The college football season has reached the midway point and the drama is building towards the release of the first BCS poll of the season. We’ve seen major upsets like last week’s Utah victory over Stanford and Texas’ emphatic win over previously undefeated and heavily favored Oklahoma. Some teams have lost their promising seasons to the injury bug like Georgia, Florida and now possibly Missouri, who remain undefeated after a huge win in Athens between the hedges, but lost starting QB James Franklin in the process. Other teams are still in the hunt for a title including fast rising teams like Baylor and Florida State. In the midst of all of this excitement I bring you sports-glutton.com’s second “SATURDAY SEVEN.”
Midway through the season the rankings have been jumbled up and turned inside out…but the contenders remain the same, with a caveat added to the third spot.
▪ Alabama: The Tide has not really been tested since the Texas A&M game, but they also have not looked as convincingly dominant as previous championship teams from Tuscaloosa. However, they are staying healthy and they have the key pieces with loads of big game experience like AJ McCarron who will keep them on top of the rankings. That experience will be needed down the stretch when they host LSU and travel to upstart Auburn for the Iron Bowl.
▪ Oregon: The Quack Attack has not slowed down and is fresh off a convincing road win over Washington, who hosted College Gameday and had visions of an upset. They are also one of only two teams to win every game by 15 points or more this season(Missouri is the other team). Marcus Mariota is keeping this team running like a well-oiled machine. They have big games remaining at UCLA and Stanford that will test their credentials. And don’t sleep on their game against underrated Oregon State in the Civil War game.
▪ The Winner of this week’s Clemson/Florida State Game: Huge game this Saturday night between 2 undefeated Top 10 teams. The winner could run the table the rest of the season and end up undefeated ACC Champions. Led by star QBs, Tajh Boyd and Jameis Winston, the winner may also cause heated debates on who ends up in the BCS Championship Game.
Another one…or two…bites the dust.
▪ Stanford: The Cardinal started the season like they wanted to and had reached the Top 5 heading into their game against upset-minded Washington. Stanford won the game, but they were outplayed at home by a Huskie team who ended up looking somewhat pedestrian in their loss to Oregon. Then they got caught looking ahead to a big matchup vs. UCLA and got upset by unranked Utah. You can’t be a contender if you lose to an unranked team.
▪ Oklahoma: One step forward, two steps back. Oklahoma looked to be in the driver’s seat to win the Big 12 this year in a season where the conference is a little down. They were coming into the Red River Rivalry as two touchdown favorites and facing a Texas team trying to just survive the season. Instead, Texas took the fight to Oklahoma and hit them right in the mouth. Oklahoma never recovered, their fans starting emptying out of the stadium early and their BCS Title hopes emptied out with them.
3) THE HEISMAN CRYSTAL BALL
- Winner: Marcus Mariota, Oregon…this juggernaut doesn’t look to slow down any time soon.
- Runner-Up: AJ McCarron, Alabama…big games against LSU and Auburn will be crucial here.
- Invite to Ceremony: Tajh Boyd, Clemson or Jameis Winston, FSU…whoever wins this week.
- Stock rising fast: Bryce Petty, Baylor…putting up numbers like RGIII, Baylor’s Heisman winner.
- In the Conversation: Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville, Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M, Brett Hundley, UCLA
4) THE HOT SEAT HEAT CHECK
▪ Lane Kiffin, USC: The last time we said his seat was the hottest, and since then it boiled over and he was fired at the airport upon the team’s return from getting romped vs. Arizona State. Tough situation all around.
▪ Mike London, Virginia: He made huge changes to his coaching staff after last season. After a good opening win against BYU, nothing else has gone right this season. Looking at their remaining schedule it’s hard to see them finishing any better than 4-8. The next coaching change on the coaching staff in Charlottesville may be him.
▪ Mack Brown, Texas: We said last time that Brown has earned the right to go out on his own terms when he sees fit. He validated that with an impressive win vs. Oklahoma. His team has a chance to make the Big 12 Championship game if they can win at home against Oklahoma State and Texas Tech, both ranked. The season finale against fast rising Baylor could have an undefeated conference record on the line for both teams. Win those closing 3 games and Brown can smile and wink back at his naysayers.
5) PERFORMANCE OF THE SEASON AT THE MIDWAY POINT
▪ Baylor’s Offense: The Baylor offense is catching the attention of the entire nation and putting Oregon on notice that they’re the only ones playing fast and rewriting the record books. Bryce Petty, quickly becoming a new Heisman contender, has his team averaging 63 points! Wait, is this basketball or football? Baylor has not had a single 3-and-out in the first quarter all year long. That’s how you start fast and kill the will of the other team. And now Baylor is in position to make a run at the Big 12 title…and maybe something more. Their next 3 games will determine their fate and whether or not they are Contenders or Pretenders.
6) VIRAL MOMENT
▪ Condoleeza Rice and the Playoff Selection Committee: Football pundits everywhere still can’t stop blustering about Rice being selected to the committee announced this week. Get over it boys, this girl is here to stay. More on that in my article from last week.
7) THE SATURDAY SEVEN AMATEUR POLL
TOP 5: 1.) Alabama 2.) Oregon 3.) Clemson 4.) Florida State 5.) Ohio State
NATIONAL TITLE GAME
Alabama vs. Oregon
Well, there you have it. The season’s second SATURDAY SEVEN. This season is headed towards fantastic showdowns in multiple conferences and ultimately a crazy good group of BCS games. The Heisman race will heat up each and every week and really is up for grabs. Who will grab the headlines over the next few weeks? Check back in for the next SATURDAY SEVEN and find out. If you like what you see, great. If you have different opinions, let me hear about it.
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