Apparently, No. 1 Georgia is good. Who knew? This first full month of the season has seemingly lasted a decade, so you'd barely realize the two-time reigning national champion Bulldogs have played one strong opponent (South Carolina) and didn't exactly impress.
There's been plenty more to focus on around the college football landscape than Georgia. Trash talk has been recycled and reborn. Every time Deion Sanders opened his mouth it was a ratings winner. Who would have thought that Lou Holtz vs. Ryan Day would be its own Prime Time battle? That is, if you're into 12-year-old middle schoolers' social media wars.
Dan Lanning's Locker Room Variety Hour entertained. Lane Kiffin is entertaining in his own way, but wake me when he beats Alabama. So far, he hasn't (0-5 against Nick Saban). The two-deep at Colorado has nothing to do with the roster; it's just another name for the celebrity sideline pass list at CU.
Maybe it's the current climate in the country, but when did coaches get so loose with their gums? The first third of the season has been sprinkled with a variety of hot takes, challenges, memes, taunting school graphics and trolls. Some of it actually didn't come from coaches.
This all leads us back to the No. 1 team in the country being overlooked. Right now, that ranking seems almost grandfathered four games in. Sure, the Dawgs have won 21 games in a row, but they haven't exactly been challenged.
This week's showdown at Auburn is interesting because of that Charmin schedule and the Tigers' ability to ... well, do what exactly? Georgia has won six straight in the series and 15 of the last 18. The Dawgs have won 30 straight against unranked opponents, 28 of them by double digits.
The Prayer at Jordan-Hare seems so long ago. (Spoiler: It turns 10 this year)
First-year Auburn boss Hugh Freeze sounded like a coach who was trying to let us down easy.
"The current roster demanded we hit [the recruiting trail] hard," Freeze explained. "I wasn't afforded the opportunity to sit in the office and do anything but anything but recruit … How much can you really do in 2.5 weeks? It's hard to say how much we've closed the gap on teams weren't trying to catch."
The Georgia game is a flaming reason why Freeze was hired. He made his reputation coaching "up," which entails taking depleted programs and getting good really quick. In his only season at Arkansas State, the Red Wolves went 10-2. If you ignore 27 vacated wins at Ole Miss, Freeze earned back-to-back New Year's Six bowl bids and upset Alabama twice. In four of his five seasons at Liberty, Freeze won at least eight games.
The Tigers just aren't in a good place right now, however. The start has been encouraging -- 3-1 with wins over UMass, Cal and Samford -- but the heart of the SEC schedule has arrived. Three quarterbacks combined for 56 yards passing in last week's loss to Texas A&M. The offensive line's sack rate is 12th worst in the country. On defense, only Vanderbilt has given up more rush yards in the SEC.
No surprise, Georgia is a 15.5-point favorite.
Freeze is trying, though. He's really, really trying, particularly this week when asked about Georgia. Apparently, Freeze didn't know that Kirby Smart played for a national championship in his second year as Georgia coach.
"What'd it take him three years to get there? Four years?" Freeze asked reporters this week.
Pause as he is informed it took all of two seasons to come within an overtime loss of beating Alabama for the 2017 national championship.
"His second year? Phew. I don't know if that's accurate. … Anyway, he did it pretty fast then."
Apparently, Freeze has been in that recruiting bunker too long. Georgia vs. Auburn is the Deep South's Oldest Rivalry. Auburn fans would settle for the Freeze of old on Saturday.
"We should compete out of love for people, not out of the hate for other people," the coach said this week.
After this turbulent month, can't we all just get along?
Week 5 deep dive
Mountain muggin': Among the celebrities reportedly set to be in attendance as Colorado hosts No. 8 USC: LeBron James, Bronny James, Jay Z, Snoop Dogg, Matthew McConaughey, Lil Wayne and Will Ferrell. As for the game, the Buffaloes are a three-touchdown underdog for the second straight week and third time this season. Caleb Williams' back-to-back Heisman run takes another step. USC has never lost to Colorado (16-0 all-time) and has won the last two meetings by a combined 92-31 score.
Sneaky good: No. 22 Florida is ranked, but unbeaten Kentucky is the favorite on Saturday. NC State transfer quarterback Devin Leary has been a bit underwhelming for the Wildcats, but after allowing 46 sacks last season, Kentucky's offensive line has given Leary plenty of time. For the 57th game since 1995, Florida is going on the road ranked opposite an unranked opponent. Saturday, however, marks the first time the Gators are an underdog in that situation. After losing 31 in a row to Florida (a streak that was snapped in 2018), Kentucky could win three in a row for the first time since the Bear Bryant days (1948-51). That would set up an unlikely showdown with Georgia on Oct. 7.
Counting to 10: Give Notre Dame coach Marcus Freeman credit for owning the. He took time this week to explain to the media how the No. 11 Fighting Irish didn't have enough players on the field defensively for two straight plays as the Buckeyes fought back for the game-winning touchdown in the waning seconds of regulation. That's great and all, but now he can't afford a letdown at No. 17 Duke. It happened last year at home against Marshall after the Ohio State loss, and this Duke team is legit and has already taken out Clemson.
Bedeviled: If Mike Elko pulls off the "upset" -- Notre Dame is a 5.5-point favorite -- he will be hot to the touch in terms of his next job. Texas A&M is a possibility, but how about Michigan State? That would be a no-brainer for Elko, who was extended in the offseason through the 2029 season. Unless Elko thinks Notre Dame will open soon(!). The Mel Tucker scandal is not football related and the program is well resourced. Look what Tucker did in two seasons before it all went south in 2022.
Let's see it, Lane: Coming off the worst offensive production in the Lane Kiffin era (10 points vs. No. 12 Alabama), all eyes will be on the No. 20 Rebels. The magic number is 28. Ole Miss is 1-9 under Kiffin when held to under 28 points. The issue is that No. 13 LSU (101st in yards per play allowed) doesn't figure to provide much defensive pushback. Only Caleb Williams (5) has a longer streak of games with at least four total TDs than Jayden Daniels (3).
Hawk Talk: The only game between undefeated teams in Week 5 features No. 24 Kansas at No. 3 Texas. Two years ago, Lance Leipold provided a breath of hope in Lawrence, Kansas, with an overtime win at Texas. The victory was so significant that Jared Casey, the walk-on who caught the game-winning pass, got his own Applebee's NIL commercial. Since then, the Jayhawks are 10-9 and 4-0 in consecutive years since 1915. The loss for Steve Sarkisian was inexcusable, but he has climbed out of it going 13-6 since. Consider this a must-win for the 'Horns going into the Oklahoma game on Oct. 7. The last three meetings have averaged more than 93 combined points with the winner scoring at least 50.
Texas A&M might not be in that bad of shape after losing Connor Weigman to a season-ending foot injury. Backup Max Johnson was 6-6 as LSU's starting quarterback in 202 and he's compiled 4,500 career passing yards. The question will be whether Texas A&M's offensive line -- one of eight teams to return all five starters -- can keep Johnson clean against Arkansas.
Fresno State has the nation's second-longest winning streak (13) as it gets set to host Nevada … A Georgia win would tie for the fifth-longest SEC winning streak (22) … The 27 unbeaten teams heading into Week 5 are the most since 2016 (not counting the 2020 COVID-19 season) and six more than at this point last season … No. 6 Penn State is pursuing its first 10-game winning streak since 2008 if it can defeat Northwestern. The Nittany Lions' only losses since the beginning of 2022 are to Michigan and Ohio State. Penn State has scored at least 30 points without a turnover in six straight games, the longest FBS streak in 25 years. The Nittany Lions are the only FBS team without a turnover this season … Yourfor Week 5: Last week, Iowa ran two more plays (33) than Penn State scored points (31). Michigan State is next.