1. "Never, in my mind, have I ever been an underdog in my own stadium."
Said Les Miles earlier in the week, despite the numbers making his Tigers at least a 3.5-point home underdog to No. 3 Ole Miss. And when Miles starts talking about what goes on inside his mind, the whole world is in danger.
In 1959, LSU's Billy Cannon broke off one of the greatest plays in college football history, an 89-yard punt return to put away the likewise-No. 3 Rebels on Halloween night in Death Valley, 7-3.
This year's 10-7 reckoning in Baton Rouge lacks a moment that definitive, but so does almost every other game ever played. Instead of recalling a shadow weaving through hapless punt coverage, we'll remember Ole Miss' well-thought-through attempts at offense being stuffed over and over at the line of scrimmage, freshman running back Leonard Fournette delivering 154 all-purpose yards that felt like a thousand, and the LSU secondary turning Good Bo Wallace into Catastrophic Bo Wallace, whose stat sheet could've very easily listed three or more interceptions, not just one.
That one, on the Rebels' final offensive play, will go down in rivalry lore. Why didn't Ole Miss just try for a long field goal to tie instead of forcing a throw into a pack of Tigers? Hugh Freeze said after the game that the plan was to play it safe, but Tiger Stadium has laughed at far better plans than that one.
The Rebels now join the cluster of one-loss teams that'll rely on politicking in order to make their College Football Playoff cases. LSU's 4-2 start, once considered a sure sign of a young team's rebuilding season, now just looks like a rebuilding month. And after threatening to change the rivalry's course last year in Oxford, Ole Miss finds itself back where it's been so many times before.
LSU players presented Miles, coaching with a heavy heart after the Friday night loss of his mother, Martha, with the game ball:
2. The new Big 12 order
Heading into this season, it seemed like the Big 12 was destined to be a two-team race. Baylor was one of the most impressive teams in 2013 and returned most of its parts, while Oklahoma was coming off an impressive Sugar Bowl win over Alabama.
Nine weeks in, and everything is upside down. Oklahoma and Baylor has each dropped a conference game, plus another for the Sooners. And Oklahoma's fellow traditional power, Texas, is now 3-5, though that part's not all that surprising.
Who's taken over? TCU, West Virginia, and Kansas State. The two new teams in the conference and what was the worst program in the country, pre-Bill Snyder.
The Horned Frogs dropped 82 points against Texas Tech, shedding what was once an all-defense identity and becoming the top scoring offense in the country (50.4 points per game). West Virginia holds back-to-back multiple-possession victories over Baylor and Oklahoma State, claiming one of the top passing attacks in the country and an improved defense. Kansas State remains the only Big 12 team unbeaten in conference play, shutting out Texas, 23-0, after a 31-30 win at Oklahoma last week.
There's still opportunity for wildness as conference play closes out -- the Big 12 has certainly shown a penchant for that so far. Each of these teams still has to play each other, while Kansas State has a season-ending game at Baylor looming. The Wildcats and Horned Frogs may be the conference's best hope, but there are some hurdles they'll have to clear first.
And if you're a fan of new guys and little guys ranking ahead of the big brands, also look at the Pac-12 South, where Arizona, Arizona State, and Utah share three combined losses, putting them all ahead of UCLA and USC.
3. November 8
By any measure, Michigan State and Ohio State entered and survived Saturday as the Big Ten's two best teams. The Spartans did so with authority, grouchily hammering their alleged big brothers, while the Buckeyes pulled out an overtime road win against perhaps the country's best defense. Those two meet on November 8 for the Big Ten title.
Oregon, revitalized after an early loss, now looks like the Pac-12 North's best team by a mile, even if that's less than its preferred light year. Stanford at home will be tough, but Stanford is simply not as good as its been. The Ducks' toughest remaining game could be a trip to a team that plays in almost every way like those Cardinal teams that have beaten Oregon two years running: Utah, which just beat USC in the final seconds, on November 8.
That LSU team that knocked off Ole Miss suddenly finds itself in the running for a 10-2 season, capable of anything, and with losses to only the country's current No. 1 and No. 5 teams. A 10-2 team could win the SEC West and therefore the SEC, and an 11-2 SEC champion is a Playoff lock. LSU plays current No. 4 Alabama on November 8.
That TCU-Kansas State game mentioned earlier? November 8.
Notre Dame is not yet out of the running for the Playoff, with its only loss a coin flip at the house of the defending national champion. But with a weak schedule so far, the Irish are going to need wins against quality opponents in a hurry. They travel to current No. 14 Arizona State on November 8.
November 1 could still make parts of that moot, but we're on course for perhaps the biggest day of the regular season.
Eight fun things
No. 1 Mississippi State 45, Kentucky 31 (recap)
No. 24 LSU 10, No. 3 Ole Miss 7 (recap)
No. 4 Alabama 34, Tennessee 20 (recap)
No. 5 Auburn 42, South Carolina 35 (recap)
No. 8 Michigan State 35, Michigan 11 (recap)
No. 10 TCU 82, Texas Tech 27 (recap)
No. 11 Kansas State 23, Texas 0 (recap)
No. 13 Ohio State 31, Penn State 24 (2OT) (recap)
No. 14 Arizona State 24, Washington 10 (recap)
No. 15 Arizona 59, Washington State 37 (recap)
No. 16 Nebraska 42, Rutgers 24 (recap)
No. 19 Utah 24, No. 20 USC 21 (recap)
No. 21 Clemson 16, Syracuse 6 (recap)
No. 22 West Virginia 34, Oklahoma State 10 (recap)
No. 23 Marshall 35, Florida Atlantic 16
No. 25 UCLA 40, Colorado 37 (2OT) (recap)
Arkansas 45, UAB 17 (recap)
Ball State 35, Akron 21 (recap)
Boston College 23, Wake Forest 17 (recap)
Central Michigan 20, Buffalo 14 (recap)
Colorado State 45, Wyoming 31
Georgia Southern 69, Georgia State 31 (recap)
Georgia Tech 56, Pittsburgh 28 (recap)
Illinois 28, Minnesota 24 (recap)
Louisiana Tech 31, Southern Miss 20 (recap)
Memphis 48, SMU 10 (recap)
Miami (Ohio) 10, Kent State 3 (recap)
Missouri 24, Vanderbilt 14 (recap)
Navy 41, San Jose State 31 (recap)
Nevada 26, Hawaii 18
North Carolina 28, Virginia 27 (recap)
Northern Illinois 28, Eastern Michigan 17
Rice 41, North Texas 21 (recap)
Stanford 38, Oregon State 14 (recap)
Texas State 22, Louisiana-Monroe 18 (recap)
Toledo 42, UMass 35 (recap)
UCF 34, Temple 14
Utah State 34, UNLV 20
UTEP 34, UTSA 0 (recap)
Western Kentucky 66, Old Dominion 51
Western Michigan 42, Ohio 21 (recap)
Wisconsin 52, Maryland 7 (recap)
No. 6 Oregon 59, California 41 (recap)
No. 18 East Carolina 31, Connecticut 21
Boise State 55, BYU 30 (recap)
Cincinnati 34, South Florida 17 (recap)
Louisiana-Lafayette 55, Arkansas State 40
Miami 30, Virginia Tech 6 (recap)
South Alabama 27, Troy 13 (recap)