Oklahoma State should get a shot at the BCS title

Oklahoma State Cowboys quarterback Brandon Weeden throws the football in the first quarter against the Missouri Tigers at Faurot Field in Columbia, Missouri on October 22, 2011. Oklahoma State won the game 45-24. UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Oklahoma State proved Saturday night that it, not Alabama, should be playing for the BCS national title against LSU.

The Cowboys thoroughly dominated their rival Oklahoma, which just so happened to be a top 10 team. Offense, defense, you name it, OSU dominated it. The win was the kind of performance we needed to see from a team in the one-loss pack, as someone needed to distance themselves from the others.

Well, it should be that way, anyway. I’m doubtful it will, however.

It was decided when Oklahoma State lost to Iowa State that Alabama and LSU would be playing each other again in the BCS title game, and nothing was going to change the voters minds to change that. Not even this blowout victory. It was well before the Iowa State/OSU game, however, that folks decided Alabama and LSU were the two best teams in the country, and many said it wasn’t even close.

That very well may be true. LSU’s schedule, which includes a neutral site win against Oregon and a road win against West Virginia, helps prove that it is undoubtedly the top team in the country this year. The Tigers are also the country’s only unbeaten team, which helps make things easy.

But Alabama’s best win is an overtime loss to LSU. Seriously. The Tide beat Arkansas, and did so handily, which was also a big win. Outside of that, the Tide have two wins against teams with winning records (Auburn and Penn State). Oklahoma State, meanwhile, has six wins against teams with winning records. Sure the Iowa State loss was bad, but it also came on the road and the day after Oklahoma State lost two women’s basketball coaches in a plane crash. It’s awful to use that as an excuse, but it’s certainly something to think about.

Beyond that, however, there’s also the fact that the BCS’ goal is to crown a national champion. They say the goal is to find the top two teams, but in reality, it’s to find the top one, and we already know that’s not Alabama. The Tide had their chance to knock off LSU, and had it at home, but couldn’t do it. In a college football world where big-time nonconference games are a rarity, we’ll never know who the best team is if we allow divisional rematches in the BCS title game. Especially when there are deserving teams, capable of beating other top 10 teams by more than 30, sitting out there, waiting for their opportunity.

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LSU survives in overtime, has inside track to national title game

Louisiana State University quarterback Jordan Jefferson (L) crack up with teammate center back Tyrann Mathieu after beating the University of Kentucky at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana October 1, 2011. Jefferson was just released from suspension by LSU this week. REUTERS/Dan Anderson (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

Defense and kickers, that’s what might have just decided the national championship. LSU survived a 9-6 overtime slugfest tonight against Alabama in a matchup of the top two teams in the country.

It certainly wasn’t pretty, but that doesn’t mean it was bad football. Quite the contrary, actually. These are two defenses unlike many we’ve seen in college football, and that’s fun to watch. They’re big, they’re fast and they’re physical. And let’s remember, when these two teams aren’t playing each other, the offenses do just fine.

The key in this one wound up being Alabama’s ineptitude in overtime, as the Tide went backwards and were forced to try a 52-yard field goal, which missed, um, poorly. LSU merely had to run the ball and set up a field goal on its possession, and it did, kicking a 25-yard game winner from the center of the field.

But A.J. McCarron struggled all game long, and Nick Saban showed late the lack of confidence he had in his quarterback by not calling a timeout with a little less than 2 minutes left and LSU set to punt it away. A coach that’s confident in his quarterback and offense calls that timeout and gives them a chance to drive for a game-winning field goal. Saban sat on his timeout and played for overtime.

Now, unless there aren’t any unbeaten teams remaining, there’s no chance we get a rematch here, nor should we. While I feel these are the country’s two top teams, they’re certainly not unbeatable, not with those quarterbacks. If either team runs into a situation where its defense is struggling against a good team, it’s in a lot of trouble. Do you trust McCarron, Jarrett Lee or Jordan Jefferson to bring a team back at the end of a game? I don’t.

That said, would you bet on either defense failing? I wouldn’t.

Fade Material: College Football Week 10 Predictions

University of Alabama running back Trent Richardson (3) is stripped of the ball by Louisiana State University safeties Brandon Taylor (15) and Karnell Hatcher during the first quarter of their NCAA football game in Baton Rouge, Louisiana November 6, 2010. REUTERS/Sean Gardner (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

If you can figure out which two of my picks below will win and which two will lose, you’ll be in great shape for Week 10. Because .500 seems to be the number that suits me best these days.

Oklahoma State and Arizona State covered for me last Saturday, while Kansas State and Clemson did not. Everyone knew Clemson was going to fall at some point and leave it to ride the Tigers when they did. A-holes.

My 2-2 effort last week puts me at 21-13-2 ATS for the season. Again, chances are two of these four picks will be winners while two will be losers. Soooo, have fun with that.

Michigan @ Iowa, 12:00PM ET
I love me some Hawkeyes this week, even though they’re coming off an embarrassing loss to Minnesota last Saturday. Iowa has rarely been good as a heavy favorite under conservative coach Kirk Ferentz but as a home dog? Love ‘em. Michigan has only gone on the road twice this year, producing a 42-24 win over Northwestern and a 28-14 loss to Michigan State. The Wolverines aren’t road tested and the four points seems like a gift.
THE PICK: IOWA HAWKEYES +4

Texas A&M @ Oklahoma, 3:30PM ET
If you rode the Aggies when they blew up against Oklahoma State, Arkansas and Missouri, I feel for you. I haven’t picked for or against them all season, but I feel for you. That said, don’t be shy about taking A&M this Saturday. The Aggies have proven they can score on anyone and while they’re just 2-6 against the spread this season, that’s because they’ve been favored in every single game. I like them as a 14-point underdog, even on the road against an Oklahoma squad that got back on track last Saturday against Kansas State. Without leading rusher Dominique Whaley, I like A&M to keep things close this weekend in Norman. And hey, they’re not favored so you don’t have to worry about them choking away a lead. (As long as they stay within the 14, that is.)
THE PICK: TEXAS A&M +14

Arizona State @ UCLA, 7:30PM ET
At first glance I was all over the Sun Devils but the Bruins’ effort last week in a 31-14 beat down of Cal gave me pause, then inspired me to pick them this Saturday. When you get into November, college football becomes incredibly hard to predict. The lines are tighter, teams are trying to make one last push at a conference title or a bowl game, and it’s the squads that haven’t given up yet that are the most attractive. UCLA hasn’t given up and I think the Bruins will give ASU all it can handle this Saturday on their home turf.
THE PICK: UCLA BRUINS +8.5

LSU @ Alabama, 8:00PM ET
Honestly, I wouldn’t touch this game with your money. It could go either way and I’m not just talking about the side. The total seems ultra-low at 41 and too high at that same number considering both of these teams have excellent defenses. I just don’t know what to make of this battle royale. But this is arguably the biggest regular season game in the past decade so I couldn’t not give a prediction for it. While it’s awfully tempting to take the points with LSU, ‘Bama is on its home turf, has revenge on its mind after the Tigers beat them last season, and will have the best player on the field in Trent Richardson. Therefore, Roll Tide.
THE PICK: ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE –4.5

Last Week: 2-2
Season Record: 21-13-2

Check out College Football Point Spreads at Bullz-Eye.com.

Top 25 roundup: Oklahoma, LSU make statements

Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones (12) passes in the 1st half of their NCAA football game in Tallahassee, Florida Sept 17, 2011. The Oklahoma Sooners defeated the Florida State Sminoles 23-13. UPI/Mark Wallheiser

Yes, Texas is young. Yes, the Longhorns were overrated at No. 11 in the country. But the beating Oklahoma put on Texas today was one normally reserved for early-season patsies and not top-15 rivalry opponents.

I figured the Texas offense would struggle, and it did, managing just 10 points (one score came on a kick return) and turning the ball over five times. Freshman quarterback Case McCoy and David Ash combined to go 20-of-36 for 223 yards a touchdown and two interceptions. They had zero help from the run game, as it gained just 36 yards.

I did expect a bit more from the Texas defense, however, which was used and abused to the tune of 453 yards, most of it coming on the arm of Landry Jones (367 yards). All of these yards, and this game was well in hand at halftime.

As impressive as Oklahoma was, the one worry could be the run game, which gained just 86 yards. Texas’ run defense is certainly not as good as what the Sooners will see in a possible national title game against LSU or Alabama. They only had 19 carries, however, and averaged 4.5 yards per carry. Starting running back Dominique Whaley had 83 of those yards on 13 carries (6.4 ypc), so maybe I’m just looking for negatives in a game filled with positives.

This win, combined with the Florida State victory and a preseason No. 1 ranking, is normally good enough to be the consensus No. 1 team in the country. Not this year, however. Read the rest of this entry »

Brissett or Driskel, it doesn’t matter, Florida is in big trouble

Less than an hour before kickoff of the Florida/LSU game in Baton Rouge comes this tweet from Tracy Wolfson:

Jacoby Brissett out warming up. Jeff Driskell not.

This is bad news for a lot of people: Will Muschamp, Charlie Weis, Driskel, Brissett and Verne Lundquist, who is likely to fall asleep by halftime of what is sure to be an absolute blowout. It looks like the true freshman will be replacing the other true freshman against the second ridiculously scary defense the Gators have had to face in as many weeks.

Driskel replaced John Brantley last week against Alabama after the Tide knocked him out of the game. Now Driskel seems questionable at best leaving Brissett as the next option. A kid who has never played a down of college football, taking his first snap in the Bayou against the nation’s No. 1 team. Good luck with that.

LSU isn’t literally an NFL defense like you may hear often today. That’s hyperbole. But will most all of the players Brissett sees today one day be in the NFL? Yes. And he’s going to see a lot of them, mostly charging through his offensive line while frothing at the mouth.

If I was Florida offensive coordinator Charlie Weis, I’d think of getting the ball out of Brissett’s hands as quickly as possible, just to protect your future investment. Although that might leave Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps open to certain injury, and you don’t want to lose them. Maybe take a knee on every down and just punt? This literally may be Florida’s best option.

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