No team is safe in this chaos. Well, except for Georgia.
The Bulldogs are the class of the Football Bowl Subdivision — and it’s not even close. Georgia had no problem dealing with Kentucky and are cruising into the second half of the regular season.
But Iowa? The Hawkeyes will no longer be atop the Big Ten after a shocking loss to Purdue, which went right at one of the nation’s best pass defenses to deliver one of the biggest upsets of the year.
On paper, Week 7 looked like the last calm slate of games before a wild push for the College Football Playoff. That’s typically when craziness comes to college football.
Georgia, Iowa and others make up this week’s list of winners and losers:
The latest test was anything but: Georgia swallowed Kentucky’s offense, found some big plays through the air behind quarterback Stetson Bennett and simply overwhelmed the once-unbeaten Wildcats, winning 30-13 against the second-best team in the SEC East. Amid a crowd of flawed playoff contenders, the Bulldogs have shown no weak spots through seven games and are the unquestioned favorite for the national championship heading into the home stretch of the regular season.
Ed Orgeron will get a reprieve from the hot seat after LSU topped Florida 49-42 to snap a two-game losing streak. One of the nation’s worst running teams heading into Saturday, the Tigers exploded for 321 rushing yards on 7.1 yards per carry, with Tyrion Davis-Price doubling his season output with 287 yards and three scores. Beating the Gators doesn’t launch LSU back into SEC contention — Florida has more than enough problems, as we’ll see below — but it may provide a spark as the Tigers go through this gauntlet of SEC competition: Ole Miss is next, then Alabama, Arkansas and Texas A&M.
Another outstanding performance from a wildly underrated defense lifted the Cowboys past Texas 32-24 and into prime position to secure a spot in the Big 12 championship game. OSU held the Longhorns to 317 yards, scored on a pick-six to climb out of a 17-3 hole in the second quarter and dominated the second half: UT ran six drives for a total of 14 yards to lose two straight under first-year coach Steve Sarkisian.
The Tigers will bust back into the USA TODAY Sports AFCA Coaches Poll after beating Arkansas 38-23 behind perhaps the best performance of quarterback Bo Nix’s career. Nix completed 21 of 26 attempts for 292 yards and ran for 42 yards with three combined touchdowns, helping Auburn pull away in the second half after Arkansas briefly took the lead early in the third quarter.
As expected, it was not a struggle against Central Florida: Cincinnati led 35-0 at halftime and cruised to a 56-21 win, cracking the 50-point mark for the second straight game by forcing three turnovers and running for a season-high 336 yards. With Iowa losing, the Bearcats are the next team up for No. 2 in the Coaches Poll as they continue inching toward a playoff berth amid wild unpredictability in several Power Five leagues.
One week after one of the biggest wins in program history, Iowa’s run atop the Big Ten came to a brutal end with a 24-7 loss at home to Purdue. All of the tricks behind the unbeaten start — an unbelievable pass defense, an ability to force turnovers and enough of an offense to take advantage of friendly field position — ran dry against the Boilermakers, who got 240 receiving yards from David Bell and held the Hawkeyes to just 4.4 yards per play. Iowa remains the favorite in the Big Ten West but will now need to run the table to factor into the playoff debate.
SAME OLD STORY: Purdue shocks Iowa as Brohm gets best of Ferentz again
The run defense is one problem. The defense as a whole is another. Then there’s the mismanagement of the quarterback position, with Dan Mullen still leaning on Emory Jones despite the clear difference in overall production with Anthony Richardson under center. Once a real contender for the New Year’s Six, the Gators are winless in three games against ranked competition and quickly turning into one of the biggest disappointments in the Power Five.
Losing 30-23 at Minnesota is an enormous letdown after several competitive losses painted the Cornhuskers as a team set to round the corner under coach Scott Frost. Instead, Nebraska now sits at 3-5 with Ohio State, Wisconsin and Iowa still on the schedule, meaning another season shy of bowl eligibility is a distinct possibility. Losing one-possession games has become the hallmark of the Frost era, which has been defined by wild inconsistency and the inability to capitalize on opportunities.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: College football winners, losers in Week 7 include Georgia, Iowa, LSU