With Mississippi State's 38-23 victory over the Auburn Tigers, talk has started swirling as to whether or not the Bulldogs will assume the top spot in the polls when they are announced tomorrow. While it looks like a possibility in the AP poll, there will be a bit of work to make it happen in the Amway Coaches' Poll Sunday.
In the Coaches' Poll, the Bulldogs came into the matchup ranked No. 6 behind (in order) Florida State, Auburn, Baylor, Ole Miss, and Notre Dame. Of those teams, all picked up win except for Auburn. The Seminoles knocked off the 2-4 Syracuse Orange 38-20 in Syracuse. Baylor survived No. 12 TCU (5-1) 61-58. Ole Miss is in the process of knocking off No. 14 Texas A&M, and Notre Dame defeated North Carolina (2-4) 50-43.
As far as impressive victories, the Bulldogs had by far the most impressive, even if they had a sloppy second quarter. Baylor cannot play defense, and one has to wonder what impact that might have on the voters. Notre Dame survived a not-good Tar Heels Squad, and Florida State did not look extremely impressive against Syracuse. A look at the victories shows that Notre Dame and Baylor should be the bottom two of the five of those teams.
Sorting out the top-three becomes a bit more difficult. There are 61 first place votes that are worth keeping an eye on. Forty-four belong to Florida State, 16 went to Auburn and one to Baylor. One would have to imagine that the vote going to Baylor is going to someone else, as will Auburn's. No matter how those 17 are divided, it is unlikely that anyone will end up with more than Florida State, so the question becomes who gets the most.
With Mississippi State and Ole Miss picking up solid victories over ranked foes, my guess is about 20 or so votes are split among those two teams. Which ever gets the most will probably end up the No. 2 team in the nation behind Florida State. My guess is Mississippi State gets the votes.
In the AP poll, there appears to be growing sentiment to put the Bulldogs at the top spot. Coming into this week, Auburn had 23 first place votes, and the Bulldogs had two. Those 23 of the Tigers are up for grabs, and they could likely land with the Bulldogs. It would not take too many others to put Mississippi State ahead of Florida State in the first place votes.
However, the issue for the Bulldogs may be where voters who do not rank them at No. 1 or No. 2 rank Mississippi State. The Bulldogs had voters place them as low as ten last week, and if that continues, the could well have more first place votes as Florida State, but still end up ranked No. 2.
At the end of the day, I'm guessing the Bulldogs end up at No. 2 in the Coaches' Poll and will just sneak past Florida State for the No. 1 ranking. However, if it No. 3 and No. 2, I won't be shocked.
However, no matter what happens, a top-spot in the polls could only last one week. Florida State and Notre Dame play each other next week, and should the Seminoles look solid in that matchup, they would more than likely regain any No. 1 spot.