Wild Weekend Shakes Up College Football Rankings

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Mary Naughton, Maroon-News Staff

In sports, it is common to predict the underdog will succumb to the mightier force, but this stereotype was shattered this past weekend in the realm of college football. If fans learned anything this past weekend, it’s that attempting to predict outcomes may be a complete waste of time. Five of the top eight teams lost during week six – something that has never happened in the history of college football. Now only four teams remain undefeated: Florida State, Auburn, Mississippi State and Ole Miss. Essentially, it was a good weekend for football fans in the state of Mississippi, but everywhere else was met with shock and likely anger (especially for those from the Los Angeles region).

While accomplished teams such as Oregon and Alabama started off the season strong, they lost their stride this past weekend. No. 2 Oregon, No. 3 Alabama, No. 4 Oklahoma, No. 6 Texas A&M and No. 8 UCLA all lost to lower-ranked teams. Other heavy-hitters such as No. 16 USC, No. 17 Wisconsin and No. 18 BYU also took tumbles. Mississippi State outplayed Texas A&M, Arizona State trumped Oregon, Utah State beat BYU, Ole Miss outlasted Alabama, TCU outdid Oklahoma, Utah State beat UCLA, Arizona State smothered USC and Northwestern dominated Wisconsin. However, for some teams, the shock was not as great. UCLA, for example, might have seen this defeat coming. Their only impressive game this season was against Arizona State, and their three other wins were by margins of eight points or fewer.  

The four undefeated teams have looked very strong and are certainly looking like possible post-season contenders. Florida State trampled Wake Forest similarly to how Auburn smothered LSU this past weekend. Keep in mind, however, that these tasks were not too challenging. The major teams from Mississippi, Ole Miss and Mississippi State, outlasted Texas A&M and Alabama, respectively. Mississippi and Ole Miss, two of the strongest competitors from 2013, are predicted to finish the season strongly and for the first time in history, they will both move into the top 10 ranking during the same weekend.

One of the most memorable moments of the weekend came when Arizona State’s second string quarterback, Mike Bercovici, connected with Jaelen Stong, a wide receiver, for a 46 yard Hail Mary pass that allowed them to win the game against USC. The Trojans defense stood flat-footed as Strong snuck in to make the catch. After the memorable game, Bercovici commented, “I’ll be honest, it was a little bit of a prayer…[after] I just immediately fell to the floor. All I wanted to do was run upstairs to my mom and give her a big hug.”

While some major teams took steps backward this past weekend, many analysts still favor one of the losers, the Alabama Crimson Tide, to win the championship this season. Auburn and Oklahoma State are predicted to be right behind the tide. However, this past week has changed many others’ opinions, including the Associated Press Top 25 rankings. As a result of Saturday’s games, Auburn is now ranked second in the nation, Ole Miss jumped from No. 11 to No. 4, and TCU made the biggest move of all, going from No. 25 to No. 9 in the nation.

However, midway through the season is not enough time to make lasting predictions. One loss does not define a team. After Oklahoma’s loss to the lesser TCU, Sooners’ quarterback Trevor Knight echoed words that many mighty teams who lost this past weekend would agree with. “This isn’t the defining moment of our season. There’s a lot of football left. Who knows what’s down the road. It’s early in the season, a one-loss team can still make it.”

While this season of college football has produced rankings similar to those in previous years, this past weekend proves that powerhouse teams can always lose to spirited underdogs if they’re not careful, keeping alive the notion in sports that any competitor has a chance at victory. Whether the teams that fell this weekend bounce back or not, opinions will always change from week to week as the unpredictability of college football continues its strong tradition.