NCAA Week 14: What We Learned
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What a wacky way to end the regular season of college football!
Alabama is no longer No 1, Auburn wins in another miracle fashion, and Duke is going to face Florida State for the ACC Championship.
Yes, people! Duke! Did I say this week was wacky? Let's get started.
Auburn is a team of destiny ... If I didn't see it with my own eyes, I never would have never thought it but the Tigers are obviously a team of destiny. Who would have imagined that they would go to the SEC Championship game on not one but two miracle plays in two consecutive games!
They're meeting another team of destiny, the Missouri Tigers. Mizzou defeated Johnny Football yesterday to punch its ticket to the title game in Atlanta. Who would have seen this coming? Now, some people may say Auburn is more lucky than good, but they are good as well. Give Gus Malzahan his due for having the right plan in place to bring down the Tide. Tre Mason had a huge game against the Alabama defense, and Nick Marshall played like Cam Newton did back in the 2010 Iron Bowl. Hurts my heart to say that, as a Alabama alum. Speaking of the Crimson Tide ...
Despite loss, Alabama's not out of it yet ... Hard to believe, but Alabama only dropped to No 4 in the BCS rankings, which puts them again in prime position to get back into the national championship game. How? Florida State loses to Duke; Ohio State who is No 2 now, loses to Michigan State; and either Auburn or Missouri will obviously lose in the SEC Championship game. If you check out how this has played out for the Tide over the last two years, would you be surprised if they pulled it off again? I wouldn't. This is college football.
Who will win the Heisman now? ... Had AJ McCarron defeated Auburn yesterday, there would have been no doubt who the leader in the clubhouse was. But with him and Johnny Manziel losing, who will the Heisman go to? Are the voters willing to take a chance on Jameis Winston, who could be arrested after the ACC Championship game? So far, he's still the leading candidate, but the award's cred is already on shaky ground, and the Downtown Athletic Club would be taking a huge chance on a dude who may be arrested. Northern Illinois QB Jordan Lynch may come out of nowhere here. Or Arizona RB Ka'Deem Carey.
Raise your hand if you had Duke in the ACC Championship game ... We know you had them getting there in basketball, but who would have thought they'd make it in football? David Cutcliffe's team is now in position to pull off one of the biggest upsets in college football history. I wonder how Ole Miss fans feel about that? Cutcliffe was the coach of the Rebels when Eli Manning was there and tied for the SEC West title one year. But that wasn't good enough for the Rebel fans and administration. Now, look at Cutcliffe. His team is on the verge of making it to a major bowl game, and the Ole Miss Rebels are on the verge of going to the Music City Bowl. Coaching does make a difference.
Who should win the Coach of the Year award? And you think the Heisman vote was tough! In a crazy season like this, who do you pick as Coach of the Year. You can make an argument for Auburn's Gus Malzahan or Missouri coach Gary Pinkel, whose teams won a combined total of two SEC games last season. Or as we mentioned, David Cutcliffe, who is leading his Blue Devils to their first-ever ACC Championship game. But let's not forget about Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher, or for that matter, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer. You can make a case for all these coaches. Normally, these type of awards go to the coach who has an overachieving team, but how do you choose which coach did that? Maybe the best choice is Jerry Kill of Minnesota, reviving that program while battling the effects of epilepsy. It's definitely the feelgood choice.
The regular season may be over for college football, but the madness may have just begun. We've got conference championship games for the top three teams in the country. And don't forget the budget-bonanza bowl, as Northern Illinois continues to out-rank Central Florida in the BCS standings. The winner gets a $17million BCS bowl invitation. The Huskies meet red-hot Bowling Green for the MAC championship this coming Saturday, while the Golden Knights will be walking over SMU.
So, hold on tight! See you next week!