Every Wednesday during the college football season, I revealed my new power rankings prior to the next week getting started. Beginning next week I will start unveiling them on Wednesdays. Keep in mind that this is not a Top 25 poll but a list of power rankings based on the previous week’s games. Here is the first set of Southern Football Report Power Rankings:
1. Ole Miss Rebels – I will be the first one to admit that I was one of the people waiting on a massive Ole Miss meltdown in College Station, Texas, over the weekend after their euphoric win over Alabama in Oxford a week earlier. Boy was I wrong as Ole Miss rode into Texas and completely suffocated that Aggies offense who was one of the top offenses in the country. Aggie quarterback Kenny Hill still threw for over 400 yards in the game but the Aggies only had 7 points heading into the 4th quarter. The Ole Miss defense forced three turnovers in the ball game and earned my number one spot in the Power Rankings this week after getting a big road win after a huge home win when we all expected them to fold.
2. Georgia Bulldogs – Again, I was one of the people who looked at this Georgia offense without Todd Gurley and wondered where the production was going to come from. The answer to my question and to Bulldog fans’ prayers everywhere was answered pretty quickly when they began handing freshman runningback Nick Chubb the ball; that and when the Bulldog defense stepped out on the field. Not only did Chubb have an excellent day running the football, but the Georgia defense had themselves a day holding Missouri to a pedestrian 147 total yards of offense. Give Georgia head coach Mark Richt a lot of credit for having his team prepared to play on Saturday, and honestly, this was one of Georgia’s best performances in the past couple of seasons.
3. Florida State Seminoles – The Seminoles took a 24-6 lead into halftime against Syracuse on the road but had to insert their third string runningback into the game in the 2nd quarter when first time starter Mario Pender exited with an injury. It didn’t turn out to be much of a drop off when Dalvin Cook rushed for 122 yards in relief on the way to the Noles’ grabbing a 31-6 lead in the 3rd quarter. Quarterback Jameis Winston was locked into his wide receivers as he threw for 317 yards and a trio of touchdown passes in the Seminoles’ 22nd consecutive win, the longest winning streak in the country.
4. Mississippi State Bulldogs – Saturday marked the third straight week that Mississippi State was playing a team ranked in the top ten but this time it was at home and that opponent was the reigning SEC Champion Auburn Tigers. The popcorn wasn’t even warmed up before the Bulldogs jumped out to a 21-0 lead in front of a capacity crowd in their newly renovated and expanded Davis Wade Stadium. Auburn would eventually make it a game after a few Bulldog mistakes but Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott was able to rally the troops and fuel his team to a 38-23 win at home. Prescott ended the game having accounted for 367 total yards and three touchdowns and made another great statement in his Heisman Trophy campaign.
5. Oregon Ducks – Saturday’s game in Los Angeles was a College Football Playoff elimination game and was a classic back-against-the-wall scenario in which the Ducks fought they way back in to the fray and are now back in the national championship contender discussion. The Ducks jumped out to a 21-10 lead in the first half on the arm of Marcus Mariota’s arm twice and his legs once as he threw two touchdowns and rushed for another. For the most part it was all Oregon after that as they scooted to a 42-10 lead before putting it on cruise control in the 4th quarter.
6. Washington Huskies – New Washington head coach Chris Petersen has been having a tough time figuring out his new team but if Saturday is a preview of coming attractions, sign me up for the official premier (this Saturday when they play Oregon in Eugene). The Huskies took down the Pac-12 North darling and surprise team California in convincing fashion on Saturday 41-7. Washington jumped out to a 28-0 lead before calling the dogs and Huskies quarterback Cyler Miles is well worth the price of admission after watching him throw for 273 yards and 3 touchdowns. Also, the Huskies have the best kept defensive secret in the country in linebacker Shaq Thompson.
7. Central Michigan Chippewas – Yes, you read that correctly. The Central Michigan Chippewas have managed to crack the weekly Southern Football Report Power Rankings. That’s what happens when you completely dismantle the reigning three time conference champion of the conference in which you reside. The Chippewas went down 7-0 early in the 1st quarter but then proceeded to show the Northern Illinois Huskies how the other half lives as they raced out to a 21-10 lead late in the 3rd quarter. ‘How did this happen?’ you ask? I’ll tell you: senior runningback Thomas Rawls was handed the ball 40 times and he went off for 270 yards and a pair of touchdowns. That’ll get the job done.
8. Marshall Thundering Herd – This marks two weeks in a row that the Herd make it into the Power Rankings and rightfully so as these past two weeks were the two games that were going to derail Marshall’s potentially undefeated season. Marshall quarterback Rakeem Cato rebounded from a subpar game last week to throw for over 300 yards and three scores, the third being a 6 yard touchdown pass to put Marshall up 49-17 early in the 4th quarter. Middle Tennessee State was able to muster a touchdown late in the ballgame as the Thundering Herd was on cruise control. Marshall improved to 6-0 on the season with the 49-24 victory.
9. Baylor Bears – If anyone went into Saturday’s game thinking that Baylor had an elite defense, they need to be tested for Ebola. The fact that Baylor scored 61 points on a defense who was barely allowing two touchdowns per game hasn’t been given nearly enough congratulations and the fact that they won the game after being down as much as 21 points in the 4th quarter is unbelievable. After being held to his lowest passing totals of his career last week in Austin, Bears quarterback Bryce Petty tossed 6 touchdowns and over 500 yards in Baylor’s 61-59 win over TCU.
10. Troy Trojans – It’s not every day that a one-win team makes it into the Southern Football Report but somehow the 1-5 Troy Trojans have done it after their improbably 41-24 beat down of New Mexico State. Led by quarterback Brandon Silvers who had over 200 yards passing with a touchdown and 70 yards rushing with another touchdown, the Trojans were able to scrape together over 500 yards of total offense against the Aggies but most un-Troy-like, the Trojans took a 13 point lead into halftime and were able to hang on to get their first win of the 2014 season. Congratulations Troy.
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