You’re Not in Kansas Anymore
A week full of out of conference cupcake matchups was overshadowed by two major upsets in the Big12 and Pac12. Just a week ago, Oregon and Kansas State were looking down on the world of college football, but upsets at the hands of Stanford and Baylor respectively have thrust Georgia and Alabama back into the title race. Shame on you Kansas State. I wanted to believe you were having a magical year, but evidently it was just another cakewalk through the defenseless Big12. I wanted to pull for Coach Bill Snyder even though I remembered KSU collapses back in the 90s. But Baylor?? Really?? On the other hand, I never for one minute thought Oregon could beat Alabama. I remembered how every sports writer outside of the south was pumping them up in 2010. I remembered all those boasts about “how many plays they could run in a game” and “how many million yards they had gained in the Pacifist Athletic Conference.” I remembered how Auburn’s leaky defense completely blew up their offensive line holding them to only 19 points in the BCS Championship Game. Oregon better hope they don’t sneak back into the picture because an Alabama - UO matchup wouldn’t be pretty for the Ducks.
The Contenders – Alabama and Georgia
As hard as it is to believe Alabama is definitely back in the hunt to defend their BCS Championship. A victory over arch-rival Auburn and a win over Georgia in the SEC Championship Game and the Crimson Tide will be favored to repeat. Is it an automatic that Nick Saban’s squad will make the final two? No exactly. But I expect them to be six point favorites over the Bulldawgs in Atlanta. Does Auburn stand a chance to upset the Tide? About as much chance as Alabama has of coming down with a massive team-wide stomach virus as they’re dressing for the game. It wasn’t just the Murray household that was celebrating at 11:30 Saturday night when Stanford kicked the winning FG to knock another team from the unbeatens. Dawgs across the southeast celebrating in the realization that they are only three straight wins away from their first national championship since a guy named Herschel was running over the world of college football. As I said last week, the SEC Championship Game won’t be an easy win for the Tide. Aaron Murray is an accurate passer, and we have all seen what less accurate signal callers (Mettenberger and Manziel) have done to the Alabama defense.
Almost Need A Miracle – Florida
If Notre Dame lays an egg at struggling USC, Florida has a very slim chance of slipping into the BCS Championship against Alabama. I say Alabama because I don’t think anyone outside of the states of Georgia and Florida want to see a Bulldawg-Gator rematch, but Alabama and Florida did not play this year. That matchup might be enticing enough for the Gators to climb the BCS ranks. If Georgia upsets Alabama, I expect the Dawgs to face off against Oregon.
The Rest of SEC Bowl Candidates – Texas A&M, LSU, South Carolina, Miss State
The Aggies, Bayou Bengals, Gamecocks will be bowling throughout the holidays.Texas A&M and LSU will be definitely be celebrating on New Year’s Day, but South Carolina and Mississippi State’s bowl destination dates are still in question. New Year’s Eve at the Chick-fil-Bowl is not a bad gig.
Need To Win in The Clutch – Mississippi and Mizzouri
Ole Miss still needs a win against Miss State to qualify, but I think that will come against a reeling group of Miss State Bulldogs that are already bowl eligible. Coach Hugh Freeze has done a great job with this team. They have lost some close games, but I like the way they fly around the field. Missouri has a much tougher test awaiting in Texas against Johnny Football and a confident group of Aggies, but if we learned anything this week, it was that upsets occur usually without anyone expecting them.
Done! Done! Done! And Then Some! – Arkansas, Auburn, Kentucky, Tennessee
What can you say? Two of the four (Kentucky and Tennessee) have already fired their coaches with games still left on the schedule. Arkansas knows they are in the market for a new head man, and Auburn is just letting Gene Chizik enjoy another week where he won a national championship trophy just two years ago. Kentucky has always been a lower tier SEC football program, but they have always had the upper hand on the hardwood. Arkansas, Auburn, and Tennessee however are in rare situations. With the players, facilities, fans and revenue bases these programs have, it is ridiculous for them not to qualify for bowl consideration. The last games of this dismal season for these teams will be much of the same. Auburn travels to Tuscaloosa to take on the reigning and possible repeating national champions, Kentucky travels to Rocky Top in a battle of mediocrity, and Arkansas hosts LSU. Three of these four underachievers have already won their final games of this dismal year.