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Ole Miss pulled off the big upset

Ole Miss pulled off the big upset.

Early in the day, Mississippi State blew out Texas A&M in Starkville, 48-31. That was the first half in the most incredible football day in Magnolia State history. What happened next was much more dramatic.

Ole Miss had lost 10 straight games to Alabama, with 9 of those games coming by at least 22 points. The last three years, the Crimson Tide had won by an average of 36.7 points. Last year, a 3-0 Ole Miss team — fresh off of a blowout win in Texas — lost in Tuscaloosa, 25-0. So while the Rebels entered Saturday with a 4-0 record and a top-15 ranking, it would be fair to wonder how they would handle an Alabama team that was still Alabama.

Early on, the Tide looked like the better team. Amari Cooper was not dominating, but T.J. Yeldon looked great, en route to a 100-yard day. Quarterback Blake Sims looked smart and efficient, while Ole Miss couldn’t seem to get much going on offense like just about every opponent ever against Alabama. Still, the Rebels defense had played well enough to keep the Tide to just seven first half points, and the game looked to be 7-3 at the end of the half. That is, until what appeared to be the turning point of the game.

In the final seconds of the half, a screen pass to I’Tavius Mathers looked to be uneventful, until Cyrus Jones pulled off the trifecta — strip, fumble recovery, return for a touchdown. Replays showed that Jones committed a blatant facemask penalty, which likely lead to the fumble, but the refs didn’t see it. So after a great first half, a bad call meant Ole Miss was suddenly down 14-3. This seemed like a recipe for yet another Alabama win over the Upstart Of the Week.

But the weirdest thing happened in the second half. Ole Miss didn’t just outscore Alabama, it outplayed them. And not by an insignificant margin. Bo Wallace, Laquon Treadwell, and Evan Engram (other than a huge drop) were dominant in the second half, while the Ole Miss defense continued its excellent play. A gorgeous touchdown to Jaylen Walton gave Ole Miss a touchdown lead, but in typical Ole Miss fashion, the team botched the extra point not once, but twice.1

With Ole Miss now clinging to only a 6-point lead, you could hardly blame anyone for expecting Alabama to win the game with a last second touchdown. A 30-yard catch and run by Cooper on the final drive put the Tide in inside the Ole Miss 30. But an incredible interception by Senquez Golson sealed the victory, and the day was complete: Mississippi not only beat, but outplayed Alabama, in a crucial game in a battle for SEC West supremacy. The game (and the aftermath) was everything that was great about college football.

Which almost makes it seem silly to transition to college football ratings, since we are still too early in the year for these ratings to hold significant meaning. Last week, I unveiled the initial SRS ratings. In perhaps two weeks, the ratings will start to really hold up, but for now, these are mostly a gut check. As always thanks to Dr. Peter R. Wolfe for providing the weekly game logs. As a reminder, these ratings are intended to be predictive only, and not intended as a way to rank college football teams for any other purpose.

RkTeamConfConf RkGMOVSOSSRSREC
1AuburnSEC1523.148.671.75-0
2OklahomaB121518.346.264.54-1
3BaylorB122531.632.263.85-0
4TCUB12342439.363.34-0
5MississippiSEC2522.140.462.55-0
6Mississippi StSEC3519.341.160.45-0
7AlabamaSEC4516.543.159.64-1
8UCLAP12159.848.758.54-1
9Texas A&MSEC5621.336.958.35-1
10Ohio StateB10151838.456.44-1
11Notre DameInd1516.839.456.25-0
12GeorgiaSEC6517.738.3564-1
13Kansas StB12451639.955.94-1
14Michigan StB102518.436.955.34-1
15UtahP122515.439.254.64-1
16OregonP123515.738.654.34-1
17ArkansasSEC7513.840.554.33-2
18NebraskaB103616.537.754.25-1
19Florida StACC1516.937.354.25-0
20LSUSEC8612.441.153.54-2
21LouisvilleACC2618.134.852.95-1
22TennesseeSEC95250.952.92-3
23ClemsonACC3511.740.552.23-2
24FloridaSEC1049.842.452.23-1
25MissouriSEC11513.537.951.44-1
26StanfordP124512.837.950.73-2
27MemphisAmer151238.450.43-2
28Virginia TechACC469.540.5504-2
29Southern CalP1255940.949.93-2
30MarshallCUSA1527.621.849.45-0
31VirginiaACC56741.848.84-2
32Oklahoma StB125510.738.148.84-1
33West VirginiaB12657.141.548.63-2
34ArizonaP126512.835.848.65-0
35East CarolinaAmer2515.831.847.64-1
36Brigham YoungInd2510.536.947.44-1
37MarylandB10468.338.6474-2
38Louisiana TechCUSA26541.746.73-3
39WisconsinB105512.733.746.43-2
40MinnesotaB1065838.246.24-1
41Arizona StP12751036.246.24-1
42Georgia TechACC6511.634.245.85-0
43CaliforniaP12858.236.744.94-1
44South CarolinaSEC126-2.647.344.83-3
45PittsburghACC767.836.444.23-3
46KentuckySEC13510.833.2444-1
47TexasB1275-2.145.743.62-3
48DukeACC8519.623.943.54-1
49Miami FLACC964.139.343.43-3
50NorthwesternB1075538.143.13-2
51WashingtonP129510.432.442.84-1
52IowaB10856.236.542.74-1
53IndianaB10953.938.342.23-2
54TempleAmer3421.320.8423-1
55Penn StateB10105735424-1
56Boston CollegeACC1057.534.341.83-2
57Utah StMWC152.239.441.63-2
58Boise StMWC264.536.741.24-2
59SyracuseACC115-5.146.241.12-3
60Washington StP121060.840.2412-4
61Colorado StMWC3511.529.140.64-1
62Arkansas StSun152.437.740.13-2
63Georgia SouthernSun2615.524.339.84-2
64RutgersB10116731.538.55-1
65Iowa StB1285-12.250.338.11-4
66NevadaMWC452.835.2383-2
67North Carolina StACC1263.533.937.44-2
68MichiganB10126-2.339.637.32-4
69Western KentuckyCUSA354.532.637.12-3
70CincinnatiAmer44-4.541.5372-2
71Central FloridaAmer54135.936.92-2
72ToledoMAC161.135.436.44-2
73AkronMAC254.631.836.43-2
74Alabama-BirminghamCUSA456.729.636.33-2
75NavyInd36-3.239.135.92-4
76Air ForceMWC559.72635.74-1
77Northern IllinoisMAC35728.135.14-1
78PurdueB10136-2.837.9353-3
79Oregon StP121155.429.534.94-1
80Florida Int'lCUSA561.932.834.83-3
81Middle Tennessee StCUSA666.128.334.44-2
82North CarolinaACC135-5.239.2342-3
83Texas TechB1295-8.742.633.92-3
84South AlabamaSun352.231.433.63-2
85RiceCUSA75-5.13832.92-3
86San José StMWC65-335.832.82-3
87Western MichiganMAC452.429.932.32-3
88North TexasCUSA850.931.332.22-3
89ColoradoP12126-4.235.831.72-4
90Central MichiganMAC56-1.332.731.33-3
91WyomingMWC75-940.231.23-2
92Fresno StMWC86-5.937.131.13-3
93IllinoisB10146-6.737.6313-3
94HoustonAmer654.626.130.72-3
95Texas-San AntonioCUSA95-6.336.3301-4
96ArmyInd45-4.233.729.52-3
97Ball StMAC65-331.828.81-4
98Wake ForestACC146-6.835.428.72-4
99Florida AtlanticCUSA106-9.738.228.62-4
100Hawai`iMWC95-7.235.728.51-4
101BuffaloMAC76-0.428.728.33-3
102UTEPCUSA115-8.836.627.82-3
103VanderbiltSEC146-18.244.926.71-5
104Ohio U.MAC86-4.431.126.63-3
105KansasB12105-10.537.126.62-3
106San Diego StMWC1051.42526.42-3
107Louisiana-MonroeSun45-4.630.726.13-2
108Bowling GreenMAC96-3.629.125.54-2
109New MexicoMWC115-6.631.324.72-3
110Texas St-San MarcosSun556.618.124.73-2
111South FloridaAmer75-9.333.624.32-3
112Louisiana-LafayetteSun65-10.134.1242-3
113Southern MissCUSA126-14.43823.62-4
114Old DominionCUSA136-5.328.823.63-3
115Miami OHMAC106-10.533.5231-5
116TulaneAmer85-12.935.722.81-4
117Kent StMAC115-1840.122.10-5
118New Mexico StSun76-8.329.821.62-4
119SMUAmer95-32.25320.80-5
120MassachusettsMAC126-11.831.819.90-6
121ConnecticutAmer105-14.534.219.71-4
122TulsaAmer115-16.636.219.61-4
123Appalachian StSun85-5.924.718.81-4
124Georgia StSun95-9.227.718.51-4
125IdahoSun105-12.728.7160-5
126TroySun115-2035.215.20-5
127Eastern MichiganMAC135-23.236.413.21-4
128UNLVMWC126-18.530.211.71-5
  • SEC West teams dominate the rankings, as expected: Auburn (1), Mississippi (5), MSU (6), Alabama (7), and A&M (9) all are the top ten.
  • But perhaps the more surprising part is that three Big 12 teams are in the top four. So what gives? The Baylor/TCU/Oklahoma trio are 13-1, with the only loss coming by the Sooners in Forth Worth yesterday, 37-33. Oklahoma has a great rating because it beat Tennessee (#22 in the SRS), West Virginia (#33), and Louisiana Tech (#38) — by a combined 68 points. Baylor has won each game by at least 21 points. Sure, the best team the Bears have defeated is Texas (#47), but it’s not as though there’s any evidence that Bayor isn’t a very good team. And TCU… well, TCU has the same resume as Baylor (all games against teams other than Oklahoma have come by at least 21) plus the victory over the Sooners to prove that the Horned Frogs are legit. Until the sample sizes increase, for now, there are no external blemishes on this trio of teams.

Finally, let’s close with a look at the single-game SRS grades for each team in week 6. Oklahoma, Alabama, UCLA, Texas A&M, Oregon all fell in week 6, but the top SRS score came from Auburn in a 41-7 blowout over LSU. Ohio State also began the long task of raising its national profile by thumping Maryland. (Lest you forget, Maryland beat Indiana which beat Missouri).

DateTm_ConfPFOppPAH/RW/LDiffMOVOpp_ConfSOSSRS
10-04-2014Auburn_SEC41LSU7HomeWin3427.5SEC53.581
10-04-2014Ohio State_B1052Maryland24RoadWin2827.5B104774.5
10-04-2014Mississippi St_SEC48Texas A&M31HomeWin1714SEC58.372.3
10-04-2014TCU_B1237Oklahoma33HomeWin47B1264.571.5
10-04-2014Clemson_ACC41North Carolina St0HomeWin4131ACC37.468.4
10-04-2014Baylor_B1228Texas7RoadWin2124B1243.667.6
10-04-2014Mississippi_SEC23Alabama17HomeWin67SEC59.666.6
10-03-2014Louisville_ACC28Syracuse6RoadWin2224.5ACC41.165.6
10-04-2014Utah_P1230UCLA28RoadWin27P1258.565.5
10-03-2014Utah St_MWC35Brigham Young20RoadWin1518Ind47.465.4
10-02-2014Arizona_P1231Oregon24RoadWin710P1254.364.3
10-04-2014Louisiana Tech_CUSA55UTEP3HomeWin5236.5CUSA27.864.3
10-04-2014Memphis_Amer41Cincinnati14RoadWin2727Amer3764
10-04-2014Michigan St_B1027Nebraska22HomeWin57B1054.261.2
10-04-2014Kansas St_B1245Texas Tech13HomeWin3226.5B1233.960.4
10-04-2014Florida_SEC10Tennessee9RoadWin17SEC52.959.9
10-04-2014Florida St_ACC43Wake Forest3HomeWin4030.5ACC28.759.2
10-04-2014Marshall_CUSA56Old Dominion14RoadWin4234.5CUSA23.658.1
10-04-2014Arizona St_P1238Southern Cal34RoadWin47P1249.956.9
10-04-2014Oklahoma_B1233TCU37RoadLoss-4-7B1263.356.3
10-04-2014Stanford_P1214Notre Dame17RoadLoss-30Ind56.256.2
10-04-2014Alabama_SEC17Mississippi23RoadLoss-6-7SEC62.555.5
10-04-2014Indiana_B1049North Texas24HomeWin2522CUSA32.254.2
10-04-2014Virginia Tech_ACC34North Carolina17RoadWin1720ACC3454
10-04-2014Northwestern_B1020Wisconsin14HomeWin67B1046.453.4
10-02-2014Florida Int'l_CUSA38Florida Atlantic10HomeWin2824.5CUSA28.653.1
10-04-2014Oklahoma St_B1237Iowa St20HomeWin1714B1238.152.1
10-04-2014Kentucky_SEC45South Carolina38HomeWin77SEC44.851.8
10-04-2014Georgia Tech_ACC28Miami FL17HomeWin118ACC43.451.4
10-04-2014Virginia_ACC24Pittsburgh19HomeWin57ACC44.251.2
10-04-2014Georgia_SEC44Vanderbilt17HomeWin2724SEC26.750.7
10-04-2014Notre Dame_Ind17Stanford14HomeWin30P1250.750.7
10-04-2014Nebraska_B1022Michigan St27RoadLoss-5-7B1055.348.3
10-04-2014California_P1260Washington St59RoadWin17P124148
10-04-2014UCLA_P1228Utah30HomeLoss-2-7P1254.647.6
10-04-2014Texas A&M_SEC31Mississippi St48RoadLoss-17-14SEC60.446.4
10-04-2014Boise St_MWC51Nevada46RoadWin58MWC3846
10-04-2014South Alabama_Sun47Appalachian St21RoadWin2626.5Sun18.845.3
10-04-2014Tennessee_SEC9Florida10HomeLoss-1-7SEC52.245.2
10-04-2014New Mexico_MWC21Texas-San Antonio9RoadWin1215CUSA3045
10-04-2014Purdue_B1038Illinois27RoadWin1114B103145
10-04-2014LSU_SEC7Auburn41RoadLoss-34-27.5SEC71.744.2
10-04-2014Alabama-Birmingham_CUSA42Western Kentucky39RoadWin37CUSA37.144.1
10-04-2014Air Force_MWC30Navy21HomeWin97Ind35.942.9
10-04-2014West Virginia_B1233Kansas14HomeWin1916B1226.642.6
10-04-2014Pittsburgh_ACC19Virginia24RoadLoss-5-7ACC48.841.8
10-04-2014Central Michigan_MAC28Ohio U.10HomeWin1815MAC26.641.6
10-04-2014Colorado St_MWC42Tulsa17HomeWin2522Amer19.641.6
10-04-2014Texas_B127Baylor28HomeLoss-21-24B1263.839.8
10-04-2014Oregon St_P1236Colorado31RoadWin58P1231.739.7
10-04-2014Rice_CUSA28Hawai`i14HomeWin1411MWC28.539.5
10-04-2014Toledo_MAC20Western Michigan19RoadWin17MAC32.339.3
10-04-2014Southern Cal_P1234Arizona St38HomeLoss-4-7P1246.239.2
10-04-2014East Carolina_Amer45SMU24HomeWin2118Amer20.838.8
10-02-2014Central Florida_Amer17Houston12RoadWin58Amer30.738.7
10-02-2014Oregon_P1224Arizona31HomeLoss-7-10P1248.638.6
10-04-2014Michigan_B1024Rutgers26RoadLoss-20B1038.538.5
10-04-2014Washington St_P1259California60HomeLoss-1-7P1244.937.9
10-04-2014Miami FL_ACC17Georgia Tech28RoadLoss-11-8ACC45.837.8
10-04-2014Rutgers_B1026Michigan24HomeWin20B1037.337.3
10-04-2014Arkansas St_Sun28Louisiana-Monroe14HomeWin1411Sun26.137.1
10-04-2014South Carolina_SEC38Kentucky45RoadLoss-7-7SEC4437
10-04-2014Wisconsin_B1014Northwestern20RoadLoss-6-7B1043.136.1
10-04-2014Army_Ind33Ball St24HomeWin97MAC28.835.8
10-04-2014Akron_MAC31Eastern Michigan6HomeWin2522MAC13.235.2
10-04-2014Kent St_MAC14Northern Illinois17RoadLoss-30MAC35.135.1
10-04-2014Iowa St_B1220Oklahoma St37RoadLoss-17-14B1248.834.8
10-03-2014Fresno St_MWC24San Diego St13HomeWin118MWC26.434.4
10-04-2014Nevada_MWC46Boise St51HomeLoss-5-8MWC41.233.2
10-04-2014Kansas_B1214West Virginia33RoadLoss-19-16B1248.632.6
10-04-2014Georgia Southern_Sun36New Mexico St28RoadWin811Sun21.632.6
10-04-2014Vanderbilt_SEC17Georgia44RoadLoss-27-24SEC5632
10-04-2014San José St_MWC33UNLV10HomeWin2320MWC11.731.7
10-04-2014Middle Tennessee St_CUSA37Southern Miss31HomeWin67CUSA23.630.6
10-04-2014North Carolina_ACC17Virginia Tech34HomeLoss-17-20ACC5030
10-04-2014SMU_Amer24East Carolina45RoadLoss-21-18Amer47.629.6
10-04-2014Western Michigan_MAC19Toledo20HomeLoss-1-7MAC36.429.4
10-04-2014Texas Tech_B1213Kansas St45RoadLoss-32-26.5B1255.929.4
10-04-2014Western Kentucky_CUSA39Alabama-Birmingham42HomeLoss-3-7CUSA36.329.3
10-04-2014Louisiana-Monroe_Sun14Arkansas St28RoadLoss-14-11Sun40.129.1
10-02-2014Houston_Amer12Central Florida17HomeLoss-5-8Amer36.928.9
10-04-2014Maryland_B1024Ohio State52HomeLoss-28-27.5B1056.428.9
10-04-2014New Mexico St_Sun28Georgia Southern36HomeLoss-8-11Sun39.828.8
10-04-2014Navy_Ind21Air Force30RoadLoss-9-7MWC35.728.7
10-03-2014Syracuse_ACC6Louisville28HomeLoss-22-24.5ACC52.928.4
10-04-2014Bowling Green_MAC36Buffalo35HomeWin10MAC28.328.3
10-04-2014Southern Miss_CUSA31Middle Tennessee St37RoadLoss-6-7CUSA34.327.3
10-04-2014Colorado_P1231Oregon St36HomeLoss-5-8P1234.926.9
10-04-2014Buffalo_MAC35Bowling Green36RoadLoss-10MAC25.525.5
10-04-2014Georgia St_Sun31Louisiana-Lafayette34RoadLoss-30Sun2424
10-04-2014Wake Forest_ACC3Florida St43RoadLoss-40-30.5ACC54.223.7
10-03-2014Brigham Young_Ind20Utah St35HomeLoss-15-18MWC41.623.6
10-04-2014Cincinnati_Amer14Memphis41HomeLoss-27-27Amer50.423.4
10-03-2014San Diego St_MWC13Fresno St24RoadLoss-11-8MWC31.123.1
10-04-2014Texas St-San Marcos_Sun35Idaho30HomeWin57Sun1623
10-04-2014Massachusetts_MAC41Miami OH42RoadLoss-10MAC2323
10-04-2014Ball St_MAC24Army33RoadLoss-9-7Ind29.522.5
10-04-2014Northern Illinois_MAC17Kent St14HomeWin30MAC22.122.1
10-04-2014Hawai`i_MWC14Rice28RoadLoss-14-11CUSA32.921.9
10-04-2014North Carolina St_ACC0Clemson41RoadLoss-41-31ACC52.221.2
10-04-2014Illinois_B1027Purdue38HomeLoss-11-14B103521
10-04-2014North Texas_CUSA24Indiana49RoadLoss-25-22B1042.220.2
10-04-2014Miami OH_MAC42Massachusetts41HomeWin10MAC19.919.9
10-04-2014Tulsa_Amer17Colorado St42RoadLoss-25-22MWC40.618.6
10-04-2014Louisiana-Lafayette_Sun34Georgia St31HomeWin30Sun18.518.5
10-04-2014Idaho_Sun30Texas St-San Marcos35RoadLoss-5-7Sun24.717.7
10-04-2014Ohio U._MAC10Central Michigan28RoadLoss-18-15MAC31.316.3
10-04-2014Old Dominion_CUSA14Marshall56HomeLoss-42-34.5CUSA49.414.9
10-04-2014Eastern Michigan_MAC6Akron31RoadLoss-25-22MAC36.414.4
10-04-2014UNLV_MWC10San José St33RoadLoss-23-20MWC32.712.7
10-02-2014Florida Atlantic_CUSA10Florida Int'l38RoadLoss-28-24.5CUSA34.810.3
10-04-2014UTEP_CUSA3Louisiana Tech55RoadLoss-52-36.5CUSA46.710.2
10-04-2014Texas-San Antonio_CUSA9New Mexico21HomeLoss-12-15MWC24.79.7
10-04-2014Appalachian St_Sun21South Alabama47HomeLoss-26-26.5Sun33.67.1

And finally, the page showing the SRS in-game ratings for every game this year has been updated. As it turns out, Auburn’s victory over LSU is now the top performance of the year.

  1. First, the kick clanked off the upright. A roughing the kicker penalty gave the Rebels another chance, but the second extra point attempt was blocked. []
  • Chase Stuart

    Here’s a quick look at which teams have no “blemishes” yet. A blemish is either: a loss, a win by less than 20 against a bad team (SRS rating of less than 43), or a win by less than 14 against a team with an SRS rating of less than 50. In other words, to avoid blemishes, you need to just beat teams with SRS ratings of greater than 50, beat teams with SRS ratings of between 43 and 50 by at least 14, and beat every other team by at least 20.

    Only 4 teams have no blemishes yet: Auburn, Baylor, TCU, and Ole Miss. Of the other 6 undefeated teams:

    Mississippi State has a blemish for beating UAB (74th in the SRS) by only 13 points.
    Marshal beat Miami (OH) (#115) by only 15 points.
    Notre Dame has two blemishes — beating Syracuse (#59) and Purdue (#78) by 16 points each.
    Florida State beat NC State (#67) by only 15 and Oklahoma State (#32) by only 6.
    Arizona has three blemishes — beating Cal by only 4, Nevada by only 7, and UTSA by only 3
    Georgia Tech beat Georgia Southern by only 4, Tulane by only 17, and Wofford by only 19

    One could quibble with the Notre Dame and FSU blemishes, but none of those four games qualify as dominant. Otherwise, I think this is a pretty decent rough test.

  • Tim Truemper

    As an Ole Miss alum, I have to say THANK YOU for noticing that Ole Miss outplayed Alabama in the second half. In many of these games, Ole Miss has kept it close in the first half only to get steamrolled in the second. Once Alabama got that cheap TD at the end of the first half, I thought to myself “game over.” Missed the 3rd qts but came back for the 4th and man, what a game.
    BTW- Mississippi State looks super powerful after the win over LSU in Baton Rouge and Texas A & M (my graduate school alma mater). I know both teams have issues, but MSU was physically dominant. There QB looks like another Cam Newton.