College Football Nation Rundown: Upsets and Near Misses

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Another one bites the dust … Well, sort of.

The Mississippi State Bulldogs aren’t going to be the No. 1 team in the country come Monday morning. Dak Prescott and Co. went into Tuscaloosa, and for the first time this season they didn’t come out victorious, as No. 5 Alabama defeated (former) No. 1 MSU, 25-20, Saturday.

Alabama boasts what is perhaps the finest defensive unit in the country (second in points allowed at 13.9) and they put it on full display against the Bulldogs. The Crimson Tide defense picked off Heisman-hopeful Prescott on three separate occasions (all came inside Alabama’s own 25), and thus never allowed the Bulldogs’ offense to get rolling.

Mississippi State cut the lead to six early in the fourth quarter, but Alabama quarterback Blake Sims answered right back with a 15-play, 76-yard touchdown drive to put Alabama back up 25-13. The Tide drove the final nail in the coffin when defensive back Landon Collins picked off Prescott on the following drive. The Bulldogs tacked on another touchdown late in the fourth to make it 25-20, but the game wasn’t as close as the score might imply.

In other SEC news …

No. 15 Georgia blew out No. 9 Auburn 34-7 … Arkansas got their first conference win of the year with a 17-0 victory over No. 17 LSU … I had a buddy go to the Texas A&M vs Missouri game at College Station and he said that more than half the people in attendance poured out of the stadium when Missouri went up 34-20. He was not impressed, to say the very least.

BIG 12:

No. 4 TCU struggled mightily against a lowly Kansas (3-7 overall, 1-6 conference) team. The Horned Frogs won, 34-30, but I don’t think that anybody was impressed with their showing. They certainly didn’t look like a top four team on Saturday, and if Mississippi State is in the top four come Tuesday, then they’ll have TCU to thank.

Could an idle No. 7 Baylor end up in front of TCU? The Bears did beat the Horned Frogs, 61-58, in their conference matchup.

BIG 10:

Heisman Alert: Running Melvin Gordon got off in Wisconsin’s 59-24 victory over Nebraska. Gordon ran for 408 yards and four touchdowns. Yes, you read that right. Gordon broke LaDainian Tomlinson’s single-game rushing record, and he only needed three quarters to do it (he sat out the 4th). Gordon currently has 1,909 rushing yards and 25 touchdowns on the season. He still has two more games and could rack up well over 2,000 yards on the season.

No. 8 Ohio State defeated No. 25 Minnesota, 31-24, in what can only be described as a blizzard. The heavy snowfall couldn’t slow down Buckeye quarterback J.T. Barrett, however. Barrett threw for 200 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for another 189 yards — an Ohio State record for quarterbacks – and a touchdown in the victory.


It happens every week. Florida State gets down big early, and just when you think they’re finally going to lose, they come back. No. 3 FSU was down 23-10 against Miami at the half. The Seminoles outscored the Hurricanes, 20-3, in the second half to win, 30-26.

People point at Florida State’s schedule and argue that “they don’t play anyone” and “they barely beat these unranked teams.” I have said these things. Say what you will about Jameis Winston and the Seminoles, but the truth is that Florida State has a very resilient squad. They’ve had more distractions and bad press than any other team in recent memory, yet they take care of business every Saturday. They’ve now won 26 straight games, and are the only undefeated team remaining in the playoff picture.

Oregon State mixes it up?

The late night stunner of Oregon State upsetting No. 6 Arizona State, 35-27, mixes up the national playoff picture and the Pac-12 South even further. Who is going to move up in the place of ASU? Who is going to win the Pac-12 South? Four teams have two losses with quite the mixture of head-to-head victories and the South will not be decided until the final weekend due to the tremendous play of the Beavers.

Final Thoughts:

These games will dramatically shake up the College Football Playoff picture. Alabama will undoubtedly be in the top four, but how far will Mississippi State fall? Of all the teams with one loss, their loss is probably the most “impressive” (only in college football do we consider losses to be “impressive”) and with the way that TCU looked against Kansas, you’d be hard pressed to argue that they’re more deserving than Mississippi State of the No.4 spot.

Who’s going to be the new number one? Oregon (off their bye week), Florida State, and Alabama all have pretty strong cases they could make. Alabama will argue that they  just beat the No. 1 team in the country, and Florida State will point to being the only remaining undefeated team. Oregon on the other hand, came into the weekend at No. 2 and believes that it should be the new heir to the throne.

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