With the release of the first official selection committee rankings, the college football world is swirling with talks of who will make it into the first playoff. We often forget that there are 128 teams in the FBS. Most schools are just looking for a top 25 spot, bowl eligibility, or respect.
That is how upsets are made. We will see a lot more surprises and upsets as the end of the regular season draws closer. Last week was just the beginning of the chaos that is about to start. If you missed any of the upsets or close calls, here is a quick flashback:
#1 Mississippi State continued their undefeated dream season, but not without a fight. The Bulldogs held off Kentucky 45-31.
A late interception sealed LSU's upset over #3 Ole Miss.
#5 Auburn batted down a late Hail Mary attempt and clinched a narrow 42-35 win over South Carolina.
#13 Ohio State needed two overtimes to beat Penn State 31-24.
The season may be inching towards a close, but it is far from over, especially if any of the teams on this week's list falls to their opponent:
Arkansas at #1 Mississippi State
Line: Mississippi State -10.5
Mississippi State's improbable run up the rankings is the early candidate for story of the year in college football. Quarterback Dak Prescott is leading an offensive attack unlike any other in school history. However, there is an old phrase that says, "defense wins championships." Right now, the Bulldogs have the worst total defense in the SEC. Arkansas may not pose the biggest offensive threat, but MSU will be put to the test against a very talented running team.
Arkansas prefers to just pound the ball behind the biggest offensive line in all of football. The Razorbacks are one of those teams just looking to regain some respect in the SEC and pick up their first conference win. What better way to do it than by beating a top ranked team on the road? If they can figure out how to stop Prescott and company, it might just happen.
Last week, Kentucky came out swinging against Mississippi State. This week, Arkansas looks to do the same except they hope to deliver the knockout punch. The Bulldogs need to be extra careful at home this weekend.
Stanford at #5 Oregon
Line: Oregon -8
Oregon has already suffered one loss this year but still sit in good playoff position. They have averaged over 530 yards since that loss to Arizona, but don't expect those numbers against the best defense in the conference. Remember when we said defense wins championships? Oregon has the second worst defense in the PAC 12. But will that be a problem on Saturday?
It may not because Stanford has not been able to move the ball effectively. This season would be a lot worse if not for their defense. So in other words, expect to see David Shaw put all of his cards into his defense stopping Oregon's high powered offense. That has been the key to victory for the last two seasons, but they'll need a bit more this time. Stanford needs to find an identity on offense and successfully the move ball, which means QB Kevin Hogan needs to have the game of his life.
#10 Notre Dame at Navy
Line: Notre Dame -14
If not for one penalty flag, Notre Dame would be in the driver's seat for a playoff appearance. It's amazing what one loss can do to a team's momentum for the rest of season, which is exactly why they are heading into a trap this weekend. The Fighting Irish are consistently the best independent, but they also see some of their toughest games come from other independent schools. Can they handle Navy's best effort?
Better yet, will Navy's best effort be enough? They do not necessarily have anything that plays into Notre Dame's weaknesses, so they will have to do what they do best and do it well. The Midshipmen have stayed true to their triple option offense and consistently rush for over 350 yards per game. On Saturday, they will need to figure out how to stop Everett Golson and then wear down Notre Dame's defense.
It is hard to imagine that a team with a 4-4 record can take down a top 10 team, but Navy is in prime position to pull off one of the biggest upsets in school history in front of a home crowd.