Hello/Yeah this head ball coach/he ran a what?/I told you he could really go/yeeeeah, click clack.
Steve Spurrier - Football Coach, anti-Tebow activist, poet laureate.
Two weeks ago I believe I wrote that I would be discontinuing the movement watch until next year pending shocking events, and so here we are, still going strong in what could be the most potentially catastrophic weekend of all time in college football. Yes, despite what the Rod Gilmore's and Craig James' of the world say, TCU has a more than legitimate shot at the national title should one of the top 2 teams stumble this weekend - a situation that isn't as rare as you think, as one of the top 2 teams has fallen on the final weekend 7 times in 6 years. I'd say the odds aren't in our favor this year as much as they may have been in the past, but I also wouldn't have thought that Boise would blow a 17 point lead last weekend, or that we'd be a split second hesitation by Colt McCoy away from playing for it all last year. In other words, don't count us out.
It should also be noted that both of the games that matter are going to be played almost simultaneously, which is bad unless you're at a sports bar or have split screen, but is good because by the time the most meaningless Big 12 Championship in recent memory kicks off, we'll know our fate.
#1 Auburn @ #19 South Carolina. Saturday. 3:00PM.
Why You Should Have Hope. Of course, the biggest reason you should have hope here is because South Carolina could have, and maybe should have, beaten Auburn on the road during the regular season. The Gamecocks actually led the thing 20-7 at one point and 27-21 in the fourth until they decided it'd be a fine time to get the farts and turn the ball over 4 times. Yes, 4 fourth quarter fumbles IN AUBURN TERRITORY were the saving grace for Auburn. Of course, you can say that South Carolina was playing their best ball of the season at that point and Auburn had yet to truly get rolling, but the fact remains that had the Gamecocks held onto one or two of those balls, Cam Newton would be suspended right now and, if things held true, South Carolina would be favored in this rematch. Thems the breaks though, I suppose.
Fortunately, this probably plays into South Carolina's hands a little as they at least have a semblance of an idea how to attack the Tigers and keep themselves in it. Stephen Garcia is a much different QB now and RB Marcus Lattimore is everything they expected him to be and so much more. Carolina DID allow 334 rushing yards in that game which is a GLARING red flag considering how efficient Newton is now, but with Steve Spurrier under the headset, you at least have to give the Gamecocks a fighting chance to make the adjustments they didn't make in September and keep themselves in it. And since getting run over by Arkansas to begin November, the Cocks have run off 3 straight wins, including a domination on the road against rival Clemson last weekend. The Georgia Dome is an extremely quick trip up the road from Auburn, so they will likely have the crowd, but it's not too far from Columbia, either, and seeing as this is the first ever championship game berth for Carolina, I wouldn't expect it to be as lopsided in Auburn's favor as you might initially think. Carolina knows that, if they cut down on their mistakes, they have the team to compete with Auburn and pull an upset. Now they just have to put the pieces together.
Why You Should Abandon All Hope. One reason, and one reason only - Cam Newton is fucking good, and he's eligible. You can debate the merits of his reinstatement all you want - and you should - but it's clear that, due to the Heisman and National Title races being on the line, plus the happenings of 2004, the NCAA wasn't going to stick a fork in Auburn right before the biggest game in school history. Last week it looked like Newton had finally let the pressure of his situation get to him as Alabama rolled up a 24-0 lead and he wasn't able to get anything at all going. At that point we were all likening him to a Vince Young type mental midget, a cheater, and praising Saban's tactical genius in shutting down a player that had to that point been completely unstoppable. Then the Auburn defense tightened up and Newton had a hand in 4 scores as the Tigers completed their perfect season. Ass. Just, ass. Of course, if you believe the pundits, if the Tigers were to split these last two games, it's a lot better for us if they lose in Atlanta since they wouldn't win the conference, but when we need at least one loss to have a shot, you take it when it's right in front of you. But, like I said, Newton had other ideas.
The scariest part of the whole situation is what the Auburn defense, a unit that has struggled ALL year, was able to do in the second half, only allowing 3 points and eventually cracking open Greg McElroy's brain. No way that kid remember the hit that sent him to the bench. Gene Chizik may have been thought of as a hack, and Gus Malzahn a gimmicky tactician, but you can't argue with the results or the confidence they've inspired in their team. Auburn has trailed in 8 games this season; of course, they've won all eight. They've also run through a division that currently has 5 of its 6 teams ranked in the Top 22. That takes something special. With the NCAA calling the dogs off, it's going to take an absolutely heroic performance by South Carolina to pull this one off. Let's just hope they're up to the task.
#2 Oregon @ Oregon State. 2:30PM. Saturday.
Why You Should Have Hope. Much like the Auburn section, there's one reason and one reason only why you should have faith in the Beavers pulling the upset of the college football season: It's a rivarly game, and weird shit happens in rivalry games. That's really the only reason I can see why Oregon State would show up for this one considering how much their season has gone in the shitter since losing James Rodgers. And while there's never been THIS much riding on the outcome, twice in the past ten matchups between the two teams, one school has had nothing to lose, the other everything to gain in a Rose Bowl berth, and the little guy has come out on top. The teams have evenly split every meeting since 2000, so this is a millenial tiebreaker as well. You also can never discount the dreaded Gameday curse, which has afflicted several top ranked teams this year, including Alabama and Oklahoma, but of course not the Frogs. It would have helped our case quite a bit had Oregon State turned out to be at least above average, but Corvallis should be rocking for this one all the same. Oregon State has a chance to gain bowl eligibility at the expense of costing their biggest rival a chance at the national title. The Beavers have gone 2-3 against ranked opponents this year; an even .500 would look a lot better. And, as a last gasp kicker - Oregon snuck past Cal by 2 points, mainly due to a missed field goal; Oregon State beat that same Cal team 35-7.
Why You Should Abandon All Hope. Because, holy crap is Oregon State schizo this year. They played us and Boise quite tough, and even knocked off then top ten ranked Arizona on the road... then they lost to the entire state of Washington, UCLA and were humiliated at home by Stanford, but not before knocking off then ranked USC by 4 TDs. So what we should really expect out of the Beavers, I do not know. But there's one thing I DO know - Oregon has showed up to play 10 of 11 weeks this year, and even the one time they didn't, they still managed to win despite a bevying array of faked injuries and shocking defensive dominance on the part of Cal. Oregon has the #1 ranked offense in all of college football at 541 yards and 50 points per game; Oregon State's defense allows 400 yards and 26 points each week. And while Ryan Katz has proven to be a much more capable QB than we wanted to give him credit for in week one, his numbers are pretty pedestrian. Worst of all? The vaunted Oregon State rushing offense headed by Jacquizz Rodgers ranks 96th in the nation. I don't want to keep painting a grim picture here, but the only way we're winning this one is with rivalry karma, and I'm pretty sure the Ducks are immune to that.
The odds aren't great for an upset this weekend, but if you had to bank on one, I'd go out on a limb and suggest Auburn. Still, that's why they play the games. Happy Championship Saturday.