Here are five things I've learned in college football this week:
1. Arizona's 31-24 upset of No. 2 Oregon at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon, on Thursday night might only be the beginning of the College Football Playoff madness.
Outside of No. 1 Florida State, which has only one additional game on its schedule against a team that’s currently ranked in The Associated Press Top 25 (No. 9 Notre Dame at home on Oct. 18), it’s hard to imagine any of the playoff contenders getting through the regular season unscathed.
Through the first five weeks of the season, there doesn’t appear to be a truly dominant team among the contenders. No. 4 Oklahoma has looked like the most complete team, but the Sooners haven’t yet faced a ranked opponent. FSU isn’t nearly as good as it was last season, when it went 14-0 and won the last BCS national championship, and should have lost to Clemson.
The six SEC West teams ranked in the top 15 of the AP poll each have their own deficiencies, and they’ll start to cannibalize each other beginning this weekend.
By the time we reach Dec. 7, when the College Football Playoff selection committee will choose the four teams for the inaugural playoff, will there be any undefeated teams left?
2. Even after Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon told the Michigan Daily student newspaper that he has no plans to fire embattled coach Brady Hoke, it’s hard to imagine Hoke keeping his job unless the Wolverines can turn their season around dramatically.
But Rich Rodriguez’s success at Arizona should serve as a cautionary tale for the Wolverines. Rodriguez was one of the country’s hottest coaches when he left West Virginia for Michigan after the 2007 season. He went 15-22 with the Wolverines and was fired after three seasons.
Rodriguez told ESPN’s “SVP and Russillo Show” this week that he didn’t think he was given enough time to establish his program at Michigan.
“There were a lot of things, and a lot of things that probably people don’t know about that we went through when we got there,” Rodriguez said. “We knew we had some issues to fix when we got there. Without going through the whole story, we thought we finally had them fixed and were on our way. We thought we were getting better. By the time we got to Year 4 or Year 5, we thought we’d be ready to compete for championships.
“We never got to Year 4. We wanted to see it through, and we never got that opportunity, and that was unfortunate.”
Rodriguez was a good coach before he arrived at Michigan and was a good coach when he left. Maybe it’s not Michigan’s coaches who are the problem.
3. Talk about a drought. According to ESPN’s Stats & Information, Mississippi State hasn’t won a top-15 matchup since defeating Georgetown in the 1941 Orange Bowl. The No. 12 Bulldogs host No. 6 Texas A&M on Saturday in the first top-15 matchup in Starkville, Mississippi, since 1986. The Bulldogs are 1-6-1 in such games at any site.
4. It’s easy to understand why Notre Dame receiver DaVaris Daniels and cornerback KeiVarae Russell are becoming increasingly frustrated with the university’s investigation into possible academic misconduct.
The pair and three other Notre Dame players under suspicion for allegedly having others complete their schoolwork haven’t played a down this season.
But give Notre Dame’s administration credit for ensuring that academic honesty and integrity are still more important than winning football games, which isn’t as important on other campuses nowadays. North Carolina would have suffered a lot less embarrassment if it had been as cautious as Notre Dame.
5. And here’s perhaps the most damning report about concussions in college football, courtesy of "Outside the Lines" reporter Tom Farrey: A new study (PDF) by Harvard University and Boston University suggests only one in 27 head injuries is being reported at FCS schools, based on a survey of 730 FCS players conducted in 2013.