This past Saturday started with a huge upset in Eugene and finished with a player in Pullman, Washington, breaking an NCAA passing record with 9 losses from Top 25 teams in between. It was definitely a wild Saturday; the wildest one of the 2014 season for sure and it appears that the first year of the College Football Playoff will be a fun but difficult one to keep up with.
1. Mississippi – The state of Mississippi had never seen a day of college football quite like what they got on Saturday. ESPN’s College Gameday made its first trip to Oxford and ‘The Grove’ leading up to the Ole Miss/Alabama game where the Rebels got a huge 23-17 win before storming the field, bringing down the goal posts and carrying them out to where the celebration was well underway in Oxford. Down in Starkville, the SEC Network was on hand for the Bulldogs’ game against the Aggies who had been the darlings of college football this season. Mississippi State’s game was very matter-of-fact and business-as-usual as the Bulldogs carried a 28-10 lead in halftime and never looked back on their way to a 48-31 upset of the number 6 team in the country. Saturday was an incredible day for college football but especially college football fans in the Magnolia State.
2. Northwestern Wildcats – When the season started and California defeated Northwestern 31-24, we all scratched our heads. Some of us expected Northwestern to contend for the West Division of the Big Ten, and a loss to a team who only won a single game in 2013 wasn’t exactly how to start a championship season. Then they turned around and lost to in-state opponent and MAC team Northern Illinois which mad us wonder again what in the world was going on in Evanston. Here we are a couple weeks later and it appears that Wildcats head coach Pat Fitzgerald has righted the ship as Northwestern has reeled off three straight convincing wins, two of which are conference wins. Last week’s win over nationally ranked Wisconsin may have put Northwestern in very good position to make a run at the Big Ten West title, just as we predicted.
3. Arizona – Everyone is pointing at the state of Mississippi and their great weekend but the Grand Canyon State deserves some love as well. The Arizona Wildcats started off the upset weekend with their 31-24 win over (at the time) the 2nd ranked Oregon Ducks in Eugene, giving Zona a two game winning streak over the mighty Ducks and became the first FBS opponent to hold Heisman hopeful Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota to less than 300 yards passing. Then on Saturday, the Sun Devils made the trip over to Los Angeles to play USC and racked up over 500 yards in their thrilling 38-34 win. Arizona State scored 20 points in the 4th quarter including a 46-yard touchdown pass with no time left from backup quarterback Mike Bercovici to Jaelen Strong for the win.
4. Georgia Southern Eagles – The fine folks from Statesboro, Georgia, are now officially members of the highest level of college football. This is not because they took NC State and Georgia Tech down to the wire in the first month of the season or because they are now 3-0 in conference play but because they finally got a win outside of the regional southeast. Never in the history of the school had Georgia Southern won a football game outside of the southeastern part of the United States. The Eagles have attempted the gigantic feat four times in the pass but had never been successful. On Saturday Southern traveled out to Las Cruces, New Mexico, and got a 36-28 win over the New Mexico State Aggies. Congratulations Georgia Southern and welcome to the Football Bowl Subdivision.
1. South Carolina Gamecocks – With a preseason rank of 9th and an SEC Storied special about the Ole Ball Coach, Steve Spurrier, everything was pointing to a special season in Columbia. Six games into the season, the Gamecocks are 3-3 and barring a miracle, are completely out of the SEC East race. They opened the season with a beat down loss at the hands of the Texas A&M Aggies, followed that with a narrow win over Georgia at home but then turned around and lost back-to-back games to Missouri at home and Kentucky in Lexington. This season South Carolina is 91st in total defense and has yet to hold anyone to less than 21 points.
2. NC State Wolfpack – What a difference two weeks make. Two weeks ago, the Wolfpack were undefeated and preparing for the number 1 team in the country. Today they are 0-2 in conference play and licking their wounds after being absolutely obliterated 41-0 at the hands of the Clemson Tigers in Death Valley. NC State put up a good fight against Florida State as it was a very good game in the 2nd half but the emotional well must have run dry after that loss as the Wolfpack just didn’t have the same enthusiasm to beat the Tigers as they did the Noles. That is a sign that the NC State program isn’t where it needs to be just yet. I wonder what Dave Doerun will find to complain about this week.
3. Stanford Cardinal – The Cardinal began the season ranked 11th in the country and have won the Pac-12 conference the past two seasons. Last Saturday they lost a nail biter in South Bend to the undefeated Fighting Irish and all but lost their chance at playing in the College Football Playoff, as they now have two losses on the season and are barely hanging on to a Top 25 ranking. The Cardinal offense is known for its power rushing attack and Stanford just isn’t getting it down this season averaging just over 100 yards per game this season.
Tune in to the Southern Football Report this and every Saturday morning from 10 am to Noon on Live 101.9, Rockin 106.3 & Q 92.3 to hear high school scores from Friday night as well as college football discussion, debate and previews of the games to come!