Half of this college football regular season (7 of 14 weeks) is now in the books, and neither of the two standout teams to date has won a conference championship, let alone a national championship, in the past half-century. Each played in a bowl game in Tennessee last year (the Music City Bowl and Liberty Bowl, respectively), far away from the bright lights of Pasadena, New Orleans, or Dallas. What’s more, the two are separated from each other by only 100 miles geographically and by only .001 in this week’s Anderson & Hester Rankings. Despite their modest pedigrees and expectations, however, few college football fans would deny that #1 Mississippi (6-0, with wins over #7 Alabama and #17 Texas A&M) and #2 Mississippi State (6-0, with wins over #6 Auburn and #17 Texas A&M) have accomplished more so far this season than any other teams in the country.
Holding down the next two spots in the Anderson & Hester Rankings — and separated by even less (.00004) — are #3 Florida State and #4 Notre Dame, who happen to be squaring off this coming Saturday in Tallahassee. The last time both teams were undefeated when they played each other was 21 years ago. In two of the most memorable back-to-back games for one team in college football history, the Irish handed the favored Seminoles and Charlie Ward (that year’s Heisman Trophy winner) their only loss of the 1993-94 season, 31-24, in South Bend, only to be handed their sole loss of the season the following weekend, 41-39 in dramatic fashion, by Boston College on that same field.
Rounding out the top-5 this week is undefeated Baylor, which came from 21 points behind in the fourth quarter on Saturday to beat now-#14 TCU. The Bears are followed by two other teams that share a little bit of history together, #6 Auburn and #7 Alabama. The rest of the top-10 consists of #8 Oregon (which beat now-#15 UCLA in the Rose Bowl on Saturday), #9 Arizona (which lost to now-#13 USC late Saturday night when the Wildcats’ potential game-winning field goal went wide-right), and #10 Oklahoma (which beat struggling Texas in the Red River Shootout).
Ole Miss hosts #49 Tennessee this Saturday, while Mississippi State has the week off.
After finishing the season ranked #29 last year, the Arizona Wildcats — hot off their upset win at Oregon — have claimed the top spot in the inaugural 2014 Anderson & Hester Rankings. The second and fourth spots are held by two schools from Mississippi — #2 Mississippi and #4 Mississippi State — that went a combined 15-11 last year. Sandwiched in between are the Auburn Tigers, who came within 14 seconds of winning last season’s national championship. TCU, which went 4-8 last year, rounds out the top-5.
Republicans have distinct advantages in Senate races this year, including President Obama’s low job ratings, the number of vulnerable Democrats, and an unhappy national mood. But there’s another advantage: the generally high quality of their candidates. This wasn’t the case in 2010 and 2012, when Republicans blew chances to capture the Senate.
Senator Thad Cochran of Mississippi edged out challenger Chris McDaniel in the Republican primary runoff Tuesday, ending a hard-fought, often bitter campaign for the party's nomination for the Senate. Cochran won the runoff by just around 4000 votes, and is a favorite to win the general election.
A new ad set to be released later today alleges that Mississippi senator Thad Cochran is in part responsible for the release of 5 Taliban commanders from Gitmo. The ad, titled "Cochran Supported the Release of 5 Terrorists," is being released by the Campaign for American Values, a super PAC run by Gary Bauer.
American Crossroads will be staying out of the Republican primary race for U.S. Senate in Mississippi and will not be spending money on the runoff between incumbent Thad Cochran and challenger Chris McDaniel. The Republican-affiliated super PAC, who once employed former Mississippi governor and Cochran supporter Haley Barbour, will not spend resources on behalf of either candidate.
McDaniel appears to have won slightly more votes against Cochran in Tuesday's primary, though he did not win at least 50 percent of the vote and both will face off for the GOP nomination on June 24.
Longtime Mississippi senator Thad Cochran, who will be 76 at the end of this year, hasn't said whether he'll run for a seventh term in 2014. But late last week another Republican entered the primary race for Senate, and he's challenging Cochran from the right.
With 45 of 45 precincts reporting, Mitt Romney has won the Republican caucuses in Hawaii. Romney received 45 percent of the vote, Rick Santorum 25 percent, Ron Paul 18 percent, and Newt Gingrich 11 percent.
Rick Santorum won two surprise victories last night in the Alabama and Mississippi primaries, and he did so by poaching voters from Newt Gingrich’s coalition. To appreciate this, let’s take a look at some data.
First, the topline numbers in the four Deep Southern states that have voted so far.
“Senator Santorum is at the desperate end of his campaign,” Mitt Romney told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Tuesday. Oops. For weeks, Team Romney and many of its allies have been eager—one might even say desperate—to end this campaign. The Republican primary electorate has been resisting this, and the voters in Alabama and Mississippi engaged in massive resistance yesterday, giving Romney less than a third of their votes.