The first week of October in the college football season always means more upsets and losses to high ranked & undefeated teams. Who’s left with no losses after week 6? 2 in the Big 12 (West Virginia, Kansas State), 3 in the Big East (Rutgers, Cincinnati, Louisville), 1 in the Big Ten (Ohio State), 1 in the MAC (Ohio), 2 in the Pac-12 (Oregon, Oregon State), 4 in the SEC (Florida, South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi State), 2 in the WAC (Louisiana Tech, UTSA) and Notre Dame.
In all? We’re down to 16 teams after we had 24 last week. Still the same three in the non-AQ conferences, plus Notre Dame.The ACC fell with Florida State, who always find a way to mess up a good thing, while the Big East teams are all in the top 25, but none of them look like an actual threat on the rankings. Still, undefeated, 5-0, 6-0, whatever, is still something to be reckoned with.
So who has a good chance of following through with the 0 on the losing column?
West Virginia have been passing through the Big 12 with flying colors, beating Baylor at home in a record breaking game and then beating Texas, in Austin, to prove their metal in their biggest conference game to date, and what should be their toughest road test of the season. Suddenly, the road looks a bit easier in October and November, because they should have enough firepower to outlast Texas Tech in Lubbock. The real risky one looks like Kansas State and the best defense in the conference, with Oklahoma at home and Iowa State on the road not looking too comfortable of fixtures as well.
Kansas State had no problem, once again, against their state rivals. This isn’t basketball. They’re allowing only 15.6 points per game, which will be quite a clash of styles, as the 9th best rushing attack in the nation takes on Geno Smith and West Virginia. The Wildcats, if they get through a visit to Morgantown still with 0 on the losses column, will be the clear favorites to run the table and win the Big 12. A visit to TCU and playing Texas doesn’t look all that intimidating anymore.
In the Big East, nothing much has changed. Rutgers are the only team with two conference wins, and their road for October-November looks great, but should fall somewhere in the final two weeks. Cincinnati on the road, Pitt on the road or playing Louisville at home. For now, their defense, allowing only 10.8 points per game, looks mighty impressive, but you have to look at the opposition.
Same goes for the Bearcats, who really jumped up in a lot of people’s books after the win over Virginia Tech, going through their worst season in recent memory. They’re solid on both sides of the ball, but have that very tough test at Lousiville against the Cardinals, which might decide the fate of the conference coming up in two weeks. Lousiville look like the strongest team in the conference, and if they do beat Cincy in a couple of weeks, should have a very clear path towards a possible undefeated season.
At the moment, Ohio State just look one class above the rest of the Big Ten. They have enough offense and a enough defense to match up against any Big Ten team, with no one looking really exceptional at the moment. After beating Michigan State and proving way too good for Nebraska, there doesn’t seem to be anyone looking like an actual, serious threat, including Wisconsin on the road and the rivalry game against Michigan.
And on to the curious case of Notre Dame, who keep shutting down opponents and for the first time since the opening week in Ireland, put up a lot of points on the board, crushing Miami 41-7. They’re allowing only 7.8 points per game this season, second in the nation, but the road ahead as an independent makes the prospect of finishing undefeated look very unlikely, including road games against Oklahoma and USC. Somewhere, not having enough offense might get the best of ’em.
In the Pac-12, no losses concentrates in one state. Oregon haven’t scored less than 49 points against a conference opponent, and should continue to put up big numbers until a brutal closing month. At USC, home against Stanfrod and at Oregon State for the civil war. They’re the most talented offensive team in the conference, maybe the nation, but enough to come out of that schedule unscathed? Possibly. Oregon State are a case of great defense till now, but their visits to Washington and Stanford could take care of their undefeated season before the November 24 Oregon game.
The SEC for the big finish. Alabama didn’t play, so that leaves them as the only undefeated team in the SEC West… except for the Mississippi State Bulldogs. Their run should be over in just over two weeks, as they visit Alabama. The more intriguing division is the East. South Carolina and Florida both came up big in their home stands against Georgia and LSU. The Gators travel to Columbia on October 20, but the Gamecocks have a visit to Baton Rouge prior to that. Good chance that by the time Florida reach South Carolina, their rivals already have a loss.