SCENE: Hotty Toddy, Gosh almighty! After Ole Miss's upset of Alabama in Week 6, Rebel legend Archie Manning invited the committee to meet at The Grove in Week 7. With Ole Miss on the road it seemed like a great opportunity to have a secret meeting while soaking in some of the ambiance of one of college football's most legendary tailgating locations, albeit without the tailgaters. Unfortunately, not all the committee members can handle their liquor equally.
Archie Manning: Welcome, folks! We're so happy to have you at one of our favorite little spots. Grab a plate of étouffé and a refreshing adult beverage and let's get down to business!
Jeff Long: Pig sooey, Arch. Pig damn sooey. [Dumps an entire flask of vodka into his beer.] Two points in two weeks and we'd be in the playoff discussion. I'm done with conference pride, I want my Hogs to win a gosh darn game! [Drinks deep.]
Condoleezza Rice: I feel for you, Jeff. Arkansas has shown some nice improvement, especially on third down defense. It's just not quite enough. That Ole Miss defense looks pretty serious, though, and boy did Mississippi State show us something. Oregon had a nice bounce-back win too, even if it was just UCLA.
Pat Haden: Ha! UCLA... They suck! [Pecking at his iPhone] OK... Steve... Will... ask... admin... about... timing... on... traffic... lights... around... your... office... Hang... in... there... Send. Where were we?
Rice: Pat, you really need to cut the cord there. In more ways than one. Anyway... Gentlemen, what do you think of Florida State? Should they really be at #1 just based off what they did last year?
Dan Radakovich, through a mouthful of étouffé: They should be behind Clemson. We outplayed them in that game. We even outgained them! Jameis nothin', a win is a win.
Tom Jernstedt: Dan, were you ever a Michigan fan? [Radakovich shakes his head and, with a shrimp-filled grunt, raises an eyebrow] Why? Oh, no reason... Condi, that's a great question. Do you go by carryover respect or resume? My gut says that seven weeks in we have enough of a resume on everyone, and it's time for a new #1. I'll give the nod to Mississippi State - tough to beat wins over Auburn, Texas A&M, and LSU, even though their other three games are Charmin soft.
Oliver Luck: Great points, Tom. And nice to hear some commentary from you rather than you having to translate Willingham all the time. Where is he, anyway? And where is Gould?
Jernstedt: Ty's off socializing with the magnolias - said something about trees and roots and all being well in the garden, but I didn't really get it. Gould had about 10 toddies and he's off playing airplane somewhere in The Grove now. I get the feeling he likes to pretend he's 30,000 feet up with no idea what's going on down below.
Rice: I think we can make do without them, right guys? Getting back to the matter at hand - so we have a new #1, but how does the rest of it shake out?
The OFD Top 25
The New World Order is officially here, and somewhere, Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, and Scott Hall are raising a glass in triumph. There's a major shake-up at the top of our rankings this week, because we felt some uncertain things crystallized quite a bit and a couple of schools in particular really polished their resumes.
1. Mississippi State: I was reluctant to believe too much in Mississippi State - LSU probably isn't that good this year, and A&M has major defensive issues. But it's impossible to ignore what the Bulldogs did to Auburn, winning comfortably with an awful lot on the line and on the weekend's biggest stage. They make the biggest jump because they're 6-0, and nobody can boast a resume with three better "best" wins than Auburn, Texas A&M, and LSU. They'll sit on their #1 ranking with a pile of cheeseburgers this week.
2. Ole Miss: I had Ole Miss above Mississippi State until this week, and honestly it was a very tough decision to flip them. The Alabama and Auburn wins are probably a wash, and they beat Texas A&M about equally. Ultimately I felt LSU was a better third win than Boise State, but I think I'd still like Ole Miss head-to-head. These two teams are so, so close right now. They host beleaguered Tennessee on Saturday.
3. Florida State: I've almost been looking for an excuse to drop them from the top slot, and through no fault of their own I found it this week in Ole Miss and Mississippi State's performances. They took care of business against an overmatched Syracuse team very much like Notre Dame did, but on their season their resume can't match the two teams above them. Huge matchup next week with...
4. Notre Dame: Well, that was more exciting than it should've been. Apparently North Carolina's tempo offense was a bad matchup for the young, shallow Irish defense - thankfully the Notre Dame offense was able to click just well enough to outscore the Tarheels. One imagines the film room will be an inhospitable location during FSU prep.
5. Baylor: Is TCU better than Stanford? Maybe. It's close, though, and the rest of Baylor's resume doesn't come close to Notre Dame's so they bring up the rear of the group of "real" unbeatens [shaking head disapprovingly at Marshall]. It's hard to picture a team that gave up 58 to TCU (2 more than the Frogs scored against SMU) getting through their schedule without a loss, though the win does get them enough cred to move up in our rankings. They'll travel to West Virginia this weekend, who pushed Alabama and Oklahoma earlier this year.
6. Auburn: They'll get a week off to reassess after a convincing loss at the hands of the new #1. Still very much in the thick of the playoff race, even if they can't ultimately come out of the SEC West. If they win out, they'll have beaten Kansas State, Ole Miss, Texas A&M, Georgia, and Alabama - would they really deserve to be left out in favor of, say, a weak one-loss Big Ten champ? Hint: No.
7. Alabama: In the same boat as Auburn at this point - win out, and even if they don't make the SEC title game they could still make the playoff. After the last two weeks, though - a loss at Ole Miss and an uninspiring one-point win at Arkansas - does it seem more or less likely that they'll win out? Hosting a Texas A&M team that's been embarrassed the last two weeks.
8. Oregon: Upon further review, I think I was too harsh on the Ducks after their loss to Arizona last week. They definitely deserved to drop, but probably not as much as I dropped them. A comfortable win over a decent opponent in UCLA made it much easier to boost them back up here, too. They're very much alive to win out and take the Pac 12 title, which would almost certainly put them in the playoff. They'll host Washington this week.
9. Michigan State: Had a scare from Purdue, who had the ball with two minutes left and a chance to tie before throwing a back-breaking pick six to ice it. That ultimately made it easier for me to bounce Oregon back up over them. So how good are the Spartans? We may never know. They showed promise during the first half against Oregon but got destroyed in the second half and haven't played any other decent teams. They'll take on 3-3 Indiana this week.