A weekend in college football is about many things.
The pageantry of course. The distinct regional flavors of each conference too. Then there's the uniqueness of each stadium, the histrionics, the incredible fans, the wild plays, and the host of bizarre outcomes resulting from 130 diverse teams each playing the same sport subject to the wild swings of aptitude from a group of 18-24-year-olds.
Boil it all down however and what are you left with though? When you filter and refine all those results and moments, what is still standing? After you've eliminated the excess away from the field and superfluous off it? Well, what you're left with as the major takeaway from a noon-to-midnight run of action is often just two things: the blue bloods and the upsets. The Goliaths running rampant to varying degrees and the handful of Davids who rise up to notch a victory. In this era, it's often labeled as the College Football Playoff contenders and everybody else still fighting to leave an imprint on the landscape beyond their hometown bubble.
Such was the case once again on Saturday in what we're labeling Week 6 of this pandemic-influenced season. Chaos reigned from Dallas to the Deep South plus up-and-down the East Coast. The Big 12 race was further shaken up and the SEC became even more muddled for the most part. Offenses were high-flying almost universally save for peculiar outings in Lexington, Ruston and West Point. Finishes were dramatic and #collegekickers once again trended on social media for all the wrong reasons.
Pull back from the big picture and look at the landscape as a result of all that and you go back to what tends to be a universal truth though: the blue bloods and the upsets.
While still sporting noticeable flaws, college football's elite seemed to further separate from the pack when it came to chasing trophies. Clemson passed a rare ACC challenge against a top-10 team by barely breaking a sweat. Alabama's offense continues to pick up where it left off even if the defense didn't. Georgia keeps starting slow but boy do they ever finish in clobbering yet another SEC foe.
Even the non-elite blue bloods drew one's eye toward them. Oklahoma and Texas for how far each had fallen amid a rash of mistakes that at least made for an entertaining and memorable Red River Rivalry overtime outing. Then there was Florida State's humbling at the hands of Notre Dame and a reminder just how far the hole is that the Seminoles have to dig out of.
Then there were the upsets. Texas A&M notched their biggest win of the Jimbo Fisher era in knocking off Kyle Trask and Florida in a wild one while Arkansas (controversially) almost did the same to Auburn. Eli Drinkwitz and Missouri earned their SEC stripes thanks to their back-and-forth victory against reigning champs LSU while Boston College proved to be just as lucky as good in escaping against Pitt in overtime.
It was fun at just about every turn... and a reminder that the regulars when it comes to the national title game are regulars for a reason.
Dabo Swinney's Tigers have rightfully been chastised for their often lacking schedule but it's also true they can only play who's in front of them. In this case, it was a Miami squad that sported a fairly well earned top-10 ranking aside their name. The Hurricanes, it should be said, are very much improved this year from the looks of it — much of that due to a new offensive system and the presence of D'Eriq King behind center.