A number of undefeated teams went down in Week 6.
No. 3 Texas lost to No. 12 Oklahoma in a thrilling rivalry game while No. 13 Washington State, No. 17 Miami, No. 20 Kentucky, No. 21 Missouri, No. 24 Fresno State, Maryland and Marshall all lost. With 14 undefeated teams remaining after the first six weeks of the season, here’s how we stack them all up against each other.
1. Georgia (6-0)
The Bulldogs got their first big win of the season over a Power Five opponent on Saturday night. And boy, was it impressive. Carson Beck threw four TDs as Georgia demolished No. 20 Kentucky, 51-13. Georgia is the two-time defending national champion and has a roster stocked with four- and five-star recruits. Saturday night showed why Georgia is No. 1.
2. Michigan (6-0)
The Wolverines would have occupied the top spot if Georgia had a middling game against Kentucky. Michigan has been demolishing its opponents all season and got two pick-sixes against Minnesota in a 52-10 win. The 10 points Minnesota scored against the Wolverines is the most Michigan has allowed all season.
3. Florida State (5-0)
The Seminoles get the No. 3 spot here because of wins over LSU and Clemson. Yeah, neither of those teams may be as good as we expected, but FSU has looked every much like the ACC champion many predicted before the season as QB Jordan Travis has thrown 12 TDs and just one interception.
4. Oklahoma (6-0)
The Sooners showed they were for real in a 34-30 win over Texas on Saturday. Oklahoma entered the game with wins by 73, 49 and 30 but SMU was its best opponent through the first five weeks of the season. The defensive improvement from year one to year two under coach Brent Venables looks legitimate and having a healthy Dillon Gabriel is massive. The former UCF QB has thrown for 16 TDs so far.
5. Washington (5-0)
QB Michael Penix Jr. is a midseason Heisman finalist and Washington has also shown it’s more than just its passing game. Penix didn’t throw a TD in Week 5 but the Huskies still got a win on the road at Arizona. The schedule gets incredibly tough going forward, but that doesn’t diminish how good Washington has been so far.
6. Penn State (5-0)
The Nittany Lions’ best win is a 31-0 drubbing of Iowa in Week 4 and they’ve won every game by at least three scores thanks to a dominant defense allowing fewer than 10 points per game. QB Drew Allar is averaging less than seven yards a pass attempt but hasn’t thrown an interception while RB tandem of Kaytron Allen and Nicholas Singleton has yet to be truly unlocked. A Week 8 showdown with Ohio State looms large.
7. Oregon (5-0)
It’s basically a tie between the Ducks and Huskies ahead of their mammoth matchup in Week 7. Oregon allowed 30 points at Texas Tech in Week 2 but no other opponent has scored more than 10. Bo Nix has thrown 15 TDs and one interception while running backs Bucky Irving and Jordan James have rushed for 690 yards on just 84 carries.
8. USC (5-0)*
The Trojans have Caleb Williams and an explosive offense along with a defense that still lags behind. We saw just how overwhelmed the USC defense could get a season ago and we’re not going to be bullish on the Trojans until the defense shows some legitimate improvement. That’s why USC is behind two other Pac-12 teams.
*Week 6 game in progress
9. Ohio State (5-0)
The Buckeyes beat Maryland by 20 on Saturday but Maryland looked like the better team for a good portion of that game. Ohio State’s talent won out in the end, but there have been far too many stretches this season where the Buckeyes haven’t looked like a great team. They may be tough — just ask Ryan Day — but they need to be more convincing.
10. North Carolina (5-0)
The Tar Heels put up an incredibly convincing 40-7 win over Syracuse on Sunday as Drake Maye threw three TDs and ran for another. The potential top-five pick in the 2024 NFL Draft has thrown for just eight scores this season but this UNC team looks even better than the one that went 9-5 a season ago.
11. Louisville (6-0)
The Cardinals are a sleeper contender to make the ACC title game thanks to a second-half schedule that features Duke, Virginia Tech, Virginia and Miami to round out the conference slate. The Cardinals’ win over Notre Dame is massive for a program over the moon that Jeff Brohm is coaching his alma mater.
12. Air Force (5-0)
The Falcons’ triple-option offense is averaging 5.4 yards a carry and the defense is giving up just 12 points a game. That’s a great recipe. Air Force looks like the best team in the Mountain West and has a legitimate shot to go undefeated. The best team remaining on the Falcons’ schedule is either Navy, Army or a reeling Boise State team.
13. James Madison (5-0)
As a second-year program at the top level of college football, the Dukes are ineligible for a bowl game unless there aren’t enough six-win teams. But it’s safe to say James Madison is acquainting itself well to the Sun Belt. The Dukes already have wins over Troy and South Alabama this season.
14. Liberty (5-0)
Things are going swimmingly in Jamey Chadwell’s first year with the Flames. The former Coastal Carolina coach’s team eked out a 21-16 win over Sam Houston on Thursday night and could be favored in all but one of the rest of its games this season.
LSU QB Jayden Daniels: Where would LSU be without Jayden Daniels? The Tigers have been horrific on defense, and it has overshadowed just how brilliant Daniels has been. Daniels had another terrific game in Saturday’s 49-39 win over Missouri. He threw for 259 yards and three TDs and also added 130 yards and a score on the ground. After taking a big hit to the ribs, Daniels scored on a go-ahead 35-yard TD run at the 7:54 mark of the fourth quarter and then threw the game-winning 29-yard TD to Malik Nabers with 2:58 to play. Daniels is up to 1,979 yards and 19 TDs as a passer and 422 yards and four TDs as a runner this year. With LSU still in the SEC title hunt, Daniels is putting up Heisman-caliber performances.
Oklahoma QB Dillon Gabriel: After missing last year’s Texas game, Dillon Gabriel would not let Oklahoma lose again. The Sooners fell behind 30-27 with 1:17 to play but Gabriel led OU on an epic five-play, 75-yard drive to win the game. Gabriel went 4-for-4 for 58 yards on the drive, including the game-winning touchdown pass to Nic Anderson. Gabriel finished the game with 285 yards passing, 113 yards rushing and two total touchdowns and may have played his way into the Heisman conversation as Oklahoma improved to 6-0 on the year with the 34-30 win.
Ohio State WR Marvin Harrison Jr.: There wasn’t much that went right for Ohio State’s offense on Saturday vs. Maryland, except for when the ball was thrown Marvin Harrison Jr.’s way. Harrison caught eight passes for 163 yards and a touchdown in Ohio State’s comeback 37-17 victory. The game was much closer than the final score made it seem. OSU trailed 17-10 in the third quarter before a series of Maryland mistakes helped the Buckeyes pull away late. Harrison Jr. may be the best receiver in the country, so the Buckeyes always have a chance whenever he’s on the field.
North Carolina: North Carolina turned in a dominant performance to improve to 5-0. The Tar Heels blasted Syracuse, 40-7, behind a monster performance from Drake Maye, who threw for 442 yards and three touchdowns while running for 55 yards and another score. On the other side, the defense held Syracuse to just 221 yards of offense while forcing two turnovers. After an eligibility battle with the NCAA, Tez Walker made his UNC debut and caught six balls for 43 yards. Look for him to become a bigger part of the offense as the season progresses.
Georgia QB Carson Beck: In his first season as Georgia’s starting quarterback, Carson Beck had some uneven moments in the early part of the season. But after leading a second-half comeback win over Auburn last week, Beck seems to have kicked it into high gear. He was in the zone in Saturday night’s 51-13 beatdown of Kentucky as he completed 28-of-35 passes for 389 yards and four touchdowns. Brock Bowers was again his top target as the star tight end caught seven balls for 132 yards and a touchdown.
UCLA: Have we ever seen a Chip Kelly-coached team led by its defense? That’s what we may be seeing with this UCLA team, which knocked off No. 13 Washington State, 25-17, at home on Saturday. The Bruins completely overwhelmed what had been a spectacular WSU passing offense through the first month of the season. The Cougars could muster only 216 yards and turned it over four times. WSU had a 17-12 lead entering the fourth quarter before UCLA scored twice in a two-minute span to flip that five-point deficit into an eight-point advantage. Can the Bruins, now 4-1, make some noise in the Pac-12 race?
Oklahoma State: The bye week came at the right time for Oklahoma State. The Cowboys started the season 2-0 but then got blown out at home by South Alabama and lost, 34-27, on the road to Iowa State. After those losses, the Cowboys had an off week to figure some things out. Whatever issues the staff addressed paid off as the Cowboys upset defending Big 12 champ Kansas State, 29-21, on Friday night. The offense had trouble finishing drives, but the defense gave K-State QB Will Howard fits, intercepting him three times. Cameron Epps had two of those INTs, including a pick-six.
Wyoming: Wyoming pulled off a big Mountain West upset on Saturday night, beating No. 24 Fresno State 24-19 at home. The Cowboys jumped out to a 24-7 halftime lead and then held on for the victory with a clutch interception in the final minute. Andrew Peasley threw three touchdown passes in the win, which improved Wyoming’s record to 5-1 overall and 2-0 in Mountain West play. Next week, Wyoming will travel to Air Force with first place in the conference on the line.
Northern Illinois RB Antario Brown: Antario Brown was unstoppable in Northern Illinois’ 55-14 win over Akron. Brown had only 13 carries, but they went for 280 yards and four touchdowns. He scored from 66 and 58 yards out in the second quarter and then reeled off touchdown runs of 46 and 50 yards in the third quarter. Brown’s previous career high was 160 yards, so this was a career day for the NIU junior.
Miami: Miami lost its first game of the season and did so in inexplicable fashion. Leading Georgia Tech 20-17 as the clock ticked under one minute in regulation, Miami’s coaches perplexingly kept calling handoffs instead of kneeling out the clock to seal the win. That’s when disaster struck. Donald Chaney fumbled the ball at the Georgia Tech 26 with 25 seconds to play, giving the ball back to the Yellow Jackets’ offense. Haynes King, the transfer from Texas A&M, made two big throws. He found Malik Rutherford to advance into Miami territory, and then he hit Christian Leary behind the defense for the game-winning touchdown with just two minutes to play. Georgia Tech, on the heels of a home loss to Bowling Green last week, pulled off the most improbable win of the season.
Maryland: Maryland had Ohio State on the ropes on Saturday, but let its chance to finally beat the Buckeyes slip away. And it was mainly due to self-inflicted mistakes. In the first half, there was a turnover on downs at the Ohio State 29, an ugly pick-six thrown by Taulia Tagovailoa and then an ill-advised short throw from Tagovailoa that cost the Terps three points before halftime. In the second half, Tagovailoa threw another ugly interception and then the Terps had another turnover on downs from deep in their own territory. Maryland is now 1-10 combined vs. Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State during Mike Locksley’s time as head coach.
Illinois: Illinois is just having a brutal season. Bret Bielema had the Illini on the verge of the Big Ten West title in just his second season. He hasn’t been able to build off that in Year 3 as the Illini fell to 2-4 overall and 0-3 in Big Ten play with an ugly Friday night home loss to Nebraska. A series of miscues helped Nebraska build a 17-0 lead and Illinois just could not mount a comeback. In the loss, Illinois had three turnovers and mustered only 21 rushing yards on 19 attempts. A bowl trip feels like a long shot for the Illini.
UCF: The Big 12 has not been kind to UCF. After opening the season with three straight non-conference wins, the Knights dropped to 0-3 in Big 12 play following a blowout 51-22 loss at Kansas. That loss came on the heels of last week’s collapse to Baylor in which UCF lost 36-35 after having a 35-7 lead late in the third quarter. Against Kansas, the UCF defense gave up a whopping 399 rushing yards on 7.8 yards per attempt. Maybe UCF should have waited until after a win to announce a contract extension for coach Gus Malzahn. Yikes.
TCU: After last year’s magical run to the national championship game last year, TCU has fallen back down to Earth in a big way. The Horned Frogs dropped to 3-3 with a 27-14 road loss to Iowa State on Saturday. They outgained the Cyclones 398 yards to 353, but were doomed by four turnovers and allowed 215 rushing yards in the loss. To make matters worse, starting quarterback Chandler Morris exited the game with an apparent leg injury. TCU won so many close games last year and now has losses to Colorado, West Virginia and Iowa State at the midway point of the 2023 season.
Baylor: On the heels of a monster comeback win last week over UCF, it felt like Baylor could have some positive vibes to turn its season around after a 1-3 start. Instead, the Bears were blasted at home, 39-14, by Texas Tech. Baylor, managed only 17 rushing yards in the loss, fell behind 17-3 at halftime and were down 24-3 entering the fourth quarter. BU is now 2-4 entering the bye week and Dave Aranda could be in some trouble.
Purdue: When you hold the opposing quarterback to 6-of-21 for 110 yards, you should probably win the game. But that wasn’t what happened when Purdue visited Iowa. The Boilermakers got sucked into the muck by the Hawkeyes. They gave up a 67-yard touchdown run, went 9-of-19 on third down, had two costly turnovers and gave up six sacks to a team that had three total sacks all season before Saturday. Purdue is now 2-4 on the year.
Minnesota: Usually when you want to have at least a chance of putting an upset scare into a top-five team, you shouldn’t throw a pick-six 12 seconds into the first quarter. But that’s what Minnesota’s Athan Kaliakmanis did with Michigan in town. It set the tone for what was a brutal night for the Gophers, who fell 52-10 to the mighty Wolverines. Minnesota could muster only 169 yards of offense in the loss. And to make matters worse, Kaliakmanis threw a second pick-six in the second half. The Gophers are now 3-3 and have a bumpy path to bowl eligibility.
Bowling Green: Bowling Green went on the road and upset Georgia Tech last week, putting up 438 yards of offense in the process. This week, the Falcons returned to MAC play and promptly got shut out, 27-0, by Miami (OH). BGSU had a measly 136 yards of offense as Connor Bazelak completed just 8-of-17 passes for 64 yards with an interception.