If these rankings were a “March Madness” bracket, my bracket would have been busted with all the upsets that this past week of college football brought. Seven ranked teams lost last weekend with two of them falling out of this week’s rankings. The season should only get crazier this week as it brings four match-ups between ranked teams and dozens of other games that could end up being major players in the run for the BCS. Let’s take a look at this week’s rankings to see where everyone landed.
As expected, the wins just keep rolling in for the Crimson Tide as they ran over Kentucky 48-7 on the road. It was Alabama’s run game that did a lot of the heavy lifting as they rushed for 299 yards and five touchdowns as a team. RBs T.J. Yeldon and Kenyan Drake both had 100+ yard games and two touchdowns a piece. This is nothing new though for the Tide. We are still a few weeks away from that crucial game against LSU, so for the immediate future, nothing should stop them from moving on to 7-0, not even Arkansas this weekend.
After weeks of watching the Ducks smack-down every opponent in front of them, we finally got to see Oregon falter a little in their 45-24 win over Washington. The Huskies played tough ball through most of the first half, holding the Ducks to just seven points in the first quarter. Oregon really didn’t break away till the fourth quarter when QB Marcus Mariota contributed to two touchdowns to widen the lead to 23. This makes one wonder what will happen when they play Stanford or make it to the post-season to take on a team like Alabama. One thing is for sure, they are going to blow-out Washington State this weekend and move to 7-0.
#3: Ohio State
Coming off of a bye week, OSU should be a heavy favorite to win this weekend against Iowa and there is a good reason for that. The Buckeyes have only lost to the Hawkeyes 14 times ever, with their last lost coming back in 2004. Before that, one would have to go back to 1991 to find a win for Iowa. With the game being played at home, this one should be a breeze for Ohio State. Iowa hasn’t beaten anyone who is legitimately good so far this season and this game will probably get ugly fast. Watch for OSU to move to 7-0 just like Alabama and Oregon.
Let’s face it everyone, Clemson didn’t look good at all in their 24-14 win over Boston College this past weekend. Credit to the BC defense, they were able to keep QB Tajh Boyd and the Tiger offense in check most of the game. Boyd just couldn’t get in a solid rhythm, but did manage to finish the game with 334 yards passing and two touchdowns (one on the run, one through the air). Going into a big match-up with Florida State this weekend, this could be a make or break game for Boyd’s draft stock. Clemson has recent history on their side as they haven’t lost to the Seminoles at home since 2001.
Speaking of struggling teams, Louisville almost found itself on the wrong side of an upset in their 24-10 win over Rutgers. After taking a 17-0 lead over the Scarlet Knights mid-way through the second quarter, they weren’t able to get on the scoreboard again until there was a little over two minutes left in the fourth. While that was going on, Rutgers was building some steam and even pulled within seven. QB Teddy Bridgewater was able to save the Cardinals on that final touchdown, but this game was just too close for comfort. Despite their 6-0 record, I’m putting them on upset watch as they host a very good UCF team that almost upset South Carolina a few weeks ago.
#6: Florida State
Outside of their game later in the season with the Mighty Vandals of Idaho, this week’s match-up with Clemson is the biggest game of the season for Florida State. With both teams having a win over BC, this game should decide who comes out as the ACC Atlantic division’s representative in the ACC title game. Having a week to prepare, Florida State has all the tools to win this game and I bet they took a few notes from how BC handled Boyd. On the flip side, FSU hasn’t been challenged by a team of Clemson’s caliber this season and as previously mentioned, they haven’t done too well in Death Valley for a while.
It might not have been a scoring bonanza, but LSU had just enough to get them past Florida 17-6 at home this past weekend. QB Zach Mettenberger took a considerable backseat to the running game in this one, only throwing for 152 yards, the lowest this season and lowest since Chick-fil-A Bowl last season. RB Jeremy Hill had a stellar game in this one, rushing for 121 yards on the ground. The Tigers are putting together a nice resume for the BCS with their second win over a nationally ranked team. They will hit the road and take on Ole Miss this weekend looking to move on to 7-1.
#8: South Carolina
The Gamecocks might have won 52-7 over Arkansas this weekend, but the story continues to be the less-than-impressive play of DE Jadeveon Clowney who returned from his “injury” this past weekend. Clowney had just one tackle in this game, bringing his season total 12 with just two sacks. At this point last season, he already had 31 with 6.5 sacks. South Carolina was able to get by since the Razorbacks decided not to play defense, but Clowney’s performance leaves a bad taste in your mouth. The Gamecocks head out to Tennessee this week hoping to avoid a upset against a team that took Georgia to the limit.
#9: Texas A&M
Late game heroics were on tap for Evil Tim Tebow and the Aggies as they barely escaped Ole Miss this past weekend 41-38 in a thriller in Oxford. Falling behind by seven mid-way through the fourth quarter, QB Johnny Manziel was able to tie the game up after finding the end-zone on a 6-yard run. A Josh Lambo field goal at the end of regulation capped off a 41 point scoring fourth by the two teams combined and gave TAMU their sixth win of the season. TAMU didn’t play well at all and they are on upset watch this week as they host newly ranked Auburn.
For the first time this season, Baylor didn’t put up 900 points on someone. In their 35-25 win over Kansas State, the Bears were kept mostly in check, although they still managed to have three touchdowns that were 50+ yards. These two teams had almost the same amount of offensive output yards-wise, with Baylor having one yard more. This was the first real challenge put in front of Baylor and they seemed to do decently with all things considered. Still one of the few undefeated teams left in the nation, look for Baylor to return to its normal high-scoring self this weekend as they take on Iowa State at home.
After that close call in Salt Lake, the Bruins made sure this past weekend that that didn’t happen again as they jumped out early and often on Cal in their 37-10 win. QB Brett Hundley had his best game of the season, throwing for 410 yards and three touchdowns on 31 of 41 passing. This week brings with it the start of two really tough road games that have the Bruins going to Stanford this week and Oregon next. Out of the two match-ups, this game against Stanford might be the more favorable one. Regardless of the outcome of these two games, UCLA still should be in a good position to win their division; they will just be out of BCS contention if they lose.
#12: Miami (FL)
It’s been 12 days since the nation last saw the Hurricanes. Today they return to the national spotlight with a semi-interesting game against North Carolina. Again for Miami (FL), they rise in the national rankings mostly on the back of everyone else losing and their one big win over Florida. It would be tough to see them really get challenged in this game by the Tar Heels. To be fair, UNC will be wearing their new black unis for this game, so at least on a jersey level, the game will be nice to watch. So there is that I suppose.
Welcome back to the big time Missouri! The Tigers shocked the nation this past weekend with a big 41-26 win over Georgia that shot them up the nation standings. Missouri didn’t get out of the game unscathed though. QB James Franklin is out for at least six weeks, putting his potential return around the last two games of the season with their game against Ole Miss being the earliest. Franklin has been a key part of this team’s success and the loss of him could hurt offensive production in a big way. We will see what effect his injury has this weekend as Missouri hosts Florida.
We should have known that after their OT win over Tennessee that the Bulldogs were bound to be upset. Their 41-26 loss to Missouri was highlighted by their inability to keep control of the ball. Georgia had four turnovers in the game, one of which was returned for a touchdown. QB Aaron Murray struggled pretty hard, only completing 55% of his passes and throwing two interceptions. The Bulldogs can’t afford another slip up like this. As a byproduct of the loss, Missouri now holds the tie-breaker over Georgia in the SEC East and would need the Tigers to lose at least three conference games to jump them in the standings. Georgia will try to recover this week with a road game at Vanderbilt.
If you live in Oxford, you probably aren’t happy about Stanford’s 27-21 loss to Utah on Saturday. The first top five team to lose this season, the Cardinal got outplay by the Utes for a majority of the game. Stanford just didn’t look to have it offensively and were kept off the board till midway through the fourth after scoring 14 points in the first. The loss puts Stanford’s BCS hopes in jeopardy in a big way. Depending on the breaks, winning out will be their best chances at returning to the BCS, but that means getting wins over ranked UCLA this weekend and Oregon in three weeks.
#16: Fresno State
For Fresno State to get a shot at the BCS, they need a lot of help from other teams like they got this week. The Bulldogs don’t have any ranked opponents in their schedule the rest of the way out and wins over someone like UNLV or New Mexico aren’t the things of dreams. Their schedule is still pretty favorable with good competition such as Wyoming and Nevada. To be fair, if a team like Northern Illinois can play in the Orange Bowl with no big match-ups, anything is really possible at this point. Fresno State returns from a bye this week to play the aforementioned UNLV.
If you were unaware, Nebraska is currently 5-1 after a runaway 44-7 win over Purdue this past weekend. Purdue might be the Big Ten punching bag right now, but things looked good for the Huskers with RB Ameer Abdullah having a 126 yard, one touchdown game in the process. Nebraska is still trying to find its voice under center though, switching between Ron Kellogg III and Tommy Armstrong Jr. as Taylor Martinez figures out if his turf toe injury will continue to keep him out. Martinez has already missed three straight games for the Huskers and he will be needed as Nebraska gets into the heavier part of their schedule. Nebraska hopefully will get him back in time for their next game on the 26th against Minnesota.
#18: Oklahoma State
The Cowboys are back from a bye week to take on TCU at home in Stillwater. With the race in the Big 12 getting heated as the top five teams in the conference are separated by one conference loss, Oklahoma State needs to win this game to keep up with everyone else. OKST has won the last two match-ups against TCU with their last win coming last season with the Horned Frogs initial entry into the conference. With how bad TCU is playing this season, OKST should be able to get this win. The road only gets tougher from here with potentially three ranked opponents still left to face.
Coach Bob Stoops must have burned his playbook and visor after the Sooners got absolutely embarrassed in their 36-20 loss to rival Texas in the Red River Shoot-out. Oklahoma never really got this game under control as the Longhorns jumped out to a 20-3 lead in the second quarter and never gave it up. This game also puts a lot of focus on Oklahoma’s offense, which struggled pretty hard, only gaining 263 yards of total offense on the day. The Sooners, who are now behind Texas, Texas Tech and Baylor in the Big 12 standings, will take on Kansas this weekend as they look to keep pace with the rest of the conference.
#20: Northern Illinois
Hopefully for everyone out there, Northern Illinois is still on your radar. The Huskies moved on to 6-0 this past weekend with a tough 27-20 win over Akron. The Zips took Michigan to the limit and there was a lot of that same competition in this one. QB Jordan Lynch has really faded into the background this season and his 303 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns seem a bit unimpressive. While he does still have half of the season left, it may be tough for him to reach the 44 total touchdowns he had in 2012 as he would need 4.5 TDs per game to reach that number. NIU travels to Central Michigan this week looking to move to 7-0.
#21: Texas Tech
The Red Raiders played it a bit close to the vest this week, beating Iowa State 42-35 in a game where ISU was able to get within seven twice in the fourth quarter. The win keeps TTU undefeated in conference and overall and could have big implications with Oklahoma losing. The Red Raiders will take on West Virginia this weekend in what will be the last of a fairly easy schedule thus far through the season. Following this game, TTU will take on Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Baylor in a four week span. Throw in Kansas State who has been a bit unpredictable and the rest of the season is shaping up to be a interesting one for TTU.
It was bound to happen. After barely escaping so many teams, it was time that Michigan finally got burned and Penn State was the team to do it with a 43-40 four overtime win over the Wolverines. Credit to both teams for never giving up, but this one hurts for Michigan. In a game that featured QB Devin Gardner being productive for once, the Wolverines just couldn’t stop giving up the ball and allowing Penn State to score. The loss puts them in ranking free fall, barely avoiding falling out completely. Michigan will host up-and-coming Indiana this weekend before a big rivalry game against Michigan State.
It’s been awhile since Auburn last made an appearance on this list. Out to their best start since probably 2010, the Tigers have been quietly getting wins over teams with “state” in their name and even have a win over a ranked opponent in Ole Miss two weeks ago. This week brings them back to the main stage as they have a tough game against Evil Tim Tebow and the Aggies of Texas A&M. Interesting factoid, Auburn has never beaten TAMU. Ok, they have only played three times dating back to 1911, but TAMU ran over the Tigers 63-21 last season. Could this be a “one-and-done” ranked week for Auburn? Well I said that about Missouri and look what happened there.
Apparently Wisconsin remembered that they don’t get to win their division by default this year and decided to absolutely destroy Northwestern 35-6 this past Saturday. Showing no mercy, the Badgers watched RB Melvin Gordon drop 172 yards and a touchdown on the Wildcats while QB Joel Stave threw for three touchdowns (despite also throwing two interceptions). Does this mean that Wisconsin is back in the mix for the Big Ten title? Only time will tell as they need Ohio State to lose two conference games for them jump them (with Wisconsin winning out). The Badgers will get Illinois this weekend, looking to pick up their fifth win of the season.
What happens when all you have is a defense? You get a team like Florida who can’t score and loses to LSU 17-6. Maybe it was the good Tiger defense, but Florida’s offense looked awful. QB Tyler Murphy looked uncomfortable in the pocket and the run game went nowhere. For a team that wants to be competitive in the SEC, the Gators have a lot of work to do on that side of the ball. Having to hit the road this week to play a surprisingly good Missouri could be a tough one for the Gators. If their offense doesn’t back-up their defense, you can go ahead and mark this one as a loss.
DROPPED: North Western & Washington
ON WATCH: Michigan State & Utah