NCAA Week 8: What We Learned
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This past week in college football was a wild one with upsets everywhere, especially in the the SEC.
It's fitting that we'd see something like this on the eve of the first official BCS ranking. The college football world is routinely sent into chaos by unpredictable happenings. And yet, some things remain the same.
Clemson is overrated ... The 'game of the century' in the ACC reminded us rather harshly that the century is only 13 years old. Florida State not only beat Clemson, they dominated them. The Tigers looked like a bad Division II team. Their offense had no answer for that FSU defense, and their defense looked horrible. Embarrassed is not the word I'd use to described Clemson's performance; overrated would be. And that Georgia victory looks less and less impressive as the week's go by.
Auburn is better than we think ... I wasn't buying into the Auburn Tigers, but their win against Texas A&M has made me a believer. These Tigers are better than we think they are. Gus Malzahn has already orchestrated their doubling of last season's win total, and if they get a few breaks, they'll triple it. Auburn isn't flashy like they were when Cam Newton was there, but they are just as effective. It's been a while, but the Iron Bowl might be for all the marbles. Who would have thought that?
Targeting rule is the worst rule ever ... I can't say enough how much I hate this rule. It's dumb and ineffective. The SEC alone had three players ejected this weekend for targeting. How about this: rather than throwing a player out of game, just give a 15-yard penalty the first time; the second time it happens, you get thrown out of the game. Simple.
SEC Is down this year ... Yes, I know Alabama is the No 1 team in the nation and deserves their ranking, and Missouri also deserves their top five ranking. But let's be honest, the rest of the league is down. The upsets proved that, with Auburn going to Texas A&M and beating the Aggies, Georgia losing to Vandy, and LSU losing to an undermanned Ole Miss team. LSU, Georgia, and A&M were all supposed to be contenders, not only in the SEC, but for the national championship as well. Let's give Missouri credit, but you have to wonder if they'd be leading the SEC East if Georgia and Florida weren't dissembled by injuries.
Ohio State is being hurt by a bad Big Ten ... Everyone is talking about Alabama, Florida State, and Oregon as being the best teams in the country, but what about The Ohio State University? The Buckeyes are still undefeated and haven't lost a game going on two years, so what's the problem? Well, that would be a weak Big Ten. Outside of Ohio State, who is even the second-best team in the Big Ten? Michigan? Wisconsin? We thought it was Northwestern, but they have turned out to be a fluke. Ohio State is being hurt by the softness. They've already been jumped in the polls because no one thinks much of them or their conference. It's not their fault, but Urban Meyer is going to have to play a tougher non-conference schedule next year if he wants the pollsters to take them seriously. Ironically, this may be the only league where moving to a nine-game league slate will hurt more than help.
If Week 8 was this good, then consider what lays ahead in the coming weeks, especially now that the official pressure is on both Oregon and Florida State to keep winning to stay close to Alabama. UCLA must be wondering what they did to the Pac-12 scheduler -- back-to-back road trips to Stanford and Oregon -- while North Carolina State must have its 2012 upset of the Seminoles on video loop in their training room.
Meanwhile, Nick Saban will no doubt make the most of Tennessee's upset win so the Tide won't be looking ahead to LSU on Sat 9 Nov. The Bayou Bengals may be out of the BCS title picture, but they won't have any problems at all about being up for that one.