Most everyone knows that between Alabama, Florida, LSU and Auburn, the SEC has won the last six National Championships, but this year there is one team, Oregon, who wants the opportunity to unseat the champion conference.
The SEC, who will most likely be represented by the almost NFL Caliber Crimson Tide of Alabama will be ready to compete against whoever is on the other side. Alabama on offense has been running over around and through it opponents ranking 17th in points scored (40.5/gm), but it is defensively where they have manhandled teams as they rank 1st in points allowed (7.5/gm). Last year the Tide lost 5 of their starters on defense to the draft, but Coach Nick Saban has retooled and if it was possible, gotten better.
The competition against the SEC has been mostly one dimensional, which Oregon has been for the last few years, but not this year. They still are high scoring as they rank 2nd in points scored (52.3/gm) but they have improved defensively as well as they only surrender 20 points a game, including pitching a shutout vs. then #22 Arizona, 49-0. If they can navigate through the remaining part of their difficult schedule, which pits them against three current Top 20 teams in the final four weeks, would provide the best challenge to wrestle it away from the SEC and Alabama.
Sorry to Notre Dame and Kansas State fans but you won’t survive the remaining schedules to stay undefeated, and Florida may get through the regular season, but would lose to Alabama by at least 17 points in the SEC championship game if they get there. My money is on South Carolina being Alabama’s opponent.
Here is this week’s look at the Top 10:
1. Alabama (6-0) – The Tide continued its dominance as they went into Missouri and man handled the Tigers 42-10. This week they go to Neyland Stadium and take on Tennessee. Another opponent, another victory as the Tide roll by 21
2. Oregon (6-0) – The Ducks of a bye week will go to Tempe to battle the Sun Devils and run rough shot over them and win going away by 20 points
3. Kansas State (6-0) – The Wildcats almost got caught looking ahead but with new Heisman front runner QB Colin Klein they got by a stubborn Iowa State team 27-21 This week’s game vs. West Virginia would have been the game of the week , but Texas Tech had other ideas. Now does QB Geno Smith get revenge and take back control of the Heisman and the Big 12 conference. I think they Wildcats hold on and win a tight one with a better defense by 6 points.
4. Florida (6-0) – The Gators got by a scrappy Commodores team 31-17 last week, but they have back to back tough games in this week’ s headline game and the following week against Georgia. See below for the answer.
5. Notre Dame (6-0) – The Irish barely got by a very tough Stanford team (I think he scored as forward progress was not stopped) in OT 20-17. An aggressive D, led by Heisman hopeful LB Manti Te’o has not yielded an offensive TD since the second week vs. Purdue (16 quarters and an OT). This week they get BYU which pits the 2nd (ND) and the 7th (BYU) best defenses in points scored. BYU can score points, and should break ND TD streak, but I see BYU losing by 10 points.
6. Ohio State (7-0) – The Buckeyes should be thanking Soph. and Heisman Candidate QB Braxton Miller as the QB has been saving Ohio State including this past week by nipping Indiana 52-49. This week they get Purdue who has gotten beaten up the last two weeks (outscored 82-27). Another hurting comes the Boilermakers way as Coach Meyer gets the defenses attention this week in practice.
7. LSU (5-1) – The Tigers played a terrific game and beat then #3 South Carolina 24-23 and for that they get #18 Texas A&M at College Station. The Aggies will bring their high power offense (ranked 5th at 47 points/gm) but they will get a rude awakening and the Tigers will win this by 2 touchdowns.
8. Oregon State (5-0) – The Surprising Beavers have continued their undefeated streak beating BYU and now get a Utah team that has trouble getting offense (ranked 91st in yards passing, 116th in rushing). This could get ugly early at Reser Stadium. Beavers win by 28.
9. USC (5-1) – I am still waiting for the USC team that was projected as a National Title contender. Last week they got up 24-7 and got shut out in the second half, but still won 24-14 against a Washington team that beat Stanford, but lost by 31 to Oregon. The Trojans this week need to wake up and put a beating on a Colorado team that is 120th in points allowed giving up over 41 points a game. If the Trojans do not win this by at least 25 - 30 points they can kiss any chance of a title goodbye as they still have to play Oregon and Notre Dame.
10. Oklahoma (4-1) – The Sooners woke some people up and opened eyes by humiliating their Red River rivals 63 – 21 and now they play Kansas at home. This could be over by half time, which would be a good thing as they get Notre Dame Memorial Stadium the following week. Boomer Sooner runs it big by 40.
1. Kansas State QB Colin Klein – Accounted for 292 yards with 16/24 for 187 yards and 25 carries for 105 yards and 3 touchdowns in their win over Iowa State
2. Ohio State QB Braxton Miller – Accounted for 360 yards with 13/24 for 211 yards and 2 touchdowns, 1 interception passing and 23 carries for 149 yards a touchdown in their win over Indiana
3. West Virginia QB Geno Smith – Went 29/55 for 275 yards and a touchdown in their upset loss
4. Notre Dame LB Manti Te’o – 11 tackles in their controversial win against Stanford
Game of the Week
South Carolina at #4 Florida – Saturday 3:30pm, October 20, 2012 at Ben Hill Stadium Gainesville, FL
This was a toss-up between this and the K-State/West Virginia match up, but this could have more impact on the National and SEC titles.
How does South Carolina win this game after they lost to LSU, who lost the week before to Florida, well they would have a better chance against a passing team, but like LSU, Florida runs the ball and runs it well. The Gators are ranked 14th in rushing yards per gm (233/gm). The Gamecocks had better find out a way to move the ball because the team that rushed for 258 yards against them only gave up 42 yards to LSU. This is not the right matchup for the Gamecocks and Coach Spurrier does not get the homecoming welcome he had hoped for.
Prediction: Florida wins on the ground like LSU did last week 28-24