The 2012 Bowl Championip Series gets underway on Monday after a plethora of forgettable bowl games to end 2011. But first, Capital One Bowl Week comes to a close featuring three afternoon games. The Georgia Bulldogs face Michigan State in the Outback Bowl, the Florida Gators get salt rubbed in their year old Urban Meyer wound against Ohio State in the Gator Bowl, and the South Carolina Gamecocks play the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the Capital One Bowl.
Following the afternoon pigskin party, the BCS begins with two match-ups on Monday evening. The Wisconsin Badgers and Oregon Ducks kickoff the BCS double dip in the Rose Bowl Game. Wisconsin won their first six games in 2011, before losing two in a row and then winning out to capture the Big Ten Conference championship. On the other side, the Ducks nearly laid an egg in losing their opening game to LSU. However, Oregon rebounded by winning 11 of their next twelve football games to earn the Pac-12 Conference title. Look for Oregon to badger the Badgers.
In the nightcap, the Oklahoma State Cowboys are the lone BCS representative from the Big 12 as they take on the Pac-12 runner-up, Stanford. The Cowboys have a much more explosive offense than the Andrew Luck Crew. The Cardinal will need to control the time of possession, and take care of the football to have a chance to win. If the Cardinal defense can not get consistent pressure on Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden then Stanford will have a difficult time keeping up with the Pokes. Continue reading →
Saturday’s college football conference championship games begin with a BCS bid on the line for the Houston Cougars as they face Southern Miss. A loss by the Golden Eagles would be for the greater good of Conference USA, as Houston needs a win to crash the BCS party.
Houston quarterback Case Keenum has put up fantastic numbers against lackluster competition, but If the Cougars are able to win a BCS bowl game it would go along way in raising the sixth year senior’s draft stock. Houston may be exposed as a sheep in Cougar clothing under the bright lights of the Bowl Championship Series, but they will finish the regular season unbeaten.Houston 48, Southern Miss 34
The Dr. Pepper ACC Championship Game between the Clemson Tigers and Virginia Tech Hokies is the first of two rematches for conference supremacy. Virginia Tech has not lost since they got bushwhacked by the Tigers in Blacksburg on the first day of October. Clemson won their first eight games in 2011 but they have been on the losing end in three out of their last four contests.
Virginia Tech has one more chance to improve their resume as they audition for the part of the best one loss team in college football. While a lot would need to happen for the Hokies to find themselves in the national championship game, Frank Beamer and company have been hoping for a chance at redemption for their lone loss this season. Hokies win, and add an interesting variable to the BCS Championship debate. Virginia Tech 27, Clemson 20
The inaugural Big 10 Title Game features the other rematch of the day. Wisconsin battles Michigan State in a game that has a lot to live up to. Even though the Big 10 chose hideous names for their respective divisions (Leaders and Legends) the first meeting between the two teams was one of the best games of the year. The Badgers are eager to get revenge against Michigan State after the Spartans were victorious on a walk-off 44 yard touchdown on the final play of regulation in the first contest. (After a controversial official review)
Wisconsin gets pay back on Sparty and the Badgers find themselves in a second straight BCS bowl game. Wisconsin 31 Michigan State 21
Oklahoma and Oklahoma State meet in the Bedlam game Saturday night. A win for the Cowboys may result a birth in the national championship for Mike Gundy and the Pokes. It is unclear whether or not Oklahoma State has recovered from their road debacle at Iowa State. As for Oklahoma, the two loss Sooners need a win to salvage a trip to the BCS after they began the year as the #1 team in the country.
Oklahoma wins on the road. I can’t bring myself to pick the Pokes after they lost to a 26 point underdog. Oklahoma 41, Oklahoma State 24
For the Georgia Bulldogs, Dome day has finally arrived. Not many outside of Athens believe the Dawgs have a chance to catch the LSU Tigers by the tail. LSU is loaded on both sides of the ball, as the Tigers are the latest team in a line of Southeastern Conference juggernauts. Isaiah Crowell is a game time decision which will likely leave the Bulldogs with limited options at running back once again. Richard Samuel is not expected to be available for the game either.
If Isaiah Crowell does not play then it will be a huge blow to the Dawgs’ chances to pull off the upset. Georgia must play mistake free football against the best team in the country to stay in the game for four quarters. Since I am a homer, I will pick Georgia to pull off the biggest upset in college football this year. Georgia 20, LSU 17.
The biggest story of the college football weekend unfolded under the Friday night lights. #2 Oklahoma State fell into Iowa State’s trap, as the Cyclones left the Cowboys’ head spinning. While this development is not likely to bother many outside of Stillwater, the horrific off the field circumstances surrounding Oklahoma State’s loss are tragic. Hopefully the Oklahoma State community can rally the Pokes to their first at large Bowl Championship Series bid. A BCS bowl appearance may be on the line in two weeks when the Cowboys face the Sooners in the Bedlam game.
As for LSU, the Tigers walloped the Ole Miss Rebels by a final score of 52-3, strengthening their grip on the #1 ranking. LSU and Arkansas each have a short week before the two teams meet in a Friday afternoon showdown in week 13. The Tigers have a long way to go before they can play for the national championship, but for now LSU is unquestionably the best team in the nation. It is expected that Arkansas will be the new #3 in the upcoming BCS standings. Friday’s game between the Razorbacks and Tigers is must see for college football fans, as Arkansas could steal the SEC West with a win.
Will Carlton Thomas ever learn from his mistakes?
For the Georgia Bulldogs, Saturday’s game against Kentucky was not one for the highlight reel. However, the Georgia Bulldogs are the SEC East champions of 2011. The Dawgs got their all-important ninth win in a row beating the Kentucky Wildcats 19-10. Now, Georgia has some issues to address as they begin preparing for Georgia Tech. The Atlanta Journal Constitution is reporting that Georgia running back Carlton Thomas broke another rule. Thomas has already been suspended twice this season. The Georgia Bulldogs are paper thin at the tailback position, and they desperately need positive contributions from the junior ball carrier if the Dawgs hope to continue their win streak.
Much to the chagrin of Bulldog Nation, freshman sensation Isaiah Crowell never got a chance to get going against Kentucky. Crowell left the game hurt following his second carry when one of his own teammates landed on top of his ankle. The AJC reports that Isaiah Crowell is questionable for next week against the Yellow Jackets. Whether Crowell attempts to come back against Georgia Tech, or the Dawgs decide he needs to take a week to heal, Georgia needs Isaiah Crowell at full strength to have a chance at upsetting the LSU Tigers in the SEC Championship Game. (or whoever comes out of the wild SEC West)
Maddawg’s Play of The Day goes to the season altering upset that may have won the Heisman Trophy for Robert Griffin III. With all due respect to Matt Barkley and the Trojans’ tremendous victory over the Oregon Ducks, Baylor had never beaten Oklahoma before last night. “RG3″ had his “Heisman moment” as Baylor was trying to get into field goal range to upset Oklahoma. With 17 seconds left, Griffin III took the snap and threw a pass that will go down as one of the biggest plays ever in the history of Baylor football. The game winning touchdown toss gave the Baylor Bears a 45-38 victory over the Oklahoma Sooners.
Following his spectacular performance, Robert Griffin III has 33 touchdown passes and 5 interceptions. His numbers are comparable to anyone in the nation. There is not a player in college football this season that has done more with less than “RG3.” The Heisman vote will have to wait, but Robert Griffin III is the first two time award winner of Maddawg’s Play of The Day.
Week 11 of the 2011 college football season was a time for weeding out pretenders in the Bowl Championship Series standings. As a result, three undefeated teams remain, but only two of them are in contention to play for the national title. The unblemished Houston Cougars have cracked the top ten for the first time this week, but their lackluster schedule will prevent them from being in the national championship picture. On the contrary, the target on the #1 LSU Tigers and #2 Oklahoma State Cowboys grows even larger as the two squads try to maintain their respective places atop the BCS mountain. Alabama is lurking at #3 but they need more help to get that rematch the Tide faithful are praying for.
The Georgia Bulldogs won convincingly at home, dominating the Auburn Tigers by a final score of 45-7. Georgia Quarterback Aaron Murray picked an opportune time to have the best game of his young career, as the Dawgs had to win to stay in first place in the SEC East. Murray was on fire Saturday afternoon, as he finished the game 14 out of 18 throwing the ball with 4 touchdown passes and no interceptions. Georgia’s running game was equally impressive, as the biggest offensive line in football allowed both Carlton Thomas and Isaiah Crowell to run for over 100 yards. The Georgia Bulldogs were cooking on all cylinders, as the result of the game was never in doubt after Georgia broke the 7-7 tie before the end of the first quarter. Georgia’s defense shut down Auburn’s offense following their initial scoring drive. The Dawgs never let go of the Tigers’ tail, as they held Auburn under 200 total yards of offense. The 4-6 Kentucky Wildcats are all that remains between the Dawgs and the Dome.
Perennial BCS buster Boise State had a bad case of Horned Frog fever Saturday afternoon, and they are undefeated no more after losing at home to TCU. While that is technically not a good thing for Georgia it was gratifying to see the Broncos finally lose on that ridiculous blue field. Saturday marked Boise State’s first home conference loss since 1998. The Broncos have opened the door for Case Keenum and the aforementioned Houston Cougars to possibly crash this year’s BCS party.
Elsewhere in college football, Oregon went up and down the field on Stanford as the Ducks handed the Cardinal their first loss of 2011. Oregon put fifty points on Stanford for the second year in a row as the Ducks never trailed in the contest. Highly regarded Cardinal signal caller Andrew Luck was average as he threw three touchdown passes and two picks. The Stanford stand out has a bright future, but the team around him does not have enough fire power to contend for a BCS title.
The previously mentioned #1 LSU Tigers and #2 Oklahoma State Cowboys each looked strong in victory. The Cowboys embarrassed Texas Tech as they roped,and then hogtied the Raiders by a final score of 66-6 in Lubbock. LSU appeared disinterested throughout the first half of their match-up with Western Kentucky, but they followed that up with a 28 point second half as the Tigers roared to a 42-9 win.
Maddawg’s Play of The Day belongs to Georgia’s main man under center Aaron Murray. With his four touchdown performance on Saturday, Murray set a new single season record for passing TD’s at the University of Georgia with 27. The previous mark was held by Matthew Stafford who threw 25 touchdown passes in 2008. With a victory this Saturday against Kentucky Aaron Murray and the Dawgs will have a chance to bring the SEC title back to Athens. The 2011 Georgia Bulldogs have already ensured that Mark Richt will remain the head coach for the foreseeable future. They have also given Bulldog Nation a bite that is as rough as our bark. An SEC title along with a birth in a BCS bowl would be a remarkable finale to a fantastic season.
What a revival it has been for the Georgia Bulldogs and head coach Mark Richt. Richt began the 2011 campaign on the hot seat, and some Bulldog fans were already calling for this season to be Richt’s last when Georgia opened 0-2. However, since the middle of September Georgia has arguably been the hottest team in college football outside of Louisiana State University. The LSU Tigers are almost a shoo-in to represent the SEC West in the aforementioned title game.
Kudos to coach Richt for ignoring the naysayers while adding another winning season to his lofty resume. If Georgia can “finish the drill” he will be able to add a fourth trip to the SEC title game to his name as well. I have been a staunch coach Richt supporter during his tenure in Athens, but it will be fun to watch the bandwagon fill up again.
In other SEC action, championship game scenarios make strange bedfellows as the Florida Gators could play a huge role in helping the Dawgs get back to the Dome. Florida travels to South Carolina and if the Gators can find a way to win on the road Georgia will be in position to clinch the SEC East against Auburn. Florida is just 1-3 on the road this season though, and they have yet to beat a ranked opponent. Georgia is likely to know what is at stake in “The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry” just before they take the field on Saturday.
The college football match-ups with potentially big SEC implications extend much further than the southern states this weekend. Alabama is currently third in the BCS, and they will be observing with great interest as the #4 Stanford Cardinal host the #7 Oregon Ducks. If Andrew Luck and friends are victorious than it is widely expected they will move ahead of Alabama in the BCS. However, if the quack attack can defeat the Cardinal than the Tide will roll right back into the middle of the BCS picture.
For those that do not want to see a Pac-12 shootout on Saturday night, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) makes its debut on national television on FOX at 9PM EST. The only fight on the UFC FOX debut is a world heavyweight title bout between Cain Valasquez and Junior dos Santos. UFC president Dana White has been trying to negotiate a big television deal for a while and if Saturday night is a success the UFC could soar to even greater heights.
As for Sunday, the Atlanta Falcons welcome a familiar foe inside the Georgia Dome as they face the New Orleans Saints on Sunday afternoon. Wide receiver Julio Jones is questionable once again after aggravating his hamstring injury. The first round draft pick pass catcher would certainly be an asset for the Dirty birds after his 3 catch, 131 yard performance on the road against Indianapolis last week.
Atlanta’s defense has been much improved as of late, since they have given up only 13 points per game on average in their last three games. If the Falcons can beat the Saints on Sunday it will be a big step toward a second straight NFC South title for the Dirty Birds. Falcons Rise Up.
Picks– College Football
Steve Spurrier’s old team visits his current place of employment as Florida heads into South Carolina. Current Gator head man Will Muschamp is desperate to finish strong and he needs a signature win. No such luck this week. South Carolina 17, Florida 13
Texas Tech looks to shake up the BCS again as they host Oklahoma State. The Cowboys learned from Oklahoma’s mistakes. Lightning will not strike twice in Lubbock, Texas. Oklahoma State 48, Texas Tech 31
TCU travels to Bronco Stadium and Boise State’s blue field. The Broncos are seemingly a forgotten variable in the BCS formula, as they continue to be the Rodney Dangerfield of college football. I’ll give them a little respect. Boise State 41, TCU 24
Oregon and Stanford will be high scoring. The Ducks are still in search of redemption after they got pummeled by LSU in the opening week of the season. Stanford’s luck runs out. Oregon 44, Stanford 38
Finally, the Dawgs host Auburn as they try to bring glory back to old Georgia. Bulldogs keep their eyes on the prize and win convincingly in front of a packed crowd. Georgia 35, Auburn 17
NFL quick picks
The Lions will be too cold to eat any Bears in the “Windy City.” Chicago 27, Detroit 20
Pittsburgh will knock Cincinnati out of first place in the AFC North. Pittsburgh 34, Cincinnati 20
San Francisco will play the role of giant killer. San Francisco 27, Giants 17
Jets fly over the Patriots. Jets 24 Patriots 20.
The Falcons will “defend the dome” and send the saints marching back home. Atlanta understands the difference between 6-3 versus 5-4 and they will get a critical win at home. Atlanta 34, New Orleans 31 Enjoy the weekend. GO DAWGS!!!
However, the contest felt like a great movie with a mixed bag of an ending. It was a suspenseful affair with twists and turns, highs and lows, and overtime as well. But at the conclusion of the game the same essential question remains for many college football fans: Who is the better team? Alabama missed four field goals, and they had 61 more total yards than LSU. Neither team was able to score a touchdown as the final score read LSU 9, Alabama 6. The moral of the story is that the Tigers capitalized on their opportunities…the Tide did not. There does not appear to be any feasible scenario where the two teams could meet again this season.
The problem with such a conclusion lies in its after effect–The Oklahoma State Cowboys stand to be #2 in the BCS after this week. Oklahoma State survived a 52-45 shootout with the Kansas State Wildcats in week ten. The Cowboys give up 26.5 points per game (an average that will go up), and they are the second best team in the country? It is true that games are not played on paper, but no one outside of Oklahoma State’s fan base believes the Cowboys can win a national title this year. If Oklahoma State does not lose before December 3rd, hopefully the Oklahoma Sooners can make this a moot point.
Other Saturday happenings included a South Carolina loss to Arkansas. As a result, the Georgia Bulldogs are finally in first place in the SEC East all alone. While this is certainly a “ding dong the witch is dead” type of moment for Bulldog Nation, there is still the matter of taming the Auburn Tigers next weekend. Georgia must make sure the witch is truly dead by winning their next two conference games. As for this week, the Georgia Bulldogs celebrated homecoming with a 63-16 pounding of the New Mexico State Aggies.
Though a lopsided outcome was to be expected, it was good to see the Dawgs maintain their focus playing a lesser opponent. Georgia’s 63 point outburst came despite being without their top 4 running backs against New Mexico State. The three suspended individuals need to come back strong in order to help this team continue to build momentum.
Maddawg’s Play of The Day is the outcome of the Arkansas Razorbacks and South Carolina Gamecocks. The fighting Petrinos did Bulldog Nation a big favor with their 44-28 thumping of South Carolina. Now, the Georgia Bulldogs have the four turnover reprieve they have been hoping for since the second week of the college football season (how ironic). The Auburn Tigers and Kentucky Wildcats are all that stands in Georgia’s way in the Dawgs season long road to redemption.