The Associated Press college football poll has been existence since 1936. That’s roughly 1,100 polls between inception and today. Never before had five of the top eight teams lost in the same weekend – until now.
We should have known Saturday was going to be out-of-this-universe bonkers when the day began with Katy Perry tossing corn dogs at ESPN’s cameras. It’s time to examine the joy of victory and agony of defeat across the landscape of an absolutely wild day in college football.
Joy: Let’s begin in Oxford, because that’s where everything started today. The Rebels ran a dozen fewer plays (75-63), gained 73 fewer yards (396-323) and four fewer first downs (20-16), were doubled up in rushing yardage (168-72), trailed entering the fourth quarter, and still won. Ole Miss scored the final 13 points in rallying from a 17-10 deficit to beat No. 3 Alabama 23-17, moving the Rebels to 5-0 for the first time since 1962, snapped a 10-game losing streak to Alabama, and gave the program its first win over a No. 1 ranked team in program history (Alabama was ranked No. 1 in the Coaches’ Poll).
Just a massive, massive win for Hugh Freeze and staff.
And according to Mike Pereira, the Rebels should have actually won this game by two scores:
As soon as Senquez Golson intercepted Blake Sims in the end zone to seal the win he sent all this gloriousness into action:
— AP Top 25 (@AP_Top25) October 5, 2014
Katy Perry at Funkys https://t.co/mZ1lHRefvn
— Nick Rutherford (@NRutherfordIII) October 5, 2014
College View on Instagram
— Buckner Corso (@BucknerCorso) October 5, 2014
Agony: The loss obviously stings, but Alabama is fine from a national and conference perspective. As long as the Tide win out, things should take care of themselves. What should worry Nick Saban? Alabama has lost its last three games against ranked teams, held leads in all of them, and allowed two fourth quarter touchdowns in each loss.
Joy: Moving downstate, Mississippi State had its second straight spanking of an undefeated, Top 10 SEC West foe, pulling away from No. 6 Texas A&M 48-17 before cruising to a 48-31 final. If he wasn’t before, Dak Prescott is a bona fide Heisman frontrunner and an absolute force to be reckoned with as he threw for 259 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 77 yards with three scores, while Josh Robinson added 107 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Geoff Collins’ defense picked Kenny Hill three times and kept the Aggies out of their familiar rhythm until adding two garbage scores in the game’s final 150 seconds. After losing 15 straight against ranked opponents, Mississippi State has now won twice in the last two weeks. This is good because soon-to-be No. 2 Auburn comes to town Saturday.
Agony: The defense is obviously a work in progress, but I’m less down on Texas A&M than any of the top six teams that was upset this week. It was a team reliant on first- and second-year players playing its first true road team, and played like it. This team is built for 2015 and 2016 that played above expectations thus far. Nothing to hang your head about here.
Joy: Auburn looks very much like the best team in the country, building on a Kansas State win that appreciates in value like San Francisco real estate every week with a 41-7 drubbing of LSU.
Agony: LSU, which did not convert a single first down Saturday night at Jordan-Hare, has now faced deficits of 24-7, 34-10, and 41-7 in its only three games against Power Five competition so far this season. This looks like a bad time to undergo a rebuilding year in the SEC West.
Joy: Baylor walked into Austin and beat Texas by 21 points in a game where Bryce Petty completed only 7-of-22 passes for just 114 yards. The defense, running game and special teams were more than enough to get the job done.
Agony: Texas held Bryce Petty to 7-of-22 passing for a scant 114 yards, and lost by 21. The rush defense, offense and special teams were not near the quality of Baylor.
Joy: TCU’s offense has made a complete transformation under Doug Meacham, gaining 469 yards and completing 10-of-18 third downs.
Agony: Trevor Knight completed only 14-of-35 passes with two interceptions in the Sooners’ loss at TCU. Joy: This should help him get over it pretty quickly.
Agony: Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Oklahoma lost on the same day for the first time since October 25, 1997.
Joy: TCU will visit Baylor Saturday in a nationally-televised battle of undefeated, Top 10(ish) teams. Imagine that happening back in 1997.
Joy: Gary Nova passed for 404 yards and three touchdowns as Rutgers beat Michigan. Beat freakin’ MICHIGAN!
Agony: Gary Nova passed for 404 yards and three touchdowns as Michigan lost to Rutgers. Lost to freakin’ RUTGERS!
Joy: Michigan State’s first three quarters, where the Spartans put Ameer Abdullah’s Heisman campaign on indefinite hiatus by building a 27-3 lead.
Agony: Michigan State’s fourth quarter, where the Spartans apparently let their minds wander to where they’d be in the polls on Sunday.
Joy: SMU finally attempted an extra point, as Cody Rademacher connected on all three of his tries.
Agony: SMU still lost, 45-24 to East Carolina.
Agony: Just about the entire Florida-Tennessee game, where punts outnumbered touchdowns, 16-1.
Joy: This made it worth it for anyone not wearing Tennessee colors.
Joy: When your special teams trick play works like a charm.
Agony: When your special teams trick play ends with your punter getting body-slammed.
Joy: Northwestern, who has righted the ship after an 0-3 start by beating Penn State 29-6 in Happy Valley and topping No. 17 Wisconsin 20-14 in Evanston. All of a sudden Northwestern is in first place in the Big Ten West, half a game ahead of Minnesota and Iowa. We all had that pegged in August, right? Joy: Notre Dame, who validated its place inside the Top 10 by beating Stanford 17-14 on yet another late-game heroic moment inside Notre Dame Stadium by Everett Golson. The Irish are now one home win over stumbling, bumbling North Carolina away from a humongous game at Florida State on Oct. 18.
Agony: Shared by Wisconsin and Stanford, who have to be the most frustrated two-loss teams in America. Wisconsin probably has the best defense in the country, and yet has dropped two extremely winnable games because its quarterbacks completed a combined 20-of-53 passes (37.7 percent) for 188 yards (3.54 yards per attempt) with one touchdown and six interceptions in those games.
Stanford, meanwhile, probably has the best defense in the country but managed to lose two games despite allowing only three touchdowns in those games because it made a combined 13 trips inside the opponent’s 35 and somehow came away with only 24 points.
Joy: Darrell Hazel earned his first Big Ten win in 10 tries as Purdue beat Illinois, 38-27.
Agony: Oof, Illinois. A 3-0 start is now an ugly 3-3 with no obvious wins waiting on the schedule. “We just have to take it one game at a time,” AD Mike Thomas said after the game.
Joy: Kentucky is 4-1 and 2-1 in the SEC after running off 21 straight fourth-quarter points to turn a 38-24 deficit into a 45-28 win.
Agony: South Carolina, the prohibitive favorite in the SEC East, is 3-3 and 2-3 in conference play. How did this team beat Georgia?
Steve Spurrier: “We have to find a way to try to have a winning season. That’s where we are now. … It is what it is.” — Josh Kendall (@JoshatTheState) October 5, 2014
Joy: Arizona State turned a nine point deficit with less than three minutes remaining into a 38-34 win over No. 16 USC on the strength of the Pac-12’s second game-winning Hail Mary of the season.
Agony: USC is 3-2 and 2-1 in Pac-12 play, trailing Arizona and UCLA in the Pac-12 South with a visit to Arizona waiting Saturday. How did this team beat Stanford?
Joy: Chuck Martin, earning his first win at Miami (Ohio) by rallying from a 41-14 hole by scoring four unanswered touchdowns to beat Massachusetts, 42-41. The win ends what was FBS’s longest losing streak at 21 games.
Agony: Mark Whipple and Massachusetts, who blew a 41-14 lead by allowing four unanswered touchdowns to lose 42-41 and lost while throwing short of the end zone from inside the five yard line instead of spiking the ball with three seconds to play, dropping the Minutemen to 0-6 and saying goodbye to their surest shot at victory this season. The loss extends the UMass losing streak to 11 games, tied with Idaho for the longest in FBS.
Joy: Utah beat No. 8 UCLA, making this weekend the first ever to see five top eight teams lose in the same week.
Agony: Everything else above on this list was so insane, no one had enough energy to give either game the attention it deserved. UCLA’s kicker missed from 55 on the final play; but Utah may or may not have run into the kicker. UCLA was awarded another try, this time from 50….any yeah, he missed again.
Joy: Cal and Washington State staged a game that went three flavors of HAM, as Connor Halliday set a single-game FBS record with 734 passing yards.
Agony: In a losing effort. Quentin Breshears missed a game-winning 19-yard field goal, and Cal won 60-59.
Wazzu gained 812 yards — 812! — and lost.
— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) October 5, 2014
Worst of all, the end of the Cal-Wazzu game meant that the craziest Saturday any of us care to remember was over.