Fourteen FBS teams are unbeaten after Week 5. Learning the identities of some of them won’t do anything to upset your stomach. But others will stun you to your core.
So let’s rank undefeated teams by weirdness or, put another way, by how unsettling it is to my psyche that they’re still without a loss at this point.
It’s football. It’s Kentucky. It’s disorienting and makes me question everything about my surroundings. But the Wildcats have a physical, explosive running game and managed to beat South Carolina despite that run game barely eclipsing 4 yards per carry.
This team’s solid. There are no overwhelming weaknesses. Benny Snell’s one of the best backs in the land. If you’re a parent with small children, I urge you to start figuring out how you’re going to talk to them about the notion of a good Kentucky football team, because we’re all in uncharted waters together.
The Bearcats haven’t played anyone of real note, and their Week 1 win against UCLA has depreciated faster than a share of Enron shock in 2001. But a 4-8 team that looked moribund flipping to 5-0 in Luke Fickell’s Year 2 is good all the same. Redshirt freshman QB Desmond Ridder has been a revelation, even if the Bearcats still list him as a co-starter on the depth chart with 87th-year senior Hayden Moore.
Mostly explained by this:
• CSU is 1-4 (thanks Arkansas!)— RedditCFB (@RedditCFB) September 30, 2018
• NEB is 0-4
• UNH is 0-4
• UCLA is 0-4
Still, given that the Buffs’ 10-win 2016 seemed like a flash in the pan a few months ago, it’s quite a flip. QB Steven Montez and WR Laviska Shenault are great together.
4. NC State
Jarring insofar as this is NC State, and NC State’s supposed to finish 7-5 or 8-4, and it’s a touch weird to see that zero on the record entering October. The Wolfpack have played James Madison (an FCS team, but one of the best), Georgia State, Marshall, and Virginia, and had no problems with any of them. A cancelation against West Virginia made the unbeaten mark more possible, but nothing in isolation has been shocking.
5. West Virginia
West Virginia was supposed to be good. The same disclaimer about not playing that NC State game applies and makes being lossless slightly less of an achievement, but look: Will Grier is great, the defense is suitable, and the whole team looks really solid.
Was off in Week 5, but had 21 wins the year before this one and has still only played bad teams: FCS Elon, Georgia Tech, Illinois, and ECU. It would be kind of surprising to see USF lose at all before Week 9, when it visits Houston.
The schedule doesn’t become a total meat grinder until Week 7, when a three-game run against Georgia, Mississippi State, and Bama starts. LSU ranks somewhat highly because two wins against Miami and Auburn are at least one more full win than most people thought the Tigers would have. Joe Burrow is kind of good.
8. Notre Dame
We’re into the Not All That Surprising portion, though the Irish had to beat Michigan and Stanford to get here.
9. Ohio State
Usually undefeated, but just weathered a hellish environment at Penn State, a game that looked like a tossup going in and played out that way as well.
Was absolutely on the ropes against Army, and has already survived a trip to Iowa State, which is like playing a four-win Pitt on the last weekend of the year. The Sooners haven’t always looked as dominant as would be ideal, but they’re where most thought they’d be.
Struggling with Syracuse? That’s just standard Clemson behavior at this point. Kelly Bryant transferring and Trevor Lawrence getting hurt immediately after that is rough, but few looked at Clemson’s schedule before the season and penciled in a loss by this point. Let’s monitor the QB situation, though.
Was kind of unsettling that this team didn’t scorch the earth against Tennessee. But you wouldn’t have expected any damage to the Dawgs by this point, and they haven’t taken any.
It’d be more unsettling if they had a loss. UCF doesn’t have any of those in recent memory, right?
Now, some other fun stuff from Week 5.
1. Penn State had its White Out game, and look at this damn scene.
And the joint was absolutely rocking all night.
What. An. Entrance.— ESPN (@espn) September 29, 2018
Don't miss No. 4 Ohio State at No. 9 Penn State NOW on ABC. pic.twitter.com/TGdoe33nM3
2. Then Penn State and Ohio State played a classic for the third year in a row. OSU won for the second straight time.
Here's what Penn State went with on 4th and 5 with the game on the line. pic.twitter.com/onhYZGP2RH— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) September 30, 2018
In the process of Ohio State winning, I learned that moms all around the country think the Buckeyes’ helmet stickers with Buckeye leaves on them look like marijuana leaves.
3. Also, we learned that one Nittany Lion’s parents sing him birthday raps about him, and that there’s an internet record of it.
This just made my bday man love my parents pic.twitter.com/3k8VjlgA1R— SLIDE1 (@Kj_hamler) July 8, 2017
4. Syracuse and Clemson played a hell of a game, too.
It included an unfortunate QB injury, but Lawrence going out opened the door for new top backup Chase Brice to lead a comeback.
FINAL: #Clemson 2️⃣7️⃣ #Syracuse 2️⃣3️⃣ #AllIn— FnA Clemson (@FnA_Clemson) September 29, 2018
Whew!! GIGANTIC plays from Chase Brice after Lawrence went out. The 4th-n-6 throw and ballsy bootleg gave us that win. See the final sequence here: pic.twitter.com/MLacL9GPV4
5. Florida beat Mississippi State and celebrated with a cowbell in the locker room while hosting Dan Mullen.
The Gators hired Mullen away from Mississippi State last offseason. There was more than a bit of bad blood between the two sides heading in. The Gators ground out a 13-6 win, then put Mullen on their shoulders and lived it up.
6. FCS Sam Houston State turned in a CATCH OF THE YEAR candidate out of an exotic formation.
The way the whole thing worked is interesting, but look at THAT CATCH:
FB: A few more looks at that AMAZING one-handed grab by @bearkatsfb senior Davion Davis.— Southland Conference (@SouthlandSports) September 29, 2018
Hard to imagine a better play than this for tonight's #SCTop10, @SportsCenter. @SamHoustonState @BearkatSports @HEROSportsFCS @NCAA_FCS #SouthlandStrong
Watch on ESPN3. pic.twitter.com/fe7M1Vh3BN
7. Penn State got a similar catch from Juwan Johnson.
8. West Virginia brought out a turnover coal miner helmet.
*Trump voice*— Fake Bob Huggins (@FakeBobHuggins) September 29, 2018
“And what did I tell you, folks? I told you we’d be bringing back the mining jobs. Didn’t I tell you, folks?” pic.twitter.com/tRzH6rPxzV
9. This Mountaineer could fight Floyd Mayweather.
10. Just leaving this here and not making commentary on it.
11. Lolo Jones got a full LSU tailgating experience, thanks to And the Valley Shook.
12. Georgia’s Rodrigo Blankenship pump-faked a would-be kick-blocker and bashed through an extra point.
There's a good chance this is the weirdest extra point ever. pic.twitter.com/OMmKOAQefL— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) September 29, 2018
13. Jim Harbaugh had this encounter with a football.
That led to this:
14. The weekend had an extremely matrimonial feel. First, there was a successful College GameDay marriage proposal.
Marriage proposal on College Gameday pic.twitter.com/SPtBYryWlH— Jordan Heck (@JordanHeckFF) September 29, 2018
15. Then there was in on-field wedding at West Virginia-Texas Tech.
There’s a real wedding happening at midfield during this halftime show. pic.twitter.com/KUO5DZYwVc— Shehan Jeyarajah (@ShehanJeyarajah) September 29, 2018
We’ve got a midfield wedding ceremony at halftime of West Virginia-Texas Tech. pic.twitter.com/DK4RNavtVm— Max Olson (@max_olson) September 29, 2018
So there was just a literal wedding at the game's halftime show pic.twitter.com/My0lImCrjy— Morgan Goff (@morgan_827) September 29, 2018
16. Alabama got some exercise against UL Lafayette.
This is basically how that went:
An alternate angle:
17. Tennessee lined up in the same illegal punt formation three times, and the refs kept noticing.
You wouldn’t think this would be possible, but lo and behold, Tennessee. This is basically what it looked like when the Vols took three separate procedure penalties in one quarter:
Five men in the backfield is one too many.
18. And also, because Tennessee, this sack-fumble of Georgia QB Jake Fromm became a fumble recovery TD ... for Georgia.
What a year.