Week 5 was a little light on drama, but there are always storylines to be found in every game. But digging into Week 5’s notable results, we here at SI are determined to find the answer to the question: Which team does the final score say more about?
USC 48, Colorado 41 says more about: USC
There’s just no way around it. If USC is going to play defense like this, it’s not a viable national championship contender—and it might not even be a viable Pac-12 championship contender. The Trojans get Oregon and Washington in consecutive weeks in November, and then could get either one a second time in the Pac-12 title game. Their league matchups before then are Arizona, Utah and Cal, which should allow the defense some time to get right before things really turn up. If Jayden deLaura is able to return for the Wildcats, that game is a much different proposition next week. And that’s not even mentioning the Oct. 14 matchup with a Notre Dame team that presents a different threat with its physicality.
Utah 21, Oregon State 7 says more about: Utah
As unserious as USC is on defense, Utah is on offense. But at least the Utes have a significant excuse in the injuries to key players. To make a serious run in this league, Utah desperately needs Cam Rising back at quarterback. The offense was painfully inept against Oregon State and wasted a defensive performance that, all things considering, was pretty good.
Clemson 31, Syracuse 14 says more about: Clemson
Man, did Clemson need this one. Not just the fact that the Tigers won, but how they won it, and who they beat. Clemson has oddly struggled with Syracuse in recent years. It lost to Cuse on a Friday night back in 2017, with several close games since then, including last year’s 27-21 contest. But on Saturday, the Tigers kept the Orange at an arms’ length throughout. Clemson won with vertical passing (!!) and a tremendous performance from freshman wideout Tyler Brown. Cade Klubnik certainly looks like he’s coming along as a passer, and if the Tigers have this gear and can keep it up it adds another dimension to games later in the season against Miami and North Carolina.
Georgia 27, Auburn 20 says more about: Georgia
It is abundantly clear that Georgia is not a finished product yet. The weight of being the two-time defending champions alters the expectations of those watching the 2023 Dawgs, which haven’t been nearly as dominant to date compared to the past two seasons. But consider what we’re talking about here. This team won and it feels like much more of an exhale than a jubilation from Georgia fans. That’s the burden of fandom when your program is flying this high. The Dawgs certainly have work to do in order to get from merely a College Football Playoff contender to the odds-on favorite status they’ve recently enjoyed. But to be the man, ya gotta beat the man, and nobody’s done it yet.
Oklahoma 50, Iowa State 20 says more about: Oklahoma
Well, the Sooners put together a complete game against a team that’s at least decent. And it’s not a moment too soon, as they meet Texas in the Red River Rivalry on Saturday. Oklahoma’s offense against a good defense was the one thing we weren’t quite sure of this season. They got some serious help from defensive scores, but consider the test passed with flying colors.
Texas A&M 34, Arkansas 22 says more about: Texas A&M
If you buried this A&M team after the Miami game or when Connor Weigman went down against Auburn, we understand why. But hold that thought for a second. This defense now has 30 tackles for loss in the last two games, 15 apiece, and it’s clear their defensive front is maturing before our eyes. Next up? Bama in College Station.
Ole Miss 55, LSU 49 says more about: LSU
We know Ole Miss is a chaos agent, but we didn’t know how the Tigers would handle that. It’s clear now: poorly. LSU struggled to tackle mightily in this game, and it’s hard to remember the last time a Tigers secondary looked this lost. Lane Kiffin’s offense had a field day, and LSU’s offense remains potent, but this defense is going to get them beat again if they don’t shore things up on the back end. A Playoff dark horse coming into the season, the Bayou Bengals can kiss that dream goodbye. But this SEC West seems wide open for the taking, and they’d be disappointed if the defense was the thing that let it slip away.