College Football GameDay Rewind: Analyzing New Contenders For College Football Playoff, Including Florida State, Auburn, Ole Miss, Baylor, Mississippi State, Notre Dame, Plus Look Back At Upset-Filled Week 6

October 9, 2014

By Brad Carroll

 

I don't believe anyone saw what happened Thursday and Saturday in college football coming. In a lot of ways, upset week represented a stunning changing of the guard across the nation, as the standard bearers like Oregon, Alabama, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, UCLA, Stanford, Southern Cal and Wisconsin all lost. Each of those teams were favorites.

 

The Top 10 has a whole new look this week, and nothing could be better for college football. No. 1 Florida State stays the same, but the rest looks completely different. Auburn is the new No. 2, with Ole Miss and Mississippi State following in a tie for No. 3. Mississippi State, which got two first place votes after routing Texas A&M, jumped nine spots, while Ole Miss, fresh off a shocking win over Alabama, leaped eight spots.

 

Did you ever believe you would see the day where Ole Miss and Mississippi State would be ranked in the Top 3 of this or any other season? No way. And it's awesome.

 

Baylor, which beat Texas, is No. 5 and Notre Dame, which upset Stanford at home, is No. 6. Then comes one-loss Alabama and Michigan State, at 7 and 8, respectively, before undefeated TCU and Arizona round out the Top 10. TCU was ranked 25th last week, while Arizona was unranked. The Horned Frogs upset Oklahoma and the Wildcats knocked off Oregon as big underdogs.

 

It's about time some new faces populated the top of the rankings.

 

We started analyzing our selections for the College Football Playoff last week in our GameDay Rewind column, and this week will have a whole lot of changes. No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 Oklahoma, No. 3 Oregon and No. 4 Florida State were the programs in our playoff last week. This week, all but Florida State will get bounced.

 

The Seminoles, in our rankings, jump from the fourth-seed to the one. Auburn is the new second-seed, while a group of four teams are in the hunt for the final two spots. Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Baylor and Notre Dame all have a right to the two spots. For now, Ole Miss gets the first nod, as its win over Alabama was most impressive of all the teams. For as good as Mississippi State has been, its wins over LSU and Texas A&M aren't that impressive considering both teams aren't as good as the hype says they are. So, the final spot goes to Baylor.

 

Notre Dame is an interesting case, and its win over Stanford was a big one, but we'll hold out on putting the Irish in just yet. That could change in two weeks, however, when they take on No. 1 Florida State on the road.

 

No one would have guessed last week our four College Footbal Playoff teams would be Florida State, Auburn, Ole Miss and Baylor. But that's the new reality of college football.

 

Don't get too attached to that list, however, as things are certain to change a week from now, as this coming Satuday has No. 2 Auburn traveling to No. 3 Mississippi State, No. 3 Ole Miss taking on No. 14 Texas A&M on the road, No. 5 Baylor hosting No. 9 TCU, and Florida State and Notre Dame are also in action as favorites.

 

This is already shaping up to be the greatest college football season of all time.

 

But before we continue to look ahead, let's take a look back with GameDay Rewind, breaking down how our picks went in Week 6. As always, follow our college football picks on Twitter.

 

Thursday

Arizona (+23.5) 31, Oregon 24

Winners: Matt, Rich Rodriguez

Losers: Brad, Craig, Glenn, Michigan, Michigan State

 

In seemingly every season since it became a national power, Oregon has always choked away at least one game that has cost it dearly in a quest for a national championship. Like clockwork, the Ducks did it again Thursday night, losing a game as an almost 24-point favorite to unranked Arizona. That loss follows two losses late in the season a year ago, to Stanford as the second ranked team in the nation, and then to Arizona as the fifth ranked team. Two years ago, No. 1 Oregon lost to Stanford in overtime. In 2011, No. 4 Oregon lost to No. 18 Southern Cal in late November. In 2010, Oregon didn't lose a game until the national championship against LSU. In 2009, No. 7 Oregon lost to unranked Stanford in November. As good as Oregon is, it's beyond frustrating knowing that, more often than not, it will lose a game it's not supposed to. This year, it just happened a lot earlier. Oregon fell to No. 12 after this latest loss. So, why are Michigan and Michigan State losers as well? Arizona, which jumped all the way to No. 10, is coached by former Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez. While nobody complained about Rodriguez getting fired after three years with the Wolverines, there is no denying the program was a lot better when he was in charger rather than now with Brady Hoke. Michigan is a joke. Hey, Hoke, joke, interesting. Rodriguez is doing quite well for himself these days. Michigan State also took a big hit, as it lost to Oregon in the season opener. That loss looks worse now than it did just a few days ago. I'm on that loser list as well because my Thursday night selections have bee terrible this year, going 1-4 over the last five. Luckily, there are no good games this Thursday, so I won't have to take another loss to the record. Matt was the only one to win this game, and felt the need to apologize for it, saying he was so off on his score, it's doesn't seem right to win. But, heck, a win is a win, so buck up Straubby.

 

Saturday

No. 12 Mississippi State (-2.5) 48, No. 6 Texas A&M 31

Winners: Craig

Losers: Brad, Glenn, Matt

 

I wasn't sold on Texas A&M this season. But I also wasn't a believer in Mississippi State just yet. So I went with the Aggies in a small upset. Boy was I wrong. Mississippi State is for real, while A&M was exposed for the second straight week as nothing more than a good team. And in college football good is far from great. The Bullodgs jumped to No. 3 with the win, and even got two first place votes in the AP poll. I wouldn't go that far at this point, as the two biggest victories Mississippi State does have is over LSU (now unranked after getting routed by Auburn) and A&M (which dropped eight spots to No. 14). If the Bulldogs beat No. 2 Auburn next week, then we can start talking about giving them first place votes, and maybe all of them. But nothing negative can be said about Mississippi State right now. Glenn, Matt and myself all lost on the upset pick, while Craig was the lone wolf winner on the Bulldogs. I would give him credit, but there was this text from Craig in the third quarter: "Did I pick Mississippi State?"

 

No. 20 Ohio State (-8.5) 52, Maryland 24

Winners: Nothing to see here

Losers: The whole lot of us

Well, this game didn't go the way I or any of us thought it would. Ohio State routed the Terps on the road, leaving no doubt all four of us were going to take a loss pretty early on. The Buckyes led 31-10 at halftime and 38-10 midway through the third quarter. Even when I thought Maryland might make a miracle run to losing respectively, as it closed the gap to 21 early in the fourth quarter and got the ball back quickly, the Terps went ahead and threw a pick-six to rub salt in my wounds.

 

No. 1 Florida State (-38) 43, Wake Forest 3

Winners: Brad, Glenn, Matt

Losers: Craig

 

This was not going my way early on, with Wake Forest actually leading 3-0 at the end of the first quarter and trailed just 13-3 at the half. I seriously thought I was about to completely crash and burn on my picks this week, already reeling from an 0-3 start. But Florida State finally woke up in the second half, scoring 30 unanswered points, including 10 in the final 9:10 to seal the win. Craig had to feel the burn of this game, as he had to be feeling good until the Seminoles kicked a field goal with 4:53 to go to lead by 40. As quickly as Craig gained a game on all of us with his Mississippi State pick, he gave it right back quickly on the Demon Deacons.

 

Northwestern (+8.5) 20, No. 17 Wisconsin 14

Winners: Brad, Glenn

Losers: Craig, Matt

 

Here's what I wrote in the preview for the game: "There is a big chance for an upset here, but [Melvin] Gordon should do just enough on the ground for Wisconsin to slip out of town with a win." Basically what I wanted to say was I really, really, really want to take Northwestern in the upset, but I'm a chicken and will go the safe route. So, when Northwestern dominated a game that was never in doubt, I was kicking myself for being said chicken. Still, with how the games are going so far, I'm just happy to escape with a victory. Glenn won as well, but his season-defining moments were in only in the making at this point. By the way, Gordon rushed for 259 yards and a touchdown, so I pretty much had everything pegged correctly except the final score. Matt and Craig

 

No. 11 Ole Miss (+7) 23, Alabama 17

Winners: Glenn, with the upset (yeah, seriously)

Losers: Brad, Craig, Matt, College Football Traditionalists

 

I don't know what was more shocking in this game ... Ole Miss pulling off the big upset and beating Alabama, or Glenn picking Ole Miss to do just that. Both are equally stunning and impressive. Admittedly, I thought Glenn was insane for going with Ole Miss. But he knew more than just about everyone else in the nation, outside of Mississippi of course, going with the Running Rebels. "Boooooom. Who picked the upset," Glenn sent out. I replied "shot in the dark" and "dart board," which he obviously didn't take kindly to. "I did (believe Ole Miss would upset Alabama). My thought process was they usually lose against a good quarterback. And they are also a different team with a new quarterback so they weren't going undefeated. All the majors will suffer a loss. Oregon, Bama and FSU, although FSU might have avoided that with the recent scares. That's the analysis that makes me better than you guys." Unfortunately, we have to listen to his, as Glenn continues to increase his lead in the season standings. And his ego is about to get even bigger.

 

No. 25 TCU (+5.5) 37, No. 4 Oklahoma 33

Winners: Glenn, with the upset (yeah, seriously)

Losers: The rest of us

 

Yes, he did it again. Glenn was probably the only person in the nation to select both Ole Miss and TCU to pull the upset. The rest of us all went with 10-point Oklahoma victories. TCU, much like Arizona, suddenly becomes a College Football Playoff contender. Now, that would be something. TCU is everything that Boise State wishes it was, which is insane if you know the history of the two BCS-busting schools. Boise State never could make it over the hump and make it to the BCS national championship game, coming up short in late, big-game moments, much like Oregon. TCU came on the scene after Boise State made it big, and has a Rose Bowl victory on its resume. The Horned Frogs could finally accomplish the goal of the mid-major, even though they would do so as a member of the Big 12, if they can finish undefeated. They have a huge game at Baylor this Saturday, but after that, TCU won't play a ranked team the rest of the year. For all of us who so badly wanted Boise State or TCU to crack into the title game all those years, this could be the year it actually happens.

 

No. 7 Baylor (-15) 28, Texas 7

Winners: Brad, Craig, Glenn

Losers: Matty Ice

 

"The Longhorns just can't put points on the board, so that makes this a play on Baylor," is what I wrote in my preview, and wouldn't you know it, I was right. Texas was held to just seven points, on a fourth-quarter touchdown, by a Baylor defense that doesn't scare many people. But even with that defensive stand, this game was in doubt most of the way, as Baylor led just 7-0 at the half and 14-0 heading into the fourth quarter. Luckily for of those that picked Baylor, the Bears doubled their point total in the fourth quarter to go up 28-0 and seal the game. Matt was the only one to go with a Texas cover, and he gives back his win on Arizona as the lone wolf winner.

 

No. 9 Notre Dame (+1.5) 17, Stanford 14

Winners: Brad, Craig, Glenn, all with the upset

Losers: Matty Ice Cold

 

This time, Glenn wasn't the only one to pick the upset, as myself and Craig did the same. But we will give Glenn his shout out for scoring the tri-fecta of Ole Miss, TCU and Notre Dame to win in upsets during the 3:30 window. In this game, however, the Irish needed a small miracle to win, completing a 23-yard touchdown pass on fourth and 11 with a minute to play. The win by the Irish sets up a showdown at No. 1 Florida State in two weeks, if both teams can win games this Saturday they are favored to. After a horrible 0-3 start to the Thursday and noon games, I go on to win four of the six afternoon games to rack up a 4-5 record with four to play. Craig is 3-6 and Matt is 2-7. After starting the week 0-3, Glenn swept the 3:30 games, going 6-0.

 

No. 5 Auburn (-7.5) 41, No. 15 LSU 7

Winners: Craig, Glenn

Losers: Brad, Matt, LSU fans

 

There's nothing much to say about this game, as Auburn rolled to an easy win right from the start. LSU was 0-for-13 on third downs, was outgained 566 to 280 in total yards and starting quarterback Brandon Harris completed just 3-of-14 passes for 58 yards, a Geno Smith-like day. Glenn wins his seventh straight pick against the spread, putting even further room between himself and the rest of us. Craig also wins to pull even with myself at 4-6. Matt, who it should be noted made it a point to let everyone know he was one game better than me in the standings leading into this week, fall to 2-8.

 

Arizona State (+12) 38, No. 16 USC 34

Winners: Craig, Glenn, People Who Love The Unbelievable

Losers: Brad, Matt, People Who Are Easily Confused

 

I still can't fathom how Southern Cal lost this game. Still have no idea how Arizona State won this game. Arizona State outscored USC 20-7 in the final 3:53 of the game, including the game-winner on a 47-yard Hail Mary that was answered with a rather routine running grab into the end zone on the final play of the game. USC led by nine with 2:43 to go, then allowed a 74-yard touchdown pass, punted the ball back with 23 seconds to play, and lost. Crazy. "Oh my God Arizona State. How the hell does USC let that up. I had the win locked up but that is ridiculous," was Glenn's reaction. Mine was similiar, pointing out that two USC defenders sat back and waited for the ball to land in their arms, allowing the Arizona State receiver to run right in front of them, pluck the ball out of the air, and walk into the end zone. "That is one of the most shocking losses ever," was my thought right after the game.

 

No. 10 Michigan State (-7.5) 27, No. 19 Nebraska 22

Winners: Matt

Losers: The rest of us, especially my will to pick college football games

 

This could have been the most frustrating game I've ever watched when picking games against the spread. It honestly made me want to give up on my picks columns for good. It was that maddening. Michigan State led the game the whole way, holding a 27-3 advantage heading to the fourth quarter. This win was in the bag, I thought, and I needed it after losing on LSU and USC in the first two nights games. Nebraska scored a touchdown and missed the two-pointer to trail 27-9 early in the fourth, still no need to worry. The Cornhuskers made things more interesting by scoring a touchdown with 4:10 left to go down 11. While getting a little scary, I still had this one, right? Nope. Nebraska scored a touchdown on a punt return 48 seconds later, and after missing the two-point conversion, trailed by five. I was cooked and beaten down completely mentally. From sure victory, to a devastating loss. A couple of immediate thoughts: "If MSU blows this spread I will flip out" and "[Blank] it all." But there was a moment of salvation. Michgian State recovered the onside kick at the Nebraska 43 and got a 17-yard run to put the Spartans in field goal range. Three plays and seven yards later, Michigan State set up for what would be a spread-winning field goal from 36 yards out. He missed it. And I lost. Of course, I was more than OK at this point with Nebraska winning the game outright. But it didn't happen. Michigan State barely held on, Matt had a victory he really shouldn't have (sorry Matt) and I was left wondering why I even do this in the first place. So, with one game to go Glenn is 8-4 with three correct upset picks. He took the bad loss on MSU as well. Craig is 4-8 after a loss on the Spartans. Matt, with his win, improves to 4-8. And I'm 4-8 as well, losing my third straight night game. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

 

Utah (+13.5) 30, UCLA 28

Winners: Everyone who wanted to see another upset

Losers: All of us for trusting the Bruins

 

This game fittingly ended a night full of upsets, as the 2, 3, 4, 6 and 8 ranked teams in the nation all lost this week. UCLA has been flirting with disaster all season, and it finally came back and bit it against Utah, which none of us thought worthy of picking even with 13.5 points added on. The day belonged to the underdog, and while Glenn has proven he's nowhere near an underdog in our picks championship competition, he did make his name on picking them this week. Glenn could have been the only expert in the nation to pick Ole Miss, TCU and Notre Dame to each win in upset fashion. At worst, he's one of the very few anywhere that can claim that holy tri-fecta. He ends the week with an 8-5 record. "You better write a recap of how great I am," Glenn requested at the end of the night. Hope that qualifies. Craig, Matt and myself all ended the night with 4-9 records. Disappoint for all of us, but only Craig has dipped below .500 for the season. After this week, that's saying something about how well all of our experts have done this year. This coming week its another huge slate of college football games, with Glenn seeking to continue his domination, and the rest of us just trying to get our picks back on track. As always, follow all of our picks and updates on Twitter.

 

THE BREAKDOWN

Brad Last Week: 4-9 (spread), 6-7 (straight-up), 1-1 (upset picks)

Brad Season: 36-36 (spread), 52-20 (straight-up), 3-3 (upsets)

Craig Last Week: 4-9 (spread), 6-7 (straight-up), 1-1 (upset picks)

Craig Season: 35-37 (spread), 51-21 (straight-up), 4-5 (upsets)

Glenn Last Week: 8-5 (spread), 8-5 (straight-up), 3-1 (upset picks)

Glenn Season: 43-29 (spread), 56-16 (straight-up), 6-2 (upsets)

Matt Last Week: 4-9 (spread), 6-7 (straight-up), 0-1 (upset picks)

Matt Season: 37-35 (spread), 52-20 (straight-up), 3-4 (upsets)

 

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