Before The Week 10 Games
- Final Thoughts
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2011 Fearless Predictions
Final Thoughts, Week
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- It's this simple. 1) The team with the better offensive line will probably win, and 2) it'll come down to whether or not Alabama's first-round NFL prospects – Trent Richardson, Mark Barron, Dre Kirkpatrick, Dont'a Hightower, and Courtney Upshaw – play better than an LSU team loaded with a ton of mid-level NFL prospects and a top ten playmaker in Morris Claiborne.
- I'm setting the Heisman bar for Richardson at 95 yards, a touchdown, and a win.
- The whole No. 1 vs. No. 2 thing only matters if LSU and Alabama obliterate everyone else in their paths. If the winner goes on to win the national title in a walk, and the loser goes on to win the Sugar Bowl in a blowout, then this game will go down as something special no matter what.
- That's why there will never be much of a legacy for two recent No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdowns – Michigan vs. Ohio State in 2006 and Alabama vs. Florida in 2008. 2006 OSU got obliterated by Florida in the BCS Championship, and Michigan was pasted by USC in the Rose Bowl, taking any and all luster off the epic in Columbus. Utah's thumping of Alabama in the 2009 Sugar Bowl sours the memory of what might have been Tim Tebow's greatest game in the 2008 SEC Championship.
- Baby, slow your roll on the whole rematch thing. Every radio show I've been on over the last two weeks has brought up the idea of doing this all over again on January 9th. I know, I know, I wrote a column on this a few weeks ago, but let's just see what happens first.
- I can't foresee any scenario that would make me want a rematch for the national title. I still have a problem with 1996 Florida getting a do-over against Florida State.
- And where, exactly, do I get this "life" that you're talking about?
- This game represents a special moment in college football history. With so many media outlets, so many web sites, and so many twitter accounts – by the way, I'll be tweeting live at #cfbnews if you want to follow along or ask questions – covering all the minutiae, the coverage has been unprecedented. If you're really into this game, there's more stuff out there than you could possibly digest.
- This regular season college football game is being analyzed with more depth, and more noise, than almost all of the Super Bowls.
- With that said, the BCS Championship, no matter what the matchup, will be treated with a yawn. Thanks to the pinheads who gave us the BCS in the first place, instead of on New Year's Day, or the day after, the national title is played in the midst of NFL playoff talk and baseball free agency. Sports fans have college football fatigue after January 1st.
- LSU vs. Alabama will be on CBS in primetime. The BCS Championship will be on ESPN.
- It's okay, America. Say it with me … really, it's okay … the top-heavy SEC is AWFUL outside of LSU, Alabama, and because of the Texas A&M win, Arkansas.
- Outside of the Hogs' win over A&M, and anything LSU and Alabama came up with, the SEC's next best win this year was …
- Tennessee over Cincinnati. Yippee.
- Nine of the 12 SEC offenses are ranked in the bottom half of the country, and Georgia is 56th in total offense. Four of the offenses – Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Ole Miss, and Kentucky – are ranked in the bottom 18. Florida isn't all that far from sinking into the abyss, too.
- No, it's not just because of the defenses.
- I don't want to hear it. With better recruiting classes and more talent than just about everyone else, there's no excuse for Florida to not be in the national title hunt, and there's no excuse for the SEC to not be better.
- And yes, Ohio State, considering the recruiting classes you bring in, you're supposed to beat Wisconsin at home.
- Your lunchtime discussion topic of the day. The most painful back-to-back losses in college football history: Wisconsin's last-second defeats to Michigan State and Ohio State vs. 1984 Miami losing to Frank Reich and Maryland 42-40 in the then-biggest comeback in college football history, followed up by the Doug Flutie and Boston College Hail Mary game.
- Watching how well replay works in college football, Wisconsin still has a beef that there was no indisputable evidence at the time to overturn the call against the Spartans.
- Quirky trend of the week. Purdue has alternated win-loss-win-loss through its first eight games, including a win over Illinois. It lost last week at Michigan, and now it goes to play a heartbroken Wisconsin.
- You're not allowed to dog Boise State in any way, shape, or form unless you can name two players besides Kellen Moore.
- My big call of the week that probably won't happen: Texas Tech won't go to a bowl. After beating Oklahoma and clunking against Iowa State, the Red Raiders are 5-3 and in need of one more win to become bowl eligible with at Texas, Oklahoma State, at Missouri, and Baylor in Dallas to close things out.
- My second big call of the week that probably won't happen, in case the first one can't fulfill its duties: Florida won't go to a bowl. The Gators are 4-4 with a fifth win coming up in a few weeks against Furman. However, they're going to lose at South Carolina and to Florida State, so if they lose to Vanderbilt, the first losing season since 1979 might be looming.
- And it could still happen by going 6-6 in the regular season with a bowl loss.
- I've harped on this before and it needs to keep being pointed out. Florida's SEC West slate: Alabama, at LSU, at Auburn. Georgia's SEC West slate: At Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Auburn. South Carolina's SEC West slate: Auburn, at Mississippi State, at Arkansas.
- Something seems to be missing from the Georgia and South Carolina schedules. I can't quite put my finger on it.
- Besides a real non-conference win.
- Stanford was exposed last week by USC. It doesn't have the gamebreaking receivers or the athletes on defense to matchup with the truly elite teams, but no one will notice after this week's blowout over Oregon State.
- Screw LSU vs. Alabama, and screw defense. Do whatever you must to watch a replay of the Northern Illinois – Toledo game.
- Again with this "life" suggestion. I hear good things.
- Oregon, if you're the team I think you are, you drill Washington by three touchdowns.
- Is it possible to take Texas A&M for three quarters and bring in West Virginia for the fourth?
- The Big 12 schedule this week is really, really good, and no one is talking about it. Texas A&M at Oklahoma, Texas Tech at Texas, Missouri at Baylor, Kansas State at Oklahoma State, and even Kansas at Iowa State are all going to be entertaining.
- If you were my close, personal friend and you were going off to Vegas to legally "invest" what little money you might have left before Europe sucks your bank account dry, I'd suggest taking a look-see at Michigan State -28 over Minnesota, Missouri +2.5 over Baylor, Boise State -41 over UNLV, LSU +5 over Alabama, Arkansas State -17.5 over Florida Atlantic, and Northwestern +17.5 over Nebraska.
- By the way, I've now gone 16-34 against the spread with these picks over the first nine weeks. You know what to do.
- Don't dismiss the distinct possibility that this epic, Game of the Century, be-all-end-all, showdown could suck.
- By the way, a game ball goes out this week to
Barrett Sallee, who's playing through a broken hand,
and the man who just got his power back ten minutes
So who's the musical act at halftime of the LSU-Alabama game?
For what it's worth, I like the Crimson Tide on Saturday night. ‘Bama has home field, the game's best offensive player (RB Trent Richardson) and the better collection of linebackers and safeties in a battle that'll be dictated by the rushing attacks.
Yeah, it's a longshot, but if Matt Barkley pulls an Andrew Luck by passing on the NFL Draft, USC would have the young talent to be a legitimate National Championship contender as it emerges from probation in 2012.
You can't help but see a bigger, stronger version of Troy Smith whenever Ohio State rookie Braxton Miller is on the field. Last weekend versus Wisconsin was his coming-out party. The next month or so could set the stage for a breakout sophomore year.
By the way, what does the University do with interim head coach Luke Fickell if the Buckeyes take the Leaders Division, a scenario that's not as far-fetched as it sounds?
What is it with West Virginia and messy divorces? First RichRod and now the Big East. The latter figures to get extremely ugly as the Mountaineers look to join the Big 12 in a shotgun wedding.
Beginning with Saturday's hosting of Texas Tech, this is a huge month or so of football for Texas. With so many young players at key positions, November and December will wind up being a bridge to a spring session that doesn't start long after the bowl game ends.
The hiring of James Franklin seemed a bit odd when it happened, but not any longer. Working with marginal overall talent, especially on offense, he has the Commodores thinking bowl game, and putting a scare into some superior SEC opponents.
Since I'm not privy to all of the facts, I'm not making any insinuations, but isn't it a helluva coincidence that Georgia suspended Isaiah Crowell and two other backs the week after Florida, and the week prior to New Mexico State? It's all legit, I'm sure, but it's still a PR nightmare for the program.
Anyone outside of Laramie notice Wyoming is 5-2, with an impressive upset at San Diego State in the rear view mirror? Cowboys host TCU this Saturday in a monumental game for the program.
In a first, a coach, Al Golden, gave a vote of confidence to a school, Miami, during the week. No one would blame the rookie Hurricane if he bolted after one year, considering the mess he walked into.
In a first, Wisconsin is vowing to use 11 defensive backs for the entire fourth quarter of this week's game with Purdue … just in case.
If Stanford wasn't so doggone mature and even-keeled, I'd be calling for an Oregon State upset Saturday afternoon. This is a classic sandwich game, with the USC thriller behind the Cardinal, and the Oregon showdown in the on-deck circle.
Okay, so it's not scoring a million points a game, like Houston, but Southern Miss is quietly putting together a terrific year out of Conference USA. A win over East Carolina this weekend will bring the Golden Eagles a giant step closer to a coveted East Division crown.
Boise State joining the Big East would feel almost as weird as Iran joining NATO. Geez, and I thought Miami and the Big East back in the early 1990's felt like a bizarre match.
2011 Oklahoma State is beginning to feel an awful lot like 2010 Oregon. Points O'Plenty, but just how would the Cowboys fare against an SEC defense, such as Alabama or LSU? We just might find out on Jan. 9.
I wouldn't be at all shocked if Mike Sherman wasn't coaching in College Station in 2012. He's had a terrible year, and will get further exposed in the SEC.
Oregon at Washington has all of the ingredients to be a thriller late Saturday night. And quite a dessert following the LSU at Alabama main course.
Final Thoughts, Week