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College Football’s Balance of Power Has Shifted & Other Things We Learned in Week 7

Mississippi State has gone from unranked to No. 1 faster than any team in history. And that’s just one of the surprises from this week in college football.

The Balance of Power Has Shifted

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

That slight rumbling you might have felt yesterday evening was the balance of power in college football world shifting. After years of Alabama and Auburn dominating the SEC (and the nation), Mississippi has now become the center of the college football universe. Mississippi State rolled over No. 2 Auburn, 38-23, to stake its claim as the top team in the nation. Ole Miss, meanwhile, went on the road and came away with a 35-20 win over No. 14 Texas A&M.

The Bulldogs are the first team in over three decades (and just the fifth in history) to win three consecutive regular season games over Top Ten teams. They have moved up to No. 1 in the AP poll for the first time in school history, while Ole Miss has tied a school record at No. 3. And the Alabama faithful are none too happy about it.

The Only Thing Texas Has to Fear … Is Texas

Bob Stoops had to breathe a sigh of relief after this year’s version of the Red River Rivalry, knowing his Sooners had stolen one in their 31-26 win. Texas outplayed Oklahoma for most of the day, but the Longhorn offense couldn’t stop shooting itself in the foot long enough to capitalize. On Texas’ first possession, they had three false starts and a delay of game, which really set the tone for the day. The Longhorns finished with 11 penalties for 85 yards, including a hold that brought back a 73-yard touchdown run by quarterback Tyrone Swoopes. Additionally, Swoopes threw a pick-six and had a fumble inside the OU three-yard line that left the Longhorns with three points instead of seven.

The Longhorns could have stolen another one away from their hated rivals if they could ever stop shooting themselves in the foot. Instead, they’ll have to live through a year of self-inflicted injuries.

I Would Totally Buy a Big 12 Video Game

If you’re the kind of person who likes watching over your friends’ shoulders while they play Madden, then the Big 12 is definitely for you. In recent years, the conference hasn’t exactly been known for its defensive prowess. But what the conference’s games lack in in-the-trenches slugfests, they make up for in score-a-minute, video game-type contests, with Baylor’s comeback 61-58 win over TCU being the most recent case in point.

The No. 5 Bears rallied from 21 down, scoring 24 unanswered points in the final 11 minutes to keep their playoffs hope alive. And while TCU coach Gary Patterson is known as a defensive mind, this one was all offense as the two teams combined for nearly 1,300 yards and 62 first downs. The 119 combined points were the second-most ever in a game between two ranked teams. Only one scoring drive all day was longer than 3:19, so if you blinked you were likely to miss a score.

Ah, the old reliable double-reverse pass that only works in video games, backyard pickup games and the Big 12.

Oregon Is Still Alive

At the beginning of the season, this week’s matchup between Oregon and UCLA appeared to have major Heisman and national title ramifications. And while it was still a big game, these are two teams clearly headed in different directions. Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota is squarely back in the Heisman mix after posting 285 total yards and four touchdowns and leading Oregon to a 42-10 lead (the Bruins scored three garbage time touchdowns to make the final score much closer than the game really was).

UCLA, meanwhile, has lost two in a row to drop out of national title discussion and, well, things are not going well on the sidelines.

We Have a New Catch-of-the-Year Candidate

Nebraska’s Jordan Westerkamp has been the solid frontrunner for “Catch of the Year” in 2013 and 2014, but he may have some competition this year in the form of Kentucky receiver Javess Blue:

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