slowing down.

The landscape of college football has changed severely halfway through the season, and we can expect it to change again.  As the playoffs near, we will find out what teams have had real success, and which impressive starts have been flukes.