College Football Wrap-Up – Week 9
Les Miles and his #24-ranked LSU Tigers are not dead yet. With LSU’s 10-7 home upset of the highly-touted and highly-ranked #3 Ole Miss (Mississippi) Rebels in major college football’s 9th week of competition, it raises the question: Who will fall next: #1 Mississippi State or #2 Florida State?
Mississippi State still has away games against #3 Ole Miss and #4 Alabama. Good luck with that. The loss by the Rebels dropped them to #7 in this week’s AP Top 25 Poll, but Ole Miss is an in-state rival so you can throw out any records or rankings.
Alabama is another matter. The Crimson Tide are not Southern Mississippi, UAB, South Alabama, Texas A&M or Auburn, all teams Ole Miss has beaten to get where they are.
The #2-ranked Florida State Seminoles do not face a ranked opponent among their last 5 games against Louisville (6-2), Virginia (4-4), Miami-FL (5-3), Boston College (5-3) and Florida (3-3). Even the Florida Gators, who look pretty harmless at 3-3, have played the 4th toughest schedule in the country.
The chances of both Mississippi State (7-0) and Florida State (7-0) getting beaten somewhere along the way are good, as 5 one-loss teams have noticed—Alabama, Auburn, Oregon, Notre Dame and Michigan State.
Add to that the Marshall Thundering Herd (the only other unbeaten team at 8-0), and there are 11 more one-loss teams right behind Alabama, Auburn, Oregon, Notre Dame and Michigan State. It is going to be a sprint to the finish of the regular season.
One thing we know for sure: There are 5 SEC teams in the AP Top 25 Poll (Georgia is also 6-1), but only one will emerge as the SEC champion, making it is a lock to be one of the Top 4 teams in this year’s first 4-team playoff to determine the national champion.
So who among the top 5 challengers is looking good?
Alabama beat Tennessee by 20 points, and ranks 3rd nationally in Scoring Defense, 5th in Total Defense, 2nd in Rushing Defense, 3rd in Team Passing Efficiency, 3rd in Third Down Conversion Percentage, 4th in Fourth Down Conversion Percentage, and 2nd in Net Punting. Good luck to Mississippi State Bulldogs when they travel to Alabama.
Auburn beat South Carolina, but only by 7 and gave up 35 points to the Gamecocks. Auburn has the 3rd best Red Zone Defense in the country, but you would not know it by giving up 35 points.
Oregon beat California, but gave up 41 points to a 4-4 team. That hardly says the Ducks have a great defense.
Notre Dame was idle this week.
Michigan State beat arch-rival Michigan by 24 and only gave up 11 points.
#19 Utah at home needed a field goal to get by #20 Southern California.
And then we have a bunch of unimpressive, top-ranked teams in no particular order that won against lesser lights.
#18 East Carolina beat a 1-6 Connecticut team by 10.
#16 Nebraska beat a 5-3 Rutgers team but gave up 24.
#25 UCLA had its hands full with a 2-6 Colorado team, needing two overtimes to win by a field goal.
#1 Mississippi State handled Kentucky but gave up 31 points in the process.
#23 Marshall stayed unbeaten at 8-0 by whipping Florida Atlantic.
#22 West Virginia took care of Oklahoma State, 34-10.
#15 Arizona easily handled Washington State, 59-37, but gave up a lot of points for a 15th ranked team.
#21 Clemson could only beat a 3-5 Syracuse team by 10.
#13 Ohio State slid past a 4-3 Penn State team by 7 while giving up 24 points, and took two overtimes to do it.
#14 Arizona State finally outlasted Washington, 24-10, and the game was way closer than the score. Washington nearly pulled off an upset here; the Husky defense was outstanding and the offense was
unfortunately absent. The scoring should have ended at 17-10.
And then there’s #10 TCU stomping a mud hole in a 3-5 Texas Tech team, 82-27.
#11 Kansas State shut out a 3-5 Texas team 23-zip. K-State may have rung up the best win among
the lesser lights in the national championship race.
#2 Florida State, #9 Georgia, #13 Baylor and #18 Oklahoma State were also idle this week.