NCAA Week 11: What We Learned
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Week 11 put some separation between the best teams in the country and the rest.
Alabama and Florida State are now clearly the two front-runners for the BCS title game, while Oregon tries to pick up the pieces again after their loss. But enough of the chit chat, let's get started!
Alabama proved why they are No 1 ... There were a number of questions about how good Alabama was coming into this game, but they proved to the nation why they deserved to be ranked No 1. They dominated LSU in the second half, shutting down the Tigers offense after it had moved the football in the first half, while the Tide offensive line and running backs literally ran over the LSU defense. Dominant and impressive, and probably the best victory of the season for the Crimson Tide.
Oregon is who we thought they were ... Oregon does this every year. Dominate early and lose late, last season to Stanford, and that's who did it to them again last Thursday night. The Cardinal shut them down, and it wasn't that big of a surprise. Oregon is a finesse team, and when a team like that goes against a squad like Stanford, who plays smash mouth football, well, you saw what happened. So did De'Anthony Thomas, whose prediction of laying 40 points on the Cardinal was only half right. And those Stanford didn't even need the school's high academic standards to help them count half that high.
What's wrong with Tennessee and Florida? ... Did you ever picture the day when both the Vols and Gators would suck this much? Did you see the Tennessee game? If it wasn't for the Auburn special teams, the Tigers literally could have put 70 on the Vols; it was that bad. And Tennessee has no excuse for that. They aren't missing a bunch of scholarships or had a bunch of injuries. They're just a bad football team. Florida can at least say they have problems because of nicks and dings, but hell, even when they were healthy, they weren't that much better. The Gators had three Heisman winners at quarterback, and you mean to tell me they can't find one good quarterback in that whole state anymore? Geez, they're taking suckage to new levels.
Should more than stats count in winning the Heisman? ... I had a huge discussion on Twitter this weekend about whether more than stats matter when winning the Heisman? My argument was yes. Of course stats matter, but if you look at its history,, the Heisman winner has usually had that one game that defined his moment. So far this season, Jamis Winston has beaten both Clemson and Miami, AJ McCarron beat LSU and Texas A&M. Conversely, Teddy Bridgewater lost to Central Florida and was knocked out of the race, as was Marcus Mariota when he lost to Stanford. But here'is the problem: where does Johnny Manziel fit in all of this? Manziel is putting up monster numbers again, but unlike last year, he hasn't had that one game that's defined his year, and scoring the blondes in Cabo San Lucas doesn't count. Last year, it was his win over Alabama. This year, not so much, and it may hurt his chances in the end.
Smashmouth football still wins ball games ... Forget the spread offense, people, smashmouth football is just as effective if not more so. Just ask Oregon, whose latest fashion statement will be jerseys with Stanford's tire tracks on their backs. The Cardinal saw little need to put the ball in the air and did just fine. The score didn't indicate how badly the Ducks were beaten. Ask LSU, too, who got 'processed' by Alabama. Although the Tide did put the ball up 20 times, they flat-out bulldozed the Tigers with their running game and defense in the second half. And let's not forget Tennessee. Auburn ran up the Vols backs for 444 yards. It's no coincidence that all three of these teams are ranked in the top 10 of the BCS.
What to look for week 12:
- Can Georgia upset Auburn?
- Can USC give Stanford a run for their money?
- And what's hotter? Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury or the Baylor offense when they face each other this coming weekend.
And full marks to the Minnesota Golden Gophers, who are battling on the field as much as their coach, Jerry Kill, is battling epilepsy off of it. Offensive coordinator and acting coach Tracy Claeys expressed the team's sentiments after their upset of Nebraska:
And they still had enough balls to bang Penn State this past weekend. Fittingly, Jerry Kill was there for the celebration: