Sunday, November 13, 2005

Week Eleven Thoughts

Alabama showed us why they aren't deserving of a BCS bowl bid against LSU yesterday. Ever since Tyrone Prothro went down, Alabama has been no more than a glorified version of the 2004 Penn State squad that finished 4-7 and had no offense. Any team with a defense as good as Alabama's can squeak by teams like Ole Miss (who lost to pitiful Arkansas yesterday), Tennessee, Utah State and Mississippi State. I'm not surprised at all to see LSU win in Tuscaloosa. LSU has a tremendous defense and can make plays on offense. If LSU didn't get Alabama this week, Auburn would have taken care of them next week, something they still might do.

Auburn looks like a different team than the one that got thrashed at home by Georgia Tech on the first weekend of the season. Since then, they have lost only once, at LSU. Tommy Tuberville has done a great job rallying the troops to put together a pretty nice season considering they lost three first round picks out of the backfield. Next week's Iron Bowl should be fun to watch. Georgia just can't win the big game. With a chance to wrap up the SEC East at home with a win over a rival, they let this one slip away. However, the fourth down fumble rule really did them in. If Auburn had gotten the touchdown, they would have had a better shot at winning. They should just be glad all they have to do is beat Kentucky to win the SEC East.

Steve Spurrier has done a tremendous job in his first season at South Carolina and the win over Florida was just icing on the cake. After tough early losses to Alabama, Auburn and Georgia, it looked as though the Gamecocks would struggle to reach a bowl game. Instead, Spurrier has this team on the verge of an eight win season and possible January 2nd bowl game if they can knock off hated Clemson next week. You have to keep in mind that Spurrier is doing this all with kids brought in by Lou Holtz. The Gamecocks are an emerging power in the SEC and will only improve as Spurrier brings his own players to Columbia. Also, if Kentucky somehow manages to upset Georgia, South Carolina will win the SEC East.

Northwestern was exposed by Ohio State, losing 48-7 in Columbus. It has been a nice season for Randy Walker and the Wildcats, picked by most to finish 8th or 9th in the conference, and they will be going to a bowl. But most expected them to give the Buckeyes a better game than this. The Buckeyes look hungry and they have looked very good since they left Happy Valley with their second loss over a month ago. The Buckeyes can now focus all of their attention on hated Michigan with a share of the Big Ten title on the line for them and the possibility of a BCS bid.

Michigan State was thwarted by Minnesota 48-17. Now the Spartans prepare to host #5 Penn State. Now as a Penn State fan, for the next week I will hear about how Sparty will knock us off because they only beat Top 10 teams. The Spartans have lost their confidence and it sounds as though there is some dissention among players. Penn State should roll the Spartans. The Lions will be focused, JoePa wouldn't allow it any other way.

Wisconsin still seemed to be feeling the affects the beating laid on them by Penn State last week as the Badgers lost Barry Alvarez's final home game to Iowa. The win guarantees Iowa of a bowl game and the loss will likely send the Badgers to Florida for the holidays- at best. Brian Calhoun was another non-factor as his last bit of Heisman hope was destroyed. Much like the loss to Michigan State last season, the loss to Penn State seemed to bring the Badgers back down to Earth.

Clemson knocked off ACC Atlantic champion Florida State 35-14. How pathetic. The Seminoles have dropped two games in a row to teams they should have beaten after falling to N.C. State last week at home. They already have the ACC Atlantic wrapped up but if they don't get it together, it might be another trip to the Gator Bowl- at best. Meanwhile, Clemson got it together late enough in the season to get the six wins for a bowl game and likely save Tommy Bowden's job for at least one more season. A win against South Carolina could salvage the season for them.

Nebraska is a terrible team. They have really lucked out playing in the awful Big 12 North. The Cornhuskers will be going bowling this season after escaping with a 27-25 win over awful Kansas State. This a week after Nebraska lost to Kansas for the first time in 38 years. One more season like this and Nebraska will not only have to consider replacing Bill Callahan, but AD Steve Pederson as well. Chances are, the Huskers lose to Colorado the day after Thanksgiving and finish 6-5.

Colorado was upset by Iowa State, 30-16. Joel Klatt blew the game for the Buffaloes late in the fourth quarter when one of his passes was intercepted and returned for a touchdown by a Cyclone defensive lineman. The Buffs, prior to the turnover, were driving towards the endzone for the tying touchdown. While Colorado has all but assured themselves of a second consecutive Big 12 North title, the loss will prevent them from the possibility of ending the regular season with a 9-2 (7-1) record. Before this loss, Colorado had lost only to Miami and Texas.

Oregon barely escaped Washington State, winning 34-31. Oregon is not a good team without Kellen Clemens. A loss to rival Oregon State next week would take them out of the BCS picture completely.

Cal didn't bother to show up and allowed Southern Cal to demolish them. The Trojans defense still looks a bit shakey despite giving up only 10 points to the Golden Bears.

Stanford defeated Oregon State to go to 5-4 on the season. Their best chance to get their bowl eligibility win will come in the Big Game against Cal next week. They close out the season with Notre Dame.

West Virginia looks unbeatable after pounding Cincinnati 38-0. The Mountaineers still have to stave off Pitt on Thanksgiving and surprising South Florida on Championship Saturday but they are looking good for a BCS bid. Considering that they are the only school that travels well in the Big East, the BCS bowl reps are all praying that West Virginia finishes the job and prevents a repeat of the debacle that occured with the Big East last season.


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