I was numb. It has been so long since Alabama did a 1st quarter belly-flop like last Saturday that I didn’t know how to feel. But it is Tuesday and I am past that. The Tide can still get back in this thing with a little help – and it’s not as far-fetched as you may think:
STEP 1: OREGON
Stanford: is the one Pac-12 team that actually plays a little bit of defense. They give up 17.2 points per game, good for 12th in the nation. The Cardinal seem to get up for big games. At the time they defeated USC and Oregon State, both of these opponents were highly ranked (#2, #11) and in theory they should’ve sent Notre Dame into extra frames if not for the referees’ questionable ruling. The question is: can the offense step up? Redshirt freshman Kevin Hogan has supplanted the erratic junior Josh Nunes as the starter at QB and has given the team a spark. 6-foot-4, 224-pound Hogan beat Oregon State with his feet (11-49 yds) and arm (22-29 for 254 yds). Hopefully, this momentum will carry over to Eugene, Oregon, 7pm CT (ABC).
Back up plan: Oregon at Oregon State, Nov 24. Pac-12 Championship game (USC or UCLA)
STEP 2: KANSAS STATE
Baylor: Much like when Auburn picked up Cam Newton at quarterback who made his mediocre team very good (ouch, that was painful to write), Robert Griffin III took a lousy Baylor team to new heights in 2011. Auburn followed up 2010 with an 8-5 (4-4) season after Newton’s departure. The Bears are now 4-5 with one conference win over lowly Kansas. I give them very little chance of beating K-State even if Collin Klein does not play a snap.
Back up plan: Texas at K-State, Dec 1. Will Mack Brown be coaching for his job?
STEP 3: NOTRE DAME
Wake Forest: Hmm… what to say about the Demon Deacons. Tim Duncan went there. Uh… U.S. News America's Best Colleges report, ranked Wake 13th for "Best Undergraduate Teaching". Err... I think Arnold Palmer went there too. The Wake fans will need some vodka with their Arnold Palmers on Saturday.
Back up plan: Matt Barkley and USC’s chance to redeem themselves in Los Angeles, Nov 24.
STEP 4: ALABAMA
Western Carolina is 1-9. Auburn is 2-8. Pray nobody gets hurt. Georgia awaits.
Louisville: This might be the last stand for Charlie Strong playing second banana to the basketball team in northern Kentucky. He has taken the Cardinals to two straight bowl games 2010-2011 and was 9-0 and ranked #9 going into last Saturday’s matchup at Syracuse. The Orange were 4-5 but still ruined Louisville's perfect season with a sound 45–26 thrashing. I am not sure how much further Strong can take this team when better offers are out there. Being a native of Arkansas, his name has been batted around as the new Razorbacks coach. I am sure Tennessee, Auburn, and others will come a-calling as well.
Veterans Day Special
Navy is bowl eligible at 6-4 and looking to add to their win total against the Texas State Bobcats and Army. The Black Knights (2-8) have had another rough year but a win over Boston College had to have been nice. Their other win was an upset over Air Force (5-5). The Falcons need a win over woeful Hawaii (1-8) to get to a bowl since winning at 8-3 Fresno looks likely. In summary, the Army-Navy game will decide the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy.