The No. 12 Mississippi Stateare now 5-0 and on the verge of perhaps their highest AP Top 25 ranking since at least 1999, when they reached No. 8 in the country. MSU, only a 2.5-point favorite at home, obliterated the Texas A&M Aggies defense to the tune of 526 yards. And don't be fooled by the 48-31 score -- the Aggies tacked on two touchdowns in the final three minutes.
Quarterback Dak Prescott more or less equaled his eye-popping showing at then-No. 8 LSU, and you're now looking at one of the last teams anybody in the country wants to play. And that big offensive total? It came without No. 1 receiver Jameon Lewis and starting center Dillon Day due to injury and suspension, respectively.
The No. 6 Aggies slip to 5-1 and will end the weekend ranked behind multiple teams in their own division. The SEC West is really hard.
Three things we learned
1. Finally, a *little* SEC West clarity. Entering Week 6, the sport's toughest division was famously 25-0 against everyone else and crowding the top 15 of both the human polls and the advanced-stats rankings. With this game, plus Alabama-Ole Miss and LSU-Auburn, on the way, we knew we'd finally get some answers as to the pecking order.
According to Bill Connelly's numbers, MSU had a 67.2 percent chance of beating A&M. The win bumps the Bulldogs' probability of going 6-2 in the SEC from 52.3 to 64.9, using last week's numbers. Add a 4-0 run against non-SEC opponents to that 6-2, and you'd have a record within range of at least a New Year's spot. A record like that might win the SEC West, and winning the SEC West is looking like a College Football Playoff auto-bid.
MSU's a looooong way from 6-2, of course, but it now has about as good a track to a big postseason stage as anybody in the country.
Up next Saturday is No. 5 Auburn in Starkville, and if those Tigers can beat LSU's later Saturday, that game becomes even bigger. Like, "potentially College GameDay in the state of Mississippi for both the second time ever and the second week in a row" big.
From earlier: Auburn-Mississippi State 'leader in clubhouse' for ESPN's College GameDay, but that could change http://t.co/0wwR1OyiVy— Brandon Marcello (@bmarcello) October 4, 2014
2. A&M's offense has two glaring issues. Dropped passes aren't really an official stat, but depending on how you tallied them, the Aggies might've had as many as nine or so. Considering Kenny Hill averaged 14.8 yards per completion coming in, we could estimate that's enough yardage right there to change a subpar day into a competitive one. Especially since one of those non-catches was a tip that linebacker Richie Brown picked off, one of Brown's three on the day.
Drops were a problem during last week's overtime comeback against Arkansas, as well.
And then there's the Aggie offensive line, considered one of the country's best for a few years now. Hill had little time in the pocket and got sacked four times, and A&M averaged 5.2 yards per carry. Credit goes to the Bulldogs, who have a ferocious defensive front, but it's not gonna get much easier the rest of the way for A&M.
3. Prescott will overtake Hill (and others!) in the Heisman race. The A&M quarterback entered Week 6 tied for third in Bovada's Heisman odds, with his 9/1 behind Oregon's Marcus Mariota and Georgia's Todd Gurley. Prescott ranked No. 9, at 20/1.
The final #DakAttack line: 19 of 25 for 259 passing yards, no interceptions, 77 rushing yards, five total touchdowns, and an 11-yard reception. And the game was by far the biggest one in its time slot, meaning everybody saw his team outclass the country's alleged sixth-best team for 57 minutes.
Mariota and Hill lost (which matters for Heisman voters, whether it was the individual's fault or not), and multiple other players ahead of Prescott could lose Saturday, including Notre Dame's Everett Golson and Nebraska's Ameer Abdullah.
At this particular moment, the Dak movement is really happening.