As wild weekends go, there hasn’t been anything like it in a while.
Four of the top six teams ranked in The Associated Press poll lost, and that happened only one other time in history. Stretch it out to five of eight, and that’s never happened.
The only teams that held their position in the poll released Sunday were top-ranked Florida State and idle Georgia, at No. 13 everybody else moved. Contrast that to the previous week when the top seven teams all stayed put from the previous poll.
The Seminoles, who smoked Wake Forest, were the biggest winners. There had been doubts about a team needed late good fortune to put away Clemson (yes, Florida State played without suspended Jameis Winston, but the Seminoles would have plunged with a loss), and the defense disappeared against North Carolina State.
But losses by the next three — Oregon, Alabama and Oklahoma — allowed the Seminoles to put distance between them and that group.
Auburn also made a big jump from sixth to second after crushing LSU.
But the biggest celebrations occurred in two states, Mississippi and Arizona. As the day’s action spilled into early Sunday morning it was impossible to determine who had a better day.
Maybe Mississippi, because pop star Katy Perry partied with Rebels fans after watching Mississippi’s 23-17 conquest of Alabama.
Rebels defensive end Robert Nkemdiche said that games like Saturday’s are why he signed with Mississippi as the nation’s top-ranked recruit two years ago.
“We came here to do something different,” Nkemdiche said. “I could have gone to Bama or LSU, but I wanted to come here and make a difference.”
Mississippi State’s 17-point smashing of Texas A&M pushed the state’s two major programs squarely into the College Football Playoff conversation.
In Arizona, the Wildcats got the whole thing started on Thursday by stopping Oregon 31-24, making it two straight victories for coach Rich Rodriquez over a top-five Ducks program. The Wildcats zoomed 16 spots in the AP poll from first team out to No. 10. It marked the first jump from unranked to top 10 since the AP poll went to 25 teams in 1989.
By the time the Arizona State-Southern California game reached the fourth quarter, the college football day had covered nearly every story line.
Then the Sun Devils delivered a remarkable comeback punctuated by a Hail Mary touchdown.
Arizona State trailed the Trojans 34-25 with 3:02 remaining, when Mike Bercovici hooked up with Cameron Smith for a 73-yard touchdown completion.
The Sun Devils got the ball back and were at the USC 46 with 7 seconds remaining. This time, Bercovici lofted a long ball to Jaelen Strong, who caught the ball in stride at the goal line for the score as time expired, giving Arizona State an improbable 38-34 triumph.
“That was the most unbelievable night I’ve ever had in coaching,” Sun Devils coach Todd Graham said.
It capped one of the most unbelievable regular-season days college football has ever produced.
If the season ended today, the conference championship game would pit North champion California against South champion Arizona. No league team has played more than three games, and only the Wildcats are undefeated in league play (2-0).
The Washington State quarterback did all he could to keep the Cougars in the game against Cal. His 734 yards passing set an NCAA record. The latest in the Mike Leach quarterback assembly line threw for six touchdowns without an interception. But Washington State fell at home to California 60-59 in regulation. Cal quarterback Jared Goff wasn’t too bad himself, with 527 yards and five touchdown passes.
Arizona became the first team to jump into the top 10 from being unranked, but TCU also jumped 16 spots, from No. 25 to No. 9, its highest ranking since joining the Big 12. The Horned Frogs came up big on both sides of the ball with no play bigger than the fourth-and-1 stop of Samaje Perine from the TCU 22 as the Sooners were driving late.
A bad week ended on a sour note for the Wolverines, who fell at Rutgers 26-24. Michigan is 0-2 in Big Ten play for the first time since 1967, and a former Kansas Jayhawk contributed in a big way. Andrew Turzilli caught touchdown passes of 14 and 80 yards for the Scarlet Knights, who won their first Big Ten game. Quarterback Shane Morris, who took a snap after showing concussion symptoms last week which prompted an outcry against coach Brady Hoke, didn’t play on Saturday.
The Minutemen took a 41-14 lead at Miami, Ohio, late in the second quarter. Who knew a missed extra point would be a problem? It was, as the RedHawks roared back for a 42-41 victory, snapping the nation’s longest losing streak at 21 games and sending Massachusetts to an 0-6 record.
Yes, the Mustangs dropped to 0-5 with a 45-24 loss at East Carolina. But for the first time this season, SMU made it competitive. Late in the third quarter, the Mustangs closed to 35-24. SMU crossed the 300-yard total offense mark for the first time this season and quarterback Garrett Krstich pass for 339.
COMMITTEE OF ONE
—Rose Bowl: No. 1 Florida State vs. No. 4 Mississippi State
—Sugar Bowl: No. 2 Auburn vs. No. 3 Mississippi
—Knocking on the door: Baylor, Alabama, Notre Dame, Michigan State
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