Ohio State. Alabama. Michigan State?
by Jason Kirk
Since November 17, 2012, Michigan State is 28-3. Those three: a 17-13 loss to Notre Dame with suspect officiating, a 12-point loss to eventual 2014 national champion Ohio State that was revenge for MSU knocking the Buckeyes out of the title game the year before, and a road loss to eventual Rose Bowl champion Oregon, which is now avenged.
Playing Mark Dantonio's No. 5 Spartans will cost you, whether it's on the way in or out.
They've evolved from the early-2013 team that was happy to let its defense outscore the opposing offense to one that's scored 31 or more points 10 games in a row. But the soul remains the defensive front, which on Saturday, held the No. 7 Ducks on fourth-and-goal from the 1 and three other times on fourth down.
MSU is great at a lot of things, but staring you in the face and saying, "You can't have this last yard," is the thing it's best at, as my colleague Rodger Sherman put it.
A Pac-12 team vs. Michigan State on fourth down, huh pic.twitter.com/zEZ3WkXE4m— SB✯Nation CFB (@SBNationCFB) September 13, 2015
On January 20, 2013, just as MSU's run was beginning, the San Francisco 49ers won the NFC Championship. Imagine if someone told you while you watched Jim Harbaugh prepare to play in the Super Bowl that (1.) Harbaugh would be coaching at his alma mater in two seasons, and (2.) his home debut game would be dwarfed by Michigan State's latest statement win.
On October 17, MSU will be expected to beat Michigan for the seventh time in eight years. The detail that shows how high the Spartans have climbed is how much more excited everyone is about what follows a month later: the trip to Columbus.
The SEC had an AP-record 10 ranked teams. That's long gone now.
by Andy Hutchins
After a 13-1 performance in Week 1 marred only by a Vanderbilt loss, the SEC fell back to earth on Saturday, posting a 6-2 record in interconference play that featured a home loss to Toledo by No. 18 Arkansas and a record-setting collapse by No. 23 Tennessee in a showcase game against No. 19 Oklahoma.
The record could've easily been worse, too, with No. 6 Auburn needing overtime to survive FCS power Jacksonville State, Missouri escaping Arkansas State with a 27-20 win, and Florida weathering an aerial assault from East Carolina for its own seven-point triumph.
Just three SEC teams won non-conference games by double digits on Saturday, and those three — Alabama, Ole Miss, and Texas A&M — may well be the class of the league, along with LSU, a winner over a ranked Mississippi State in Starkville, and Georgia, which put away Vanderbilt in Nashville.
In the East, depth was always dependent on finding a team to contend with Georgia; despite its loss, Tennessee arguably looked best among other East teams on Saturday. In the West, the heady times of having every team ranked are clearly over. Not only will Arkansas and Mississippi State fall out, Auburn will take a substantial tumble.
Of course, the perception of the SEC was really what took a hit. The top five of Alabama, Ole Miss, Georgia, LSU, and Texas A&M should still comprise a third of the national top 15. The Tide are the Tide, Ole Miss leads the nation in scoring, and Georgia, LSU, and A&M have wins away from home, of varying quality.
But in the endless conversation about which conference's dad can beat up which other conferences' dads, the SEC's credentials aren't as good at sunrise on Sunday as they were at sunrise on Saturday.
You're gonna be hearing about some non-football stuff this week.
by Pete Volk
Oklahoma linebacker Eric Striker was, to understate things, excited for No. 19 Oklahoma's game against No. 23 Tennessee. Earlier in the week, he said he was sick of SEC hype. Then, after an exhausting double-overtime affair in a hostile road environment ended in a Sooner victory, Striker was a little amped up.
That led to Tennessee head coach Butch Jones, a grown-ass man with a multi-million dollar annual salary, allegedly lecturing Striker, an unpaid college student who does not play for him, under the guise of "class."
Jones wouldn't be the only coach convinced he was standing on the side of right while really just being a jerk. Florida head coach Jim McElwain, another grown-ass man with a multi-million dollar annual salary, threw a tantrum at Kelvin Taylor over a taunting penalty. Taylor should not have done a forbidden throat-slash gesture, but there are plenty of ways to successfully handle this situation as a head coach without looking like you're on the verge of striking one of your players.
Finally, there's BYU. What are we supposed to do with you, BYU? Three straight games with questionable behavior on the field, culminating with Saturday, when a Cougars player punched a Boise State player right in the nuts.
Finally finally, this happened:
Ranked games and nearly ranked games
No. 1 Ohio State 38, Hawaii 0, the highlight of which is probably two Rainbow Warrior offensive linemen blocking each other. And OSU's newest championship banner is here. [Recap]
No. 2 Alabama 37, Middle Tennessee 10 [Stats]
No. 3 TCU 70, Stephen F. Austin 7 [Recap]
No. 4 Baylor 66, Lamar 31 [Recap]
No. 5 Michigan State 31, No. 7 Oregon 28, where the well-worn Duck Hunt joke became a TD celebration ... complete with shotgun-cocking. Wait, that's actual duck hunting. Also, MSU's College GameDay signs were pretty good. [Recap]
No. 6 Auburn 27, Jacksonville State 20 (OT), which would've gone down as perhaps the biggest upset in college football gambling history. The preseason Ohio Valley favorite played the SEC favorite even. That happened. [Recap]
No. 8 USC 59, Idaho 9 [Recap]
No. 10 Georgia 31, Vanderbilt 14 [Recap]
No. 11 Florida State 34, USF 14 [Recap]
No. 12 Clemson 41, Appalachian State 10 [Recap]
No. 13 UCLA 37, UNLV 3 [Recap]
No. 14 LSU 21, No. 25 Mississippi State 19 [Recap]
No. 15 Georgia Tech 65, Tulane 10 [Recap]
No. 16 Texas A&M 56, Ball State 23 [Recap]
No. 17 Ole Miss 73, Fresno State 21, where Robert Nkemdiche landed his second Piesman Trophy-eligible touchdown of the season already. [Recap]
No. 19 Oklahoma 31, No. 23 Tennessee 24 (OT). Steven Godfrey gave this the liveblog treatment, from tailgates to postgame, including this look up at Vol fans who were watching the deciding play. And Bob Stoops' noted lack of affection for the SEC has definitely carried over to his players. [Recap]
Toledo 16, No. 18 Arkansas 12, made even more embarrassing by Bret Bielema having critiqued Ohio State's schedule days prior. [Recap]
No. 21 Missouri 27, Arkansas State 20 [Recap]
No. 22 Arizona 44, Nevada 20 [Recap]
No. 24 Utah 24, Utah State 14 [Recap]
Wisconsin 58, Miami (Ohio) 0 [Recap]
Northwestern 41, Eastern Illinois 0 [Recap]
Arizona State 35, Cal Poly 21 [Recap]
Oklahoma State 32, Central Arkansas 8 [Recap]
West Virginia 41, Liberty 17 [Recap]