You could almost see it coming, this signature road win, ever since Dan Mullen took over in 2009. After an initial 5-7 record in his first season Mullen guided the Bulldogs to 4 consecutive winning seasons. There were some big wins along the way, a 10-7 win in the Swamp in 2010, a 28-10 win over Auburn in 2012, and 3 out of 4 wins against arch rival Ole Miss, but nothing as sweet perhaps as beating SEC nemesis LSU 34-29 in Baton Rouge on a Saturday night, a feat not accomplished since November 16, 1991. The Bulldogs skyrocketed to #10 in The Billingsley Report this week, 5 positions ahead of shell shocked LSU.
Florida State returned to their familiar #1 spot after a 23-17 OT win over Clemson. Oregon and Oklahoma both kept pace after both teams were tested in road wins. Oklahoma’s defense held strong in the second half and freshman running back Samaje Perine ran for 242 yards to secure the Sooner victory. Alabama and Auburn both made big moves after posting wins against the best opposition of their seasons so far.
Brigham Young continues it’s steady rise after beating a very tough Virginia team 41-33. The Cougars improved to 4-0, impressive considering they have played the 14th most difficult schedule (on average) this season. BYU has beaten two power 5 conference teams (Texas and Virginia) and pre-season AAC favorite Houston, in addition to their opening win at Connecticut.
Just about the time everyone, including myself, was giving up on the Big 10, they had one of the best weekends in conference history, posting an 11-1 record against outside competition including 4, count them 4, upset wins over higher ranked teams (Pittsburgh, Navy, Syracuse and Missouri). The Hoosier’s win in Columbia was certainly the highlight of the Big Ten’s year so far.
Oklahoma takes over the top spot in the Billingsley Personal Poll this week (the way I would vote on the selection committee), after winning a tougher road test than Oregon. It’s still way too early to have enough information in hand to make this kind of decision really, but if the season ended today, I would vote for Oklahoma, Oregon, Alabama and Florida State, in that order.