Soccer manager Sir Alex Ferguson coined the phrase "squeaky bum time" when talking about a critical point of the season. That noise you hear is the bums of college coaches squeaking across the country as they enter what will be the most pivotal stretch of their respective seasons.
We're now in the heart of the conference season. The upsets are coming fast, sorting out the pretenders from the contenders. This is what college football is all about. You're not going to see any more Savannah States or Woffords.
Week 7 alone had some of the biggest surprises of the season. No. 5 Stanford went down to Utah, while No. 7 Georgia fell to Missouri. Further down the standings, No. 12 Oklahoma, No. 18 Michigan and No. 19 Northwestern were beaten as well.
Those games are going to wreak havoc on the newest batch of polls. You'll get a headache trying to figure out whether X team is better than Y team, or if Z team has a case as well.
Here's how the polls could look when they're unveiled.
|1||Alabama Crimson Tide||6-0|
|4||Ohio State Buckeyes||6-0|
|5||Florida State Seminoles||5-0|
|7||Texas A&M Aggies||5-1|
|11||South Carolina Gamecocks||5-1|
|15||Texas Tech Red Raiders||6-0|
|16||Fresno State Bulldogs||5-0|
|17||Oklahoma State Cowboys||4-1|
|20||Northern Illinois Huskies||6-0|
|21||Virginia Tech Hokies||6-1|
These three teams picked up nice wins that should result in a boost in the polls.
You wonder where Wisconsin would be in terms of the polls if the referees didn't botch that Arizona State game in the worst way. Assuming the Badgers make what is an easy field goal, they're sitting at 5-1, comfortably in the Top 25.
They're climbing their way back after a dominant 35-6 win over Northwestern. The Wildcats looked mentally drained after their loss to Ohio State last week, and the Badgers weren't in a position to feel sympathetic.
Melvin Gordon and James White combined to have 273 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Although Joel Stave threw two interceptions, he made up for it with two touchdowns and 241 yards passing.
Defensively, Wisconsin was just as scary. It sacked Northwestern quarterbacks seven times and surrendered just 44 yards rushing on 25 attempts.
After a performance like that, don't be surprised to see the Badgers knocking on the door of the Top 20 again.
You knew injuries were going to catch up with Georgia sooner or later. The Bulldogs couldn't lose that many players and remain unbeaten in the SEC.
The Missouri Tigers just happened to be in the right place at the right time. They took advantage of a weakened Bulldogs team and pulled off a major upset. In the process, Missouri was able to put itself at the top of the SEC East.
This was a big win before the Tigers enter into the difficult stretch of their conference schedule.
The question will be whether Missouri will be able to stay there for very long. James Franklin injured his shoulder and will miss a big chunk of games, via CBS Sports' Bruce Feldman.
#Mizzou QB James Franklin is expected to be out for at least the next 6 wks, probably longer w a Grade 2 shoulder separation, per source.— Bruce Feldman (@BFeldmanCBS) October 12, 2013
A lot of pressure will be on freshman Maty Mauk's shoulders.
The Baylor Bears are one of those teams you have a hard time reading. They score a ton of points and rack up an unbelievable amount of yards.
However, they've had a somewhat easy road so far, with their toughest tests coming against West Virginia and Kansas State. Those aren't good resume-builders.
While Baylor coasted past the Mountaineers, the win against the Wildcats was a little more difficult. The Bears were down 25-21 in the fourth quarter before scoring two unanswered touchdowns to win 35-25.
In a weird way, that might actually look better to some voters. When faced with some adversity on the road, Baylor didn't shy away. It pushed it's way through to a victory.
The Bears are bound to take a jump up in the polls after Oklahoma's loss. You could also see them go ahead of No. 14 South Carolina since the Gamecocks have one loss to Georgia, which could look worse and worse as the season goes on.