An instantaneous survey of four teams in the best position for the College Football Playoff's four spots at this very moment, plus the biggest threats looming for each. Be advised: these have nothing to do with the Top 25 polls. If you get mad about this, you will be pointed to the previous sentence.
1. Florida State
The Seminoles played Wake Forest and got three-deep into the bench by the fourth quarter in a 43-3 win over one of the least effectual teams in college football.
Bob, you've never given us a reason to fire you.
Jameis Winston did little to distinguish himself.
You're not spectacular, Bob, I'll be honest. A pretty good employee, sure.
Hell, Wake even led for one fleeting moment, and for a half seemed to genuinely frustrate Florida State.
You're probably not the best man to head this firm.
FSU did not lose, though.
But every other partner just died in an avalanche on a company ski holiday.
In a week when three of the top five teams in college football lost, this gives you the keys to the Playoff suite by default.
You aren't dead, so you're in charge now. Congratulations, Bob.
Threats: Notre Dame in Tallahassee on October 18, and literally nothing else.
2. Mississippi State
After six weeks of play and beating Texas A&M soundly, a 48-31 victory in Starkville, Mississippi State is the most complete team on both sides of the ball. That feels so wrong, but there was this point in European history at which people were like, "Wow, Portugal's really got their shit together, maybe we should be afraid of them," and now they're known for cork, legalized drugs, and having one perfectly hairless brilliant soccer player.
Mississippi State's never been known for much, and now they're beating the brakes off people and have the best, most consistent quarterback in the nation, Dak Prescott. What I'm saying is that Mississippi State is about to colonize Brazil, and this year is already too weird for accurate historical comparisons. Enjoy the cowbells, Rio.
Threats: Next week at home vs. Auburn, and the rest of the schedule, basically.
3. Ole Miss
Famously inconsistent team becomes shockingly consistent just in time to play four quarters of football against Alabama and win, 23-17. Bo Wallace threw stunning passes down the stretch and ran effectively. Ole Miss' receivers won crucial one-on-one matchups against Bama's corners. The Rebels defense held Alabama to 10 points after the Crimson Tide were hailed as the second coming of Lane Kiffin's 2005 USC offense. Ole Miss did all this after trailing, 14-3, at the half and generally looking dead in the water against a team known for its punishing second-half finishes.
There are two Mississippi teams in the Playoff right now, and the Egg Bowl could conceivably determine which one stays at the end of the season. If you are just coming out of a coma, go back into it for a few months to let all of this sink in properly.
Threats: Next week at Texas A&M, and yeah, also the rest of the schedule.
Not that beating LSU by 41-7 this year is a huge achievement, but you'd rather be the ones continuing that deep devaluation than the ones giving Les Miles a second chance at life in the SEC West. Auburn is 5-0 and 2-0 in the SEC West, clocking a steady offensive work rate of 497 yards a game on offense. It let an LSU team starting a freshman QB do a proper amount of nothing on offense. If this sounds unimpressed, it should, because a.) LSU's been really, really disappointing this year, and b.) the SEC West will eat itself over the course of the year and break up this admittedly absurd logjam.
PART WHERE WE ADMIT HAVING THREE SEC WEST TEAMS HERE IS ABSURD. PLEASE NOTE AND REREAD. IT'S WEEK 6. CHILL, HE SAID IN ALL-CAPS. IT'LL SHAKE OUT NEXT WEEK.
Threats: Next week at Mississippi State, and everyone else on the schedule, save for Samford.
TEAMS WISELY ON A BYE WEEK
Much to some teams' chagrin, no Playoff team of note.
Congratulations, Purdue. You're now the nation's fifth-ranked team. pic.twitter.com/YwjNfl2woW— Eleven Warriors (@11W) October 5, 2014
TEAMS THAT ARE UNDEFEATED BUT WHOSE SCHEDULES ARE JUST NOW RAMPING UP SERIOUSLY
Notre Dame, who could be in that 4 spot if we didn't think Stanford's offense wasn't Florida Gators-grade badness.
Baylor, who struggled a bit with Texas.
TCU, who ... well, crap, they could probably be in that 4 spot, too. Let's agree to just put the winner of TCU-Baylor in next week and move out the loser of Auburn-Mississippi State. (See, the SEC West will eat itself, mostly out of boredom with lesser competition elsewhere.)
Georgia Tech is undefeated, and we have no idea what that means at all, but still have to mention it.
Ooh! So is Arizona, which is also weird but necessarily mentioned here. (The Wildcats beat Oregon! The Pac-12 is madness.)
TEAMS THAT GOT THEIR FIRST LOSS AND ARE OUT OF THE PLAYOFF TEMPORARILY
Alabama, Oklahoma, UCLA, Oregon, Texas A&M, and Nebraska.
TEAMS THAT LOST THEIR FIRST GAME AND ALSO THEIR STAR QB
Poor BYU, who lost quarterback Taysom Hill to a broken leg on Friday night in a loss against Utah State.