The first College Football Playoff rankings are out and defended by none other than our very own Jeff Long. He conveniently assured Arkansas the biggest stage to break its SEC losing streak, a date at the No. 1 team in the country.
When the "40 for 40" comes out featuring Bret Bielema's record seven consecutive national titles, the story will be written as such: What if I told you a destitute SEC team rose to No. 1 after beating No. 1? But we will all remember that No. 1 was Mississippi State, which is sort of like when Kansas City was in the World Series. It happened, but no one really believes it because of its rarity.
All of this may only be a pipe dream, maybe not. But there's no way for that glorious tagline to become reality without the Jeff Long conspiracy.
Wisconsin at Rutgers (-11 UW)- Love your family more than to watch this Big 10 matchup. Get your chores done so that you can watch the night schedule because it is out of control. If you are a degenerate and need some betting advice, take the Badgers and Melvin Gordon III has started to turn up his Heisman hype a few weeks too late.
No. 7 TCU at No. 20 West Virginia (-4 TCU)- After 82 points last week one thing is very clear. Defensive-minded TCU coach Gary Patterson has embraced the Big 12. He is still coaching a fine defense. But instead of fighting the change in offensive styles and the point scoring ways of today's college football, he has decided to join the enemy, which has been exemplified by teams like West Virginia. The Mountaineers have already taken my money once before this season because I thought Morgantown would prove too difficult for Oklahoma. I'm not being fooled again. Give me some of that Horned Frog love.
No. 11 Georgia vs. Florida (-11 UGA)- Since a narrow win versus Tennesse, the Bulldogs have started to play their best ball of the season, missing their best player from the roster. Todd Gurley is still fourth in rushing on 40 less carries than those backs around him on the stat sheet, despite having missed the last two games. Give some of the credit to freshman Nick Chubb. This game is always close, especially when one coach is trying to save his job. Dawgs win, but it's closer than the experts think.
No. 3 Auburn at No. 4 Ole Miss (-2 UM)- Very conveniently the same television network that owns the rights to the College Football Playoff rankings show also will air the game between the No. 3 and No. 4 team, rendering this the first true elimination game of the season. A year ago, I would have predicted this Auburn team to win byway of som some sort of last-second heroics. Not this time, in Vaught-Hemmingway at night. Bo Wallace was obviously shaken up last week at LSU, but that could change with him back in the comforts of home. The Rebel defense slows down Nick Marshal but not enough to cover.
Arkansas at No. 1 Mississippi State (-11 MSU)- I'm not sure I have had the right read on this Arkansas team since the consecutive beatdowns (Nichols State and Texas Tech) early in the season. The heart and mind are in a constant fight to project the Hogs' play. I want nothing more than to beat the No. 1, but have a hard time doing so based on their lack of efficiency--though much-improved since a year ago--on defense. Heart wins as the Hogs cover and break the SEC losing streak in a spectacular manner.
Stanford at No. 5 Oregon (-8 UO)- Oregon's kryptonite has been Stanford the past two seasons. Their inability to beat one of those boring I-formation offenses has cost them as of late. SInce 2011, the winner of this game has gone on to win the conference, and this game will prove no different. Ducks win and cover in a revenge game at Autzen.
Tennessee at South Carolina (-5.5 USC)- The performances of these two squads was polar opposite a week ago. Tennessee was blown out at home, and South Carolina went on the road and had a Hail Mary's chance sending the game to overtime at Auburn. Vegas is smart, but this line seems low based on recent showings. Gamecocks cover.
No. 12 Arizona at No. 22 UCLA (-6 UCLA)- Arizona and Rich Rodriguez are showing themselves as Pac-12 elite with the most challenging half of the schedule still on the docket. The Bruins are trending downward. After starting the season as many people's national championship picks, they have yet to beat a team by more than one score. The offenses will be in high gear, as most Pac-12 games trend that way. I like the Wildcats outright... or at least to lose by less than five.
No. 17 Utah at No. 14 Arizona State (-5.5 ASU)- Arizona State's defense has gotten better as the season progresses, which is perfect timing considering the importance of this week's Pac-12 South game and as they travel to South Bend next week. Utah will play without its best receiver, who is out due to injury. The Utes run defense is a top-notch unit giving up only 2.8 yards per carry, but this game will be won and covered by the Sun Devil's ability to pass the pigskin.
Last week: 2-5-1
Arkansas Fight: 38-48-1 (41.5%)
Razorbloggers.net: 22-28-2 (44%)