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National Review Week 6: Chaos Ensuses


Joe Murphy

The greatest day of college football happened last Saturday.  It was pure chaos and it was beautiful.  The gap is narrowing between the established powers and the teams on the rise.  Nothing is safe or protected in the world of college football this season and that's just how I want it.

The PAC-12 games have already been covered extensively but the abridged notes are Oregon lost to Arizona, Stanford played poorly in a last-minute loss to Notre Dame, Arizona State topped USC on a Hail Mary, Utah beat top-10 UCLA, and Connor Halliday broke all the records in a 60-59 loss to Cal.

Tako gave me crap for ranking Michigan State above undefeated BYU in the last quackpoll but this is the reason why.  BYU faced their first even-ish opponent and lost 35-20.  Their staring quarterback Taysom Hill, who ran over and through the Texas defense, sustained a leg injury and is out for the year.  The obvious reason why BYU was lost was the 4 turnovers, which consisted of 3 interceptions by the backup quarterback.

All eyes were on Oxford when Alabam took on Ole Miss.  In one of the more exciting games of the day with all the twists and turns Dr. Bo Wallace played out of his mind, going 18/31 for 251 yards and 3 touchdowns.  Ole Miss established a run early that kept Alabama off-balance throughout the game.  Bo Wallace and Jayien Walton were able to get a few big chunks of yards at the beginning and opened up the entire offensive playbook.

Amari Cooper of the Crimson Tide only had 9 receptions for 91 yards.  For almost any receiver that's a good day but not when the offense is essentially predicated off of getting the ball to Amari Cooper.  The Rebels bottled Cooper on many of his receptions.  The Ole Miss defense was the MVP.  I thought their secondary matched up well but it was shocking that they held Alabama to only one offensive touchdown, which was a 1-yard Blake Sims run on 4th and goal.

The goalposts from the field were promptly split into pieces and carried around campus on an Odyssey.

Elsewhere in the SEC West, Mississippi State beat Texas A&M 48-31.  Dak Prescott continues his Heisman-like surge going 20/26 for 268 yards and 2 touchdowns while adding another 77 yards on the ground.  I think it's clear that Mississippi State has been one of the top two most impressive teams so far this year.

The Bulldog defense forced three Kenny Hill interceptions.  For the first time this year Kenny Hill looked less than super-human for an entire game.  The Aggie defense really struggled as they allowed 280 yards on the ground and 279 yards through the air.  They also allowed Mississippi State to get out to a 28-7 lead in the second quarter and at with 10 minutes to go in the fourth quarter Mississippi State led 48-17.

The other top team in the country is Auburn and they proved it with a 41-7 stomping of LSU.  Auburn outgained LSU 566-280 and rushed for almost 300 yards.  Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall threw 14/22, 207 yards, and 2 touchdowns for a QBR of 94.1 and added 119 yards on the ground and 2 touchdowns on 16 carries.  LSU might be bad this year, especially after Wisconsin dropped their game to Northwestern.

Michigan State held on late against Nebraska.  The Spartans led 27-3 headed into the fourth quarter before allowing three straight touchdowns, two of which occurred less than a minute apart.  As I predicted, Ameer Abdullah had a tough day running the ball because Sparty could load up on the run since Tommy Armstrong Jr. wasn't a huge threat throwing the football.  Abdullah had 24 carries for 45 yards but added 2 touchdowns on the ground.  Michigan State continues to be the best team in the Big-10 but eliminates one of the last undefeated teams.

In one of the more predictable games of the week, Baylor pulled away late from Texas for a 28-7 win.  At halftime the Bears had only scored a single touchdown and were only up 14-0 headed into the fourth quarter.  It's a strange time we live in when Baylor beats Texas and it's not that surprising.  Texas quarterback Tyrone Swoopes threw two interceptions and finished with a QBR of 7.2.

TCU's 37-33 win over Oklahoma was maybe the most exciting game of the day.  The Horned Frogs used tempo very effectively to keep Oklahoma off balance.  This contest was so even throughout.  Yardage and turnovers were almost even and every statistic was very similar.  This is a game that really just needs to be watched somehow.  There was drama throughout and the tension was ever increasing.

Playoff Predictions

Auburn v. Florida State

Mississippi State v. Ole Miss