Mississippi State has moved to the top of the college football mountain after knocking off defending SEC champion Auburn. The win helped to convince enough voters in the coaches and AP polls to move Mississippi State past Florida State. Of course, I had them atop my power ranking ballot last week and I see no reason to change that this week.
For the second straight week I am going with Dan Mullen, Dak Prescott and the Bulldogs with my first-place spot in this week’s Athlon Sports media poll. I had Auburn ranked second in my poll last week but moved Florida State and Ole Miss up the order as I dropped Auburn down to sixth this week. I also bumped Notre Dame up into my top four this week, although I officially remain cautious with my take on the Irish.
You can see this week’s updated poll results via Athlon Sports, but here is how I voted following Week 7.
1. Mississippi State
2. Florida State
3. Ole Miss
4. Notre Dame
8. Michigan State
Some quick thoughts…
First, as a reminder, my power ranking is not necessarily going to correspond with my College Football Playoff projection. My power ranking is a reflection on what teams have done to this point, while my playoff projection is a guess as to how the playoff field will eventually be filled. I know it is popular to fill in “Who’s In” brackets after every game or week, but this is a pointless exercise used specifically to encourage commenting. And yes, I answer the question when asked in radio interviews if I had to fill out four teams now, but I tend to roll my eyes every time the question is asked.
For example, I am reasonably certain the College Football Playoff field is not going to include Mississippi State and Ole Miss, and I am not 100 percent convinced either will make it. I certainly do not feel Notre Dame is going to hang around long enough to grab a spot either. Two of these four teams is guaranteed to lose before the end of the season (Florida State hosts Notre Dame this week and the Egg Bowl comes later next month). I will expand on that later this week.
Second, I like to try and give a nod to teams that have gone undefeated. We have six of those teams remaining at this point in the season. The only one I do not have listed is Marshall, but the other five start off my ranking this week. I do believe an undefeated team does not necessarily have to be considered better than a team with a loss. For example, I would take Auburn or Oregon against Notre Dame, but I have a tendency to reward teams that have won their games. And the Irish now have five wins against teams from power conferences. Say what you will though about the quality of those opponents (Michigan, Purdue, UNC), but only one other schools can claim five victories against power conference opponents, and that just so happens to be Florida State.
I put Oregon back in my power ranking this week. I also threw Michigan State back in the mix. The Ducks responded in a big way following a loss, doing so on the road at UCLA. UCLA, as a result, is now off my radar. Michigan State struggled with Purdue, but I’m not too worried about them moving forward.
I suspect there will be some shuffling in my power ranking ballot next week. With Florida State and Notre Dame squaring off, there could be a new number one in my ballot next week. The loser could easily be dropped from my top eight as well, opening up a spot for some other team that may be flying on my radar (Georgia?).
As always, I invite you to share with me your top eight or tell me which team I have too high (Notre Dame) or too low (Notre Dame). And tune in next week to see who I have in my next power ranking ballot.