Well readers, week 12 is upon us and a slight shake up has taken place in the top 4 spots in the playoff rankings. Kudos to the playoff committee for actually having the gonads(politically correct for nuts, balls, etc.) to investigate to the best of their ability and take action where it seemed to fit. Unlike our “Commander(Pretender) in Chief,” Mr. Obama, God save our souls, I am impressed they finally reached down, “grabbed em(imagine that sight from Condoleezza Rice, gross)” and said “this is the direction we are taking.” Now, not so fast! I am not saying I am all the way on board with the committee at this point but I do like the fact that they seem to really be looking at everything they claim they are when it comes to ranking the teams.
I am also feeling pretty good about my last publication and the fact that I came pretty close with the information that I gave. Let me do a little recap: Clemson covered by double digits over Wake, Alabama looked like National Champions against poor Charleston Southern, Michigan State did what they needed to do and upset #3 Ohio State, Baylor topped OSU as the pokes defense stayed in hiding and Baylor’s offense kept rolling, Iowa continued to play good balanced football and produced a commanding win over Purdue, Oklahoma(minus Baker Mayfield in the 2nd half) squeaked by TCU(minus Trevone Boykin).
To keep my Ego in check, I mentioned there was a time when Boston College gave Notre Dame fits. I really didn’t think this was one of those years! I stand to be corrected as the Irish pulled this one out 19-16 with the luck of the leprechaun. This was much closer than I had imagined and probably had something to do with their drop from #4 to #6.
I mentioned the powder puff scheduling of the SEC last week but Florida Atlantic gave the Florida Gators all they could handle before losing 20-14 in OT. Is this a sign of the “great strength of the monster conference?” Give me a break! Double amazement is the fact that the committee seems to have actually taken this mere scrape by the Gators into account and dropped them from #8 to #12. I found this big drop rather unusual as the Coaches Poll had them at #9 before the weekend and still have them at #9 for week 12. For those that are not aware, four of the committee members are from the coaching profession. Just a little food for thought but don’t chew on it for too long as 99 out of 100 dentists have said that taffy is horrible for the teeth.
Now that my Ego is in check, again very unlike our present President, let’s take a look at how the new playoff rankings look and what I think can be expected in the near future.
Clemson goes to Columbia to face a 3-8 South Carolina team that has had more than their share of problems this year. The great Steve Spurrier resigned from the program in October and the program has been in dire straits since. That being said, as long as Clemson isn’t looking ahead to December 5th when they meet a very hot and talented UNC squad for the ACC Championship, they should be in okay shape this weekend. I have mentioned Head Coach Dabo Swinney’s emphasis to his players of a “game at a time” and this is definitely a week that he will need to ‘instill and drill” it into to those young men’s hearts and minds. Clemson finishes the regular season undefeated and goes into the ACC Championship #1.
After their practice session on Saturday against an FCS team, the Tide roll into Auburn to take on a 6-5 Tiger squad. Auburn has really “smelled” up the field at times this year. I really thought Auburn would be competing for something larger at this point of the season and the staff and fans were right there with me. I am going out on a limb, not too far, just a little ways. Many things come together on Saturday that have proven time and again that Auburn might make this a game. First, Alabama is coming off a game in which they really didn’t have to perform to get the victory. Second, if Auburn can keep it close their fans can be a huge boost at home. Thirdly, with nothing left of their season, Coach Malzahn(very sound offensive minded coach) and Defensive Coordinator Will Muschamp are going to throw the “kitchen sink, bathtub and toilet” at Alabama. Why not, they have nothing to lose! Fourth, it would be real easy for the young Alabama players to be thinking ahead to possibly Florida and the SEC Championship. And Finally, it is ALABAMA vs AUBURN in the Iron Bowl! An “in state” rivalry such as this one produces unknown emotions and character for all of these young men and strange things can happen. We see it every year. Yes folks I am of sober mind and body as I write this(only because I have to go to work early tomorrow) and feel this could be a ball game that nobody is expecting. Talk about screwing up the selection committee! Go Tigers!!
With a victory over then #18 TCU last week, 10-1 Oklahoma jumps up four spots to #3. Oklahoma survived the loss of their quarterback for the second half and barely escaped 30-29. I was rather shocked at such a large jump by the committee. It must be the fact of their strength of schedule and the win, even with the loss of their quarterback. Great news for Sooner fans, quarterback Baker Mayfield has passed all concussion tests and is expected to start on Saturday. Bad news, they are playing a very pissed off #11Oklahoma State team, in Stillwater. This is a huge “in state” rivalry(known as the Bedlam series) and should produce an excellent game. With no Big 12 Championship game, a win should secure a spot in the top four for the Sooners. I am just wondering what the mind set of Baker will be during this game. His girlfriend goes to Oklahoma State, plays on their volleyball team and is an avid Pokes fan. Nobody knows what she promised Baker(behind closed doors) should he make it possible that her team comes out on TOP! Just sayin! And YES my mind was in the gutter(similar to my Longhorn’s season) on that one.
Here come the Hawkeyes! Moving up one spot from the #5 spot last week, Iowa continues to show balance on both sides of the ball. That being said, they are going to be very challenged on the road by a very good Nebraska offense. Ranked 36th in total offense, Nebraska is going to be the second best offensive team(Indiana #24) that the Hawkeyes have faced. We are going to see just what Iowa is made of and Hawkeye fans are sure hoping not to hear or see the words, “here come the Hawkeyes, there goes the Hawkeyes.” I am going to throw this out there, with risk of eating “ego pie” instead of the chocolate pudding pie(that I so dearly love) left over from Thanksgiving. Nebraska upsets Iowa by 3! Regardless, Iowa has earned a birth and will play in the Big 10 Championship. Who they will face will be determined this weekend when Michigan State plays Penn State and Michigan plays Ohio State. Michigan State wins and they are in the championship. If Michigan State loses, winner of the Wolverines and Buckeyes will be seeing Iowa in the championship.
#5 Michigan State
Great win for the Spartans, knocking off last week’s #3 ranked and undefeated Ohio State Buckeyes. Michigan State was able to get the win without starting quarterback Conner Cook. Utilizing the tandem of backup Tyler O’Connor and Sophomore Damion Terry, Michigan State was able to keep it close and give themselves a chance at the end, winning on a Michael Geiger 41 yard field goal. Geiger was 8-13 on the year when he probably ended Ohio State’s championship hopes and kept his Spartans alive in the race. Michigan State travels to Penn State to take on a Nittany Lion team that just can’t seem to get it together. As mentioned, a win puts State in the Big 10 Championship. A loss puts their season as just a memory! I have a very good feeling that Michigan State finishes strong and will face Iowa for the Big 10 Championship. If Michigan State wins the Big 10 they will have a strong resume for belonging in the final four. I really like this Michigan State team and truly respect Head Coach Mark Dantonio. Don’t count them out yet!!
#6 Notre Dame
As the weeks wind down so does the teams that will have an impact on the playoff rankings and the final four candidates. With that, I too will dwindle down to the teams that I think still have a shot. The Irish dropped two spots from last week to the #6 position. I think that was a little drastic but at the same time I think the committee really contemplated just where the Irish fit in the scheme of things. If deemed a member of the committee, I probably wouldn’t have been so harsh on the Dame for playing close to Boston College because I know that the Eagles usually give them fits. The Irish are now on the outside looking in. They travel to Stanford, California to face the #13 Cardinals(9-2). This is going to be a great test for the Irish and their last chance to give the committee any possible reasoning to jump them back in the hunt. Stanford is a very solid squad and will give the Irish all they can handle. It is going to take a pot of gold and all the “luck of the Irish” to walk out of Stanford Stadium as victors on Saturday. This will definitely be a game I will watch!
As I await the great feast of Thanksgiving, my thoughts ponder on the things that I am grateful for at this point of my life. My list reads: my two grown children, my two beautiful grandchildren, my family, college football, Obama’s last term, college football! Is there a need for any more? Oh yes I almost forget, college football!! “Happy Thanksgiving” readers and remember if you don’t choke on that drumstick, dry it out and beat a local Isis supporter with it. “Peace in the Middle East!”