Gameday: About last Saturday, and what’s it mean going forward
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You may’ve heard, last weekend got a little crazy.
What started with Oregon plain and simply getting outplayed by a then unranked Arizona team, paved the way for arguably the most wild, action-packed weekend of college football, ever. When it was over, five of the AP’s top 8 lost, a first in the 78-year history of the poll, including 11 of the Top 25, and afterthoughts like Mississippi State and Cal were suddenly near the top of their respective conferences.
The Golden Bears, you know the team that won a single game last year, capped everything off Saturday night with a 60-59 win over Washington State in a contest that combined for 1,401 yards, to become the leader of the Pac-12 North’s division.
Of course what followed was plenty of dramatic shifting in the overall rankings, the most of which being Arizona’s jump to No. 10 after not being ranked to begin with. Other schools like then No. 25 TCU moved to No. 9, while Mississippi State and Ole Miss were paired together at the No. 3 spot after being ranked outside of the top-10 the previous week.
UCLA , Stanford and USC joined Oregon in the loss category, with the Trojans falling completely out of the rankings, while No. 3 Alabama, No. 4 Oklahoma, and No. 5 Texas A&M met their demise as well. Also, of all those teams mentioned, only one of them was involved in a game that wasn’t being decided in the 4th quarter’s final minutes.
Just looking through the binoculars from a neutralized perspective, every game involving a Pac-12 team this weekend had an average margin of victory of 3.3 points. Arizona State’s hail mary was answered at the Los Angles Memorial Coliseum to defeat USC. UCLA had two opportunities to kick the game-winning field goal and jump into the top-five, yet missed both and Stanford let a lead slip away in the final minutes of the game, again.
Now what does it mean?
Well, Arizona is the only remaining undefeated team in the Pac-12 and we’re not even into the second weekend of October. In addition, after Oregon’s bout with UCLA Saturday, only one other team from the Pac-12 will have a legitimate shot at reaching the College Football Playoff. It’s not as if to say that Arizona and the rest of the Pac-12 are an anomaly either. Just look at what’s happening in the SEC, where two teams that have never garnered this type of recognition in this century are sitting at the top of the polls.
Fitting that all this occurs during the inaugural year of the College Football Playoff. Provided that some losses may’ve hurt more than others, this weekend was far less demoralizing to any teams’ National Championship hopes than it would’ve been in the past.
Rather than reeling for some credibility, Ohio State and Michigan State have crept into the landscape again, while teams like Oregon and UCLA are on the verge of falling out completely. It’s writing quite the script as Oct. 28, the first time that the College Football Playoffs rankings will be released, approaches.
Follow Justin Wise on Twitter @JustinFWise
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