Monday, November 21, 2011

Saturday Review, part 2.

Probably the best theme song for the aftermath of this weekend.

Like many of you, as the day wore down I had my eyes planted pretty firmly on the OU/Baylor game on my TV and the Oregon/USC game on ESPN3, giggling at the chaos that would ensue if the scores held as they were. When they were over though, all I could think was, "Thanks a lot guys, WHY COULDN'T YOU ALL BE THIS TERRIBLE LAST YEAR?!?!" Ah well...

In case you missed it, here's a look at what went down.
  • #2 Okahoma State 31, Iowa State 37 OT. Despite having a 24 point lead in the second half, the Cowboys couldn't get it done, losing in OT after a Brandon Weeden pick on a BAD throw to Justin Blackmon. To make matters worse, the Pokes had a shot at likely winning it in regulation with a field goal, but it was missed by the TINIEST of margins right over the top of the goal post. But what looked to be an absolutely fatal blow to their championship hopes may actually turn out OK with everything else that transpired...
  • #4 Oregon 35, USC 38. This one wasn't as close as the scoreboard indicated as USC led 38-14 in the second half before turnovers and Oregon's comical offensive speed knocked them back on their heels a bit. The Ducks ultimately lost on a missed field goal as time ran out. All week Oregon had talked about how they were the ones truly deserving of a rematch against LSU. That went out the window with this setback.
  • #5 Oklahoma 38, #22 Baylor 45. Alright, I'm on the record as saying I could never cheer for Baylor, that Robert Griffin is a joke and that Waco should be, if not wiped from the earth, at least condescendingly ignored by it. But I was also on record saying that Baylor was going to absolutely shock someone this year and O.M.G. that was a heck of a show they put on last night. In case you missed it, here's what transpired. With less than 6 minutes left in the fourth quarter, Baylor led the Sooners 38-24 and, while there was still clearly plenty of time left in the game for OU to make it interesting, it did not look good for the Sooners at all. Then, in the span of 5 minutes, OU scores twice on runs from Jared Lorezen lite QB Blake Bell to bring the score to 38-37. However, rather than try and force OT the Sooners line up to go for 2 seeing as how Bell had scored 4 times on the evening with the same exact play and never as close as 2 yards. But then, after the teams trade timeouts, OU makes a fatal mistake and false starts, forcing the PAT attempt. So with the game tied and with 51 seconds left, you'd have to think OT is all but assured, right? But after Baylor handed the ball off on their first play after the kickoff, clearly playing for the extra period, OU got greedy and called the first of their 3 timeouts, presuming to get the ball back for one last gasp effort in regulation. And then, Griffin took over. Here's the box score of that final drive: Ganaway 4 yard rush, OU timeout, Griffin 22 yard rush, Griffin 8 yard rush, Griffin 12 yard pass to Kendall Wright, Griffin 34 yard pass to Terrance Williams for a TD. Ballgame. But that doesn't tell the whole story because, as much as I don't care for the guy, hate the hype and still have vivid memories of his mental shrinking act last year in Amon G, I have to give credit for his TD pass because it was one of the more ballsy throws you'll ever see that fit in perfectly between 2 defenders. For the night Griffin had a Mangaesque 479 yards and 4 TDs to no picks and, given everything else that has happened, probably secured himself a front row seat in New York City next month. Like I said, I wasn't pulling for Baylor necessarily, but there was something strangely satisfying about watching Bob Stoops DERP his way out of a national title shot. Naturally the Bears rushed the field for the second time this year and the parent chaperones clearly had to order an extra milkshake machine for the sock hop that evening.
  • #7 Clemson 13, North Carolina State 37. THERE'S the Clemson we know and love! True, they probably wouldn't have been in the discussion for the national title game without an Alabama loss... but yeesh, they didn't even make the attempt!
  • #11 Houston 37, SMU 7. Clearly not the upset we wanted, but I just wanted to once again beg the question SERIOUSLYHOWDIDWELOSETOSMU!?!?!
So four games, four top ten teams going down, and now your guess is as good as anyone's as to how the rest of the season is going to shake out. It's not entirely difficult to see future #3 Arkansas sneak past #1 LSU this weekend, which would result in #2 Alabama going to the SEC Championship and then potentially losing to #13 Georgia who would essentially be playing a home game, which could lead to an Arky/LSU rematch for all the marbles despite neither even playing for the SEC Championship. Wrap your head around that.

You're likely going to end up with three, and potentially 4, SEC teams that are BCS eligible and 3 Big 12 teams. You'd also have 3 Pac 12 teams, although USC is ineligible for a bowl as well as the Pac 12 Championship game which they would qualify for otherwise. Oklahoma State, a team that looked like they were a Bedlam loss away from going from the BCS Championship to the Cotton Bowl, is right back in it and the rematch you maybe should be talking about is Arkansas/Alabama. Seriously, anything can happen.

However, if I were a betting man I'd go ahead and gear up for an LSU/Alabama rematch which will please some and probably be a fantastic game, but think of it this way: Alabama can potentially play for the BCS Championship without beating LSU and winning their Conference not to mention their own division. I understand you can't fault a team for playing in the most top heavy division perhaps in NCAA history, but there's just something that seems so wrong about that scenario. At present, here are the potential BCS NC contenders, although I fully expect more shaking up to occur before this thing is over.
  • #1 LSU. Controls their destiny by beating Arkansas and Georgia in the SEC Champ. Would have navigated probably the most difficult schedule ever played a National Title game participant. But for those or you nay saying an LSU/bama rematch, keep this in mind: If LSU loses a squeaker to Arkansas Friday, there's a chance they may not even drop below the Hogs in the rankings; regardless, they're dropping no lower than 3 and would by no means be out of the conversation. Games to keep an eye on: Friday vs. #3 Arkansas, potential SEC Championship vs #13 Georgia.
  • #2 Alabama. Is almost a shoo-in for the title game. If LSU wins out and the Tide beats Auburn, they only thing keeping them out would be the BCS having the balls to elevate Oklahoma State over them in the final rankings in lieu of a rematch. I do not think they have the balls, personally. Bama's best case is for LSU to win Friday because then they are guaranteed a spot without having to mess with Georgia in the SEC Championship. It doesn't seem fair that the #1 team has a tougher stretch to make the title game despite winning their division and the head to head matchup, but that is one of the main reasons why the BCS will not exist in its current form this time next year. Games to keep an eye on: Saturday @ #24 Auburn, potential SEC Championship vs #13 Georgia.
  • #3 Arkansas. This is where it gets tricky. With a win over LSU, the Hogs SHOULD move into the #2 spot behind Alabama, presuming they beat Auburn. In this case, Alabama would move on to the SEC Title game. If the Tide wins, Oklahoma State is to beat OU and win the B12, Stanford wins out and Virginia Tech wins the ACC title game, would any of those teams move past the Hogs? History suggests they might, given what happened with Michigan and OSU a few years back in a similar, rematch situation, but I kind of doubt it. Undermining the Hogs cause is that, due to the SEC's divisional tiebreak, they cannot advance to the SEC Championship without a Bama loss to Auburn. Arkansas' best case is for Auburn to shock Bama this weekend, but Alabama making the SEC Champ and then losing to Georgia would work as well. Still, Arkansas has to beat LSU for any of this to even become an issue, which is incredibly questionable. But, would you have picked 4 top 10 teams to fall this past weekend the way they did? I'm just saying, an Alabama/Arkansas rematch for the big one isn't as far fetched as you might think, nor is Arkansas/LSU. Games to keep an eye on: Friday @ #1 LSU.
  • #4 Oklahoma State. No team's fortunes changed quicker than those of the Cowboys' in the 24 hours that followed their loss to Iowa State. Playing in what has been considered the strongest Conference this season certainly helps their case, as does the potential voter hesitancy for a LSU/Bama rematch. Unfortunately, the Cowboys have a lot going against them as well and this is where the Big 12's dropping of their Championship game may come back to bite them. Lacking a title game, OSU was counting on their Bedlam game against OU to count as that performance and possibly springboard them into the title game. But thanks to Baylor and Tech, that game lost a LOT of appeal on the Sooners behalf. OSU still wins the B12 with a win, but does it count as much as winning an actual title game? That all depends on if you think the BCS would favor a 1 loss ACC Champion Virginia Tech or a 1 loss, non Champ Stanford over a one loss Oklahoma State squad; I think it's unlikely. OSU caught a break with Oregon losing, yet still controlling their destiny in the Pac 12 North because it keeps Stanford out of that title game, but that is the least of their worries at present because their bye week comes at a bad time. And, of course, they need LSU and Alabama losses to even be considered. Games to keep an eye on: Next Saturday vs. #9 OU.
  • #5 Virginia Tech. Where did these guys come from? Left for dead after losing to Clemson earlier this year, the Hokies are right back in the thick of things after the mayhem from this weekend. Curiously enough, this weekend's game against the BARELY unraked Cavaliers carries HUGE implications as the winner will advance to the ACC title game. Virginia Tech typically controls this series and will be a decided favorite, but it's being played in Charlottesville and the surprising Cavs would love nothing more than to dash the title hopes of their in state rival. Still, I think VT would need LSU, Alabama and OSU losses for a shot at it, even with the win this weekend and in the ACC title game, ironically against the same Clemson team who handed it to them earlier. In other words, the Hokies have a tough road ahead of them to remain in the discussion and may not even make a BCS game altogether. Games to keep an eye on: Sat @ Virginia, potential ACC Championship vs #17 Clemson.
  • #6 Stanford. I don't think they get in simply because they can't win their own Conference unless Oregon loses to Oregon State. Bama and LSU are probably the only teams who could pull off this feat, and even then it is a stretch. Besides, they still have a tricky one Saturday against suddenly resurgent #23 Notre Dame. For now here's to thinking the Cardinal are a BCS at large at best. Games to keep an eye on: Sat. vs #23 Notre Dame.
  • #7 Boise State. How much do you think Boise fans hate their kicker now? Sure, Brotzman cost them a sure trip to the Rose Bowl, but given the events of the weekend, Dan Goodale possibly cost them a shot at a National Title. Were the Broncos still undefeated, you'd have to imagine they'd be no worse than #4 right now, and possibly #3. I don't see them outranking #2 Alabama in that situation, though. So what now? I guess Boise still has a VERY, VERY remote chance of advancing to the title game, but it would take LSU beating Arkansas, Auburn beating Alabama, OU beating OSU AND remaining below the Broncos, Virginia Tech losing one of their next two AND Stanford losing to Notre Dame; even then, there are no guarantees. The Broncos can probably go ahead and print their boarding passes for a trip to Vegas. Games to keep an eye on: NEIN!
  • Houston. Sorry, it's just not happening. Also, DIE!!! Games to keep an eye on: Friday @ Tulsa.
So that's a WHOLE lot to think about for the next couple of weeks and, most importantly, here's exactly how to plan your Thanksgiving Weekend in order to avoid your family. If you combine it with yesterday's BCS Breakdown/Movement Watch, you can pretty much lock up Thursday-Saturday in a football/tryptophan haze. Go ahead, thank me in the comments.

11:00AM-2:30 PM. Houston @ Tulsa.
1:30PM - 5:00PM. Arkansas @ LSU. CBS.

2:30PM - 6:00PM. Alabama @ Auburn. CBS.
2:30PM - 6:00PM. Virginia Tech @ Virginia. ESPN2.
7:00PM-10:30PM. Stanford vs. Notre Dame. ABC.


DangerFrog said...

Man... The SEC is overrated. I'll say that they are the best conference, but not as good as everyone tries to make it. Look at it for a second...
1. LSU - I have no gripe here, they are the best team in the nation and deservedly so. Oregon and West Virginia aren't bad OOC.

2. Alabama - At first glance, of course they deserve to be up here! Its Alabama, right? Take a closer look. Alabama has ONE quality OOC win in Penn St. The only tough game that they won in conference was Arkansas. It this were TCU, they would be done. The argument would be that they really only had to get up for one or two games this year. And they lost one is a snoozefest against LSU. Arkansas isn't that great either... If this team wasn't Alabama, they would be torn apart by college football analysts.

3. Arkansas - I mean, seriously? How did this team move so far up? Who did they play OOC? An unranked TAMU? Not that impressive. SCAR wasn't a bad win in conference, but besides that? An overrated Auburn team.

12. SCAR - Is this a joke?!? The only team that South Carolina beat was a Georgia team that hasn't started roaring back till after that loss. Take that, losses against Auburn and Arkansas, and in no way do you get the number 12 team in the nation.

13. Georgia - They've played 3 ranked teams. They lost two of them. The only other one they one was against an overrated Auburn.

24. Auburn - 4 losses? Nuff said.

Sir Wesley Willis said...

I'm going to have to sort of disagree with you there, at least with the top 3. I think Arkansas jumps out to a lot of people because it flies in the face of conventional wisdom since they aren't normally in these discussions. Plus, there's skepticism that 3 teams from the same division in the same conference are ranked 1-2-3. I get that. But I've watched all 3 play this year and, unless you think Stanford or Oklahoma State are better-and you shouldnt- there shouldn't be a complaint.

Carolina is high at 12, but they've only lost to ranked Auburn and ranked Arkansas. But, they're a product of starting the year high and losing/winning at the right time. As we all should've learned, rankings are almost always about where you started as to where you finish.

Georgia's only losses are against two teams in the top 12, and they've won 9 straight. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt because they're still behind 2 loss Oregon and OU who are potentially better teams.

Auburn and Texas being ranked is absoltely criminal, but it's clear the voters have a, "yeah, they have four losses, but am I REALLY going to rank someone from the Big East?" kind of attitude.

Bottom line, it's an SEC World, we're just living in it and it will be that way until someone beats them

shortnkerley's said...

When you play in the SEC, you really don't need a lot of OOC help. It's a pretty big grind to play in that conference every week.

EdK said...

Until somebody whips an SEC team in a BCS title game -- and I mean whips -- that conference is the top dog. And rightly so, I think.

Oregon had its shot to knock the SEC off its pedestal last year vs. Auburn and choked.

Danger, you mention out-of-conference games, sure, but it's the IN-conference games that are tough. (Of course, the Big 12 is just as difficult to get through this year.)

I wouldn't poo-poo those SEC teams. Like it or not, TCU would be extremely lucky to be .500 in that conference this year.

DangerFrog said...

I do think that these schools are good, just not as good as they say they are. SEC teams seem to beat up on themselves, and say that they're the best. It would be like a group of 20 year old people in a league. The 20 year old guys play each other, then they play a bunch of ten year old kids. They whup up on the ten year old kids, and then beat themselves, the winner declares themselves the best out of all of the 20 year olds in the league and decides that he should play in the championship game.

EdK said...

SEC record in BCS games:

LSU 4-0
Auburn 2-0
Florida 5-1
Georgia 2-1
Tennessee 1-1
Alabama 1-2
Arkansas 0-1

Total: 15-6
SEC in titles games: 7-0

I think the SEC can say whatever the hell they want, don't you?

DangerFrog said...

I'm talking about this year, not previous ones...

Sir Wesley Willis said...

Ok, then who is better than those teams? Who would you put above LSU, Bama and Ark? Who would you move in front of Georgia and USC? They've won the games, after all.

DangerFrog said...

I mean... I'm not saying that they aren't the top three teams. They may very well be. I'm saying that the ESPN announcers are treating them as if they were god's gift to football, nobody plays as tough of a schedule as they do. I think that LSU is the standout number one team this year, but after that, I think that there are a bunch of teams that could fill those spots.