Rivalry Week Set to Sort Stuff Out
After this weekend's sparse -- and yes, embarrassing -- slate of games, next week's rivalry match-ups can return both drama and dignity to college football.
There was a bit of the same-old, same-old on Saturday. Florida State almost lost again, and the once highly-ranked Mississippi Rebels got stomped by suddenly bowl-eligible Arkansas.
First, here are the highlights, such as they were, of the Alabama v Western Carolina game. Or is it the Auburn v Samford game? Georgia v Charleston Southern? Or ... hell, just pick an SEC non-con from yesterday. It fits 'em all.
Yes, this is how the SEC victory-whores get ready for rivalry week.
Alabama and Auburn wanna be all rested up for the Iron Bowl, where the Tigers want nothing more than knocking the Tide out of the SEC title game and, most likely, the CFP bracket. At this stage, it'll still be a shock if any conference gets more than one team into the playoffs, and why should that be a surprise? If a team can't rule its neighborhood, it has no business going any farther.
Missouri must beat those feisty Razorbacks next week, or it'll be Georgia in the SEC Championship game against whomever survives the Western Division. With Arkansas finally getting its act together, this one should be as compelling as the Iron Bowl.
No 2 Oregon rolled over Colorado, 44-10, and now prepares for a Civil War with rival Oregon State that goes back to 1894. The Beavers have fallen to 5-6 and need the win to become bowl eligible, as if they have any more motivation to defeat the Ducks and ruin their season.
Oregon has already clinched the North and will play in the Pac-12 title game against either UCLA, Arizona State, or Arizona.
Florida State did what Florida State does: win another close game, this time against an average Boston College team. Roberto Aguayo kicked a 26-yard field goal with three seconds left to drop the Eagles, 20-17.
The Seminoles play with fire each week but keep winning, for whatever that's worth, according to the Selection Committee.
This weekend, the Noles host Florida, as Will Muschamp coaches his last game for the Gators, who play good defense but may not score enough to pull the big upset.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Every name that's ever been in a headline is a candidate.
This is Florida, people! If any state should go off the charts -- hanging chads and all -- it's here. How about hiring a preacher's kid who was an athlete and went mega by fronting a group of athletes? If he's good enough for Game Day, he's good enough for the Gators!
Meanwhile, the Tallahassee Police Department's favorite team will move along to play improving Georgia Tech for the ACC Championship.
Mississippi State rebounded from its first loss of the season with an easy 51-0 win over the SEC's own home-grown cupcake, Vanderbilt. The Bulldogs now travel to Oxford for the Egg Bowl and must win to have any chance to secure a bracket berth. If Alabama loses to Auburn, Mississippi State gets to play in the SEC title game. There's hope yet, so it's worth going total yolk at the Grove:
TCU was idle and now travels to improving Texas for a Thanksgiving night tussle that doesn't look as much like the walkover it appeared to be a few weeks ago. The Big XII doesn't have a championship game, so the Horned Frogs need to beat the Longhorns and Iowa State and hope the Selection Committee keeps them ahead of Baylor and pencils them into the Featured Four.
The Bears, meanwhile, buried Oklahoma State, 49-28, and has to do the same thing as TCU, play and wait.
Baylor finishes at home against Texas Tech and Kansas State, the latter game of which will go a long way in sorting out the conference crown.
There may be one sleeper if upsets prevail next weekend. UCLA destroyed USC in Pasadena, 38-20.
UCLA now plays Stanford this coming week. If the Bruins win and then beat Oregon in the Pac-12 title tilt, with a few upsets elsewhere, the Committee may just have to take a peek at them. Their only losses -- to Utah and Oregon -- don't look much different than smudges anywhere else, including the cupcake-chomping SEC teams and the deceptive records that accompany them.