Week 12: Alabama took easy care of a good Mississippi State team Saturday. The Tide improved to 8-2 and has a virtual bye this week with the Thursday night walkthrough against Georgia State in Tuscaloosa. Alabama fans are scared right now (just the way I like ’em) about Fairley and Newton coming to town next week, but the Tide players won’t be intimidated. This is their house; they finally claimed it two years ago, and we will be guests in it for the first time next Friday. The Tide offense effortlessly put up 452 yards against Miss St. in the 30-10 win, but their vaunted running game is pretty nonexistent. Considering that score I think we all would have assumed that backfield would have gotten close to 200 yards but Ingram had 53 yards (2.9 avg!) and Richardson didn’t play. The third guy, Lacy, only added 35. Looks like that o-line may be struggling. All that being said, they beat a good Miss St. team and were impressive doing it. I really thought that game would have been a lot closer.
Worry Level: Up a bit from last week
SEC Championship: South Carolina pulled a big upset in my eyes, as I was convinced Florida would have no problem beating the Cocks. Florida was improving and South Carolina was folding, or so I thought. Boy was I wrong. After an opening kick return for a touchdown, the Florida offense fell flat on their face and was blown out in the Swamp 36-14. Garcia wasn’t impressive but Lattimore was—he tore up UF’s defense to the tune of 40 carries for 212 yards and 3 TDs. We beat them once, and we’re actually a little better now. But paranoia strikes deep. This is the Super Bowl for South Carolina. Will they be pumped to win the game, or just happy to get there?
Worry Level: Paranoid
Bowl Game? Oregon looked bad in a 15-13 win over a Cal team that didn’t have its starting QB. TCU struggled with an improved San Diego State team 40-35 (Borges Offense). Boise blew out a bad Idaho team 52-14 in the Kibbie Dome.
THE CONQUERED (AND THE CONQUERORS)
Arkansas St. sigh… Arkansas State could still make a bowl game (4-6), but the loss to Western Kentucky this week in OT 36-35 cripples their chances. With two winnable games left they could still go 6-6 but losing to one of the worst teams in FBS is fairly damning.
Mississippi State got undressed in Tuscaloosa and looked like the Miss St. of old in a 30-10 loss, but at 7-3 they still look like they could end up 8-4 (Arkansas and Ole Miss left) and get to a decent bowl game, maybe even on New Year’s Day.
Clemson lost on a last second field goal to FSU 16-13, but with Wake Forest this week the Tigers (5-5) should be bowl eligible going into the big rivalry game against South Carolina.
South Carolina put the wood to Florida in the Swamp 36-14.
Louisiana Monroe went into LSU this week for an inevitable 51-0 beat down. La-Monroe sits at 4-6 and with home games left against North Texas and Louisiana Lafayette. They should finish 6-6 and get to a bowl.
Kentucky got bowl eligible with a 38-20 win over Vanderbilt. The Wildcats put up almost 600 yards of offense against the barely-breathing ‘Dores.
Arkansas box scores can be deceiving. UTEP led this game 14-7 after a kick return for a TD, but after that it was all hogs with 58-21 final.
LSU won its tune up game 51-0 against Louisiana Monroe. At 9-1, the Other Tigers have Ole Miss this weekend and end the season with a tough one against Arkansas.
Ole Miss ran into a buzzsaw at Tennessee this week and got destroyed 52-14. The Rebels 4-6 need a miracle to get to a bowl game. Not likely to happen.
UT-Chattanooga improved to 6-4 with an impressive 48-14 win over the Samford Bulldogs. They have a trip to play a good Wofford team to finish out the season. A win there would likely get them an at-large spot in the playoffs, a loss and they’re done.
THE OVERALL PICTURE
We’re going to Atlanta boys and girls. We are heading to Tuscaloosa next week to play the Iron Bowl against an Alabama team that suddenly looks wounded and scared. Only the deluded would have pictured all of this three months ago. We are very much in the national title picture and could feasibly withstand a loss in Tuscaloosa (close one) and still get in over the TCU or Boise who are busy fighting over 3rd place. Cam is playing, Fairley is playing and they are both terrifying the opposing teams. Now we get a week off to sit back and watch the rest of the nation. It’s great to be an Auburn Tiger.