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Can Mississippi State finish the season at no. 1?
1:36 | College Football
Can Mississippi State finish the season at no. 1?
Tuesday October 14th, 2014

Growing up my interests didn’t fall too far from many other suburban kids. I played sports -- organized and in the street or the backyard -- watched cartoons, got into trouble and loved, loved, video games. (Now I mostly just get into trouble and still watch cartoons.)

I gravitated towards fighting and beat ‘em up games, which I wasn’t all that good at playing, but I had a lot of fun with them. I poured quarters into the usual suspects: "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles," "Mortal Kombat II," "Street Fighter II," "The Simpsons" and others, but I especially liked the "X-Men" arcade game. Everyone typically had a player they gravitated towards, and it became a kind of Buzzfeed quiz of the early 90s. (“I’m a Nightcrawler!” “My best friend is a Colossus!”)

College Football
Punt, Pass & Pork: What do we know at the season's midway point?

My problem was I never could focus on any one particular character. Everybody had a weakness. Everybody got boring after awhile. More and more I’m feeling the same way about the crop of top teams in the 2014 college football season. There are a few teams out there that can make a run through the robots, goons and super villains, but everybody’s stuck with something that keeps them from being unstoppable. There are no cheat codes this year.

So while a new top team emerges, it’s just as possible to see them get knocked to the deck, forced to pump another quarter in to continue and select another character -- until it’s Game Over and time to see which four teams can put their initials in with their high scores.

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College Football Power Rankings
 
  • 1
    1Mississippi State Bulldogs
     
    last week: 4
    record: 6-0
    Last spring I drove to Mississippi for the first time for a wedding in Columbus. I love attending weddings, but wedding preparation makes me super nervous. So I snuck off and drove west across US-82 for a few miles to see Mississippi State. Like a lot of college towns, if there wasn’t a sign or a football stadium letting you know it was there, you’d miss it and drive right past. Everything is setting up for the Bulldogs’ perfect season -- they just have to stay out of their own way and hide in plain sight.

    Last game: Beat Auburn, 38-23
    Next game: Oct. 25 at Kentucky

  • 2
    2Ole Miss Rebels
     
    last week: 3
    record: 6-0
    We’re watching Ole Miss grow up each and every week. At the beginning of the season the Rebels looked like a baby dragon that just figured out it had wings and could breathe fire, and it was prone to accidentally igniting all nearby sheep and plummeting a few thousand feet before flapping and getting back in the jetstream. Now the slightly older dragon knows what those wings and fire can do, and that’s a serious problem.
     
    Last game: Beat Texas A&M, 35-20
    Next game: Saturday vs. Tennessee

  • 3
    3Florida State Seminoles
     
    last week: 1
    record: 6-0
    The Seminoles are fine. There is no conspiracy to discredit their accomplishments. But I do have to give my friends over at Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician credit for this (what’s that about correlation and causation and whatnot?): 
     
    Last game: Beat Syracuse, 38-20
    Next game: Saturday vs. Notre Dame

  • 4
    4Baylor Bears
     
    last week: 7
    record: 6-0
    Spare the “well, they gave up 58 points, they can’t be good” argument for a second. That comeback against TCU was for real, and the Horned Frogs looked like a dangerously good football team through three-plus quarters of that game. If Bryce Petty is healthy enough to help his team drop 61 on TCU, he’s healthy enough to potentially lead Baylor through the Big 12 unscathed.
     
    Last game: Beat TCU, 61-58
    Next game: Saturday at West Virginia

  • 5
    5Notre Dame Fighting Irish
     
    last week: 6
    record: 6-0
    Brian Kelly is right to worry about the defense after giving up 510 total yards to North Carolina. Although with the Seminoles looming, a trap game mentality might have been in effect. The Fighting Irish (and everybody keeping score at home) know there’s likely no playoff if they can’t beat Florida State.
     
    Last game: Beat North Carolina, 50-43
    Next game: Saturday at Florida State

  • 6
    6Oregon Ducks
     
    last week: 10
    record: 5-1
    The Ducks haven’t solved all of their problems, but the return of Jake Fisher on the offensive line will help fix the most important one. For Oregon to win out, it has to protect Marcus Mariota. The Ducks did that against UCLA, and Mariota threw for 210 yards, ran for 75 and picked up four total touchdowns.
     
    Last game: Beat UCLA, 42-30
    Next game: Saturday vs. Washington

  • 7
    7Michigan State Spartans
     
    last week: 11
    record: 5-1
    The Spartans must get bored when they get up by about three scores. They let Nebraska back in the game two weeks ago and did the same against Purdue on Saturday. If they really want extra mental stimulation, I’d suggest they pick up a Rubik’s Cube or a few of those peg games that you can find on the tables at Cracker Barrel.
     
    Last game: Beat Purdue, 45-31
    Next game: Saturday at Indiana
     

  • 8
    8Auburn Tigers
     
    last week: 2
    record: 5-1
    I wouldn’t count out Gus Malzahn in the $10,000 Pyramid, so I'm not counting him out after one SEC West loss.
     
    Last game: Lost to Mississippi State, 38-25
    Next game: Oct. 25 vs. South Carolina

  • 9
    9Georgia Bulldogs
     
    last week: 13
    record: 4-1
    The Bulldogs are certainly a better team with Todd Gurley playing rather than shelved for an investigation into a nonsensical NCAA rule. With that said, the defense is playing better, and Nick Chubb passed his first test as a starting running back. This Georgia team still has room to get better.
     
    Last game: Beat Missouri, 34-0
    Next game: Saturday at Arkansas  

  • 10
    10TCU Horned Frogs
     
    If it had made just a couple more plays against Baylor, we’re talking about TCU in the driver’s seat in the Big 12. Instead the Horned Frogs must rebound against an Oklahoma State team that is about as inconsistent from week to week as "The Walking Dead."
     
    Last game: Lost to Baylor, 61-58
    Next game: Saturday vs. Oklahoma State

  • 11
    11Alabama Crimson Tide
     
    last week: 9
    record: 5-1
    Nick Saban was quite upset Monday about the media's implications that Alabama should beat teams like Arkansas by more than one point. The only problem? Alabama beat Arkansas 52-0 each of the past two seasons. That’s where those expectations came from in the first place. Crimson Tide fans aren’t upset because Alabama won by a point; they’re upset because the once immortal Tide look very beatable right now.
     
    Last game: Beat Arkansas, 14-13
    Next game: Saturday vs. Texas A&M

  • 12
    12Oklahoma Sooners
     
    last week: 12
    record: 5-1
    Another coach who's a little grumpy is Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops. After the team’s close win over Texas, Stoops said, “Do I like everything that happened today? Heck no, we’ve got a lot to work on. It’s obvious.”
     
    Last game: Beat Texas, 31-26
    Next game: Saturday vs. Kansas State

  • 13
    13Kansas State Wildcats
     
    last week: 14
    record: 4-1
    If the Wildcats find a way to beat Oklahoma on Saturday, Bill Snyder will earn himself some more chocolate chip cookies.
     
    Last game: Beat Texas Tech, 45-13
    Next game: Saturday at Oklahoma 

  • 14
    14Ohio State Buckeyes
     
    last week: 17
    record: 4-1
    This week brings us college football’s greatest rivalry: Ohio State vs. Rutgers. Celebrate accordingly with your finest meats and cheeses.
     
    Last game: Beat Maryland, 52-24
    Next game: Saturday vs. Rutgers

  • 15
    15East Carolina Pirates
     
    If the Pirates can avoid a letdown game (which almost happened against South Florida on Saturday), the path is clear for them to make the big bowl guaranteed to the highest rated Group of Five team. And college football deserves another matchup between East Carolina and a big time Power Five school.
     
    Last game: Beat South Florida, 28-17
    Next game: Oct. 23 vs. UConn 

  • 16
    16Oklahoma State Cowboys
     
    last week: 18
    record: 5-1
    I was raised to believe that if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. So here is what I have to say about Oklahoma State’s win over Kansas on Saturday: Thank heavens for Tyreek Hill.
     
    Last game: Beat Kansas, 27-20
    Next game: Saturday at TCU

  • 17
    17Arizona State Sun Devils
     
    last week: 21
    record: 4-1
    No one game defines a season, but some can come close. Arizona State’s matchup with Stanford on Saturday will be one of those games.
     
    Last game: Beat USC, 38-34
    Next game: Saturday at Stanford

  • 18
    18Nebraska Cornhuskers
     
    You know, I tried out those Ameer Abdullah batteries the school sent out. They work perfectly fine. So thanks again, Nebraska. Now if only I still had a Discman to put the rest of them in.

    Last game: Lost to Michigan State, 27-22
    Next game: Saturday at Northwestern
     


  • 19
    19USC Trojans
     
    last week: NR
    record: 4-2
    Based on talent alone, USC should be a top 25 team. With guys like Javorius Allen, Adoree' Jackson, JuJu Smith, Nelson Agholor, Leonard Williams and Su’a Cravens, the potential is there to stay in games and beat top teams. But given the lack of depth USC has this year, the Trojans can wilt in the second half faster than drugstore flowers.
     
    Last game: Beat Arizona, 28-26
    Next game: Saturday vs. Colorado

  • 20
    20Arizona Wildcats
     
    last week: 8
    record: 5-1
    Before this season is done, one gutsy Pac-12 head coach is going to advocate for eliminating field goals entirely from the college game. Will that coach be Rich Rodriguez?
     
    Last game: Lost to USC, 28-26
    Next game: Oct. 25 vs. Washington State
     

  • 21
    21Clemson Tigers
     
    last week: 23
    record: 4-2
    Cole Stoudt was a backup, then a starter, then a backup again, and now he is the starter until Deshaun Watson’s broken finger heals. That can’t be easy. But Clemson is going to need Stoudt to block it all out and just play. For years that’s all he wanted to do.
     
    Last game: Beat Louisville, 23-17
    Next game: Saturday at Boston College
     

  • 22
    22Utah Utes
     
    last week: NR
    record: 4-1
    Welcome to the Power Rankings, Utah. There are cookies and coffee in the back. We’ll be doing trust falls in about a half hour as soon as we all finish affirmations. If everyone pitches in, we’ll go bowling at the end of the month.
     
    Last game: Beat UCLA, 30-28
    Next game: Thursday at Oregon State
     
     

  • 23
    23Washington Huskies
     
    last week: NR
    record: 5-1
    Shaq Thompson has five touchdowns. Wake Forest’s entire offense has seven touchdowns. I’m not saying Thompson could beat Wake Forest by himself. That is preposterous. Why would you ever think I would consider such a thing?
     
    Last game: Beat Cal, 31-7
    Next game: Saturday at Oregon
     

  • 24
    24Minnesota Golden Gophers
     
    last week: NR
    record: 5-1
    There are a lot of good runners in the Big Ten, so you’re excused if you haven’t been paying extra close attention to what David Cobb has been doing in Minneapolis. It’s about time you start. The senior has 819 yards on the year to go with four scores and already has three games of 180 yards or more.
     
    Last game: Beat Northwestern, 24-17
    Next game: Saturday vs. Purdue

  • 25
    25Marshall Thundering Herd
     
    last week: 25
    record: 6-0
    Marshall hasn’t trailed yet this season. With the schedule the Thundering Herd play and the way their offense is performing, it is possible they won't trail until at least their bowl game, if then.

    Last game: Beat Middle Tennessee, 49-24
    Next game: Saturday at FIU
     

Next five: Stanford, Duke, UCLA, Colorado State, Kentucky

3:50 | College Football
College football roundup: Week 7

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