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Ridley's Rankings Week 6

Updated on October 7, 2014
Dak Prescott has the Dawgs in the national title picture and his name in the Heisman running.
Dak Prescott has the Dawgs in the national title picture and his name in the Heisman running. | Source

Week 6 was not a good time to be a ranked team, especially if you were in the top six. Four out of the top six (and five of the top eight) lost during the week, all of which to lower or un-ranked teams. Oregon was hit the worst, losing at home to a previously un-ranked Wildcats squad. They fell from second to 12th in both my rankings and the AP. Oklahoma also took it on the chin, dropping to 11th after losing on the road to 25th-ranked TCU.

The big winners of the week were undeniably the teams from Mississippi. Mississippi State humiliated the sixth-ranked Aggies, leading by at much as 31 before Texas A&M tacked on some garbage time scores. Ole Miss, meanwhile, took down the evil Crimson Tide for the first time since 2003. The wins by each team pole vaulted them into a tie for third in the AP poll and brought State's quarterback, Dak Prescott, into the Heisman discussion.

How else did this week affect the rank and order? Let's take a look.

If you are new to the rankings or need a reminder of how the rankings are calculated or what the numbers mean, you can find the explanation here.

The Rankings

Rank
Team
Total
My Rank
1
Auburn
100.00
2
2
Mississippi State
97.73
1
3
Florida State
95.66
6
4
Ole Miss
94.67
3
5
Baylor
85.06
11
6
Notre Dame
84.92
7
7
Alabama
81.06
10
8
TCU
79.91
5
9
Arizona
79.85
4
10
Michigan State
77.40
15
11
Oklahoma
70.88
16
12
Oregon
69.57
14
13
Texas A&M
67.47
9
14
Georgia
63.78
27
15
Ohio State
60.31
25
16
UCLA
58.34
13
17
Oklahoma State
57.22
30
18
Kansas State
56.40
24
19
Arizona State
50.71
23
20
Georgia Tech
50.53
12
21
Nebraska
50.35
17
22
East Carolina
49.56
37
23
Missouri
44.95
19
24
Marshall
43.86
8
25
Utah
42.75
22

2. Mississippi State (97.73) [1]

It only seems fitting that we evaluate Mississippi State on the heels of their lopsided win over Texas A&M, as opposed to waiting and letting the State-Auburn game clear up the picture for us. After all, there is no fun in making a prediction when the outcome isn't completely in jeopardy.

The Bulldogs have started conference play off with a bang, beating an eighth-ranked LSU and sixth-ranked A&M by a combined score of 82-60. Unfortunately for Dan Mullen's group, those two bouts are just the tip of the iceberg. After a match with Auburn this weekend (my rankings' top team), the Dawgs still have to visit Alabama and Ole Miss. While winning one of those three games would have been a strong accomplishment in previous seasons, it would be seen as a disappointment this year. If State hopes to make it to the College Football Playoffs, they will have to win at least two of these games (along with the rest of their schedule) to have a chance at making it. Even then, they may need some help.

Chances of making the playoffs: 45%

Making the Playoffs

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5. Baylor (85.06) [11]

In college football right now, there are the top tier teams (Auburn, Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Florida State) and everybody else. Right now, the Bears are the leader of that second group. They are 5-0 and lead the nation in scoring differential (by 29 points) but something about them feels off. It could be the memory of their hot start a year ago that ended with two losses (including a 32-point blowout to Oklahoma State) in their last four games. It could also be that Art Briles' group has failed to play any team of substance. Their best win of the season, by winning percentage, is over Buffalo, who is 3-3 and has beat the likes of Duquesne (FCS), Norfolk State (also FCS) and perennial FBS whipping boys, Miami (OH), who currently ranks 124th out of 129.

Going forward, the tune will be much different. Four currently-ranked teams await the Bears, including Oklahoma in Norman, where Baylor is 0-for-ever. They do have the luxury of hosting TCU, Oklahoma State and Kansas State, but these games will be far from easy for a team that hasn't faced a decent challenge yet. Baylor will also enter these games knowing full well that a trip to the playoffs could disappear with just a single blemish on their record. How Briles and star quarterback Bryce Petty handle this pressure will likely determine if Bears are playing after New Year's.

Chances of making the playoffs: 35%

10. Michigan State (77.40) [15]

So far, we've only covered undefeated teams, where there was little ambiguity about their path to the playoffs. Let's flip that and talk about a team that could be on the outside looking in despite having one of the most justifiable losses in the country.

Michigan State, like so many other one-loss teams, finds itself in the playoff hunt but their fate is out of their hands. At 4-1 -- with their lone loss coming in Eugene at the hands of the Ducks -- Sparty not only needs to win out, but will need some help from other teams, not to mention favor from the playoff committee.

As the 10th-ranked team (8th in the AP), a lot has to fall right for the warriors of Lansing to land one of the four coveted bids. With Ohio State at home as their only notable game remaining, their schedule is not enough to boost them over similar one-loss teams. They will need multiple teams ahead of them to fall, some even twice. Luckily for Michigan State, the schedule dictates that at least four of the teams they are chasing will fall, three of which in the next two weeks. Undefeated Auburn faces Mississippi State and Baylor hosts TCU this weekend, with Florida State and Notre Dame battling in Tallahassee the week after, but it doesn't stop there. Baylor's tough stretch was highlighted above and Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Auburn and Alabama have a combined five games remaining against each other, meaning several of these teams could see a precipitous fall.

The other issue MSU has to deal with is that of the quacking variety. If the Spartans and Ducks both win out, they will likely move into position to battle for the final playoff spot. Should that happen, there's no telling how the playoff committee will vote. Will they give the Ducks the edge because of the head-to-head victory or will they give Sparty the edge because its loss was more justifiable?

Chances of making the playoffs: 32%

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