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As of May 26, 2012, this is now a college football blog by Ren Simon. All previous posts were written by the previous blog owners. Follow us on twitter: Diehard CFB Fans

CFB Week 12 Wrap-Up: Game of the Week, B1G Drama, etc

November 18th 2012 20:18
If you hate the SEC, this weekend was a nightmare. If you hate Notre Dame, this weekend was a nightmare. But if you hate both, you probably feel like jumping off a bridge right now. But thereís hope. Dim...but itís there. Renís Ten is going to be a mess tomorrow. But I did go 2-1 this weekend while my mother...letís just say mama doesnít always know best.

Game of the Week

Ole Miss @ LSU. What in the world is going on? This is, what, the third or fourth weekend in a row on which the SEC has had at least one really good game and games with teams actually, you know, scoring touchdowns. Whatís really amazing about it is LSU, of all SEC teams, was involved in a high-scoring shootout.

Ole Miss could easily have upset the Tigers on the road, but the Rebels, Black Bears or whatever they call themselves now seemed to try and hand the game to the Tigers with costly turnovers and penalties. LSU got the ball several times with pretty good field position off Ole Miss turnovers and, as in other games this season, struggled to find the end zone despite these gifts on some of the short drives. LSUís not throwing the knockout punches when it had opportunities kept Ole Miss in the game along with LSUís turnovers, and Ole Miss capitalized on offense with touchdown after touchdown. Ole Miss ultimately handed the game over by seemingly imploding on LSUís late game-winning touchdown drive. LSU really escaped one at home.

Shock of the Week

Stanford @ Oregon. Shock of the season, if you ask me. I donít think Iíve ever written a game preview that was more wrong than this one was, but can you blame me? The job Stanford did against Oregon under the circumstances was incredible. The Cardinal went on the road to one of the toughest places to play in college football without Andrew Luck and Jim Harbaugh and beat a team that has smoked them the previous two seasons. And they did it with a redshirt freshman QB.

For a change, Stanfordís defense was everywhere Oregonís offense attempted to be. The D made Oregonís O look incredibly ordinary. I never realized the lack of speed Oregon QB Marcus Mariota has--Darron Thomas was faster. And Mariota looked like the young QB he is a lot during this game, missing on passes that could have turned into big gains or touchdowns. Oregonís D forced turnovers but couldnít really do much with them. It was just amazing how ineffective Oregonís O was, and I do have to say in retrospect something I already knew but just wasnít thinking about--Stanfordís D is better this season than it was when Andrew Luck was at Stanford. That was a big deal in this game.

Obviously, special teams was an issue, too. It doesnít seem as if kicker Alejandro Maldonado is called upon that often to make big field goals, but he has flopped the few times Iíve seen Oregon really need him. This is an issue Oregon probably needs to figure out more than the Ducks realize, because itís clear they wonít always be able to outscore teams via offense and speed. If youíve noticed, Oregon keeps having it made every season and makes it to those big games it needs to win in order to grab the national title, and the Ducks never get over that hump. I think Oregon has to come up with an answer for how to win in situations when it canít rely on offensive speed to get by teams.

Other noteworthy items:

1) The Kansas State loss to Baylor seems to surprise some people more than Oregonís losing because of Baylorís lack of defense. I was not surprised to see KSU losing to Baylor, and I did write a couple of weeks back that I thought some Big 12 team would get the Wildcats because the Big 12 is too tough. I was surprised that KSU was getting blown out, and it became apparent early in the 2nd half that the Wildcats wouldnít be able to come back. I also tried to tell you that the only bad Big 12 team is Kansas. I think any other team in the conference could have taken down Kansas State, not because of anything wrong with the Wildcats but thatís just how good those teams are.

2) In last weekendís wrap-up, I wrote about how the job Kevin Sumlin is doing at Texas A&M is significant as a black head coach who now has a real chance at joining the list of elite FBS head coaches. I honestly thought Stanford was going to trend back down after losing Luck and Harbaugh, but the Cardinal showed last night that David Shaw has the same chance Sumlin does to join the coaching elite. And it could be an even more remarkable accomplishment for him than for Sumlin for the simple fact that heíd achieve it at Stanford, one of the more difficult places to win.

Frankly, I look at schools in Texas and wonder how a head coach canít be successful at one of those places with all the talent to which he has access. Stanford is in a talent-rich state, as well, but Stanford also has elite academic standards that keep out many of the nationís top college prospects. So if Shaw can still find a way to field a top 15, two or three-loss team every season during his tenure, a team that is always in the top 3 or so in its conference--a team that can win the Pac-12 outright this season--then he should be as revered as Nick Saban, Urban Meyer and Chip Kelly are.

3) James Franklin of Vanderbilt can do something similar as Shaw can at Stanford, but we all know itíd be much harder at Vandy in the SEC. My hunch is Franklin wonít be at Vandy much longer anyways. This guy can get 8 wins at Vandy this season and maybe even 9, depending on how the bowl game goes. The Commodores will definitely play in back-to-back bowl games since theyíre bowl eligible this season and went to a bowl game last season. And they mopped the floor with rival Tennessee, which was a mind-blowing thing to see--especially for Vols higher-ups, who finally pulled the plug on the Derek Dooley era. Franklinís phone will be ringing quite a bit here in the next few weeks. His fate as a college football coach will simply be about choosing the right program at the right time.

4) Oh, please can we kill this conference expansion crap? The Big Ten is perfectly fine at 12 teams, with the exception of the fact that there are 12 teams in a conference called ďthe Big Ten.Ē Adding Maryland and Rutgers just isnít worth it. I know full well what this is all about. College football fans donít care about the money or the geographical footprint, though--especially not Big Ten fans, who are sick of hearing the conference degraded due to a lack of national ďrelevanceĒ and competitiveness.

As I wrote when Notre Dame decided to halfway join the ACC, Nebraska is a team that does not add to the Big Ten but, rather, simply fits in (as yet another ďdownĒ powerhouse) because itís no more competitive nationally than, right now, Michigan, Ohio State and Wisconsin are. Most seasons Notre Dame would be the same way if it had ever joined the Big Ten, although the Irish possibly could have helped the B1G this season. Maryland and Rutgers would probably be equivalent to Purdue or what Michigan State has typically been (i.e. teams that are very competitive only every now and then and who some believe could be special with the right coach). Speaking as a Big Ten alum, Iím pretty sure B1G fans donít want to add mediocrity to mediocrity, especially if it could hurt rivalries or matchups theyíve come to see as marquee conference matchups in any way.

5) Speaking of the B1G...this might seem unbelievable, but hear (read) me out: Despite the garbage season it has had, the conference could still get two teams into BCS bowls. In last weekís BCS Poll Breakdown post, I asked what happens if Clemson loses to South Carolina and falls out of the top 14, since people are thinking Clemson will get a BCS bowl at-large spot. Thereís still a shot out there for Michigan to sneak into a BCS bowl. Admittedly, itís a little challenging for Michigan to get into the top 14, or so it seems right now not knowing what Michigan will be ranked in week 13. But Michigan should move up after blowing out Iowa, and if Michigan beats Ohio State Michigan will move up again. And there are quite a few teams that are currently not ranked that far ahead of Michigan that could lose (Texas, UCLA, Oregon State, Nebraska, Louisville), which is what sent Michigan to the Sugar Bowl last season.

From taking a quick peek at the BCS at-large rules, thereís also a scenario in which Michigan can be outside the top 14 and still make it into a BCS bowl (other than winning the Big Ten, it looks like Michigan can get in if itís in the top 18 and there are not enough eligible teams in the top 14--thanks, SEC). But Michigan is probably safest getting into the top 14.

Yes, this season is such a mess.

6) As I watched the USC-UCLA game, I wondered if Matt Barkleyís NFL stock has dropped because of this season. I donít really keep up with that sort of thing, especially at this time of the year. I have to get bored enough without college football once the season ends to care where any non-Wolverine is drafted or will be drafted. And then there he was on the ground in pain with people saying itís his throwing shoulder. Barkley has been on the ground a lot this season, and I thought, ďIím kind of surprised this is just now happening.Ē Hindsight is 20/20, but I think weíve seen enough examples that, in college football, itís really not--get out while the getting is good.

7) Itís kind of funny when the head coach or the school has to come out and say the head coach will be back next season, too. That actually says a lot about how much danger Lane Kiffinís job is in at USC. Apparently, itís worse than a lot of us thought. ďHeíll be back next seasonĒ sounds like ďheís got one more year to meet expectationsĒ to me.

8) And speaking of meeting expectations, or not--Virginia Tech barely escaped becoming bowl ineligible against, of all teams, Boston College. The Hokies are hands-down, in my opinion, the most disappointing team in college football this season. I know what was expected of USC, and there were high hopes for Michigan (because people with those hopes were morons--although now Michigan can say it lost to #1, #2 and another top 15 team when the coaches were being stupid with the backup QBs after Denard Robinsonís injury) and Michigan State (because the Spartans should be better than this, even with all the personnel losses). People thought Tennessee would be better, and now Dooley is out after winning no games in the SEC this season.

But Virginia Tech has been the model of consistency for years and years, winning 10 games every season since 2004. So for the Hokies to be hanging on by a thread, trying to make a bowl game, is just the craziest thing Iíve seen in college football this year.

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