Power rankings Week 6: SEC vs. Pac-12
No one was safe in the SEC or Pac-12 in Week 6 as big-time programs such as Georgia, Oregon and Southern California — who were all ranked in the top 10 at some point this season in the AP Poll — all suffered jarring losses.
While the Pac-12 stayed in-house with five games last week, the SEC went 6-4 with easy out-of-conference wins over New Mexico State (Ole Miss) and Troy (Mississippi State).
The biggest news to come out of the weekend (other than Nick Chubb’s injury or Will Grier’s suspension) is the new head coach vacancies at the East and West Coast’s respective USC schools in the Gamecocks and Trojans. Does anyone have Ed Orgeron’s phone number?
Here’s a look at how the SEC and Pac-12 stack up against one another at the 2015 season’s midway point.
CFB Playoff Contenders
The top four teams on the list essentially control their own playoff fate by winning out. Utah is 2-4 lifetime against Alabama, LSU and Texas A&M, but one of those victories was a big one. The Utes beat the Crimson Tide in the 2008 Sugar Bowl to finish No. 2 in the nation behind Florida. With Utah and Florida both back in the spotlight, this year is starting to take on a retro 2008 feel … sans Tim Tebow.
- Texas A&M
The aforementioned teams can’t get into the true playoff discussion without first contending with Nos. 5-8 on our list. The only thing keeping Florida from being among the elite teams is an enormous hole left by the sudden yearlong suspension of quarterback Will Grier, who had seized control of the undefeated Gators offense as a freshman. Stanford, Ole Miss and UCLA each have a blemish on their record that keeps them just shy of the top group, but any of these teams can emerge at the apex of their respective conferences come the end of the season.
- Ole Miss
Don’t Forget About…
Dak Prescott and Jared Goff are among the two best quarterbacks in the country and have Mississippi State and California, respectively, on the rise. Washington is another program on the rise under second-year Huskies coach Chris Petersen. Petersen, you might recall, replaced the now-fired Steve Sarkissian in Seattle, making UW kind of look like geniuses at this point. The Huskies twisted the knife a little by beating the No. 17 Trojans in Los Angeles in Week 6, setting off a chain of events that led to Sark’s ouster. While USC founders in uncertainty, Washington is 3-2 with both their losses coming by less than a touchdown to Goff and No. 23 Cal, as well as Petersen’s old troupe No. 21 Boise State. In the end, it’s slight consistency issues that each of these teams need to iron out before they move up the list.
- Mississippi State
- Arizona State
Gonna Fall Short
Speaking of consistency issues, these four teams are the posterchildren for inconsistency. Each of these programs — Arizona and Southern Cal in the West, and Georgia and Tennessee down South — had legitimate reasons to believe they could contend this year. But inconsistent play, among other things, has doomed each to a position of likely watching their respective conference championships from their couches. That said, all four of these teams still pose very dangerous threats to anyone on any given weekend.
- Southern California
So … Marcus Mariota meant a whole lot to Oregon, huh. With the exception of Kentucky, the teams in this group have mostly been a disappointment this season — among them the Ducks. An inaugural playoff team 10 months ago, Oregon has lost three times, albeit to No. 4 Utah and No. 7 Michigan State. The Ducks drop dramatically, however, after losing to Washington State at Autzen Stadium.
- Washington State
And then there’s…
The teams at the bottom of the list have put some things together at times this season, but have mostly suffered through a tough year. None of these squads have a conference win through at the season’s midway point, going a combined 0-12. If any of them can put it all together on a Saturday, they have a chance to upend someone. But, for the most part, it looks like a bowl-less season.
- South Carolina
- Oregon State