Maryland @ (21) West Virginia – WEST VIRGINIA
Kent State @ (22) Penn State – PENN STATE
Ohio @ (2) Ohio State – OHIO STATE
Massachusetts @ (20) Michigan – MICHIGAN
Air Force @ (7) Oklahoma – OKLAHOMA
Arizona State @ (11) Wisconsin – WISCONSIN
(18) USC @ Minnesota – USC
(8) Nebraska @ Washington – NEBRASKA
Baylor @ (4) TCU – TCU
Louisville @ (25) Oregon State – OREGON STATE
Portland State @ (5) Oregon – OREGON
(14) Utah @ New Mexico – UTAH
(3) Boise State @ Wyoming – BOISE STATE
(6) Texas @ Texas Tech – TEXAS
(23) Houston @ UCLA – HOUSTON
(9) Iowa @ (24) Arizona – IOWA
Wake Forest @ (19) Stanford – STANFORD
(12) Arkansas @ Georgia – ARKANSAS
Vanderbilt @ Ole Miss – OLE MISS
(1) Alabama @ Duke – DUKE…..wait did I say that? Nah, ALABMA in a rout
(10) Florida @ Tennessee – TENNESSEE
Furman @ (13) South Carolina – SOUTH CAROLINA
Mississippi State @ (15) LSU – LSU
Akron @ Kentucky – KENTUCKY
Clemson @ (16) Auburn – AUBURN
Last Thursday Mississippi State showcased the progress it made under second-year head coach Dan Mullen. ESPN showed the world how far we had come. At the end of the game, it was us coming up short again. MSU football has not been able to get over the proverbial hump quite yet. Mullen has made impressive strides in a short amount of time. We are no longer an automatic conference win but are from being the perennial doormat. Despite two early turnovers, we still had a chance to win the game on a last second drive. Besides the dropped passes, there is a lot to be optimistic about.
In the first half, Cam Newton had his way with the MSU defense, outgaining the Bulldog offense by himself 146-125. Manny Diaz and staff made critical adjustments on the fly and held Newton to only 82 yards (22 of those receiving) in the second half. The MSU defense dictated when Newton would scramble. Even more importantly, after giving up 17 first-half points the defense shut out the potent Tiger offense. When it was time to make a stand late in the game, the defense came through on 3rd down and the ensuing blocked field goal.
FLAGS, FLAGS, FLAGS
MSU only committed two penalties for 25 yards: a personal foul that was a bit of acting on Auburn’s part and an illegal block. The two penalties are a far cry from the 5.6 penalties per game MSU averaged a season ago. To date, MSU is only averaging 2.5 penalties and 27.5 penalty yards per game. Dan Mullen wants his team to give “relentless effort,” and his team is giving that effort while playing disciplined football.
NOT FOLDING JUST YET
In years past, when MSU would go down by a double-digit deficit, we would fold when given the opportunity to make a comeback. We lacked the offensive firepower to score points in a short period of time, and the defense would eventually break from being on the field too long. With Mullen learning the spread offense from Urban Meyer, the Bulldog offense has the ability to march up the field gaining huge chunks of yards at a time. Coupled with Diaz’s high-risk, high-reward defense, MSU can put points on the board in a hurry.
There are still some minor details we need to work on to become more consistent. We have been here before: where the MSU fan base thinks we are ready to make the leap into the next tier of SEC schools. When we get there, we usually take two steps in the wrong direction. If not this season, next season will definitely be the year MSU causes major hell for the other teams in the conference. That is the beauty of playing in the best conference in the country: every week is a chance to score a major upset and get the momentum that can carry you through the rest of the season.
College football is the damsel in distress tied to the railroad tracks of the BCS. The college football playoff is the superhero, but will he get here in time to save college football? The 2010 college football season will prove why a playoff is absolutely needed. Those against a playoff say that it diminishes the value of the regular season. I could not disagree more. If anything, a playoff would make the regular season more important and more compelling.
Look at this weekend’s match-ups. Miami goes to the Horseshoe to play Ohio State, and Penn State plays Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Of those four teams, three of them have national championship game on their radar: OSU, Alabama and Miami. Penn State would have to beat Alabama this weekend and beat Ohio State for a shot at the title game. Not to mention, Virginia Tech had its national title dreams dashed on Labor Day when Boise State knocked them off. With games of this magnitude so early in the year, national championship dreams die quickly. Lose one game, and you have to do a lot of scoreboard watching late in the year to see who falters in conference play. If you are Boise State or TCU and you lose one game, your title dreams go up in smoke. If you lose two games, you might as well pack it in and plan for next year’s title run. Only one two-loss team has ever made it to the BCS national title game: LSU in 2007. With a playoff, Virginia Tech has a shot at the national title. With a playoff, your title dreams are not dead if you lose early in the season. Even if you lose late the year, you still have a shot at the title game in a playoff.
People rip Boise State because they don’t play anyone. No one wants to schedule them and rightfully so. They just beat Virginia Tech in FedEx Field, which is basically a road game for the Broncos. Is it their fault they’re in the WAC? Conference affiliation is beyond their control. “They wouldn’t go undefeated in the SEC, the ACC, or Pac-10.” Boise State is not in any of those conferences. That argument is irrelevant. All Boise State has to do is win the 12 games on their schedule. For those that say Boise St. would not fare as well in a power conference, a playoff would put that argument to the test. I am in favor of a four-team playoff, but the best playoff scenario would have to field eight teams.
College football will never have a perfect system to determine a true national champion, but a playoff is better than the BCS considering the parity in college football.
Yahoo Sports hoodwinked me. I was bamboozled. I thought I was picking winners straight up. Instead, I was supposed to be picking by the spread. I got it now.
Hopefully I will be able to update these weekly. Instead of typing in every pick, I’ve learned how to use the handy dandy print screen feature on the computer. This will make life a lot easier for me. So…with that said, here we go.
Today, I try to look in my crystal ball and predict this season’s Eastern and Western division champions.
How the media voted at SEC Media Days:
Eastern Division (First Place Votes)
1. Florida(153) – 1030
2. Georgia(15) – 791
3. South Carolina(8) – 790
4. Kentucky – 462
5. Tennessee – 450
6. Vanderbilt(1) – 194
Western Division (First Place Votes)
1. Alabama(157) – 1034
2. Arkansas(6) – 726
3. Auburn(10) – 691
4. LSU(1) – 653
5. Mississippi State – 320
6. Ole Miss(3) – 293
SEC Champion: Alabama (143), Florida (17), Auburn (7), Arkansas (3), Ole Miss (2), Georgia (2), LSU (1), South Carolina (1), Kentucky (1).
How I see things shaping up.
1. Florida – 11-1 (7-1)
2. South Carolina – 9-3 (5-3)
3. Georgia – 7-5 (4-4)
4. Kentucky – 6-6 (2-6)
5. Tennessee – 5-7 (2-6)
6. Vanderbilt – 1-11 (0-8)
1. Alabama – 11-1 (7-1)
2. Arkansas – 10-2 (6-2)
3. Auburn – 9-3 (5-3)
4. LSU – 6-6 (4-4)
5. Mississippi State – 7-5 (4-4)
6. Ole Miss – 6-6 (2-6)
SEC Champion: Alabama – The loss of so many defensive starters concern me. If the Tide can stay healthy throughout the season, the defense will have had enough games under their belt to not crumple under the pressure of the Georgia Dome lights.