The Undefeated - 2023 after week 5 | Syracusefan.com

The Undefeated - 2023 after week 5

SWC75

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This is the point of the season when I look at the future schedules of undefeated teams to see who has the best chance to run the table and make the playoff. When the number of such teams falls below four, I chart the one-loss teams. I limit this to ‘power’ conference teams unless a ‘Group of 5’ team is in the Top ten of either the writer, coach’s or committee’s polls. I also have two fictional bowls for the two top mid-majors, (the ‘Pesci’ Bowl, named after vertically challenged but ever-feisty character actor Joe Pesci), and the two worst teams in the country, (the Ty-D Bowl, named after the Ty-D Bol toilet bowl cleaner). For the Pesci Bowl, I’ll keep track of the undefeated Group of 5 teams until there are less than two of them. Then I look at the one-loss G5 teams. For the Ty-D Bowl, I keep track of the winless teams until there are less than two of them. Then I’ll look at the 1-win teams. Rankings are by the writers/coaches/committee- when it comes out. I’ve decided to include each team’s points “Against Ranked Teams” (ART). See that post for details on how that is computed.

After Week 5

Playoff Contenders

FLORIDA STATE 4-0 (173-90) ranked: 5/5 ART: +42
Sat 10/7 Virginia Tech 2-3 (124-121)
Sat 10/14 Syracuse 4-1 (191-74)
Sat 10/21 Duke 4-1 (163-56) ranked: 19/21 ART: +46
Sat 10/28 at Wake Forest 3-1 (116-91)
Sat 11/4 at Pittsburgh 1-4 (117-130) ART: -8
Sat 11/11 U of Miami 4-0 (175-50) ranked: 17/17 ART: +18
Sat 11/18 North Alabama 2-4 (142-172) FCS
Sat 11/25 at Florida 3-2 (125-87) ART: +27
They play two ranked teams and have them at home. They play three other one loss teams but two of them at home. If they play ‘consistently good’ they have a good chance to run the table with a strong strength of schedule and make the playoff. If the ‘Noles are really ‘back’, everyone will know it.

GEORGIA 5-0 (193-65) ranked: 1/1
Sat 10/7 KENTUCKY 5-0 (185-76) ranked 20/20 ART: +23
Sat 10/14 at Vanderbilt 2-4 (188-200) ART: -14
Sat 10/21 bye
Sat 10/28 Florida 3-2 (125-87) ART: +27
Sat 11/4 MISSOURI 5-0 (160-104) ranked 21/21 ART: +8
Sat 11/11 Mississippi 4-1 (223-123) ranked 16/15 ART: +37
Sat 11/18 at Tennessee 4-1 (181-89) ranked 22/18
Sat 11/25 at Georgia Tech 2-3 (162-154) ART: -16
Can they win three in a row? First they have to get there. The two unbeaten teams are home games, as is one of the two one loss teams. Write the ticket.

KENTUCKY 5-0 (185-76) ranked: 20/20 ART: +23
Sat 10/7 at GEORGIA 5-0 (193-65) ranked 1/1
Sat 10/14 MISSOURI 5-0 (160-104) ranked 21/21 ART +8
Sat 10/21 bye
Sat 10/28 Tennessee 4-1 (181-89) ranked 22/18
Sat 11/4 at Mississippi State 2-3 (140-149) ART -24
Sat 11/11 Alabama 4-1 (161-71) ranked 11/10 ART: +30
Sat 11/18 at South Carolina 2-3 (135-147) ART -10
Sat 11/25 at LOUISVILLE 5-0 (185-86) ranked 25/25
Three unbeaten foes, two on the road. Two one loss teams at home but they are Alabama and Tennessee. A pretender, not a contender.

LOUISVILLE 5-0 (185-86) ranked: 25/25
Sat 10/7 Notre Dame 5-1 (219-78) ranked: 10/11 ART: +33
Sat 10/14 at Pittsburgh 1-4 (117-130) ART: -8
Sat 10/21 bye
Sat 10/28 Duke 4-1 (163-56) ranked: 19/21 ART: +46
Sat 11/4 Virginia Tech 2-3 (124-121)
Thu 11/11 VIRGINIA 0-5 (107-178) ART: -22
Sat 11/18 at U of MIAMI 4-0 (175-50) ranked: 17/17 ART: +18
Sat 11/25 KENTUCKY 5-0 (185-76) ranked: 20/20 ART: +23
It could end today vs. Notre Dame. They end with two currently unbeaten teams. Miami on the road will be tough. The Duke game will be interesting. They will be watching the playoffs on TV.

MARYLAND 5-0 (193-66) unranked
Sat 10/7 at OHIO STATE 4-0 (138-34) ranked 4/3 ART: +20
Sat 10/14 Illinois 2-3 (108-153) ART: +2
Sat 10/21 bye
Sat 10/28 at Northwestern 2-3 (109-144) ART: -27
Sat 11/4 PENN STATE 5-0 (203-48) ranked 6/6 ART: +33
Sat 11/11 at Nebraska 2-3 (94-119) ART: -32
Sat 11/18 MICHIGAN 5-0 172-30) ranked 2/2
Sat 11/25 at Rutgers 4-1 (154-64) ART: Even
They might beat Rutgers but I’ll be shocked if they aren’t 0-3 vs. the ‘big three’ of Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan.

U of MIAMI 4-0 (175-50) ranked: 17 ART: +18
Sat 10/7 Georgia Tech 2-3 (162-154) ART -16
Sat 10/14 at NORTH CAROLINA 4-0 (143-88) ranked 14/13
Sat 10/21 Clemson 3-2 (176-104) ART: +15
Sat 10/28 VIRGINIA 0-5 (107-178) ART: -22
Sat 11/4 at North Carolina State 3-2 (127-100) ART: -5
Sat 11/11 at FLORIDA STATE 4-0 (173-90) ranked 5/5 ART: +42
Sat 11/18 LOUISVILLE (5-0 (185-86) ranked 25/25
Fri 11/24 at Boston College 2-3 (139-166) ART: +21
So if the ‘Noles are back, what about the ‘Canes? They will be in Chapel Hill next week and that will tell us a lot. They have to go to Tallahassee in a game that may seem like the old days. Louisville could be a trap game after that one.

MICHIGAN 5-0 (172-30) ranked: 2/2
Sat 10/7 at Minnesota 3-2 (120-108) ART: -12
Sat 10/14 Indiana 2-3 (104-122) ART: +3
Sat 10/21 at Michigan State 2-3 (108-119) ART: -16
Sat 10/28 bye
Sat 11/4 Purdue 2-3 (140-148)
Sat 11/11 at PENN STATE 5-0 (203-48) ranked 6/6 ART: +33
Sat 11/18 at MARYLAND 5-0 (193-66) unranked
Sat 11/25 OHIO STATE 4-0 (138-34) ranked 4/3 ART: +20
The Wolverines are #2 but haven’t played a ranked team and probably won’t until those last three games. We won’t know how good they really are until then.

MISSOURI 5-0 (160-104) ranked: 21/22 ART: +8
Sat 10/7 Louisiana State 3-2 (220-155) ranked 23 ART: -3
Sat 10/14 at KENTUCKY 5-0 (185-76) ranked: 20/20 ART: +23
Sat 10/21 South Carolina 2-3 (135-147) ART: -10
Sat 10/28 bye
Sat 11/4 at GEORGIA 5-0 (193-65) ranked 1/1
Sat 11/11 Tennessee 4-1 (181-89) ranked 22/18
Sat 11/18 Florida 3-2 (125-87) ART: +27
Fri 11/24 Arkansas 2-3 (168-125) ART: +11
Both unbeatens are road games and they will be underdogs for both and probably also to Tennessee.

NORTH CAROLINA 4-0 (143-88) ranked: 14/13
Sat 10/7 Syracuse 4-1 (191-74)
Sat 10/14 U of Miami 4-0 (175-50) ranked: 17/17 ART: +18
Sat 10/21 VIRGINIA 0-5 (107-178) ART: -22
Sat 10/28 at Georgia Tech 2-3 (162-154) ART: -16
Sat 11/4 Campbell 2-3 (197-149) FCS
Sat 11/11 Duke 4-1 (163-56) ranked: 19/21 ART: +46
Sat 11/18 at Clemson 3-2 (176-104) ART: +15
Sat 11/25 at North Carolina State 3-2 (127-100) ART: -5
If it doesn’t end today, it might be next week. If it doesn’t end there, they could run the table.

OHIO STATE 4-0 (138-34) ranked: 4/3 ART: +20
Sat 10/7 MARYLAND 5-0 (193-66) unranked
Sat 10/14 at Purdue 2-3 (140-148)
Sat 10/21 PENN STATE 5-0 (203-48) ranked 6/6 ART: +33
Sat 10/28 at Wisconsin 3-1 (133-79)
Sat 11/4 at Rutgers 4-1 (154-84) Rutgers: Even
Sat 11/11 Michigan State 2-3 (108-119) ART: -16
Sat 11/18 Minnesota 3-2 (120-108) ART: -12
Sat 11/25 at MICHIGAN 5-0 (172-30) ranked: 2/2
Maryland just scored as I write this, but I’ll be surprised if the Buckeyes don’t win this easily. Penn State and Michigan will tell the tale, as they usually do.

OREGON 5-0 (258-59) ranked: 8/9 ART: +43
Sat 10/7 bye
Sat 10/14 at WASHINGTON 5-0 (230-92) ranked 7/8
Sat 10/21 WASHINGTON STATE 4-0 (183-102) ranked 13/14
Sat 10/28 Utah 4-1 (96-59) ranked 18/19 ART: +4
Sat 11/4 California 3-2 (155-132) ART: -9
Sat 11/11 SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA 5-0 (268-121) ranked 9/7
Sat 11/18 at Arizona State 1-4 (88-143) ART: +12
Fri 11/24 Oregon State 4-1 (179-58) ranked 15/16 ART: +32
Oregon is looking like Oregon again but in this last broadside by the dying Pac 12, they have a lot of challenges as do the other contenders from that late, lamented league. Ironically the conference might cannibalize its chances at a playoff.

OKLAHOMA 5-0 (237-54) ranked: 12/12
Sat 10/7 TEXAS 5-0 (180-64) ranked: 03/04 ART: +57
Sat 10/14 bye
Sat 10/21 Central Florida 3-2 (188-118)
Sat 10/28 at Kansas 4-1 (165-131) ART: -3
Sat 11/4 at Oklahoma State 2-2 (88-95)
Sat 11/11 West Virginia 4-1 (132-95) ART: -4
Sat 11/18 at Brigham Young 4-1 (155-112)
Fri 11/24 Texas Christian 3-2 (174-105)
The Sooners, after a 6-7 season last year, are looking an awful lot like the Sooners of old this year and they just went up 7-0 on Texas. If they win that one, Kansas, West Virginia and BYU won’t scare them.

PENN STATE 5-0 (203-48) ranked: 6/6 ART: +33
Sat 10/7 bye
Sat 10/14 Massachusetts 1-5 (159-235)
Sat 10/21 at OHIO STATE 4-0 (138-34) ranked: 4/3 ART: +20
Sat 10/28 Indiana 2-3 (104-122) ART +3
Sat 11/4 at MARYLAND 5-0 (193-66) unranked
Sat 11/11 MICHIGAN 5-0 (172-30) ranked: 2/2
Sat 11/18 Rutgers 4-1 (154-84) ART: Even
Fri 11/24 at Michigan State 2-3 (108-119) ART -16
It will be all about Ohio State and Michigan, as usual. The Lions own Maryland and Rutgers.

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA 5-0 (268-121) ranked: 9/7
Sat 10/7 Arizona 3-2 (138-95) ART: +12
Sat 10/14 at Notre Dame 5-1 ranked 10/11 ART +33
Sat 10/21 Utah 4-1 (96-59) ranked 18/19 ART: +4
Sat 10/28 at California 3-2 (155-132) ART: -9
Sat 11/4 WASHINGTON 5-0 (230-92) ranked: 7/8
Sat 11/11 at OREGON 5-0 (258-59) ranked 8/9 ART: +43
Sat 11/18 UCLA 3-1 (128-44) ART: +8
Their defense doesn’t seem to equal their offense and every remaining team has a winning record.

TEXAS 5-0 (180-64) ranked: 03/04 ART: +57
Sat 10/7 OKLAHOMA 5-0 (237-54) ranked: 12/12
Sat 10/14 bye
Sat 10/21 at Houston 2-3 (137-149)
Sat 10/28 Brigham Young 4-1 (155-112)
Sat 11/4 Kansas State 3-1 (158-74)
Sat 11/11 at Texas Christian 3-2 (174-105)
Sat 11/18 at Iowa State 2-3 (104-116) ART -18
Fri 11/24 Texas Tech 2-3 (166-124) ART +5
They just went down 0-7 to Oklahoma. If they can come back and win that one, they have a good chance to run the table. UPDATE: the Longhorns just blocked a punt for a tying TD.

WASHINGTON 5-0 (230-92) ranked: 7/8
Sat 10/7 bye
Sat 10/14 OREGON 5-0 (258-59) ranked: 8/9 ART: +43
Sat 10/21 Arizona State 1-4 (88-143) ART: +7
Sat 10/28 at Stanford 1-4 (98-173) ART: -45
Sat 11/4 at SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA 5-0 (268-121) ranked: 9/7
Sat 11/11 Utah 4-1 (96-59) ranked 18/19 ART: +4
Sat 11/18 at Oregon State 4-1 (179-58) ranked 15/16 ART: +32
Sat 11/25 WASHINGTON STATE 4-1 (179-58) ranked 15/16
If they can beat Oregon they will move on to 8-0. They’ve been described as “the most complete team in the country” by one pundit. But the combined record of those last four teams is currently 17-3.

WASHINGTON STATE 4-0 (179-58) ranked 15/16
Sat 10/7 at UCLA 3-1 (128-44) ART: +8
Sat 10/14 Arizona 3-2 (138-95) ART: +12
Sat 10/21 at OREGON 5-0 (258-59) ranked: 8/9 ART: +43
Sat 10/28 at Arizona State 1-4 (88-143) ART: +7
Sat 11/4 Stanford 1-4 (98-173) ART: -45
Sat 11/11 at California 3-2 (155-132) ART: -9
Fri 11/17 Colorado 3-2 (171-181) ART: +3
Sat 11/25 at WASHINGTON 5-0 (230-92) ranked: 7/8
If they come out of the Oregon game 8-0, the Apple Cup could be the game of the year.


I wish Syracuse could make this list for at least one week, but it was not to be. Maybe when I have to include the one-loss teams they’ll get a shot. Meanwhile, I’m thinking Georgia, Michigan, Florida State and the Texas-Oklahoma winner.


Pesci Bowl

AIR FORCE 5-0 (188-61) unranked
Sat 10/7 bye
Sat 10/14 Wyoming 4-1 (133-126) ART: 1
Sat 10/21 at Navy 1-3 (81-114) ART: -26
Sat 10/28 at Colorado State 2-2 (131-136) ART: Even
Sat 11/4 Army 2-2 (123-75)
Sat 11/11 at Hawaii 2-4 (133-208) ART: -32
Sat 11/18 Nevada-Las Vegas 4-1 (180-134) ART: -4
Fri 11/24 Boise State 2-3 (143-158) ART -21
The two 4-1 teams are at home. Can a service academy go undefeated?

FRESNO STATE 5-0 (182-85) ranked 24/24
Sat 10/7 at Wyoming 4-1 (133-126) ART: 1
Fri 10/13 at Utah State 2-3 185-169) ART: -9
Sat 10/21 bye
Sat 10/28 Nevada-Las Vegas 4-1 (180-134) ART: -4
Sat 11/4 Boise State 2-3 (143-158) ART: -21
Sat 11/11 at San Jose State 1-4 (141-167) ART: -25
Sat 11/18 New Mexico 2-3 (143-155) ART: -39
Sat 11/25 at San Diego State 2-4 (116-185) ART: -7
They’ve got the same challenge from the same two opponents

JAMES MADISON 5-0 (166-113) unranked
Sat 10/7 Bye
Sat 10/14 Georgia Southern 4-1 (175-101)
Thu 10/19 MARSHALL 4-0 (117-82)
Sat 10/28 Old Dominion 2-3 (124-144)
Sat 11/4 at Georgia State 4-1 (155-119)
Sat 11/11 Connecticut 0-5 (85-158) ART: -26
Sat 11/18 Appalachian State 3-2 (182-154) ART: +3
Sat 11/25 at Coastal Carolina 2-3 (154-118)
Still another former FCS champ who jumped to FBS for the money but will never win another national title because of it. But if they can get by Marshall and two Georgia teams, they have a good shot at the Pesci Bowl.

LIBERTY 4-0 (160-74) unranked ART: 0
Thu 10/5 SAM HOUSTON 0-5 (54-121)
Tue 10/10 at Jacksonville State 5-1 (183-105)
Tue 10/17 Middle Tennessee State 1-5 (124-200) ART: -27
Tue 10/24 Western Kentucky 4-2 (193-174) ART: -33
Sat 11/4 Louisiana Tech 3-4 (190-189)
Sat 11/11 Old Dominion 2-3 (124-144)
Sat 11/18 Massachusetts 1-5 (159-235)
Sat 11/25 Texas-El Paso 1-5 (97-189)
Our old pals from Liberty could wrap up 12-0 early with wins over Jack State and the Hilltoppers.

MARSHALL 4-0 (117-82) unranked
Sat 10/7 at North Carolina State 3-2 (143-88) ART: -5
Sat 10/14 at Georgia State 4-1 (155-119)
Thu 10/19 JAMES MADISON 5-0 (166-113)
Sat 10/28 at Coastal Carolina 2-3 (154-118)
Sat 11/4 at Appalachian State 3-2 (182-154) ART: +3
Sat 11/11 Georgia Southern 4-1 (175-101)
Sat 11/18 at South Alabama 2-3 (138-126)
Sat 11/25 Arkansas State 3-2 (130-182) ART: -67
They’ve got essentially the same schedule as James Madison and the same challenges.

Only 5 teams on this list, compared to 17 on the top one, suggesting that a one-loss team will have a good shot here. But it could be the Mountain West winner vs. the Sun Belt winner. Or Liberty.


Ty-D Bowl

CONNECTICUT 0-5 (85-158) ART: -26
Sat 10/7 at Rice 3-2 (165-144) ART: -12
Sat 10/14 bye
Sat 10/21 South Florida 3-2 (151-141) ART: +2
Sat 10/28 at Boston College 2-3 (84-111) ART: +21
Sat 11/4 at Tennessee 4-1 (181-89) ranked 22/18
Sat 11/11 at JAMES MADISON 5-0 (166-113)
Sat 11/18 Sacred Heart 1-4 (178-114) FCS
Sat 11/25 at Massachusetts 1-5 (159-235)
There’s a reason you schedule Sacred heart. And the annual UMASS game will bring back memories of the Yankees conference, which neither should ever have left.

NEVADA-RENO 0-5 (77-182) ART: -49
Sat 10/7 bye
Sat 10/14 Nevada-Las Vegas 4-1 (180-134) ART: -4
Sat 10/21 at San Diego State 2-4 (116-185) ART: -7
Sat 10/28 New Mexico 2-3 (143-155) ART: -39
Sat 11/4 Hawaii 2-4 (133-208) ART: -32
Sat 11/11 at Utah State 2-3 (185-189) ART: -9
Sat 11/18 at Colorado State 2-2 (131-136) ART: Even
Sat 11/25 Wyoming 4-1 (133-126) ART: +1
No weak spots here. They’ll have to suck it up to get one.

SAM HOUSTON 0-4 (38-100)
Thu 10/5 at LIBERTY 5-0 (181-90)
Wed 10/11 at New Mexico State 3-3 (183-149)
Wed 10/18 Florida International 3-3 (124-162)
Wed 10/25 Texas-El Paso 1-5 (97-169)
Sat 11/4 Kennesaw State 1-4 (103-95) FCS
Sat 11/11 at Louisiana Tech 3-4 (190-189)
Sat 11/18 at Western Kentucky 4-2 (193-174) ART: -33
Sat 11/25 Middle Tennessee State 1-5 (124-200) ART: -27
Another FCS power who sold out. They should beat Kennesaw State. Maybe they can knock off somebody else.

VIRGINIA 0-5 (107-178) ART: -22
Sat 10/7 William & Mary 4-1 (106-54)
Sat 10/14 bye
Sat 10/21 at NORTH CAROLINA 4-0 (143-88) ranked 14/13
Sat 10/28 at U of MIAMI 4-0 (175-50) 17/17 ART: +18
Sat 11/4 Georgia Tech 2-3 (162-154) ART: -16
Thu 11/9 at LOUISVILLE 5-0 (185-88) ranked 25/25
Sat 11/18 Duke 4-1 (163-56) ranked 19/21 ART: +46
Sat 11/25 Virginia Tech 2-3 (124-121)
Anything would be an upset.

Same thing here – only four winless teams after 5+ weeks. It could be Virginia vs. Nevada-Reno, simply because they didn’t schedule any FCS team.
 
I’ll be updating this later in the week but yesterday’s results deserve comment: Kentucky, Maryland, U of Miami, Texas and Washington State have all been beaten, cutting the field for the 4 team playoff for the national championship down to 12 teams. And, no Syracuse will not sneak in as a one-loss team. Fresno State and Marshall both lost, so they will temporarily be out of the Pesci Bowl field. Liberty won to stay unbeaten while Air Force and James Madison had byes. Again, I think the one loss teams will likely return to that field at some point. Connecticut and Virginia won to temporarily get them out of the Ty-D-Bowl. Sam Houston almost beat Liberty and Nevada-Reno had the bye. I think it’s likely a one win team will be that bowl game.
 

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