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.