Just one SEC West team is left undefeated after the LSU Tigers beat Ole Miss to leave just three teams this season without a loss in College Football: Mississippi State, beating Kentucky to remain number one, Florida State that had a week off and Marshall, who didn’t really impress in a win against Florida Atlantic.
Marshall are ranked just because they have 0 losses, but compared to teams from the power five conferences, they’re probably a sub par group, maybe even less, enjoying a very easy schedule in conference USA and avoiding anyone too difficult in the nonconferce section of the season. Their win over Florida Atlantic won’t win them too many votes, running away with the game only in the fourth quarter to make it a 19-point victory.
Mississippi State didn’t have the easiest of times either, beating Kentucky 45-31 in a close game. However, with the Seminoles not playing and the Bulldogs having a few more impressive wins over ranked teams compared to Florida State, they should find themselves still on top of the rankings once the polls come out, although no one is quite sure what the initial rankings from the committee are going to look like.
Ole Miss are probably the team with the best defense in the nation, but you need a little bit of offense coming into Tiger Stadium. LSU, who have had taken a couple of blows this season with losses to Mississippi State and Auburn, won a lot of respect and credit back with a 10-7 win that was mostly about getting stops and not putting points on the board. It should put them back in the top 20, while Ole Miss, ranked at #3 before this week, are going to take a tumble of at least three spots with Alabama, Auburn and Oregon all winning their games.
While most of who should have won actually came through with the victory aside from the LSU – Ole Miss game, which gives us an indication that things might still get shaken up quite a bit in the SEC, a bit lower and way out West where Pac-12 teams play things are changing as well. USC, #20 before the game, will probably be knocked out of the rankings again after losing in Utah. The Utes have now beaten two ranked teams (USC and UCLA) along with road wins in Michigan and Oregon State, which might propel them into the top 15 with just one loss so far this season. The schedule doesn’t get any easier with Oregon, Arizona State, Stanford and Arizona left to play.
West Virginia, with a road win over the slipping Oklahoma State ,will also find themselves a lot higher than anyone expected, pushing into the top 20. The signs were there from the start of the season, giving Alabama a run for their money on the opening weekend. It’s been a rough transition into the Big 12 for the Mountaineers, but this season feels like they’re finally adjusting and making their mark on the new conference, which is in flux with TCU and Kansas right now as its top teams.
The Big Ten remains in status quo: Michigan State above the rest after destroying Michigan, Ohio State keep on winning and so does Nebraska. With games against Wisconsin and Iowa left to play, the Cornhuskers look like the first in line for the championship game from their division. In the East, it’ll come down to Michigan State or Ohio State, who are both probably better than anyone in the West.