We are only three weeks into the 2023 college football season, but some of the heavy hitters this sport has grown accustomed to have not exactly held up their end of the bargain just yet.
With every passing week, someone of note will fall to someone lesser. Just when you thought there would be a boring slate in college football, you have ranked teams like Kansas State and Tennessee lose, as well as teams like Alabama and Georgia look less than stellar vs. inferior opponents. Survive and advance, sure, but not every program has the depth and talent to overcome a down performance.
Here are five Power Five programs who still need to show us something to prove they have what it takes to make the final four-team College Football Playoff.
5. Tennessee Volunteers needed to punt on Joe Milton III yesterday
Get off the Tennessee hype train before it crashes and burns into a fiery blaze. Vol Nation drank up that Joe Milton III Kool-Aid and it was a bad time... The sixth-year senior and two-time transfer quarterback looked like, well, Joe Milton III. On the road against SEC East rival Florida, Milton was outplayed by... Graham Mertz. The Vols fell to 2-1 on the year in their 29-16 defeat to the Gators.
While Florida could be better than we all thought after the Gators' dreadful performance in Salt Lake to Utah, you simply don't lose to a team like that if you want to make the playoff this early on in the season. The Gators could use this win and might be something special by mid-season under Billy Napier, but Tennessee now has no margin for error to make the final four-team playoff this season.
With teams like Alabama, Georgia and Kentucky left on their schedule, what leads anyone to believe Tennessee will knock off two of them, much less all three? Eventually, head coach Josh Heupel is going to need to give way to Nico Iamaleava under center and throw the last little bit of dirt on the Milton era in Knoxville. Vol Nation wishes he could have been Hendon Hooker, 2.0, but he is not it.
Tennessee could still make a New Year's Six bowl, but the Vols are probably not making the playoff.