The insanity that is this college football season continued into Week 6 on Saturday as six AP Top 25 teams fell, including two programs ranked in the top five. Texas A&M landed one of the biggest upsets in recent memory over No. 1 Alabama, becoming the first unranked team to beat No. 1 since 2008. In the same state, No. 6 Oklahoma survived a 21-point deficit against rival No. 21 Texas behind a quarterback change that's further fueled a main talking point in Norman.
The wave of losses shook up the College Football Playoff picture again and will lead to a new wave of contenders stepping into the mix. There are only 13 undefeated teams remaining in college football, including eight in the Power Five. Halfway through the season, surviving and advancing is more than enough.
Here are winners, losers and overreactions from another upset-filled week of the 2021 college football season.
QB Zach Calzada, Texas A&M: One week ago, Calzada was a lightning rod for criticism after throwing for just 135 yards in a brutal loss to Mississippi State. On Saturday, the magic of college football came through once again. Calzada had the game of his life, completing 67.7% of his passes for 285 yards and three touchdowns in one of the most improbable victories in recent memory over No. 1 Alabama. Calzada joins Johnny Freaking Manziel as the only Aggies to lead Texas A&M to a win over Nick Saban's Alabama. The junior still has work to do to get Texas A&M back into the SEC race, but a win over the defending champs is something on which to build.
Iowa: By beating No. 4 Penn State on Saturday, the Hawkeyes gave itself one of the clearest roads in America to the College Football Playoff. Iowa crushed its first five opponents by double-figures but needed to come back from down 10 against the Nittany Lions by scoring 13 unanswered points in the final 16:36. Now, the Hawkeyes will be heavy favorites against every team on the rest of its schedule and ranks as one of the most battle-tested squads in America. At this point, Iowa sets itself up to play its way into the playoff even if it loses.
Tennessee: Don't look now, but the Vols have been a totally different team since Hendon Hooker took over at quarterback. Tennessee is 3-1 in the last four games with wins over SEC East foes Missouri and South Carolina by a combined 63 points. Tennessee sits at 4-2 with likely wins against Vanderbilt and South Alabama remaining on the schedule. If the Vols can stay composed against the four ranked teams left on the slate, and maybe even pull an upset, it should give Vols fans plenty of hope for the Josh Heupel era.
Georgia: Let's keep this one short and sweet: How does No. 1 in the nation sound, Georgia? The Bulldogs haven't earned the top overall spot since entering the year as AP No. 1 in 2008, a tenure that lasted exactly one week. After Alabama's loss, Georgia will likely take on the crown for the first time of the Kirby Smart era. This could be the year, Dawgs.
BYU: The Cougars played their way into the national conversation with three wins over Pac-12 opponents, but the magic wasn't there against one of the Group of Five's staple programs. BYU running backs lost three fumbles and quarterback Jaren Hall threw an interception that ultimately wasted a great day from the offense in a 26-17 loss to Boise State. The Cougars outgained the Broncos by more than 100 yards and held Boise State to just 4.2 yards per play, but it wasn't enough for BYU to likely fall out of the New Year's Six discussion and perhaps out of the AP Top 25 altogether.
North Carolina: Remember when the Tar Heels were a dark-horse College Football Playoff pick? Everything around them in the ACC has gone their way, but disappointing play on both sides of the ball has UNC ranked as one of the most disappointing teams in America. North Carolina lost 35-25 against Florida State in a game that wasn't as close as the final score. Quarterback Sam Howell threw for just 203 yards, his lowest output since playing limited snaps against Mercer in 2019. Mack Brown's team is falling apart at the seams, and there's only further to drop with matchups against No. 14 Notre Dame, No. 19 Wake Forest and No. 23 NC State left.
West Virginia: After losing to Texas Tech in an ugly game, the Mountaineers needed to bounce back as just three-point underdogs on the road against Baylor. Instead, West Virginia played one of its worst games ever under Neal Brown, going down 28-7 in the second quarter and losing by 25 points against the Bears. WVU gave up a 75-yard touchdown pass on the second play of the game and played with little urgency in such a critical situation. Suddenly, every remaining game on the schedule outside of Kansas becomes a much more difficult test.
Oklahoma needs to start Caleb Williams
Spencer Rattler is one of the most talented quarterback prospects in recent memory. But with an offensive line struggling to protect, it made a world of difference having a quarterback who could stretch the field with his legs.
Caleb Williams picked up a 66-yard touchdown run on a short-yardage package and opened the game up for running back Kennedy Brooks to post his first ever 200-yard rushing game. Williams also looked much more comfortable throwing the ball on the run and dealing with pressure, a relative certainty behind this shaky offensive line.
The floor might be higher for Rattler, once considered a Heisman contender, but Williams' poise under pressure was obvious. The ceiling is higher with Williams.
The Ed Orgeron era is over
The magic is all gone for Ed Orgeron in Baton Rouge. Losing relatively tight games against UCLA and Auburn is one thing. Getting blasted off the field by a Kentucky squad that ranks more than 25 spots behind the Tigers in the 247Sports Talent Composite is something completely different.
LSU completely embarrassed itself in Lexington, going down 21-0 in the third quarter and struggling in every aspect of the game. The offense struggled. The defense struggled. No one on the roster seems to be improving. With a 6-7 record in SEC play since winning a national championship, not to mention four straight ranked opponents on the schedule coming up, things may only get worse.
Orgeron got a well-deserved mulligan after going 5-5 in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season and clearing the deck at coordinator. But with another roster and another coaching staff falling behind, it's hard to see a light at the end of the tunnel.