Another weekend passes, and another list of teams are shuffled around in the top 25. Alabama continues to flex its strength week in and week out with another impressive performance against previously undefeated Mississippi State. MSU came into Tuscaloosa Saturday averaging 36 points per game, and was held to just seven points and leading SEC rusher LaDarius Perkins was held to 38 yards on 15 carries. Tide QB A.J. McCarron led the offense on three consecutive touchdown drives to start the game, putting Alabama in the driver's seat midway through the second quarter. The Alabama defense forced MSU to rely on the passing game, and Tyler Russell couldn't get anything going through the air all evening. The Tide will now refocus their attention on LSU, who they will play next Saturday.
In other SEC play, Georgia strolled into Gainesville and came away with a surprising victory over the Florida Gators 17-9. This is the same Georgia team that was steamrolled by South Carolina a few weeks back, and a Florida team that then beat South Carolina handily. It seems as though Mark Richt still has some tricks up his sleeve, and Florida didn't have an answer all afternoon. Georgia's defense forced the Gators into six turnovers, three at the hands of QB Jeff Driskel. If Georgia wins out the rest of their schedule they will have the opportunity to play in Atlanta for the SEC Championship game most likely against either LSU or Alabama.
Just when it looked like Texas Tech may hand Kansas State its first loss of the season, Bill Snyder & Co. came out in the second half explosive and won handily once again. Tech was up at the start of the second quarter 10-3 and only leading 10-13 at the half. But after halftime, Wildcat QB Collin Klein led the offense on six touchdown drives and seemingly putting the game away. Klein continues his Heisman campaign in impressive fashion, finishing with four total touchdowns. Kansas State now moves into 3rd in the BCS polls, and is firmly atop the Big 12.
Notre Dame continues to impress voters and college football fans alike with their balanced scheme on offense and amazingly strong defense. Led by Heisman candidate Manti Te'o, the defense gave up their first rushing touchdown of the season to Sooners QB Landry Jones. The touchdown proved to be unimportant, as the Fighting Irish left Norman Saturday night with a 30-13 victory and now are 4th in the BCS polls. Notre Dame has one of the hardest schedules in football, and has continued to surprise as they have run their record up to 8-0, a first since 2002. Landry Jones passed for 356 yards but was held to no touchdown passes while the running game was limited to under 50 yards rushing.
USC, which was the presumed favorite to win the national championship in the preseason, faced off against Arizona on Saturday and lost a close one 39-36. An offensive showcase was on display with both quarterbacks throwing for over 350 yards and saw Arizona have two rushers over the 100 yard mark. In a losing effort, USC wideout Marqise Lee hauled in 16 receptions for 345 yards and two touchdowns for a Pac-12 record. Arizona was led by 5th-year senior Matt Scott who denied a chance for USC to spoil a big win for coach Rich Rodriguez in his first season in Tucson. The dual-threat QB accounted for four touchdowns including a 7-yard strike with five minutes left in the 4th quarter that put the game out of reach. USC will look to get its season back on track with a Nov. 24th meeting against Notre Dame.
South Carolina's win over Tennessee was overshadowed by the horrific injury to star running back Marcus Lattimore, who worked so hard to get back on the field this season after a gruesome injury last year. The outpour of support for Lattimore was shown from both teams, and Lattimore was in tears as he was carted off the field. South Carolina won the game 38-35, and QB Conor Shaw threw for a career high 356 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Gamecocks over a potential upset by the Volunteers. Lattimore was looked upon for offensive production after a season-ending injury last year, and Spurrier said that he hopes to have his starting running back at the start of next season.
The MAC Conference has quietly been beating Big East opponents this year with four wins, most notably on Saturday when Kent State strolled into Rutgers and ended their undefeated season. Rutgers QB Gary Nova was uncomfortable all afternoon, and finished with six interceptions. Kent State rolled all over Rutgers behind 224 rushing yards, and now sits atop the MAC with a 4-0 record. Rutgers slim chance at a National Championship berth were eliminated, and they will now likely fall out of the top 25 after a weak showing against Kent State.
Another Big East game that took place on Friday saw undefeated Louisville escape an upset by Cincinnati 34-31 behind QB Teddy Bridgewater who led the offense back from 10 points down on two occasions. Louisville outgained the Bearcats by almost 200 yards and won the turnover battle with one compared to Cincy's three. Louisville stopped a three game slide against Cincy and now firming sit atop the Big East with an 8-0 record, while the Bearcats lost their second straight after a 5-0 start.
Texas A&M got their season back on track behind freshman sensation QB Johnny Manziel and beat 2010 National Champion Auburn easily 63-21. The loss moves Auburn to 1-7 on the season, and has some questioning whether head coach Gene Chizik will be on the sidelines next season. Manziel handily drove the offense down the field all afternoon, connecting with wide out Ryan Swope for two touchdowns and running for three more. A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin in his first season has got to be excited about the potential about Manziel being he is only a freshman. The Aggies are currently 6-2 and can still find themselves in a major bowl game at the end of the year if they can win out.
In the underachieving Big Ten Conference, the only team that is undefeated is Ohio State who beat Penn State on Satuday but won't be allowed for postseason play due to sanctions. The rest of the conference has played with extreme mediocrity, and none have shown that they can play with the like's of Ohio State or other powerhouse conferences. Nebraska beat Michigan in a game that lacked much offense by either team, while Wisconsin was knocked out of the top 25 by Michigan State in another low scoring affair 16-13. In terms of offensive production, the two teams shackled by sanctions (Penn State and Ohio State) are leading the conference in yards per game, and are the only one's really putting up numbers on a consistent basis.