Archive for November, 2010

What if Auburn and Oregon both lose?

First of all, don’t tell me that it can’t happen. Don’t tell me that No. 1 Auburn and No. 2 Oregon can’t both lose on championship Saturday. We’ve seen it happen.

In 2007 I remember writing the BCS bowl scenarios and mentioning what would happen (that No. 7 LSU could jump to No. 2) if No. 1 Missouri lost in the Big 12 championship game and No. 2 West Virginia lost to Pittsburgh. I had a BCS bowl scenario to account for that but added: “Of course that will never happen.”

Well, it happened. No. 1 and No. 2 both lost on Championship Saturday and when the numbers came out on Sunday we had one-loss Ohio State (which did not play that Saturday) and two-loss LSU (which beat Tennessee for the SEC title game) playing for the national championship.

So we’ve got to have a plan. We may never implement the plan because I don’t think Auburn will lose to South Carolina and Oregon will lose at Oregon State. Still, here are your BCS Bowl Projections.

First, remember the process: After the …

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Could Auburn lose and STILL get to the BCS championship game?

Conventional wisdom says that for No. 1 Auburn, Saturday’s SEC championship game is for a berth in the BCS title game in Glendale, Ariz., on Jan. 10. Beat South Carolina for the second time this season and the Tigers (12-0) will play somebody, probably Oregon, for its first national championship since 1957. Lose, and Auburn is likely headed to the Orange Bowl.

But remember, we are in the age of the BCS, when humans combine with computers to make the unusual happen.

Remember 2003? No. 1 Oklahoma was undefeated and ranked No. 1 in the BCS Standings and No. 1 in both the human polls going into championship Saturday. But the Sooners lost 35-7 in the Big 12 championship game to Kansas State.

Still, when all the BCS numbers were crunched the next day,  Oklahoma (12-1) was No. 1 and LSU (12-1), which had beaten Georgia in the SEC championship game, was No. 2. USC (11-1), which had beaten Oregon State 52-28 on championship Saturday, moved to No. 1 in both human polls but dropped …

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Auburn beats Alabama at the buzzer

Man, a whole bunch of stuff is going to happen in the next 48 hours. I’ll make this quick because I’m headed out the door to Tuscaloosa:

1. Auburn at Alabama: I have heard a lot of reasons why Alabama is going to win this game and all them make sense. I am certainly not going to be shocked if the Crimson Tide prevails in the Iron Bowl, particularly if Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy has a good day throwing the ball. But Auburn has been a very resilient team under pressure and I just think the Tigers will find a way to win.  Auburn will get the last possession and Cam Newton will drive the Tigers into position for Wes Byrum to kick the game-winning field goal: Auburn 27, Alabama 24.

2. Georgia Tech at Georgia: Both teams have had disappointing seasons but right now I just think Georgia has more athletes, particularly on the offensive side of the ball. Georgia Tech will have to commit an extra defender to stop the run and then Aaron Murray and A.J. Green will make some big …

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I’m thankful for Furman Bisher

I delivered these closing remarks at the end of my CBS College Network Show on Tuesday night and wanted to share them with you on Thanksgiving. I added in the note about the great Furman Bisher because I was happy to see his annual “I’m Thankful” column on the editoral pages of this morning’s AJC.

We’ll be back tomorrow with our Fearless Friday Forecast. I am very thankful for all of you and hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your families.

Here we go:
Folks I’ve dedicated all of my professional life—and a big chunk of my personal life—to the sport of college football. I’ve loved it since I went to my first game at the University of Georgia when I was 13 years old. I have never, ever wanted to do anything else for a living other than talk about and write about college football.

But when you cover a story like Cam Newton, you wonder if that love has been misplaced. You wonder if the money has gotten so big and the stakes for winning and losing so high, that …

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What can Alabama do to contain Auburn’s Newton?

It’s Thanksgiving week so let’s do our Five Burning Questions a day early:

1. What can Alabama do to contain Cameron Newton?  Seven SEC opponents have tried to come up with a game plan to slow down Auburn quarterback Cameron Newton. Newton, however, will enter Friday’s Iron Bowl as the first player in SEC history to pass for over 2,000 yards and rush for over 1,000 yards in a single season. This much we know. Alabama head coach Nick Saban and defensive coordinator Kirby Smart will have a plan. I’ve talked to a bunch of coaches about how to defend Newton and they all said it would require discipline, constant pressure, and an exceptional day of tackling. It would help a lot  if Rolando McClain and Terrence Cody were still on the Alabama defense, but they are not. But I’ll bet linebacker Dont’a Hightower will never be far from No. 2 on Friday.

2. Do Georgia and Georgia Tech REALLY have anything to play for on Saturday night? Absolutely. And if you’ve ever played …

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What happens if Auburn loses to Alabama but wins SEC title?

Okay. This is pure speculation but that is what we do here at Mr. College Football.  Consider this:

If No. 2 Auburn beats Alabama on Friday and then beats South Carolina in the SEC championship on Dec. 4, then things are pretty simple: The Tigers will be 13-0 and will play somebody—probably Oregon—for the BCS national championship on Jan. 10 in Glendale, Ariz.

But what happens  if Auburn LOSES to Alabama and then wins the SEC championship to finish 12-1? That leads me to two more questions:

Question No. 1: Can Auburn, at 12-1, get into the BCS championship game ahead of 12-0 Boise State or 12-0 TCU?

Question No. 2: Will the ongoing NCAA investigation into the recruitment of Cameron Newton and the uncertainty that comes with it have any effect on the voters in the human polls?

Let’s look at Question No. 1: I think the answer is yes. The key is how far Auburn falls in the BCS Standings if it loses to Alabama. My belief is that if the game is competitive and Auburn …

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It’s Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate Week

As my friend and author Bill Cromartie once wrote, it’s “Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate” week. While it is the season of Thanksgiving, it is also the season when it’s okay, within reason, to hate your biggest rival. The late, great Lewis Grizzard used to say that this week is not about football, it’s about “our way of life against theirs.”

What happened last Saturday sets the table for this week. So what have we learned?

1. Bo Pelini is headed to the principal’s office: The Nebraska coach thought he was getting hosed last Saturday night at Texas A&M. The Big 12 officiating crew called 16 penalties on the Huskers and two on the Aggies. The zebras made a very questionable (bad) roughing the passer call on Nebraska to keep a drive alive at a crucial point in the game. Pelini, who comes from Youngstown, Ohio, a working class city where you don’t accept things lightly, was all over everybody and chased the officials after the 9-6 loss. Nebraska Chancellor Harvey Perlman was not …

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The Fearless Friday Forecast

 I don’t know about you, but I could sure use a break from the Cameron Newton story. So back by popular demand (okay, two guys asked about it) is the Fearless Friday Forecast:

1. Duke at Georgia Tech: Georgia Tech (5-5) needs this one to become bowl eligible with a trip to Georgia coming up next week. The Tech defense had better get some pressure on Duke QB Sean Renfree or this one could be a problem for the Jackets. Georgia Tech 31, Duke 24.

2. Troy at South Carolina: The Gamecocks have already clinched a spot in the SEC championship game and may look a little sloppy in this one. South Carolina 28, Troy 14.

3. Appalachian State at Florida: It will be senior day at Florida but I wonder how excited the Gators (6-4) will be against the Mountaineers (9-1)? Jerry Moore’s team was ranked No. 1 in Division I-AA until they lost their only game to Georgia Southern. Florida 24, Appalachian State 17.

4. Virginia Tech at Miami: Miami is on a little run behind freshman quarterback …

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Could TMZ report be a game changer in Cameron Newton case?

Five burning questions questions as we head into the weekend:

1. Could the TMZ report be a game changer in the Cameron Newton investigation? Everyone was all a-Twitter yesterday when TMZ reported that the FBI is asking questions about an Auburn booster in relationship to the Cameron Newton investigation.

Understand that TMZ (which broke the Tiger Woods story) did not say there was a connection between dog track owner Milton McGregor and Newton. Specifically:

“It’s unclear what, if any, direct connection McGregor has to Newton. Back in 2008, McGregor did donate a million bucks toward construction of a new arena at Auburn.”

The report  said that the FBI was asking people in the Newton investigation if they were familiar with the fact that McGregor was one of 10 people arrested last month in a bribery scandal. Through his attorney McGregor denied any contact–”direct or indirect”–with Cam Newton or Cecil Newton.

So we need more information. But it is the first time outside …

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Auburn’s Nick Fairley will get a lot of scrutiny in Iron Bowl

Nobody asked me but:

1. Nick Fairley will get a lot of scrutiny in the Iron Bowl: I think the SEC office got it right when it didn’t suspend Nick Fairley for the Iron Bowl on Nov. 26. The shot to the back that Fairley put on Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray was way over the line and he was penalized for it. The shot on the knee to Murray was a football play. But at that point I don’t think anybody from Georgia was in the mood to give Fairley the benefit of the doubt.

And please, I  don’t need the emails and the photos and the video that there was rough play on both sides. I don’t need to know that a bunch of Georgia players ran on he field. I get all of that.  Let’s talk about what happens as things move forward.

Because of what happened last Saturday at Jordan-Hare, the dynamic on Fairley has changed. I’m not saying if it is right or wrong. I’m just telling you that it has.

If Fairley puts the same kind of  hit on the Alabama quarterback as he did on Murray, there …

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