I don't know if Ole Miss would beat Alabama if they started their game over. Or if they did it again after that.
The Rebels needed four turnovers to pin the Tide's shoulders down, and then a fifth to hold them there. They scored on a wild goose of a helmet doink prayer that should have been intercepted.
And none of that matters at all. Ole Miss is 3-0, with two obliterations of weak teams and a win in Tuscaloosa. The likely hardest game on its schedule is out of the way. While tough games remain, the two teams you'd agree have talent comparable to the Rebels' -- LSU and Texas A&M -- have to go to Oxford.
So it's reasonable to say that if Ole Miss plays like it did Saturday night the rest of the way, it might not need near as many breaks in any other game. The SEC champ likely has room for a loss on its resume anyway, since this means pretending the Rebels win that, too.
Yep, this means hyping up the Rebels a year after they collapsed from No. 3 to getting destroyed by TCU. 2014 was a memorable year, certainly, and without question the year that came before the one we're projectin' right now. It's fun to do sports guesses.
|College Football Playoff|
|National Championship||Ole Miss||Ohio State||January 11||Glendale, AZ||Cotton winner vs. Orange winner|
|Cotton||No. 2 Ohio State||No.3 Notre Dame||December 31||Arlington, TX||Playoff rankings top 4|
|Orange||No. 1 Ole Miss||No. 4 Baylor||December 31||Miami, FL||Playoff rankings top 4|
Notre Dame is back up here after outgaining No. 14 Georgia Tech by 120 yards, all with a new QB. The Jackets were one of my two pegged losses for the Irish. Health is a large and growing concern, but everybody has problems.
Baylor replaces TCU for now. I've presumed Baylor's better and now worry Oklahoma might be better than Baylor, and what had looked like a schedule advantage for the Frogs (Baylor at home) now just looks hard (Baylor on a short week after a trip to Oklahoma). TCU just allowed 37 points to SMU while suffering two more injuries, and depth is a bigger concern for TCU than for Notre Dame.
Ohio State has only looked like an elite team for about three or four quarters all year. Ole Miss has for at least twice that. This is an end-of-season projection, and the Bucks will get it together, but if the Playoff committee convened right now, Ohio State wouldn't rank No. 1. They're gonna have to start blasting average teams to rank up top in the first official standings.
|New Year's Six bowls|
|Fiesta||Houston||UCLA||January 1||Glendale, AZ||At-large|
|Rose||Michigan State||Oregon||January 1||Pasadena, CA||Big Ten 1 vs. Pac-12 1|
|Sugar||Oklahoma||Alabama||January 1||New Orleans, LA||Big 12 1 vs. SEC 1|
|Peach||Clemson||Texas A&M||December 31||Atlanta, GA||At-large|
No Pac-12 in the Playoff at the moment. This conference is going to eat itself, and anyone getting out with one loss seems unlikely. Oregon's defense inspires no confidence, and UCLA nearly became BYU's latest last-minute victim. Just put Cal up here and get it over with.
Sticking with Houston as the non-power auto-bid. Boise State might still be the best, but the Mountain West looks awful, going 2-21 out-of-conference in the last two weeks. The AAC's champ will have a big leg up, and the MAC's might, too.
Clemson moves up. The ACC spot could change hourly.
|Bowl (* = filling another conference's bid)||Conferences ties, not based on standings|
|Alamo||TCU||Arizona State||January 2||San Antonio, TX||Big 12 2 vs. Pac-12 2|
|Cactus||Oklahoma State||Stanford||January 2||Tempe, AZ||Big 12 6 vs. Pac-12 7|
|Liberty||Texas||Tennessee||January 2||Memphis, TN||Big 12 5 vs. SEC 3-8|
|TaxSlayer||Minnesota||Kentucky||January 2||Jacksonville, FL||ACC 3-6/Big Ten 5-7 vs. SEC 3-8|
|Citrus||Michigan||Georgia||January 1||Orlando, FL||Big Ten 2-4 vs. SEC 2|
|Outback||Nebraska||LSU||January 1||Tampa, FL||Big Ten 2-4 vs. SEC 3-8|
|Belk||Georgia Tech||Florida||December 30||Charlotte, NC||ACC 3-6 vs. SEC 3-8|
|Birmingham||Memphis||Mississippi State||December 30||Birmingham, AL||American vs. SEC 9|
|Holiday||Wisconsin||Cal||December 30||San Diego, CA||Big Ten 2-4 vs. Pac-12 3|
|Music City||Virginia Tech||Auburn||December 30||Nashville, TN||ACC 3-6/Big Ten 5-7 vs. SEC 3-8|
|Armed Forces||Penn State||Air Force||December 29||Fort Worth, TX||Big Ten vs. MWC|
|Russell Athletic||Florida State||West Virginia||December 29||Orlando, FL||ACC 2 vs. Big 12 3|
|Texas||Kansas State||Missouri||December 29||Houston, TX||Big 12 4 vs. SEC 3-8|
|Military||Louisville||Navy||December 28||Annapolis, MD||ACC vs. American|
|Quick Lane||Pitt||Ball State*||December 28||Detroit, MI||ACC vs. Big Ten|
|Foster Farms||Iowa||USC||December 26||Santa Clara, CA||Big Ten 5-7 vs. Pac-12 4|
|Heart of Dallas||Texas Tech||Marshall||December 26||Dallas, TX||Big 12 7 vs. C-USA|
|Independence||Duke||Middle Tennessee||December 26||Shreveport, LA||ACC vs. SEC (C-USA backup)|
|Pinstripe||NC State||Northwestern||December 26||New York, NY||ACC 3-6 vs. Big Ten 5-7|
|St. Petersburg||East Carolina||Old Dominion||December 26||St. Petersburg, FL||American vs. C-USA|
|Sun||North Carolina||Arizona||December 26||El Paso, TX||ACC 3-6 vs. Pac-12 5|
|Bahamas||Rice||Ohio||December 24||Nassau, BS||C-USA vs. MAC 4/5|
|Hawaii||Temple||BYU||December 24||Honolulu, HI||American vs. MWC/BYU|
|GoDaddy||Toledo||Georgia Southern||December 23||Mobile, AL||MAC 1 vs. Sun Belt 2|
|Poinsettia||San Diego State||Boston College*||December 23||San Diego, CA||MWC vs. Army|
|Boca Raton||Miami*||Western Michigan||December 22||Boca Raton, FL||American vs. MAC|
|Potato||Northern Illinois||Colorado State||December 22||Boise, ID||MAC 2 vs. MWC|
|Miami Beach||Cincinnati||Western Kentucky||December 21||Miami, FL||American vs. C-USA|
|Camelia||Bowling Green||Appalachian State||December 19||Montgomery, AL||MAC 3 vs. Sun Belt 3|
|Cure||Tulane||Louisiana-Lafayette||December 19||Orlando, FL||American vs. Sun Belt|
|Las Vegas||Boise State||Utah||December 19||Las Vegas, NV||MWC 1/BYU vs. Pac-12 6|
|New Mexico||UTEP||Utah State||December 19||Albuquerque, NM||C-USA vs. MWC|
|New Orleans||Arkansas State||Louisiana Tech||December 19||New Orleans, LA||Sun Belt 1 vs. C-USA|
Rearranged: lots of little stuff, but it sure seems bowls will lobby to land LSU due to Leonard Fournette.
Joining us: Texas Tech, which picked up an unexpected win and made me change one down the line, too. Boston College and Middle Tennessee, which see spots open up.
Leaving us: Arkansas, which ... this is awkward ... might not win again until Halloween. Texas State, which lost at home to Southern Miss. And UCF, which has done this:
UCF has lost to both an airport and World of Warcraft characters this season.— Matt Brown (@MattSBN) September 20, 2015