College Football Week 12 review | November 19, 2012
The old adage is the more things change, the more they stay the same. After last week’s events where Alabama fell at home to Texas A&M, many predicted the end of the SEC dominance of the last seven years with the most likely Championship match up being between two of Kansas State, Oregon and Notre Dame.
The only problem is that there are never any formalities in College football, every game matters to every team playing. This is the beauty of amateurism, where now you have some players competing in the last games of their playing careers before they seek out professional employment as bankers, doctors, builders. Whatever there future career may entail, this is their last chance of glory before retiring.
Week 12 gave the Number 1 and 2 ranked sides, two winnable games on the schedule. Kansas State travelled to Baylor for a Big 12 match-up and Oregon hosted the committed Stanford side at home, the Cardinals nearly upset Notre Dame on the road could they do the same again.
The SEC was on the outside looking in, hoping for one of the teams to fall so the picture could open up. If one side lost leaving two unbeaten eligible teams (remember Ohio State are ineligible) that is a given as to who goes to the title game. If two lose, then the SEC can sneak back in due to the computer, the most likely being Alabama if they win the SEC championship.
Baylor did the SEC a huge favour first, by decimating the Wildcats 52-24 at home, the Bears shut down Collin Klein restricting him to 27-50, 286 yards, 2 TDs and 3 INTs, and only 39 yards for his fleet of foot. The turnovers were all on Klein, and it is a shame that the season comes down to one bad game but that is the nature of College Football, one loss and you are out of the end-of-season party. For once, there was a lack of consistency and fluidity to the Wildcats offence meaning no momentum could be sustained and Baylor with Nick Florence (20-32, 238 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs) did more than enough to put a knife in the Bill Snyder’s title aspirations.
Oregon succumb to a tenacious Stanford side, themselves #13 ranked. But the credit goes to the Stanford defence and co-ordinator, Derek Mason, who slowed down the explosive Oregon offence. They restricted the Ducks to 405 total yards, meaning Stanford outgained them by 6 yards. Jordan Williamson hit a 37 yard field goal in overtime for a 17-14 win. For Stanford, this is an amazing season considering they have lost John Harbaugh (to the 49ers) and Andrew Luck (to the Colts) in the last two years, more credit also to David Shaw who has motivated a group to exceed expectations.
For Oregon, there is an unfortunate similar storyline of their season(s), an inability to see it out, sets them apart as the Boise State of recent years. You can be explosive as possible, out gun teams with basketball scores but you have to win the games you should win, especially at home. Maybe it is complacency but certainly this is not the way Chip Kelly wanted to leave the College ranks, before he starts fluttering eyelids at NFL franchises.
They have one more game to go, but if Notre Dame can defeat USC in their next game they will be in the National Championship game. There last home game versus Wake Forest, went along the expected plotline with an emphatic 38-0 win for the Irish. helped by Cierre Wood rushing for 150 yards on 11 carries including a 68 yard run inside the first two minutes of the game to get the last home game of Manti Te’o turn into a procession. There is some realism in the Irish management, all they can do is win their last game, the rest is up to other people.
Tellingly, with the new rankings out putting Notre Dame #1 and Alabama #2, Vegas bookmakers are already making the Irish 10 point underdogs if that is the eventual championship game.
My game and pick of the week was UCLA to defeat USC at home, and the Bruins under Jim Mora came through 38-28 led by Johnathan Franklin’s supreme rushing effort of 171 yards off 29 carries for 2 touchdowns. For the Trojans this was their 4th defeat of a season, that was expected to end in glory for Matt Barkley’s senior and final season. Lane Kiffin will still have an abundance of talent to pool from, but next year he will have to deliver on all this promise and expectation.
Week 13 falls on Thanksgiving week in America; meaning there is College Football on Thursday, (Black) Friday and Saturday this week. Thursday’s Thanksgiving offering is TCU at #16 Texas (strange this game is scheduled the on the day Dallas Cowboys always play). Friday brings you #7 LSU at Arkansas. Saturday has on the menu, the Oregon derby #5 Ducks travel to #15 Beavers; #4 Florida travel to #10 Florida State; #21 Oklahoma State at #13 Oklahoma and the big one at 8.30pm Eastern, USC host #1 Notre Dame, if the Irish win they are in the BCS title game, if they lose your guess is as good as mine.