The game of leapfrog continued this past weekend in the BCS rankings, as yet again, a new No. 2 was put into place behind two-time defending champion Alabama.
While a lot of the noise in the BCS surrounds the top three teams, there was plenty of evidence elsewhere that showed it could be a wild ride through November.
CLOSING THE GAP: By virtue of yet another lopsided victory over a quality opponent, the Florida State Seminoles slid past the idle Oregon Ducks and into the coveted second slot in the BCS rankings. The Seminoles also have gained some ground in the Top 25, sitting third right now, but just nine points behind the Ducks.
While it is pretty much a given Oregon will once again jump over the 'Noles with a win over sixth-ranked Stanford on Thursday night, there is no denying that provided FSU wins out, the BCS could have a real problem on its hands in its last year under the current format.
On the season, Jimbo Fisher's squad has played three Top 25 opponents, including two Top 10 foes. FSU has outscored its opponents in those games by an astounding 155-28. What else does a team have to do to earn a spot in the national title game?
The answer, of course, is clearly more. However, unless the Florida Gators make a strong run down the stretch, there may be little more the Seminoles can do to get to go to Pasadena and prove they are the best team in the country. A win over the Gators in the regular-season finale and another rout of the Miami Hurricanes in the ACC Championship Game will probably not make the kind of impact needed, if Oregon also runs the table.
HAIL MARY MADNESS: Games are lost for all kinds of reasons at every level of play, but to lose a game because of a Hail Mary may be by far the worst. That is the current plight befalling Northwestern, as the Wildcats seemed to have their game in hand against Nebraska this past weekend, only to leave Lincoln with a hollow feeling.
Pat Fitzgerald's squad had the hometown Cornhuskers right where they wanted them, leading 24-21 in the waning moments of their Big Ten battle in Lincoln. All the Wildcats had to do was protect the end zone from a fluke play and Northwestern would have finally put one in the Big Ten win column.
Well, a 49-yard pass from Nebraska's Ron Kellogg III was batted in the end zone and into the waiting hands of Jordan Westerkamp as time expired, lifting the Cornhuskers to a 27-24 victory and sending the Wildcats home searching for answers.
A-once promising season that started with four straight victories has turned into a nightmare following a fifth straight loss. This one, however, has to sting more than some of the others and that is saying a lot considering a three-point setback to Minnesota and an overtime loss at Iowa (17-10) are among those losses.
BAD BREAK: Not only was Miami humbled by rival Florida State this past weekend in Tallahassee, 41-14, but it suffered injury to insult, as star tailback Duke Johnson suffered a broken ankle and will be lost for the season.
Al Golden's Hurricanes were having a remarkable season up until Saturday night, winning their first seven games, some of which came in thrilling fashion. The team has a serviceable replacement in Dallas Crawford going forward, but Johnson was one of the few Hurricanes who were productive against the Seminoles. The team's chances of staying competitive in a rematch with FSU in the ACC Championship certainly didn't get any better with the loss of Johnson the rest of the way.
TOP PERFORMERS: Fresno State's Derek Carr continued to light up the sky in the Bulldogs' big win over Nevada, throwing for 487 yards and four touchdowns.
Other quarterbacks with big games included Texas Tech's Davis Webb (425 yards, 2 TDs), Colorado State's Garrett Grayson (397 yards, 1 TD), TCU's Casey Pachall (393 yards, 3 TDs), Virginia Tech's Logan Thomas (391 yards, 2 TDs), Clemson's Tajh Boyd (377 yards, 3 TD passes, 1 rushing), Toledo's Terrance Owens (375 yards, 3 TDs), Rutgers' Gary Nova (371 yards, 3 TDs), Utah State's Darell Garretson (370 yards, 3 TDs), Troy's Corey Robinson (362 yards, 2 TDs), ULM's Kolton Browning (354 yards, 5 TD passes, 1 TD run), New Mexico State's Andrew McDonald (327 yards, 3 TDs), Georgia State's Ronnie Bell (325 yards, 2 TDs), Boise State's Grant Hendrick (305 yards, 5 TDs), Arizona State's Taylor Kelly (275 yards, five TDs; 66 rushing yards, 2 TDs), Minnesota's Philip Nelson (298 yards, 4 TDs), Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel (273 passing yards, 4 TDs; 67 rushing yards, 2 TDs), California's Jared Goff (289 yards, 4 TDs), Marshall's Rakeem Cato (262 yards, 5 TDs), Arizona's B.J. Denker (261 yards, 4 TDs) and Northern Illinois' Jordan Lynch (160 passing yards, 1 TD; 119 rushing yards, 4 TDs).
Air Force's Anthony LaCoste had a huge game against fellow service academy Army, rolling up 263 yards and three TDs in the Falcons' big win. San Diego State's Adam Muema went off as well, posting 233 yards and three TDs in a win over New Mexico. Penn State's Bill Benton also went over 200 yards on the ground, finishing with 201 yards and one TD in a Big Ten triumph over Illinois.
Other running backs who were productive included Minnesota's David Cobb (188 yards, 1 TD), San Jose State's Jarrod Lawson (187 yards, 1 TD), Auburn's Tre Mason (168 yards, 4 TDs), Toledo's Kareem Hunt (168 yards, 2 TDs), Boston College's Andre Williams (166 yards, 2 TDs), Massachusetts Lorenzo Woodley (163 yards, 1 TD), Middle Tennessee's Reggie Whatley (155 yards), West Virginia's Charles Sims (154 yards, 1 TD), UAB's Jordan Howard (154 yards), Arizona's Ka'Deem Carey (152 yards), Akron's Jawon Chisholm (151 yards), Northwestern's Treyvon Green (149 yards, 3 TDs), Notre Dame's Tarean Folston (140 yards, 1 TD), USC's Silas Redd (140 yards), Texas-San Antonio's David Glasco II (135 yards), Wisconsin's James White (132 yards, 2 TDs), Texas' Malcolm Brown (119 yards, 4 TDs), Louisiana's Alonzo Harris (106 yards, 5 TDs) and Florida State's Devonta Freeman (78 yards rushing, 2 TDs, 98 yards receiving, 1 TD).
Fresno State Josh Harper led all receivers this weekend, hauling in 17 balls for 253 yards and two TDs in a win over Nevada.
Others who performed well down the field included Texas Tech's Jace Amaro (15 catches, 174 yards, 1 TD), Virginia Tech's Joshua Stanford (6 catches, 171 yards), Penn State's Allen Robinson (11 catches, 165 yards), Clemson's Sammy Watkins (8 catches, 169 yards, 2 TDs), San Diego State's Ezell Ruffin (7 catches, 165 yards, 2 TDs), Utah State's Travis Reynolds (8 catches, 152 yards, 1 TD), Rutgers' Leonte Carroo (7 catches, 147 yards, 2 TDs), New Mexico State's Austin Franklin (13 catches, 140 yards, 2 TDs) and Middle Tennessee's Marcus Henry (5 catches, 136 yards, 1 TD).
SNEAK PEEK: Things start to really heat up this week with a pair of Top 25 showdowns on Thursday night, as 12th-ranked Oklahoma travels to Waco to battle fifth-ranked Baylor in a key Big 12 battle, while second-ranked Oregon heads to Palo Alto for a showdown with sixth-ranked Stanford in Pac-12 action.
The only other Top 25 matchup of the week takes place in Tuscaloosa on Saturday, when 10th-ranked LSU will attempt to derail top-ranked Alabama.
Other games of note include BYU at 21st-ranked Wisconsin, Virginia Tech at 14th-ranked Miami (Fla.) and 16th-ranked UCLA at Arizona.