We have three more college football Saturdays left until the first College Football Playoff rankings are released and the playoff landscape continues to get more muddled each week.
On a Saturday that was supposed to be otherwise mundane, two top-10 teams fell from the ranks of the unbeaten and No. 1 Alabama finally got its first test of the season.
The emotions were running high all weekend and here are five observations we made about the always changing college football landscape in Week 6.
1) Michigan Wolverines Fall to 1-4 Against Rivals Since 2015
It was clear from the beginning of the season this wasn’t going to be coach Jim Harbaugh’s best Michigan team.
The Wolverines started their season with senior quarterback Wilton Speight at the helm and he continually struggled to move the offense.
He completed 54.3 percent of his passes and threw for just three touchdowns before he broke three vertebrae in his back Sept. 23 against the Purdue Boilermakers.
Harbaugh went with senior John O’Korn as his replacement and the Houston transfer was on display Saturday against hated rival Michigan State.
In a legitimate monsoon, O’Korn tossed three interceptions and the Wolverines turned the ball over five total times in their 14-10 home loss to Michigan State.
The loss dropped Harbaugh to 1-4 against his biggest rivals Ohio State and Michigan State during his tenure in Ann Arbor, Mich.
And Harbaugh’s record through his first 31 games is exactly identical to that of former coach Brady Hoke who was run out of town.
Through 31 games at Michigan:
Harbaugh: 24-7 record, 1-1 bowl record, 1-4 vs rivals.
Hoke: 24-7 record, 1-1 bowl record, 2-2 vs rivals.
— Mike Sullivan (@MikeSullivan) October 8, 2017
It’s fair to ask when Michigan fans will get tired of losing to Ohio State and “little brother” Michigan State. The Spartans have now won 8-of-10 against the Wolverines and Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio has beaten Harbaugh the last two times the two have faced off in Ann Arbor, Mich.
Harbaugh’s still treated like a legend at his alma mater but the time will come when he has to win a big game or leave.
The national championship expectations will never cease to exist at The University of Michigan.
2) Three Big Ten Teams Are in the AP Top 10
Despite Michigan’s untimely loss, the Big Ten Conference is set up to place a team in the College Football Playoff for the fourth consecutive season.
Penn State rolled to a 31-7 road victory against Northwestern and stud running back Saquon Barkley racked up two more rushing touchdowns even though Barkley struggled his way to 75 yards on 16 carries.
The Nittany Lions moved up to No. 3 in the latest AP Poll and they are set for a monster showdown Oct. 28 in Columbus, Ohio, against No. 9 Ohio State.
The Buckeyes have apparently righted some of their wrongs against low-tier Big Ten competition. The Buckeyes destroyed Maryland, 62-14, despite making every special teams mistake in the book and losing starting cornerback Denzel Ward to a phantom targeting call.
Another look at the Denzel Ward hit. A clean and vicious hit. Should not have been targeting. pic.twitter.com/cLCMOMPJpA
— AJ King (@allday_ajking) October 7, 2017
The winner of Ohio State and Penn State’s midseason matchup will have the inside track to win the Big Ten East and likely will have to face seventh-ranked Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game.
Wisconsin dispatched of Nebraska, 38-17, on the road Saturday. The Badgers don’t face another ranked opponent until Nov. 18 when No. 17 Michigan comes to Madison, Wisc.
Unless all chaos breaks loose in the final two months of the season, the Big Ten champion should be punching a ticket to the national semifinals.
3) Pride Comes Before The Fall
Baker Mayfield’s trash talk finally caught up to him Saturday when the then-third-ranked Oklahoma Sooners hosted Iowa State.
Oklahoma leaped out to a 14-0 lead and everything looked like business as usual for the Sooners.
Iowa State would come in and get sent home with a double-digit loss and some bumps and bruises.
But the Cyclones rallied behind backup quarterback Kyle Kempt and put the Sooners away, 38-31, on a dagger 25-yard touchdown pass from Kempt to receiver Allen Lazard with 2:19 remaining in the game.
The victory marked Iowa State’s first win against the Sooners since 1990.
The best part of the postgame celebration was Iowa State marking its territory the same way Mayfield did in Ohio Stadium earlier this season.
Evrett Edwards plants the Iowa State flag on the Sooners field ?
— Def Pen Sports (@DefPenSports) October 7, 2017
Turnabout is fair play, but maybe Mayfield should let his play do the talking for the remainder of the season.
The Sooners get Texas in the Red River Rivalry next week and we’ve seen in past years the more talented team doesn’t always come away with the victory in that heated rivalry.
4) The U is Back!
Miami’s swagger has officially returned after its 24-20 victory Saturday against rival Florida State in Tallahassee, Fla., breaking a seven-game losing streak against the Seminoles.
The Hurricanes blitzed Florida State on a last-second touchdown pass from quarterback Malik Rosier to wide receiver Darrell Langham.
— Def Pen Sports (@DefPenSports) October 7, 2017
The loss dropped Florida State to 1-3, continuing a nightmare season for coach Jimbo Fisher.
Miami climbed to No. 11 in the latest AP Poll and The U’s confidence is sky high heading into a 3:30 p.m. matchup with Georgia Tech on Oct. 14.
The 4-0 record is nice but we all want to see the high powered offense and boisterous celebrations that have come to make Miami special in the past.
Coach Mark Richt has brought his infectious attitude to Coral Gables, Fla., and has the Hurricanes poised for an ACC Coastal Division title run.
We aren’t sure if Miami can maintain its undefeated start throughout the season, but it’s great to see Miami be “The U” again.
— Canes Football (@CanesFootball) October 7, 2017
5) Nick Saban is Reaching for Motivation
Alabama is so much more talented than every opponent on their schedule coach Nick Saban has to grasp for extra motivation for his top-ranked Crimson Tide week-to-week.
Alabama jumped out to a 24-3 lead Saturday against Texas A&M and slowly allowed the Aggies to creep back into the game in the fourth quarter.
Freshman quarterback Kellen Mond took a read-option keeper into the end zone with 17 seconds remaining in the game to cut Alabama’s lead to one possession, 27-19.
Alabama hung on to win by that eight-point margin, but that wasn’t enough for perfectionist inside Saban.
Saban blamed the media — mostly ESPN — for hyping up his players’ heads.
DO NOT tell Nick Saban how good Bama is pic.twitter.com/nKyRNZ78Gf
— ESPN CollegeFootball (@ESPNCFB) October 8, 2017
You can’t blame him for trying to inspire his team during a somewhat tedious regular season.
Despite the meaningless outrage, Alabama is going to continue to roll through a weak SEC schedule filled with coaches fighting desperately to keep their jobs.
In-state rival Auburn moved into the top-10 after an impressive 44-23 victory against Ole Miss.
But not much can be determined about their ability to matchup against Saban’s squad until they meet up Nov. 25 in the Iron Bowl.