Alabama lost their one game to a red hot QB, and now with one step closer to a chance to repeat as National Champions, they go up against a quarterback who may be more dangerous.
If you try and compare Texas A&M's and new Heisman flavor of the season Johnny “Football” Manziel to Alabama’s opponent on Saturday, Georgia’s Aaron Murray, you would be surprised that Murray was the more consistent and efficient to end the season. Murray ended the season throwing 12 touchdowns and no interceptions in his last four games with QB ratings ranging from 189.1 to 237.3, while Manziel had 8 touchdowns and 2 interceptions while his QB ratings went from 155.9 to 221.6.
Murray had his worst performances in his team’s only loss vs. South Carolina (1 touchdown and 3 interceptions), but was a stabilizing force throughout the year. Murray did not need to throw for 300 yards each game (only 4 games over 300), and he avoided the mistakes and incompleted passes (over 70% completed in 7 of the 12 games), which kept the ball moving, while the running of their freshman tandem of Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall (who combined for 1,858 yards and 22 touchdowns) handled the rushing duties.
The team is very balanced on offense as they average 273.6 yards a game (35th) and 190.1 (39th) and with Murray leading the way, they have a very good chance to defeat Alabama and line up against Notre Dame on January 7th in Miami.
Here is this week’s look at the Top 5:
1. Notre Dame (12-0) – The Irish after beating the Trojans now wait to see who they will play for the BCS Championship. They would be an underdog against Alabama, and possibly Georgia also.
2. Alabama (11-1) – The Tide roll into the SEC Championship vs. #3 Georgia in the game of the week
3. Georgia (11-1) – Georgia wrecked Georgia Tech last week as they prepare for Alabama and the SEC Championship. The Bulldogs, once thought after getting throttled by South Carolina, they had no chance at the title, now are on the verge of the BCS Championship. See the prediction below
4. Ohio State (12-0) – The Buckeyes completed their season with the win over Michigan and now wait to see if they get a share of the AP title, which is the only title they can get a share of due to the NCAA ban. Thanks Jim Tressel, this could have been another title shot, if you behaved.
5. Oregon (10-1) – The Ducks will now just wait for their BCS bowl game, most likely against Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl. These two teams two weeks ago were in discussion for the Championship now they look at it from the outside. One bad day ruined it for both teams
The standings stay the same. This is the right ending to a season for a man who led by example on defense and even getting into the offensive huddle during s timeout near the end of the USC victory. Johnny Football will have his chance next year and beyond.
Ranking of candidates this week
1. Manti Te’o – Sr. LB Notre Dame
2. Johnny Manziel – FR QB of Texas A&M
3. Colin Klein – Sr. QB Kansas State
4. Braxton Miller – So. QB Ohio State
5. Aaron Murray – Jr. QB Georgia
Game of the Week
#2 Alabama vs. #3 Georgia – Saturday 4pm , November 30, 2012 at Georgia Dome
This is the battle for more than the SEC title, but a shot at the BCS National title. Both teams have had their one bad game when Georgia got run over by South Carolina, and Alabama introduced the world to Johnny Football Manziel in their loss. Both teams are very evenly matched in scoring points (Georgia 38 points/game vs. Alabama scoring 39 points/game) and giving them up (Georgia - 17.7 and Alabama – 9.3).
The difference will be the in this game. Alabama is just a little better and will capitalize on the one in the game for the point differential.
Prediction – Tide in a close game 21-17