After another wild day of college football, here are some observations:
- Barring a slew of wild upsets that let a 2-loss team into the mix, the real contenders for the final four spots is now down to nine teams – Mississippi State and Alabama from the SEC, Florida State from the ACC, Oregon and Arizona State from the Pac 12, TCU and Baylor from the Big 12 and Ohio State and Nebraska from the Big Ten.
- Ohio State made a huge statement with its road demolition of Michigan State as they posted 49 points on Sparty’s vaunted defense. Suddenly the Buckeyes are in the mix though they probably need some help.
- I don’t have much sympathy for Auburn despite their two late fumbles (other than feeling bad for the individual players who messed up). Auburn rode good fortune to get to the BCS championship game last year, so they really can’t gripe about some bad luck this year. Also, their defense blows.
- Alabama pulled out a huge win against LSU, but they’re getting a ton of love based on reputation. This isn’t the same dominating Alabama team.
- The TCU/Baylor debate will become heated as it’s hard to figure out who should be ranked higher. Also, with Ohio State playing at Minnesota this week, the Buckeyes and TCU will have a common opponent for sake of comparison. TCU beat the Gophers at home 30-7, so Ohio State needs to beat Minnesota handily, and they can also help themselves if they thump Minnesota on the road.
- Arizona State got a huge win against Notre Dame, though they benefited from a slew of turnovers. The Ohio State win over Michigan State was probably more impressive as it was on the road and they overcame two of their own turnovers and got none from Sparty. If you take into account the eye test, you’ll see the Buckeyes are as talented as any other team. They’re just young and you’ll need to overlook a bad, early-season loss against Virginia tech after they lost Braxton Miller and had inexperienced freshman TJ Barrett starting in his place. Now we see just how good Barrett can be.
That said, it looks like the SEC, ACC and Pac 12 teams control their own fate. How it plays out for the others is anyone’s guess.
We’re finally getting some upsets to shake up college football. #5 Stanford traveled to Utah and was stunned by the Utes who made an impressive goal line stand at the end of the game for a final score of 27-21. Check out the parody video above that makes fun of Stanford fans.
#25 Missouri improved to 6-0 with an upset of #7 Georgia on the road. Georgia had a ton of injuries but losses like this have been all too common for the Bulldogs in recent years.
In another huge shocker, much-maligned Texas took care of #12 Oklahoma 36-20 in this classic rivalry game. With the win Mack Brown can breath a little easier, while Bob Stoops is yet another year removed from that last National Championship that happened oh so long ago.
Meanwhile, #18 Michigan managed to lose to Penn State in an overtime thriller, though this one is hardly a surprise. The undefeated Wolverines have been barely escaping with wins against mediocre teams all season. It finally caught up to them.
For a while it looked like Boston College might upset #3 Clemson, but everything fell apart for them in the fourth quarter.
The top 25 will change quite a bit tomorrow, and we’re looking at a potential battle between 4 sets of teams to play in the National Championship game: Alabama (or possibly a one-loss SEC winner other than Alabama), Oregon (or maybe UCLA if they win out), the ACC winner (Clemson, Florida State or Miami) and Ohio State (no other Big Ten team has a chance).
Of course, if everyone starts losing, even teams like an undefeated Louisville or Baylor could have a shot, but chances are the game will be played between two of the teams mentioned above.
What happened to the notion of defense in college football (or the NFL for that matter)?
The Alabama-Texas A&M game was memorable, with Johnny Manziel working his magic and Nick Saban’s crew putting on a clinic on the offensive side of the ball. Yet meanwhile neither side could play a lick of defense. This is what we’re seeing everywhere in college football, as the new spread offenses have completely changed the game.
We have a number of teams that have not been stopped on offense, with Oregon leading the way. Other offensive juggernauts include Clemson, Louisville, Florida State, LSU and Ohio State tearing up defenses.
We’ll see as the year goes on if any of these teams or the other contenders can put together a defense that can slow down these high octane offenses. That team will have an excellent shot at playing for and winning a national championship.
Alabama’s domination of Notre Dame in the National Championship game didn’t offer much to remember, other than the lovely Katherine Webb of course, who became an instant celebrity after Brent Musberger got all excited when she was spotted in the crowd as AJ McCarron’s girlfriend.
Naturally she parleyed that fame into a great bikini spread in the new SI swimsuit issue, and you can see her showing off her pics as she attends a party with other SI swimsuit supermodels at Marquee Nightclub.
Here’s a great clip of Texas A&M’s Deshazor Everett’s game clinching interception vs No. 1 Alabama last Saturday. The Aggies beat a solid but over-rated Alabama team to shake up the BCS standings. Now the SEC is looking at the possibility of not being included in the National Championship game, and the whining has already begun.
Before fans of the three undefeated teams call their congressmen, let’s be clear that we’re not suggesting that a one-loss Tide or Bulldogs squad jump over any of them, provided they finish unbeaten. Even though Alabama would likely be favored on a neutral field over all three teams, going undefeated in a major conference—or in the Irish’s case against a major-conference schedule—must be rewarded. (Sorry Louisville, but running the table in the Big East wasn’t going to cut it this year even before Saturday’s loss to Syracuse.)
But if two among the trio of the Ducks, Wildcats and Irish lose in the season’s final weeks, a one-loss Alabama or Georgia team needs to be next in line. Frankly, any title game that doesn’t include the SEC’s best wouldn’t feel as legitimate.
To be the “real” champ, you need to beat the champ. Until some other conference hoists the crystal trophy, that metaphorical championship belt resides in the SEC. Winning a BCS title without beating an SEC team would be like winning an NBA title while an in-his-prime Michael Jordan was off shagging fly balls. (Deep down, Houston Rockets fans know this is true.)
That’s a load of bull. The SEC has benefited from the idiotic BCS system that only let two teams play for the National Championship. Many excellent teams were denied the opportunity to play in the final game, most notably last year when Oklahoma State had to sit by and watch two SEC teams play for the title. The system is so flawed it’s ridiculous, and that’s even before we get into the oversignings and other shenanigans that make the SEC look like a semi-pro league.
So get over yourself. In a couple of years, we’ll at least have a four-team playoff so the whole system will be a little more fair, but let’s not pretend that a final game without the SEC somehow cheapens a system that already sucks.