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The College Football Anarchist's Guide To Week 9

I'm really getting tired of the SEC West. They're really ruining the possible volatility here.

It's just fun to say "Dak Prescott."
It's just fun to say "Dak Prescott."
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

With #6 Oregon playing tonight and #2 Florida State and #7 Notre Dame taking the week off after last week's battle, we're diving all the way down the Associated Press poll to tackle #8 Michigan State this week.  The Spartans remain on the periphery of the playoff discussion.  They have just one loss, but it's to Oregon, so the Ducks will clearly stack in front of them as long as Oregon stays at just one loss.  There's still four - count 'em, four - SEC West teams lined up in front of both Oregon and MSU, and clearly two of those teams will not get in to the four pack, if not three of them.

There are 15 teams in the Top 25 that have one loss as things stand right now.  Losses by Ole Miss and Mississippi State this week could really send things completely to hell.  Worth mentioning right now: Marshall is 7-0 and ranked #23 in the country.  Just saying.

#1 Mississippi State (6-0) at Kentucky (5-2)

When: 2:30pm on CBS
Line: Mississippi State -14.5
Chances Of Losing: Medium
Possible Chaos Level: Low

It's a low level of chaos because all that will happen if MSU loses is Ole Miss just slides into their spot, essentially changing nothing.  If you want to make the argument that the SEC deserves two teams in the four pack, then yes, a loss by the Bulldogs opens things up to get crazy.

I'm not holding a lot of faith in the Wildcats to swing this.  Their two losses are both in SEC play: triple overtime to a lousy Florida team and a stomping against LSU.  It is in Lexington, and it's probably going to be the biggest home game of the year for the Cats, depending on what happens with Georgia over the next two weeks.  The Big Blue faithful will be in as much of a frenzy as they can muster for football, so maybe it could get interesting.

#3 Ole Miss (7-0) at #24 LSU (6-2)

When: 6:15pm on ESPN
Line: Ole Miss -4
Chances Of Losing: Very High
Possible Chaos Level: Low

As long as Mississippi State keeps winning, Ole Miss is going to stay tucked behind them in the running for a playoff spot.  If they were in opposite divisions, you could definitely make the argument for both of them.  But only one SEC West team is going to get into the SEC Championship game, and that might end up being the determining factor on who goes to the playoff.

This is the first of two straight games against Top 5 teams for LSU and head coach Les Miles is no stranger to winning big games, even if he does manage to do it in increasingly odd fashions.  This could end up being the biggest test of Ole Miss and their mettle to this point in the season, as they easily took control of the game when they went on the road to play Texas A&M.

#4 Alabama (6-1) at Tennessee (3-4)

When: 6:30pm on ESPN2
Line: Alabama -17.5
Chances Of Losing: Low
Possible Chaos Level: Nonexistent

Bama's the third place SEC West team as far as the rankings go, and a loss to the Vols is going to mean absolutely nothing to the playoff picture. Next.

#5 Auburn (5-1) vs South Carolina (4-3)

When: 6:30pm on SEC Network
Line: Auburn -19
Chances Of Losing: Low
Possible Chaos Level: Nonexistent

Bama's Auburn's the third fourth place SEC West team as far as the rankings go, and a loss to the Vols Gamecocks is going to mean absolutely nothing to the playoff picture. Next.

#8 Michigan State (6-1) vs Michigan (3-4)

When: 2:30pm on ABC
Line: Michigan State -17.5
Chances Of Losing: Low
Possible Chaos Level: Nonexistent

As I mentioned above, the Spartans are tucked behind Oregon in the lineup as long as the Ducks only have one loss.  That either has MSU barely outside the four best teams, or if you're a "Two SEC Teams" guy, they're way, way outside.  Odds are they're going to pound the Wolverines here, but that's not going to do anything to help their case for the playoff unless the teams in front of them start opening doors by losing.  The Spartans need to not look past this game, though, as they play #13 Ohio State in two weeks.