BCS Conference Rankings Week Five: SEC No.1

Last week the SEC was a tad behind the Big 12 in my conference rankings but this week the planets and stars all aligned—despite some satellite junk hurtling through space—and the SEC has returned to its righteous spot at No. 1. Who else made some moves up or down?

No. 1 SEC

All is well in football nation. After one week of sitting at No. 2, the SEC stormed back to the No. 1 spot after some very impressive performances.

Alabama just overwhelmed Arkansas by flexing its defensive muscles and delivering a 38-14 beatdown. The Crimson Tide scored in a variety of ways including a gorgeous 83-yard punt return by Marquis Maze. Auburn beat Florida Atlantic 30-14 in a game which featured a halftime score of 10-6 in favor of Auburn. Yes, it's baby steps for a rebuilding Auburn but for a team that some had projected finishing with a losing season, Auburn is doing very well. Florida found its running game against KentuckyJeff Demps rushed for 157 yards in a 48-10 victory. Mississippi State (what is going on over there?) struggled against Louisiana Tech before finally winning in overtime, 26-20.

In the game of the week at Morgantown, West Virginia, LSU beat West Virginia 47-21. The Tigers' performance certainly justified a No. 1 ranking—the AP rewarded them with that coveted spot but USAToday's coaches did not. Georgia beat Ole Miss 27-13 in the Desperation Bowl—the clock is ticking louder for Mississippi head coach Houston Nutt than it is for Georgia head coach Mark Richt. Finally, South Carolina beat Vanderbilt in a game that was hard to watch—Gamecocks quarterback Stephen Garcia threw four interceptions and the Commodores could only spank out four yards net rushing and a pathetic 77 total yards.

No. 2 Big 12

This was a solid week for the Big 12 teams. No. 1 (USAToday poll) Oklahoma over-powered Missouri at Norman, Oklahoma, winning 48-38. The Tigers actually led the Sooners 14-3 at one point in the first quarter but quarterback Landry Jones took over and had an eye-popping day going 35 of 48 for 448 yards despite missing two weapons, starting receivers Kenny Stills and Trey Franks. SEC-bound Texas A&M lost to Oklahoma State 30-29 and Cowboys quarterback Brandon Weeden had an outstanding day throwing for 438 yards and two touchdowns. Baylor beat Rice 56-31 and Texas Tech had to come from behind to beat Nevada 35-34.

Perhaps the second best game of the day was Kansas State at Miami. The Hurricanes were favored by two touchdowns over the Wildcats but their conservative play-calling on their last set of downs went up in smoke when the Wildcats made a tremendous goal line stand. The Hurricanes had 1st and goal at the two yard line and couldn't punch it in. Kansas State won 28-24.

No. 3 Big Ten

The Big Ten—on paper at least—had a good week winning eight games and losing two, but the caliber of their opponents came nothing close to spectacular. Wisconsin, as expected, rolled over South Dakota 59-10. Illinois beat Western Michigan 23-20, Nebraska overwhelmed Wyoming 38-14, Ohio State beat Colorado 37-17, Iowa beat up Louisiana-Monroe 45-17, Penn State beat Eastern Michigan 34-6 and Michigan State beat Central Michigan 45-7.

A game that held a lot of intrigue was San Diego State at Michigan but it ended up being a breeze for the Wolverines. Michigan turned the ball over four times but the Aztecs' offense couldn't capitalize on the turnovers. The Aztecs' defense couldn't contain quarterback Denard Robinson either—Robinson ran for 200 yards but his passing stats are still a concern. Robinson threw 8 of 17 for 93 yards and two interceptions.

Finally, two teams laid some eggs. Minnesota lost to North Dakota State, surrendering four touchdowns to the Bison in the second quarter alone. North Texas beat Indiana 24-21 despite a 21-point rally by the Hoosiers who were down 24-0 in the fourth quarter.

No. 4 Pac-12

This was a better week for the Pac-12 as the only upset was a mild one at that—UCLA beat Oregon State 27-19 at Corvallis, Oregon. The win catapulted the Bruins to the top of the South division along with Arizona State—both teams share a 1-0 conference record.

That "other" team from Los Angeles didn't fare as well as the Bruins. The Trojans couldn't stop the favored Sun Devils in Tempe, Arizona—quarterback Brock Osweiler threw for 223 yards and two touchdowns while running back Cameron Marshall rushed for 141 yards and three touchdowns. USC safety T.J. McDonald was flagged three times for personal fouls which is two more times than linebacker Vontaze Burfict—a player Trojans quarterback Matt Barkley called "dirty"—was called for.

Oregon rolled all over Arizona 56-31 in the desert—Ducks running back LaMichael James had a record-breaking day—James ran for 288 yards and broke his school's records for single-game rushing yardage and career rushing touchdowns. Washington beat Cal 31-23 and Ohio State beat Colorado 37-17.

No. 5 ACC

The ACC had a rough week with three upsets, two of them shocking. Miami quarterback Jacory Harris was stuffed on a fourth down run at Kansas State's goal line and the Hurricanes went down in defeat, 28-24. The 'Canes allowed the Wildcats to rush for 265 yards, including a 166-yard performance by John Hubert. Virginia lost to Southern Miss 30-24 in a mild upset while Maryland got steamrolled by Temple 38-7. Owls running back Bernard Pierce ran for 149 yards and five touchdowns setting a new Temple single-game rushing touchdown record.

Clemson beat Florida State 35-30 and is now 4-0 for the first time since 2007. The Tigers should take control of the Atlantic division if they can beat Virginia Tech next week— most of their remaining conference games look fairly winnable right now. Duke beat Tulane 48-27, Boston College beat UMass 45-17, Georgia Tech beat North Carolina 35-28, Virginia Tech beat Marshall 30-10 and NC State got blown out by Cincinnati 44-14 in a Thursday night game.

No. 6 Big East

The Big East looks fairly good when you look at the conference's standings—not one team has a losing record. But some of their losses have been alarming (FIU, Ohio and Vanderbilt) and one win shouldn't have been counted due to horrific officiating.

One of the Big East's biggest guns got manhandled by LSU, 47-21. West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith had a record-setting day throwing 38 of 65 for 463 yards—his attempts, completions and yardage numbers set new school records. But the Mountaineers had poor field position for most of the game (punter Brad Wing was spectacular) and they couldn't overcome a dagger put in their hearts—the Mountaineers had pulled to within six points of the Tigers after a Dustin Garrison touchdown late in the third quarter but LSU's Morris Claiborne ran back the ensuing kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown. The Tigers scored two unanswered touchdowns to seal the victory and The Hat now has his team sitting in the No. 1 spot in the AP poll.

Pitt lost 15-12 to Notre Dame in a game that was difficult to watch for both teams' fans—Pitt held Notre Dame scoreless for two quarters and still couldn't beat a team that committed two turnovers and eight penalties for 85 yards.

South Florida is 4-0 and ranked No. 16 in the AP after beating UTEP 52-24. Rutgers beat Ohio 38-26, UConn beat Buffalo 17-3, Cincinnati beat NC State 44-14 and Syracuse beat Toledo 33-30 in overtime—well, at least that is how it will be scored in the books.

The game became controversial after Syracuse pulled ahead of Toledo 29-27 and their ensuing PAT was ruled good by both the field officials and review officials even though video clearly showed the kick was wide left. The score was 30-27 but it should've been 29-27. Toledo came back and kicked a field goal (as time expired on the clock) to tie the game at 30 apiece sending the game into OT but realistically, the game should've never gone beyond regulation to begin with. Toledo won the game 33-30 and the Big East ended up issuing a statement afterward in which they admitted their officials did not call the PAT correctly. No hard feelings, right Toledo?

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