LSU Tigers
Brandon Silvers led Troy to 24-21 upset win Saturday against the LSU Tigers. (Source: Mark Lagrange)

We have to thank the LSU Tigers for providing us with the most drama during Saturday’s college football slate.

While the Tigers were embarrassing a starving fan base, the rest of the country was remaining status quo as the weekend went by without many noteworthy disruptions.

The top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide rolled through Ole Miss, 66-3, and the remainder of the top four stayed undefeated with Oklahoma resting during its bye week.

Here are five things we noticed in Week 5 about the growing conference battles across the country.

1) LSU Tigers Reach a New Low

LSU has officially hit rock bottom. The Tigers’ loss to the Troy Trojans, 24-21, on homecoming could send coach Ed Orgeron right to the unemployment line.

LSU paid Troy $985,000 to come to Baton Rouge, La., for what was supposed to be an easy victory in front of students and alumni. It ended in utter embarrassment.

The Tigers failed to score a single point against Sun Belt titan Troy until four minutes remained in the third quarter. The loss was absolutely unfathomable and the way LSU lost was the biggest indictment on Orgeron and his coaching staff.

Troy outplayed mighty LSU in the trenches all game and routinely pushed LSU’s superior roster off the line of scrimmage.

Orgeron has to quickly regroup his team as the meat of the SEC schedule is looming. Florida, Auburn, Ole Miss, and mighty Alabama are on the horizon and if Orgeron can’t make some big changes in the team’s culture, this season could spiral out of control.

However, it will be incredibly difficult to get rid of the Louisiana native. Orgeron would be owed the remainder of the $12 million he is guaranteed on his contract.

It appears everyone knew Orgeron didn’t have the capacity to lead a top-tier program except LSU.

2) Saquon Barkley is a Human Cheat Code

Junior sensation Saquon Barkley continues to take college football by storm each week.

This time Barkley became the first Big Ten player since 1996 to return a kick for a touchdown and throw for a touchdown in the same game.

Barkley let it be known right out of the gate that Indiana’s chances against Penn State were slim to none when he returned the opening kickoff 98 yards to the house.

Barkley has accumulated 1,218 all-purpose yards through just five games and has recorded eight total touchdowns, including his passing touchdown Saturday.

It’s becoming inevitable we’ll see the talented tailback grace the stage at the Heisman Trophy Ceremony in December. Barkley is making the actual all-purpose impact Michigan linebacker Jabrill Peppers was praised for in 2016.

The question remains if Barkley can put his team on his back and lead Penn State past Michigan and Ohio State as the calendar has officially turned to October.

If he steps up on the big stage, Barkley could be the first Penn State player to win the Heisman since tailback John Cappelletti in 1973.

3) There is No Clear Pac-12 Favorite

USC finally showed its true colors Friday night in a road loss to Washington State and now the race to the Pac-12 title is wide open.

The Pac-12 North has three teams vying for its top spot with defending champion and sixth-ranked Washington in a dogfight with in-state rival Washington State and perennial contender Stanford.

Washington State crept its way up to No. 11 in the latest AP Poll after taking down USC, 30-27, in Pullman, Wash.

Coach Mike Leach has the Cougars in position to compete for a Pac-12 title for the first time since 2002, and quarterback Luke Falk slowly is becoming a Heisman sleeper.

Meanwhile, the Pac-12 South is an absolute mess with Utah remaining as the lone undefeated team in the division. However, no one is buying the Utes as a candidate to win the conference.

The Utes have racked up victories against poor competition and they get Stanford, USC, and Arizona State in succession the next three weeks.

It’s hard to figure out who the true favorite is moving forward in a conference where the quarterback play is at an all-time high.

Falk is joined by fellow quarterback studs Sam Darnold (USC), Josh Rosen (UCLA), and Jake Browning (Washington) in this west coast tug of war.

If you can muster up some late night energy, it’s going to be well worth your time tuning into “Pac-12 After Dark” during the stretch run of the season.

Points will be scored in bunches and the final team standing should have a great chance at grabbing the final College Football Playoff spot.

4) Bryce Love’s Stats Will Boggle Your Mind

After five weeks of football, there are certain players that just stand out from the pack.

Stanford’s junior running back Bryce Love didn’t come into the season with as much praise as Barkley out east, but the speedy runner has made his mark in a big way thus far.

Love has rushed for 1,088 yards on just 98 carries through the first five games of the season. That’s an unbelievable average of 11.1 yards per carry.

It seems like every time Love touches the ball he has a chance to hit pay dirt. Coming into the season, Love had just five career touchdowns on the ground, and he’s already recorded eight in 2017.

Stanford stumbled early against USC and San Diego State, but now it appears the Cardinal are just as dangerous as any other team in the Pac-12.

Love’s explosiveness is surely keeping some defensive coordinators up at night. Meanwhile, Stanford has a chance to undercut Pac-12 North division leaders Washington State and Washington on consecutive weekends to begin November.

5) Defending Champion Clemson is Here to Stay

Alabama was the last team to repeat as national champions in 2011 and 2012, but we could be seeing the makings of another southern dynasty.

Clemson easily dispatched of Virginia Tech on Saturday, 31-17, in a game that wasn’t as close as the final score would indicate. The Tigers’ stifling defense and a bruising running game built a 24-3 lead heading into the fourth quarter. And the defending champs eventually capped it off with a fitting pick six from Dorian O’Daniel.

The scariest part about the talented Clemson squad is its front-loaded schedule has already transitioned into the weakest portion.

ACC rival Florida State has devolved into a mediocre team after star quarterback Deondre Francois went down for the season with a patellar tendon injury in his left knee.

Clemson struggled mightily with North Carolina State just a season ago. The Tigers were lucky to come away with a 24-17 overtime win at home against the Wolfpack after NC State missed a potential game-winning field goal at the end of regulation.

NC State has a chance to put some pressure on Clemson when they face off in Raleigh, N.C., on Nov. 4.

But if the Wolfpack can’t solve that monstrous Tigers defensive front, there could be nothing stopping us from seeing Alabama vs. Clemson Part 3 in Atlanta.


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