Whew, has anybody caught their breath yet?
College football has long been a blast, but this was intoxicating, captivating and downright exhausting.
One of the arguments against a playoff in college football was that it would somehow ruin the week-to-week drama and suspense?
Let's revisit that theory after surveying the carnage in what was a head-spinning Week 6 in a sport that seems to get more entertaining by the minute.
Not only did five of the top eight teams in the Associated Press poll go down in the same week for the first time in history (the AP poll dates back to 1936), but right there, front and center in the College Football Playoff conversation, are some not-so-usual suspects.
Case in point: The state of Mississippi has all of a sudden become football nirvana, so much so that they're dreaming about the Egg Bowl deciding the champion in the SEC West, which might as well be the ninth-toughest division in the NFL.
Ole Miss sent No. 3 Alabama packing, a riveting 23-17 win before a raucous crowd in Oxford that was sealed by Senquez Golson's spectacular interception in the back of the end zone. And earlier in the day, not quite two hours south in the Magnolia State, Dak Prescott and Mississippi State blew past No. 6 Texas A&M for a 48-31 win, the Bulldogs' second straight triumph over a top-10 foe.
There have been some great players, games and moments when it comes to football in the state of Mississippi, but nothing quite like this.
"I came here and the 2013 class came here to change the culture around here," said Ole Miss sophomore defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche, who was the No. 1 player in the country when he signed with the Rebels last year. "We came here to do something different. I could have gone to Bama or LSU but wanted to come here and make a difference, and that's what we did."
The unbeaten Rebels also played a prominent role in shaking up the college football hierarchy on what was a deliciously unpredictable week of football that started late Thursday night on the West Coast with No. 2 Oregon's stunning 31-24 upset loss at home to Arizona.
And while we're talking about some of the new faces in this whole playoff debate, what about Rich Rodriguez's Wildcats, who at 5-0 are the only unbeaten team in the Pac-12. Nobody was talking about Arizona back in August when breaking down a Pac-12 race that was supposed to go through Eugene, Oregon, Palo Alto, California, or Los Angeles.
It still might, too, but all four of the nationally ranked teams in those cities -- Oregon, Stanford, UCLA and USC -- lost this week. The grand total of ranked teams losing this week was 11, and there are only 10 unbeaten teams remaining in the FBS ranks -- and we're barely one week into the month of October.
Little did we know that the chaos was just beginning Thursday night with Arizona's ambush of Oregon and Marcus Mariota's Duck Parade. That was just an appetizer.
Not too long after the goal posts were ripped down at Ole Miss' Vaught-Hemingway Stadium and paraded to the Square in downtown Oxford, Mississippi, TCU was finishing off a 37-33 upset of No. 4 Oklahoma. The Sooners were unable to survive even after coming up with turnovers on back-to-back possessions late in the fourth quarter. It was the biggest splash yet for Gary Patterson's Horned Frogs in the Big 12, and don't look now, but they're unbeaten and sure to move up in the polls.
And how could we forget Notre Dame?
Two years removed from playing in the BCS national championship game, the Irish rallied in the final minutes to edge No. 14 Stanford 17-14 to keep their record unblemished. Quarterback Everett Golson wasn't at his best for much of the game, but he was clutch when it counted. His 23-yard touchdown pass to Ben Koyack came on fourth-and-11 and won it for the Irish with 1:01 to play.
Golson's game winner was hardly the play of the day. That distinction belonged to Arizona State's Mike Bercovici, who uncorked a 46-yard Hail Mary touchdown pass to Jaelean Strong on the final play of the game to stun USC 38-34 in the Los Angeles Coliseum.
Yep, it was that kind of day, and more are sure to follow as we look ahead to the College Football Playoff committee's first official ranking on Oct. 28.
At this rate, there might not be any unbeaten teams left when we get to that point.
Buckle up, because it's anybody's guess who will still be standing when the four playoff teams are unveiled in December. None of the big boys are really out of it, and that's whether you're partial to Alabama, Michigan State, Oklahoma, Oregon or UCLA.
And, oh yeah, if you really want to know what kind of day it was, it ended with Washington State rolling up 812 yards of total offense and quarterback Connor Halliday setting a new FBS passing record with 734 yards -- and the Cougars somehow losing 60-59 to Cal.
Get some rest. We're all going to need it.
Four teams in
1. Florida State: Yeah, the No. 1 Seminoles haven't looked as dominant as last season, but they keep on winning while other contenders are falling. FSU routed Wake Forest 43-3 on Saturday, its 21st straight victory, the longest streak in school and ACC history.
2. Auburn: The No. 5 Tigers survived the first leg of a brutal stretch in which they'll play five ranked teams in the next six games, blowing out No. 15 LSU 41-7 on Saturday night. Next up: A scary road trip to red-hot Mississippi State.
3. Mississippi State: The No. 12 Bulldogs' of Texas A&M was quite a State-ment. It was MSU's largest margin of victory over a top-10 foe in school history, and the Aggies were the highest-ranked foe it has defeated since beating No. 3 Florida in 2000.
4. Ole Miss: The Rebels on Saturday ended a 10-game losing streak against Alabama. Ole Miss is off to its first 5-0 start since 1962 heading into next week's trip to Texas A&M.
Next four in contention
1. Baylor: The Bears' high-powered offense wasn't firing on all cylinders at Texas on Saturday. But Baylor used its special teams and a suffocating defense to defeat the Longhorns 28-7, its third victory in its past four games against UT. The Bears face a big test against TCU at home next week.
2. TCU: After going 11-14 the past two seasons combined, TCU is headed back in the right direction after its stunning upset of Oklahoma. The Horned Frogs face two straight games against ranked opponents: at Baylor on Saturday and home against No. 21 Oklahoma State on Oct. 18.
3. Notre Dame: There's nothing flashy about the Fighting Irish, but they're 5-0 after beating No. 14 Stanford. After hosting struggling North Carolina on Saturday, the Irish play at Florida State on Oct. 18.
4. Michigan State: Left for dead after a 46-27 loss at Oregon on Sept. 6, the Spartans might sneak their way back into the playoff if they keep winning. The biggest problem: MSU plays only one more ranked opponent in the regular season -- against No. 20 Ohio State on Nov. 8.
Heisman Trophy candidates
1. Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia: Gurley ran 25 times for 163 yards with two touchdowns, caught two passes for 24 yards and threw a 50-yard pass to tight end Jeb Blazevich in the Bulldogs' 44-17 victory over Vanderbilt on Saturday. Gurley has accounted for Georgia's longest run and pass this season.
2. Dak Prescott, QB, Mississippi State: Prescott completed 19 of 25 passes for 259 yards and two touchdowns and ran for three more scores in the Bulldogs' big win over Texas A&M. He has 20 total touchdowns this season, more than Cam Newton and Johnny Manziel had through five games during their recent Heisman-winning seasons.
3. Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin: Gordon ran for 259 yards with one touchdown in the Badgers' 20-14 loss at Northwestern on Saturday. It was his second game with 250 rushing yards or more; he ran for 253 with five touchdowns in a 68-17 blowout of Bowling Green.
4. Nick Marshall, QB, Auburn: Marshall keeps hurting opponents with his right arm and his legs, completing 14 of 22 passes for 207 yards and two touchdowns, while running 16 times for 119 yards and two scores in a 41-7 rout of LSU on Saturday night. He has accounted for 12 touchdowns in five games.
By the numbers
1. 734: Passing yards by Washington State quarterback Connor Halliday, an FBS record, in a loss to Cal.
2. 114: Seasons played by Mississippi State before it defeated two opponents ranked in the top 10 of the Associated Press poll in the same campaign. The Bulldogs upset No. 8 LSU and No. 6 Texas A&M in consecutive weeks.
3. 37: Consecutive games in which Marshall quarterback Rakeem Cato has thrown a touchdown pass after tossing two in Saturday's 56-14 win at Old Dominion. He is one game shy of tying Russell Wilson's NCAA record of 38 in a row set at NC State and Wisconsin from 2009-11.
4. 1976: Texas held Baylor to 390 total yards, but the Longhorns only narrowly avoided their first shutout at home since 1976. Johnathan Gray scored on a 2-yard run with 2:42 left in the game.
1. "It's great to see all these people out here getting disappointed. I love it." -- Florida coach Will Muschamp, after the Gators beat Tennessee for their 10th consecutive win in the series.
2. "We've been on the short end of several controversial calls. And it's hard to sit idle and watch ESPN, FOX and other announcers, not debate, but to feel sorry for Iowa State, because maybe there will be another apology for a call." -- Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard, after the Cyclones' 37-20 loss at Oklahoma State included a replay controversy on a touchdown run by the Pokes.
3. "In the NFC East, you can go 8-8 or 9-7 and make the playoffs. I really think all seven teams in the [SEC] West are Top-25 teams. Some of us are going to have several losses." -- Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze.
4. "This isn't the defining moment of our season. There's a lot of football left. Who knows what's down the road. It's early in the season; a one-loss team can still make it." -- Oklahoma quarterback Trevor Knight, after the Sooners' loss to TCU.
1. SEC head referee Ken Williamson gets angry with himself for facing the wrong way while making a call in the first half of Mississippi State's victory over the Aggies.
2. Nebraska offensive lineman Jake Cotton -- all 6-foot-6, 305 pounds of him -- appeared to lock his knees and fell straight backward while the Cornhuskers were about to run a play in the first quarter of Saturday night's loss at Michigan State.
3. Needing only to spike the ball and kick a winning field goal, UMass instead threw a 4-yard pass as time expired in a 42-41 loss at Miami (OH) which ended the RedHawks' 21-game losing streak.
Tweets of the day
If you are putting together your end of life protocols, do not give Will Muschamp your power of attorney. He'll never pull the plug.— Spencer Hall (@edsbs) October 4, 2014
Would the #OleMissStudent section please STOP using the F word! You sound ridiculous & are embarrassing everyone in the stands & at OleMiss— Leigh Anne Tuohy (@LeighAnneTuohy) October 4, 2014
💪💪💪💪💪💪💪💪💪💪 pic.twitter.com/rdmDN7op9y— KATY PERRY (@katyperry) October 4, 2014