Here we are in the middle of November and it’s time to toss out all the Power Rankings and welcome the Southern Football Report Top Four. All season long every analyst under the sun has given us their top four teams every week and until no, they haven’t mattered a whole lot. Now that the calendar has turned to November and we are only a few weeks away from Championship Saturday and Selection Sunday, the top four actually matters. So it’s time for the Southern Football Report to join in and unveil the first Southern Football Report Weekly Top Four.
1. Florida State Seminoles – ACC – 10-0 (7-0) – Saturday night the Seminoles clinched the Atlantic Division title in the ACC punching their ticket to play the Coastal Division champion in Charlotte, North Carolina, on December 6th. The Seminoles are undefeated on the season and are fresh off of a come-from-behind win on the road against one of their in-state rivals, the Miami Hurricanes. Saturday night the Noles fell behind 23-7 in the first half but outscored the Canes 20-3 in the second half. Quarterback Jameis Winston finished the game with 304 yards with a touchdown and an interception while true freshman runningback Dalvin Cook continued to dazzle college football fans with a 7 carry, 92 yards & two touchdown performance. Florida State will finish the regular season with two home games against Boston College and Florida followed by the ACC Championship Game against either the Duke Blue Devils or the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.
2. Alabama Crimson Tide – SEC – 9-1 (6-1) – Saturday afternoon Alabama became the first team of the season to defeat the number one team in the country when they defeated Mississippi State 25-20 in Tuscaloosa. I did appreciate the fact that Crimson Tide fans did not rush the field after the win and acted like they had been there before. The Tide forced three turnovers and carried a 19-6 lead into the 4th quarter. Alabama was outgained in the game and outscored in the 4th quarter but held on to get the five point victory. The Crimson Tide’s only loss is a 23-17 road loss to Ole Miss who is currently 8-2 on the year and 8th in the College Football Rankings. Alabama will close out the regular season with home games against the Western Carolina Catamounts from the FCS Southern Conference and in-state rival Auburn Tigers. The Crimson Tide control their destiny and are only one win away from clinching the SEC West Division crown.
3. Oregon Ducks – Pac-12 – 9-1 (6-1) – Saturday the Ducks were on a bye week but the last time we saw them in action they were defeating the 17th ranked Utah Utes in Rice-Eccles Stadium 51-27. The Ducks were down 7-0 at the end of the 1st quarter but outscored the Utes 24-3 in the 2nd quarter to take a 24-10 lead into halftime. Oregon rolled on after that to the 24-point win. Quarterback Marcus Mariota finished the game with 353 yards of total offense and 3 total touchdowns. The Ducks only loss is a 24-31 home loss to the Arizona Wildcats who are 8-2 on the year and are 15th in the College Football Rankings. Oregon has two games remaining on the schedule, one at home against a downtrodden Colorado Buffalo team and a road game at their hated in-state rival Oregon State Beavers. The Ducks have already clinched the North title and await their opponent out of the Pac-12 South.
4. Baylor Bears – Big XII – 8-1 (5-1) – The Bears were also off on Saturday but were still riding high from their 48-14 tail whooping of the Oklahoma Sooners in Norman. Baylor earned they first road win over an AP ranked opponent in 37 tries and their first ever win over Oklahoma in Norman. Bears quarterback Bryce Petty didn’t bust open the record books but got the job done with 387 yards through the air and a touchdown but fifteen of those throws went in the direction of sophomore wide receiver Corey Coleman who finished the game with 224 receiving yards. Baylor’s only loss on the season is a 41-27 road loss to West Virginia who is 6-4 on the season and unranked at the moment. The Bears will finish the regular season with two home games sandwiched around a neutral site game against Texas Tech. The two home games are against Oklahoma State & Kansas State.
FIRST FOUR OUT
5. TCU Horned Frogs – Big XII – 9-1 (6-1) – Saturday’s performance in Lawrence, Kansas, was probably the most puzzling one of the season for Coach Patterson’s coaching staff as the Horned Frogs had to eke out a victory on the road against an annually bad Jayhawks team being coached by an interim. Every team has one of those days where nothing seems to go just right and Saturday must have been it for TCU. Kansas led 13-10 at halftime but the Frogs responded with 24 second half points to earn the 34-30 road conference win. Quarterback Trevone Boykin finished with 330 yards and a touchdown and an interception. The Horned Frogs only loss on the season was a 61-58 road loss to Baylor who is 8-1 on the season and sits 7th in the College Football Playoff Rankings. TCU will finish the regular season with a road game in Austin against the hated Texas Longhorns on Thanksgiving night and a home game against Iowa State to close out the season.
6. Ohio State Buckeyes – Big Ten – 9-1 (6-0) – Saturday afternoon the Buckeyes braved the elements in the ‘Land of 10,000 Lakes’ and defeated a better than expected Minnesota Golden Gophers squad 31-24. Minnesota fought back to tie the game 14-14 late in the second quarter but freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett and company pulled away to a 31-14 lead by the middle of the 4th quarter and the game was well out of hand. Barrett finished the game with 389 total yards of offense and four total touchdowns. Ohio State’s only loss on the season is a 35-21 home loss to the Virginia Tech Hokies who are 5-5 on the season and currently unranked. Ohio State will finish the season with home games against the Indiana Hoosiers and hated rival Michigan.
7. Mississippi State Bulldogs – SEC – 9-1 (5-1) – The Bulldogs are the only team on the list today that lost on Saturday. Mississippi State fell 25-20 on the road at fifth ranked Alabama and quarterback Dak Prescott managed to toss three crucial interceptions in Alabama territory. Mississippi State actually outgained Alabama by a margin of 93 yards and had 9 more first downs but the turnovers ended up being the demise of the Mississippi State undefeated season. Even though the Bulldogs lost on Saturday they are not out of the Western division race. If Auburn decided to beat Alabama while Mississippi State wins the annual Egg Bowl against Ole Miss, Mississippi State will earn a trip to Atlanta. Mississippi State’s only two regular season opponents are the Vanderbilt Commodores and those Rebels from Ole Miss on November 29th.
8. Michigan State Spartans – Big Ten – 8-2 (5-1) – Saturday the Spartans made their first ever trip to College Park, Maryland, and were able to carry a 30-7 lead into the 4th quarter behind solid performances from runningback Jeremy Langford who went for 138 yards on 25 carries and two touchdowns. Michigan State was able to hold the Terrapins to under 300 yards of total offense in the game including only 6 rushing yards and the Spartan defense was able to force four turnovers. Michigan State’s two losses were a 46-27 road loss to Oregon who is 9-1 on the season and ranked 2nd in the College Football Playoff Rankings and a 49-37 home loss to conference foe Ohio State who is 9-1 on the season and currently ranked 8th in the College Football Playoff Ranking. Michigan State will close the regular season with a home game against Big Ten newcomer Rutgers and a road game against the Penn State Nittany Lions.
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