Tag Archives: Alabama Crimson Tide

Top Five Teams In BCS Standings

Crimson Tide
With Oregon’s loss at Stanford this past Thursday the road to Pasadena and the BCS Championship game is clear for the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Florida State Seminoles. Both Alabama and Florida State took care of business this weekend. The Crimson Tide put together a powerful second half to defeat the 13th ranked LSU Tigers going away. Florida State, coming off of last week’s destruction of the Miami Hurricanes, dispatched Wake Forest in blowout fashion. Both clubs have a couple potential road blocks in the remaining schedule but look destined to face off at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on January 6th. Here’s a look at the top five teams in the BCS standings and their BCS point total.

1. Alabama (.996): Les Miles and the LSU Tigers gave Alabama a game for two and a half quarters before the superior Alabama attack took over and wore out the LSU defense. The Crimson Tide defeated LSU going away behind a strong performance from sophomore running back TJ Yeldon and the typical efficient passing game from AJ McCarron. The Tide is now 9-0 on the season and look to be on a collision course with their fourth BCS title game in five seasons. Alabama has three games remaining, a road matchup with Mississippi State followed by a non-conference game with Tennessee-Chattanooga, two games in which they’ll be heavily favored in. Alabama wraps up the season with their annual Iron Bowl with a rejuvenated Auburn team. The Tigers are thriving under first year head coach Gus Malzahn and are ranked 7th in the country. They’ll have home field advantage with the game at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

2. Florida State (.962): The Seminoles have the quality of victory and strength of schedule to reach the BCS title game even if Ohio State and Baylor finish undefeated. Beyond an ACC Championship game where the Seminoles will be heavily favored the Seminoles only “tough” remaining game is a season ending rivalry game with the Florida Gators. The Gators are 4-5 on the season and have their poorest offense in years. It’s hard to see the Gators mustering enough offense to overcome the Seminoles dominant scoring attack led by Jameis Winston. Look for the Seminoles to go undefeated.

3. Ohio State (.893):The Buckeyes, winners of 21 straight games, just don’t have the quality of opposition to reach the title game provided Alabama and Florida State finish undefeated. Currently only one team on the Ohio State schedule, Wisconsin, is ranked in the top 25. The Buckeyes are the victim of a Big Ten conference that is increasingly falling down the list of the best conferences in college football. If Florida State or Alabama lose things could get interesting, with Ohio State competing with Baylor, or perhaps a one loss team for the title game.

4. Stanford (.869): The one loss Cardinal has to be kicking themselves for losing a shocker at Utah earlier this season. With a victory over Oregon the Cardinal has the strength of schedule and impressive victories to reach the title game if not for their inexplicable loss versus the Utes. Should Florida State or even Alabama suffer a loss the Cardinal are a potential one loss representative in the title game. Their quality of opponent will only get better as they wrap up their regular season in the strong Pac 12.

5. Baylor (.862): The Baylor Bears are quickly becoming the Oregon of the Big 12 conference with their high-powered offense. With a back-loaded schedule the Bears strength of schedule will increase as the year winds down. Should they stay undefeated they’ll still need quite a bit of help to make the title game. A loss by two of the three undefeated teams would likely be necessary to help Baylor reach the title game.

By:Chris Michaels

Alabama Football is Really That Good

Every week I watch college football I am amazed at the inconsistencies of programs that should be national title contenders. This past week Georgia and Stanford went down to teams that were not as talented. Seven of the top 25 lost and several teams had their national title hopes dashed. This is week in and week out in college football which is what makes it the greatest regular season in sports. Who would guess an undefeated Michigan team would lose to a Penn State team that was just throttled by Indiana? For those that may not know, Indiana is terrible in football. The ups and downs of college football are amazing but one team remains consistent – the Alabama Crimson Tide.

Nick Saban Changed the Alabama Culture

Prior to Nick Saban arriving in Tuscaloosa, Alabama the Crimson Tide were about as inconsistent as most teams are today. Saban won a national championship at LSU in the early 2000s and he tried out the NFL. His time with the Miami Dolphins was short as he wanted to get back into the college game. The Crimson Tide were willing to pay him and his assistants which lured this defensive genius back to the college ranks. In his first year at Alabama he had some growing pains. Some people will remember that loss to Louisiana Monroe in Bryant Denny Stadium. His first full season at Alabama was not extremely successful. They went 7-6 and won the Independence Bowl. Since then, Alabama has been the best team in football. There is no argument to be made.

Since that difficult first year the Alabama Crimson Tide have never finished the season outside the top 10. They have won three of the last four national championships and they are sitting at the top of the polls right now. Most would agree that Nick Saban is the best coach in college football. Some could argue that he is the best modern day coach. If he wins another national championship this year I would argue he is in the conversation as one of the best college football coaches in history. With recruiting and the NFL changing college football as we know it, it is nearly impossible to consistently keep a team in the top 10. To win four of five national championships is unheard of. No one, I repeat, no one would have been able to do this other than Nick Saban at Alabama.

How Does Alabama Remain Consistent?

Alabama owns the line of scrimmage. They recruit stud offensive and defensive linemen every year. When their quarterback is having a bad game they can simply hand off to a five star running back and let him carry the load. Even if the offense cannot move the ball they can resort on the defense finding a way to win the game. Minus the Texas A&M game this year the Alabama Crimson Tide have given up 26 points. Yes, 26 points in five games. This either says that Texas A&M has an amazing offense or Nick Saban is a genius for adjusting his game plan to win that game in College Station. Maybe there is a little bit of truth in both.

There are very few teams in the country that can run the ball and stop the run year in and year out. Nick Saban’s recruiting efforts have lead him to multiple national championships. It is important to note that recruiting at Alabama is much easier than recruiting at Memphis or Kentucky. That said, coaches before Nick Saban did not dominate the SEC the way he is doing it. It is a combination of Saban being a stellar coach and winning big games early in his career. If Saban had gone 7-6 the first three seasons he was at Alabama things might have been a little bit different. That was not the case and now he is talked about as one of the best coaches in history.

Something else that Nick Saban does is instill culture. He knows what type of product he wants to put on the field. He does not deviate in any way. Even when his team is losing a game he does not change his game plan. Earlier this year the Texas A&M Aggies were up 14-0 on Alabama and most coaches would have completely ditched the playbook. Nick Saban did not. He had confidence in his senior quarterback AJ McCarron and he remain patient even though his team was down by two touchdowns and Kyle Field was rocking. As soon as the Alabama offense walked on the field being down 0-14 you could feel the confidence of the team. This was not a team that was going to let the Texas A&M Aggies run all over them. They methodically worked down the field and scored a touchdown. Five drives later and the Alabama Crimson Tide were up 28-14. They never looked back.

Nick Saban is a defensive minded coach but he knows all aspects of the game. This is something that some coaches struggle with. A few defensive minded coaches are not good with clock management or special teams. That is not true with Mr. Saban. He realizes that all facets of the game are going to come into play at one point or another in a championship season. His teams do not have to be #1 in the country in all facets of the game but they have to be above average and consistent. Just watch the Alabama punt team or the kicking team the next time you watch a game and you will see a team that is very well coached.

Why Are Some Teams Not Well Coached?

This a question that has been asked millions of times by fans over the last several decades. Some teams have the talent but they are just not well coached. Some fans may not even understand what being well coached means. Before I explain why some teams are not well coached let’s look at what it means to be well coached. Great coaches make each player aware of the situation. If it is 3rd and 22 in the third quarter there is absolutely no reason the offense should call a timeout. This is a timeout wasted because the odds of converting a 3rd and 22 are slim to none. Instead of wasting a timeout that will be needed later in the game it is better to take a five yard penalty. There isn’t much difference in a 3rd and 22 and a 3rd and 27.

Understanding the situation at all times is imperative for a good team. There are some times it is smart to take a penalty and sometimes it is a terrible decision. When the opposition has the ball and they are in a 3rd and 4 situation all defensive linemen should realize the quarterback is going to use a hard count to get them to jump offsides. This is common sense and everyone knows it. That said, each and every Saturday there will be a defensive lineman that jumps offsides on a 3rd and 4 to give the opposition a first down. Something else that is important is to understand is where you are on the field. If you are on offense and you are deep inside your own territory, ball protection is key. It is absolutely essential. A turnover is handing the other team points. With this being the case there is no reason to take risks throwing the ball or trying something silly. A good coach will make his team aware of that during fall practice drills.

Practice makes almost perfect. I think some of the better coaches in the United States practice the way their team should play. They explain time and situation throughout the entire practice period. Nick Saban has obviously practiced offense with his team being down more than 10 points. He has also practiced key third down situations. Even when he was at LSU his defenses were known for being one of the best third down defenses in the country. If a defense can get off the field on third down there is a very good chance the team will be above average. If a defense is committing penalties it is going to be quite difficult to get off the field during third down situations.

One of the reasons I feel that teams are not well coached is the coaches are not smart across the board. They may be smart when it comes to their area of expertise but they are not smart with the entire game of football. I cannot tell you how many times I have watched a game when the head coach did not know how many timeouts they had left. I have also seen games where the head coach did not know that the clock stopped with every first down. This is common knowledge that every college football fan knows. Why would a coach use a valuable timeout when they just got a first down? This happens time and again. Alabama knows the rules of the game and they have a coach that is great during practice. This is the reason they are just that good.

The B1G Conference is Really That Bad

Every year I hear B1G, formerly the Big 10 Conference, fans rant and rave about how they are just as good as the SEC. This comes on the heels of getting demolished in the previous bowl season. In 2013 it was more of the same. Some of my close friends that live in B1G Conference territory were talking up the conference from top to bottom. After seven weeks we can all laugh at them. The conference is just as bad as it has ever been. There is no way they can compete with the SEC. In fact, the B1G might be considered the fifth best conference in college football in 2013. It is a tough pill for many to swallow, but it is the truth. Sometimes it hurts to hear our favorite teams or conference is subpar but we need to accept it. Here are a few reasons the B1G Conference will continue to struggle in the years to come.

Recruiting Kills the B1G Conference

I entered college in 2000 and that was the changing of the tides when it came to recruiting. I can clearly remember sitting in my dorm room and having a debate with my roommate that teams north of Tennessee and North Carolina simply could not compete in terms of recruiting. Why would a high school senior want to go play in State College, Pennsylvania over Miami, Florida? He could enjoy the nice warm beaches and beautiful women in Miami or he could suffer through the cold winters in Pennsylvania.

Years ago, when travel was much more difficult, these northern schools could recruit because coaches would convince players to stay home. There is no more staying at home. Home is the entire United States. A college football player can hop on a plane and travel the entire country in less than a full day. In fact, if he is a very good college football player that has the ability to go pro he may be able to get from one end of the country to the other in just a few hours because of personalized aircraft. This was not the case in the 1980s and even early 1990s. It is also true that recruiters used to encourage kids to stay home so their parents could watch them play.

Today there are more games than ever on TV. If mom and dad cannot travel to the away games they will be able to watch little Johnny on ESPNU, Fox Sports 1 or the SEC Network. If little Johnny is going to a team that will compete in a BCS conference there is a very good chance that 90% of his games will be on television. Now that mom and dad can watch the games on TV there is no reason to worry about travel. This makes me ask the question, why would any high school student want to play in a cold weather climate?

I can understand the argument to play in cold weather if that is your brand of football. If you are the type of player that excels in cold weather climates it might be a good idea to play for Penn State or Notre Dame. Unfortunately for these schools, those types of players don’t really exist anymore as most high school football players want to run up and down the field and score 30 or 40 touchdowns a season. It is no longer the case that three yards and a cloud of dust is attractive like it was in the 1970s.

Where Do High School Players Want to Go?

As mentioned earlier, most high school kids want to go to the cool and exciting college campuses. When visiting South Bend, Indiana in late November there is going to be a chill in the air and most of the students will be bundled up. Take this same trip to Tuscaloosa, Tallahassee or Miami and you are going to see a much different campus. There will be many students wearing jeans but tshirts or short sleeve shirts will be common. It may even be the case that some of the girls are walking around in shorts or skirts. The only girls walking around in shorts or skirts in the northeast or midwest will be considered crazy.

Trust me when I tell you that teenage boys are going to go where the girls are. I think we all have a story about one of our friends deciding to go to college because of that lucky lady. Most of the time that lucky lady never ended up with our friend but it did cause him to go to a specific school. With Facebook, Twitter and social media now being a huge part of the recruiting process high school athletes know where they want to go to enjoy the scenery. In fact, some universities have created groups of females to help show recruits around campus. This is just another attractive feature of a campus in the south. These female groups started in Texas and the SEC. It comes as no surprise as girls love their football in the south.

If young men want to go where the girls are and enjoy the beautiful weather why would they decide to go to Michigan, Penn State or Notre Dame. In the past these three school dominated in terms of recruiting and having teams in the top 10. These are three of the most storied programs in all of college football with more wins than any other teams. Why can they not bring in the big named recruits anymore? It is all about location. If Notre Dame were located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana you can be rest assured they would have a top 5 team every year. If Penn State were a university in south Georgia or Florida they would be in the BCS title game every other year. Unfortunately, there is nothing they can do about their location. This makes recruiting very difficult and it may cause programs to change their mind when it comes to the overall direction of the football team. A good example of this is Oregon.

How Oregon Built a National Title Contender

The Oregon Ducks realized that playing traditional smash mouth football was not going to work because of their location. They could not recruit stud offensive and defensive linemen every year so they needed an alternative. The alternative was a very unique offense that was built on speed rather than on power. Oregon was more than willing to take players that normally would not play at the big schools like USC, Texas or Oklahoma. They used these smaller, faster players to develop a brand new style of offense. Instead of trying to run the ball on first and second down they decided to spread it out. The Oregon offense throws to set up the run. They also have a spread offense that rarely uses two tight ends. Heck, most of the time the single tight end is lined up as a wide receiver.

This new style of offense is very attractive to high school athletes that might be extremely fast but not that strong. When anyone watches an Oregon game during the fall months they can clearly see that most of the players are slim yet quick. This is something that Alabama, LSU and Florida would never had to do. These SEC schools can recruit five star offensive and defensive linemen every single year. This allows them to play a different brand of football. High school athletes will go to these schools just because of their location and history.

Oregon vs Ohio State

Oregon recognized that location was not in their favor so they went a different direction. We are seeing something very similar going on in Columbus, Ohio right now. Urban Meyer has brought the read option to Ohio State and he is recruiting more speed players. This will allow him to get enough speed on the field to compete with the big boys from the SEC. Something interesting about Ohio State is they do have the history to get some great five star recruits. If you can combine five star recruits with a unique offense the sky is the limit.

The only problem that Ohio State has right now is the location. Columbus, Ohio is not the most attractive area for high school athletes. When you think of vacation hotspots Columbus is not at the top of the list. Although this could cause problems in recruiting Urban Meyer knows how to get athletes for specific roles in his offense. Over the next two or three years it will be interesting to see if the location of Ohio State holds them back when it comes to a national championship run.

Something that will likely hold them back from a national championship run in 2013 will be their conference. The B1G has shown they are not ready to compete with the SEC and other power conferences. Until the B1G has several good teams (in the top 15) it will be the case that no one is willing to give Ohio State respect. They are not playing the toughest conference schedule so they may not be worthy of a spot in the BCS National Championship game.

Defense Wins Championships in the SEC

Every single year we learn that defense wins championships in the SEC. Not long ago I wrote an article about Georgia struggling on defense. They had no problems outscoring teams but eventually there was going to be a game in which the defense needed to take over. That game was Saturday, October 12th, 2013. The Missouri Tigers came to Athens, Georgia and the Bulldogs were decimated with injuries. Most of the skills players on offense were hurt and the team needed the defense to step up big. When playing in the SEC there are going to be games when the offense struggles. It is just the nature of the beast. Early in this game it was quite obvious that Georgia was going to be challenged by the Missouri Tigers.

Georgia vs Missouri 2013

Like many of the Georgia games in the early part of 2013 the Missouri game was high scoring. Unfortunately, the high scoring was in favor of the Tigers and not the Bulldogs. The Missouri Tigers were up 28-10 at halftime and Georgia QB Aaron Murray was struggling without his regular offensive weapons. As the second half opened the Georgia coaching staff recognized they needed to get on the scoreboard quickly. At one point in the second half Georgia had trimmed the lead to 28-26. They went for a two point conversation and ended up failing. Down just two points most Georgia fans felt good about the possibility of a win as Aaron Murray has been very good in the 4th quarter this year.

With less than seven minutes to go in the 4th quarter Georgia got the ball back down eight points. With this being a one possession game many fans expected Aaron Murray to lead his team down the field to score the final touchdown and two point conversion to tie the game. That did not happen. Murray was flushed from the pocket and threw an interception. This basically sealed the deal and Georgia went on to lose. Their top 10 ranking has been relinquished and their national title hopes are gone. Most feel as if they do not have a chance to win the SEC East either. That remains to be seen. What this Georgia vs Missouri game told us was that any team that wants to compete for an SEC championship needs a defense that can win games.

Running the Ball in the SEC

The Georgia Bulldogs also struggled to run the ball against the Missouri Tigers in their loss. Having the inability to run the ball and stop the other team is a recipe for disaster in the SEC. Most of the past champions were teams that were very physical. Even though they could throw the ball when they really needed they could still line up and get two yards when on the goal line. With the new age, fast paced offenses out there I have seen a few teams that can’t line up on third and one and run for the first down. This is something that just won’t fly in the SEC.

There are some conferences that can be won by throwing the ball all over the field, but that is not the SEC. Southern football is a little bit different. Stadiums in the SEC get very loud so the opposing teams struggle to call plays that involve lots of patterns and intricate passing routes. When a team is at home it is much easier because the crowd is silent when the home team has the ball. When you head on the road it is a much different atmosphere. Some teams try to simulate the loud stadiums with noise at practice but nothing compares to a Saturday night in Baton Rouge or other SEC university towns.

Over the last few decades most people that have watched SEC football on Saturday afternoon on CBS Sports know that running the ball is important. When they do the graphics at the beginning of the games one of the keys to the game is always controlling the line of scrimmage. Even though Texas A&M and Missouri have come into the conference and have thrown the ball they have yet to win a conference championship. Many people can put up the stats but when it comes to winning the SEC Championship you’d better be able to run the ball well. This is why I have always said that the best teams run the ball and stop the run. Even if their QB is having a bad day they can still win the game. This does not happen with teams like Texas A&M and Georgia.

Alabama Continues to Dominate

Week in and week out we hear about teams that could challenge Alabama for the SEC and BCS Championship. Alabama keeps winning and the contenders keep dropping. This past weekend it was Stanford and Georgia. There were experts that thought Stanford was physical enough to play with some of the SEC teams. Then they go out and lose to an unranked Utah team. That is no disrespect to Utah as they are a good team but they did lose to UCLA at home. It is not like Utah is the creme of the crop on the west coast. We all know what happened to Georgia which means they will not get to play Alabama in the SEC Championship game again this year.

Nick Saban has built a powerhouse in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. It is amazing to see how consistent this team is. They can dominate the line of scrimmage which means they can win games ugly or they can win a shootout. This year they beat Texas A&M 49-42 and they beat Ole Miss 26-0. There are not many teams in the country that can play several different styles of football. Ultimately, Alabama would love to play physical football and beat their opponent into submission. This is what they have done in three of the last few national championship games. If teams from other conferences play Alabama in the BCS National Championship game they learn what the SEC is all about – physical football.

It is so very hard to win every week in college football. I have repeatedly said that college football has the best regular season as everything is on the line. With the pressure building there are many 18 to 22 year olds that would crack. Whatever Nick Saban is telling these kids is working. It is shocking to see them dominate the way they do. Once you are the best there is no way to go up. Keeping any young man grounded is difficult and Saban has to do it with individuals that have been the best their entire college career. Whatever psychology books he is reading I would strongly suggest other coaches check them out from their university’s library.

Defense Will Always Win SEC Championships

Many of my friends feel as if Oregon or Clemson could go into the SEC and win because of the different style offenses they run. I couldn’t disagree more. These teams have had the opportunity to play SEC opponents in big games and they have lost. I know that every year is different but to be the best you have to beat the best. When Oregon or Clemson can win a BCS bowl game against an SEC team they will have an argument to be made. Make a note that the ChickFilA Bowl does not count. It needs to be a big time bowl game in which the SEC will be prepared to play. Some of these lesser bowls are not all that important to an SEC team that could be vying for a national championship.

When looking at recruiting rankings the first position I look at is the defensive line. Almost every single year Alabama, LSU and Florida dominate defensive line recruiting. It comes as no surprise that these are the teams that end up winning the most SEC games by the end of the year. Every once in awhile a Texas A&M or South Carolina will sneak into the SEC Championship game but they are not consistent. If you want to know who is going to be in the top 10 in college football in the next few years just look at the defensive line recruiting rankings. There is a very good reason a defensive line can dominate a game.

Not only can the defensive line stop the run but they can completely disrupt the passing game of the opposition. Strong defensive tackles to go along with fast defensive ends works magic in college football. We have seen this from LSU for many years. The defensive ends get up the field while the defensive tackles clog up the middle. The quarterback of the opposition has to worry about getting hit on every play and he starts looking at the pass rush rather than looking downfield. This is exactly what happened to senior quarterback Aaron Murray in the Missouri at Georgia game and we saw the outcome. If you hope your favorite team has conference championship aspirations in the near future just check out the defensive linemen they are recruiting and developing.

Are College Football Uniforms Getting Out of Control?

Sometime in the early 2000′s college football programs decided it was time to ditch the traditional uniforms and go with something completely different. It started as a single alternative uniform. Sometimes it was all black and other times it was all white. Then a few programs expanded their helmet selection. Matte black got popular and then came chrome. Before we knew it, almost every university in the country was wearing crazy colors. Some teams were wearing colors that weren’t even their school colors! In the last two or three years it has gotten completely out of control. Teams will do anything to get attention even if this means they have to grab a bucket of paint and throw it on a helmet to see what happens. When it all comes down to it, the only reason teams are doing this is to be the “cool kid on campus” that gets the recruits.

Recruiting and Alternative Uniforms

The Oregon Ducks were one of the first teams to try out alternative uniforms. There is a very good reason for this. The creator of Nike, Phil Knight, is an Oregon graduate so he is willing to let the Ducks become the test case for all kinds of crazy uniforms. During some of the bowl games in the early 2000′s the Ducks would wear “throwback” uniforms that were all yellow with a huge Duck on the helmet. This garnered tons of interest which caught the eye of the Oregon football administration. Getting attention is very important in college football as there are well over 100 programs. If it takes a unique uniform to get attention there are many teams that are willing to go that route.

College football recruiting has changed drastically over the last three decades. Years ago high school students were not recruited until their senior year and many of them wanted to go the university in which their parents received their degree or to the school they grew up cheering for. That is no longer the case. In fact, some recruits will change their mind three and four times during their senior year just because they want to do something different. High school football players are attracted to the shiny object. Sometimes that shiny object is a brand new helmet worn by Arizona State or a unique pair of cleats worn by Notre Dame. This sounds a little bit superficial but it is the reality of recruiting in 2013 and beyond. There are a large number of high school athletes that will choose a college based on the glitz and glamour of the school rather than the education.

High school athletes also get caught up in the moment. If they are on a recruiting trip and the team runs out in alternative uniforms they see the reaction of the fans. This might entice them to sign their letter of intent to that particular school. Strong recruiting coaches know when a team will be coming out in an alternative uniform. They schedule all the big recruits that weekend and hope to show them a unique experience. Prior to the proliferation of the alternative uniform, recruits would come during any given weekend out of the season and just watch the game. My how things have changed.

Traditional Football Uniforms

When I was at NC State from 2000-2004 I can remember making fun of teams like Notre Dame, Alabama and Penn State for being too traditional. Penn State has worn the same uniform since the beginning of their program. They have a white helmet with a blue strip down the middle. This has never changed. The same is true with Alabama. They have a crimson helmet with the players number on each side. No matter what year you watch an Alabama game you are going to see the exact same helmets. At the time it was very boring. Who wanted to wear the same thing every single week? Well, now the traditional uniforms are the new “cool” uniforms. With Maryland and Texas Tech wearing different uniforms every single week some fans have forgotten what their traditional uniforms look like.

The University of Maryland has gone above and beyond to avoid being traditional. The creator of Under Armour graduated from the University of Maryland and his goal is to put the craziest color combinations together when it comes to the Terrapins uniforms. They have worn everything from all black to camouflage. Their helmets are sometimes a completely different color from their uniform. Their cleats are a complete joke. Everything from red to yellow to neon colors have been worn by the Terrapin players. I know the ultimate goal is to get attention but they have taken it too far. In the next few years I would expect to see the Terrapins tone it down a notch rather than spending all of this money on a uniform that will last for about three or four hours.

I am glad to see some teams wearing traditional uniforms today. This does not happen very often. My alma mater, NC State, has given into the alternative uniforms and they look terrible. They have even worn pink uniforms. While the cause was great I feel as if a ribbon or a sticker can be worn to support a cause. Once again, when I was in school things were much different. NC State had two sets of uniforms. At home, they wore white pants and red jerseys. On the road they wore red pants and white jerseys. This was tradition and it rarely changed. During a very important game or a nationally televised game the Wolfpack would come out in all red uniforms at home. This got the crowd pumped up and it was something the players enjoyed. It is important to note that all the equipment staff had to do was set out away pants with home jerseys. They did not have to come up with a completely new outfit.

One of the defining moments of my NC State career, as a football fan, was when the Wolfpack came out in all white versus UNC in Chapel Hill. I still have several pictures from this game. It was one of the biggest games of the year and the coaching staff realized that all white would get the team fired up. Maybe once or twice a year the team would come out in all white or all red. Unless it was a very important game, the team wore traditional colors. That is not the case today. On any given Saturday NC State and other teams will wear alternative uniforms just to get a little bit of attention. This makes me cry inside. The big games are no longer big because the unique uniforms are worn every single week.

Other Ways to Get Attention

Rather than coming up with the craziest color combinations possible there is one way to get interest from high school recruits – win! The Alabama Crimson Tide have never had alternative uniforms. They wear the same uniforms week in and week out yet they still have some of the top recruiting classes in the country. They have won three of the last four national championships. All they have to do is continue to win. If the Alabama Crimson Tide continues to win they will never had to worry about wearing some crazy looking uniform to get the attention of high school kids.

Unfortunately, some programs have struggled to produce a consistent winning product on the field so they feel as if they have to go in a different direction. Many of these programs will come up with the “hottest” colors possible when it comes to a helmet or uniform. They will also hire coaches that are a little bit out of the ordinary. They may run a unique offense or dress in an unusual way. We have often heard that bad publicity is better than no publicity at all. After my four years of undergraduate studies at NC State I can confirm that any publicity is better than no publicity. Just last week the NC State Wolfpack lost to Wake Forest and no one cares. Apathy is the worst thing for a college football program. It is better to have fans that are up in arms about the success of the program rather than fans that could care less what happens on any given Saturday afternoon.

One of the reasons the SEC continues to be the best conference in college football is because their fans. Some would argue that SEC fans care too much. Well, this is the exact reason SEC schools get some of the best coaches in the sport. The athletic departments are willing to pony up the cash because they know fans will pack the stadiums every Saturday. This is not true in the ACC and PAC 12. Getting fans to a stadium is like pulling teeth in some other conference. Rather than trying to do it through crazy college football uniforms it is best to just win.

Are the Georgia Bulldogs the Real Deal in 2013?

The Georgia Bulldogs had a ridiculous first month of the college football season. The Bulldogs opened the season against the top 10 Clemson Tigers. They took a loss in Death Valley and many analysts felt as if Aaron Murray could not win the big game. They had to come back the next week and take on another top 10 team in the South Carolina Gamecocks. This game was at home and the Bulldogs pulled out the victory. After a layup game versus North Texas the Bulldogs had to take on yet another top 10 team; this time it was the LSU Tigers. Another win between the hedges put Georgia at 3-1 to end one of the most difficult months in recent college football history. Does this mean that Georgia is the real deal?

Georgia’s Defense

Although the Georgia Bulldogs are 3-1 after the brutal September schedule I have not been impressed with their defense. They have given up 35, 30, 21 and 41 in four games. If they did not have a senior quarterback that has NFL talent there is no way they would have won three games. In fact, the SEC is known for defense yet this Georgia team is winning in shootouts. As long as Aaron Murray stays healthy the Bulldogs will be able to score but it may be the case that they run into a game in which they need to hold someone to win. If that is the case I don’t like the Bulldogs chances. Clemson and LSU walked up and down the field on Georgia. I would think that Alabama will be able to do the same thing. Until the Georgia defense gets better I cannot put them in the BCS National Title talk.

Now that the Georgia defense has survived a difficult first month I will be interested to see how they settle in during the easier part of the schedule. If they can put things together, stop the run and improve on their total yards given up this team could be very good. There is no argument to be made that the Georgia Bulldogs can score points. The only issue is if the Georgia Bulldogs can stop the other team from scoring points. Giving up over 21 points in all four games of the season, so far, is a cause for concern.

Georgia’s Offense

The shining star for the Georgia Bulldogs has been Aaron Murray. He will go down as the SEC’s most prolific passer after passing fellow Bulldog David Greene. Even though many have criticized Murray for not being able to win the big game he has now beaten a top 10 team twice in the same month. It is important to note that both of these games were at home. When Georgia plays between the hedges they seem to be a much different team. Even though they don’t have many extremely tough road games coming up they will still be challenged just because it is the SEC. Even the bottom half of the SEC causes problems when teams have to hit the road.

If Georgia is going to be a national title contender they need Aaron Murray to continue to be the quarterback he has been in the past month. A strong running game will only improve Murray’s game. One of Georgia’s strengths is their running game. An improved offensive line and rushing attack will make this a very potent offense. Before we make any long term predictions about the overall strength of the Georgia offense we will need to see how they play on the road. This week they go to Knoxville to play a Tennessee team that is not very good. If Georgia cannot score over 27 points on this Tennessee team in Neyland Stadium there might be some cause for concern. If Aaron Murray and the offense put up some huge points we might be talking about an SEC Championship game lock.

The SEC Championship Game

Just the other day I heard a few experts mention that Georgia was a shoe in for the SEC Championship game. Before we crown them SEC East Champions I want to see them go on the road and win some games. Playing at home is one thing but going on the road and winning in a hostile environment is another thing. Having a senior QB that will be the most prolific passer in SEC history sure helps when it comes to winning big time road games. That said, there are still some that are worried about the Bulldogs defense. If the Bulldogs defense cannot stop anyone at home how are they going to stop anyone on the road. A few road trips will help us make a much better assessment of this team. Right now, they definitely deserve to be in the top 10 but I would not give them the SEC East title just yet.

Florida and South Carolina are not playing their best football right now but anything can happen in the SEC. We have learned this over the past several years. Florida often gets better as the season goes on. If Florida can get on a roll they may end up beating Georgia in Jacksonville and heading into the SEC Championship. Some people discounted Florida solely because they lost their starting QB for the year. If the Florida defense plays as good as most people think they can they will be able to compete with any team in the country by shortening the game.

There are very few teams that have the ability to shorten the game in college football these days. Alabama had to score 49 to beat Texas A&M and Oregon scores 60 points a game. If the Florida defense can slow down the opposition’s offense and Florida can run the ball this might be a way to win some ugly games. Georgia has proven they cannot stop anybody. With this being the case Florida may be able to run it right down their throat, every single play, until Georgia does something to stop them. If Georgia decides to bring up the safeties and put more men in the box we will see Florida go over the top for some long gains. This is old school football that has worked for the last century. Whether or not Florida will be able to run the ball right at Georgia, Texas A&M or Alabama has yet to be seen.

Running the Ball in the SEC

Anyone that has read my columns or talked college football with me knows that I feel as if some teams can run the football and stop the run to win a national championship. There are a few teams that can install a new offense that scores a ton of points to win games but these programs are few and far between. The teams that can play old school, smash mouth football tend to be the traditional schools like Texas, Alabama, Florida and LSU. The teams that want to toss the ball all over the field and score points are Oregon, Louisville and Texas Tech. Interestingly, the high scoring offenses seem to do very well in the regular season but they do not do so well when a big game is on the line. Oregon has won BCS Bowl Games but they have not won a National Championship game.

Texas A&M scores tons of points but they struggle when they are in a big game against a team with an excellent defense. Ultimately, the teams that run the ball straight at Texas A&M often end up beating them. Texas A&M scores very quickly which means their defense will be on the field much more than their offense. This can cause fatigue for the defense and when they need a stop they just don’t have the energy. I have seen this time and again with Oregon and Texas Tech. When a defense doesn’t have time to rest they are going to be a little bit lazy when they are on the field.

I can remember watching the early 2000s Texas Tech teams score 50 and 60 points a game. They would win nine or 10 games a year but they could never beat Texas or Oklahoma. Teams that ran the ball straight at them ended up tiring out the defense. As soon as the Texas Tech offense got on the field they would try to score as quickly as possible. Even if they were successful scoring it did not allow their defense to get any rest. This is a recipe for disaster and injuries. Some coaches have learned they need to learn to slow down and run the ball. In the SEC it is almost always the case that the team that runs the ball better ends up winning the game. If Georgia can run the ball very well, control the clock and stop the run they will be a contender for the 2013 BCS National Championship.

An Undefeated Oregon vs Ohio State

After four weeks of the college football season most fans feel as if an undefeated SEC team is a shoe in for the 2014 BCS National Championship game. This isn’t really up for debate as the SEC has won the last seven BCS titles. The bigger debate is who will play the SEC champion if several teams go undefeated. The major contenders right now include Oregon, Ohio State and Clemson. Clemson has a propensity to lose a game they should not so I will save that argument for last. The more interesting argument is Oregon vs Ohio State. If these two teams go undefeated who deserves to play an undefeated SEC champion in the title game this year?

The Argument for Oregon

Undefeated Oregon Ducks

Oregon Ducks


The Oregon Ducks have been a stellar program over the last five years. Even though they lost head coach Chip Kelly to the Philadelphia Eagles after last season the offense has not skipped a beat. Oregon has been known as having a new age offense that moves the ball up and down the field quickly. The “Quack Attack” has revolutionized the way some teams play college football. Instead of snapping the ball with less than 10 seconds on the play clock teams are trying to snap the ball as quickly as possible. The Oregon offense doesn’t even get into a huddle. This is much different from traditional football which is to huddle after every play and take time to work down the field. The traditional way to play college football usually keeps possessions at five to eight minutes. Oregon often scores in less than two minutes.

Oregon has played in a national championship game in the last five years. There is little argument that Oregon was the most competitive team to play an SEC team in the national championship game. In fact, Oregon had a very good chance to win the 2010 National Championship. Other teams like Texas and Notre Dame were blown out in the national championship game by SEC teams. This matters to voters because they want to see the best possible game in the Rose Bowl on January 6th, 2014. Last year the college football world was burned when Notre Dame was dominated by the Alabama Crimson Tide in the national championship game. A team from the midwest did not match up well with the dominate SEC champion. This is one of the reasons some diehard fans feel as if Ohio State should not get a chance in the BCS title game. Oregon has a much faster paced offense and they have competed well against SEC and southern teams in recent years.

Another argument for Oregon is the entertainment factor. The Nike creator, Phil Knight, graduated from Oregon and he has a field day creating their uniforms. You never know what you are going to get when Oregon runs on the field. From personal experience, watching an Oregon game has a lot to do with the uniforms and the off the field antics from the Duck mascot. Entertainment is now a very important part of college football. After a 2013 BCS National Championship game that was not entertaining at all voters will want to put in a team that will keep eyeballs glued to the TV. The ratings for the championship game last year were terrible because Alabama had it wrapped up by the middle of the second half.

Oregon may not be the second best team in the country by the end of the season but they might be the best choice to play Alabama, or any SEC champion, in the BCS national championship game for entertainment purposes alone. Even if Oregon goes does 14-0 or 21-0 you can almost guarantee they will continue tossing the ball all over the field as quickly as possible. If other teams get down by more than two touchdowns the game is all but over. Even though this did not matter in the past it does today. Advertisers want eyeballs on the game and one way to keep eyeballs on that particular channel is to put Oregon in the game knowing they will not slow down and never be out of it.

The Argument of Ohio State

Ohio State Buckeyes BCS

Ohio State Buckeyes


Ohio State has been in a national championship in the last decade and they were blown out by an SEC school. In 2006 the Ohio State Buckeyes went into the BCS National Championship game undefeated and heavy favorites versus the University of Florida. Interestingly, the current Buckeye head coach, Urban Meyer, was the Florida head coach in that national championship game. Some people may remember the game because Ted Ginn, Jr. returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown but ended up hurting himself on the play. After that play the game was all but over because Florida dominated. There was nothing Ohio State could do to compete with the speed of Florida. When all was said and done Florida defeated Ohio State 41-14.

The fact that the Florida speed dominated the Big 10 champions makes many people wonder if this will happen again. Well, that argument is not necessarily valid as Ohio State is now coached by Urban Meyer who runs the spread option. The spread option was perfected at Florida with Tim Tebow. Meyer ended up stepping down from the University of Florida for health reasons. He took over the Ohio State coaching position last year and led the Buckeyes to an undefeated season. This has changed everything in Columbus, Ohio. Meyer has proved to be one of the best coaches in college football when his heart is in it. At this point in his career it looks as if his heart is still in it at Ohio State.

When Urban Meyer has his types of players on the field he can compete with anyone in the country. This is the main argument for Ohio State being in the championship game if they run the table. The other side of that argument is the depth of Ohio State. Every year there will be injuries. The fact that this is Urban Meyer’s second year means that many of the backups are not his recruits. One of the biggest issues with B1G football is the lack of speed. Urban Meyer recruits speed but he only has two recruiting classes at Ohio State for the 2013 season. If a key linebacker or defensive end goes down he may have to insert someone that was not necessarily his recruit. The lack of depth and speed is a cause for concern when it comes to the backups.

If Ohio State can remain healthy they can compete with any team in the country. In the second week of the season we saw a major injury to the Ohio State Buckeyes roster. Braxton Miller, the starting quarterback, has been out the last two weeks due to an injury. If these injuries start to add up in Columbus I personally feel as if we would see a national championship game similar to 2006 if the Buckeyes play the SEC champion. Urban Meyer is definitely an SEC style coach but it takes several years to fill the roster with speed. Ohio State is still a year or two away from having the potential to go two deep with any team in the country. Their starters are very talented but it is the backups that I worry about.

The Argument for Clemson

Crimson Tide BCS

Crimson Tide


An interesting player in the 2014 BCS National Title race is the Clemson Tigers. Clemson has a huge advantage over Oregon and Ohio State because of their non conference schedule. If Clemson runs the table this year they will have beaten two of the top SEC teams – South Carolina and Georgia. If Clemson can go undefeated they have every right to be in the national championship game. They will have victories over South Carolina, UGA and Florida State this year. That is enough for me to say they are the second best team in the country behind any undefeated SEC team. No other team, outside of the SEC, will have beaten schools of this caliber.

That said, Clemson is known for losing games they should never lose. In past years they would beat the great teams and turn around and lose to Virginia or Wake Forest. Some people feel as if Clemson is over that hump but I will believe it when I see it. I really do hope that Clemson runs the table because I live in the heart of ACC country. It would be nice to see the ACC well represented in the national championship game. It has been too long since the ACC has had an appearance in a big time game. When they have appeared in a BCS game they often lay an egg and make the conference look bad. Let’s see how Clemson plays the rest of the year and we may address this conversation again. At this point, I have to see Clemson win the games they should to put them in the national title talk.

By Jesse Wojdylo

BCS National Championship Ends at the Rose Bowl

It is all too fitting that the final BCS National Championship game will take place at the Rose Bowl near Los Angeles, California. For several decades the Rose Bowl has been known as the “Granddaddy of Them All”. This phrase was coined years ago when the Rose Bowl game often determined the national championship. This was well before the BCS was part of the college football bowl system. This season the Rose Bowl will host the “Granddaddy of Them All” but it will take place five days after the Rose Bowl game. The Rose Bowl will take place on January 1st while the BCS National Championship will be played on Monday, January 6th, 2013. This is sure to be one of the most sought after tickets in BCS Championship history because it will be the final championship game in the current format.

How the BCS Works

In 1998, the Bowl Championship Series was formed to crown the NCAA college football champion. Prior to the BCS it was often the case that the top two teams in the country did not play for the championship at the end of the season. In the 1980s and 1990s there were several split national championships because bowl games had conference affiliations that did not allow the top two teams to play. In fact, as I child I can remember the #1 team playing the #11 or #12 team in a bowl game. It was not good for the fans nor the sport. This was the reason we have seen the BCS over the last fifteen years. As the college football landscape has evolved it has changed many things about the bowl system. One issue with the current BCS is the computer system that is involved. In the 1980s and 1990s computers did not factor into the ranking system. Today they are a very big part of the BCS ranking system.

Computers are used to gauge many factors related to college football teams. It would be impossible to explain all the metrics. In short, the computers will analyze a team based on the opponents they have played and, more importantly, the opponents they have defeated. Unfortunately, a team cannot determine what other teams do with their schedule. It is also true that college football programs create their schedule years in advance. If Texas schedules LSU in 2013 for the 2018 season they expect LSU to be a top 15 program as they are now. If LSU loses their coach and some of their recruiting classes are not stellar it may very well be that LSU is not a top 50 program when they play Texas five years from now. Is this the fault of the Texas athletic department? Absolutely not. The computers will not like the schedule simply because of circumstances Texas does not control.

Another issue with the current BCS system is the fact that three undefeated teams cannot play in one game. If Alabama, Oregon and Ohio State go undefeated in the 2013 season one of these teams will be left out of the BCS National Championship in January of 2014. This is a huge cause for concern as fans in different parts of the country will have their issues with who gets it. Is Oregon a better team than Ohio State because they play in the Pac-12? Is Alabama better than both Oregon and Ohio State because they have won three of the last four national championships? These are questions that will be answered much differently by different experts and fans.

The ultimate goal of the BCS was to place the #1 and #2 teams in the national championship game. No matter what fans may say about the current BCS there is no argument to be made that the #1 and #2 teams will play on January 6th, 2014. Whether or not these are the two best teams in the country is an argument for another time. In the future this argument will not be valid as there will be a college football playoff in which the top four teams will get in. It will be the first time in college football history that a playoff will be part of the championship process.

The Rose Bowl and the BCS have had a great relationship since 1998. The BCS currently has four bowl games before the BCS National Championship Game. These bowl games are the Rose Bowl, the Fiesta Bowl, the Sugar Bowl and the Orange Bowl. All four locations are in warm weather climates as this attracts fans from all over the country. Many fans from northern teams love to travel south for New Years. Some will even make it a long holiday and travel to Los Angeles, California for the Christmas holiday as well. There are very few bowl games, in general, that are played in cold weather climates as January in the United States is not enjoyable in some of the states that are in the northern part of the country.

Los Angeles and the Rose Bowl

The Rose Bowl Stadium is located in Pasadena, California but most people consider it in Los Angeles. It is in Los Angeles County and the University of California at Los Angeles plays their home games in this stadium. The first Rose Bowl game was played in Pasadena in 1923 and there has only been one Rose Bowl game played outside of the stadium. The 1942 Rose Bowl was played in Wallace Wade Stadium in Durham, North Carolina. Even the most diehard college football fans do not know this tidbit of trivia.

When visiting Los Angeles for the Rose Bowl and/or BCS National Championship in January 2014 many fans will look in to some of the local attractions. The Parade or Roses will take place during the day on January 1st, 2014 and it is quite the event. If fans are taking the long vacation for both games it would be smart to plan ahead. Even though Los Angeles is one of the largest cities in the world it never hurts to come up with a plan instead of just winging it when you get there. Los Angeles County is huge and those from small towns in the south might be overwhelmed with all the options. Teams in the Southeastern Conference may be excited to go to Hollywood but it takes a little bit of preparation. Those in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Eugene, Oregon or Tuscaloosa, Alabama love the college town atmosphere but that is very much different than the bright lights of Hollywood.

With the advancements of smartphones, tablets and mobile Internet access it is much easier to navigate a large city. Google Now allows users to ask Google for suggestions. This service continues to get better over time as Google better understands the type of food one may or may not like. Apple has something very similar with Siri. Instead of wandering around Los Angeles aimlessly anyone with a smartphone can now get walking directions to the closest sushi bar or steakhouse. This was not possible just five years ago. One of the best ways to navigate the Rose Bowl area is to take advantage of the Google Maps and Yelp apps. These apps are priceless when it comes to dining and entertainment options. Even if you want to get in a quick round of golf you will be able to find options through these two apps.

Booking a hotel or a place to stay in Los Angeles is another tough decision for diehard college football fans. In small college towns it is not hard to drive a motorhome to the stadium and stay for a few nights. Some families have a parking spot right outside the stadium they have used for several decades. This is not going to be possible at major bowl games. It is definitely not possible at the Rose Bowl as the stadium staff will have to clean up the stadium after the Rose Bowl on January 1st for the BCS National Championship game that will take place on January 6th. It might be hard for some fans to fly to LAX, rent a car and book a hotel room. This is something they are not accustomed to when it comes to watching their favorite team play in a college football game. Anyone that has been to big time football in the southeast knows that fans have their way of life and they enjoy it just the way it is.

When these fan bases go to other major cities it is not easy to adjust. That said, they are willing to do anything to watch their favorite college football team play. If the team in the BCS title game is their alma mater they may have waited decades to watch them win a championship. This is not the case with Alabama as they have won three national championships in the last four years. Teams like Notre Dame, Oregon and Clemson have not won national championships in decades so their fans will be ready to roll into Pasadena and take over the Rose Bowl.

By Jesse Wojdylo

Who is the favorite to go to the 2014 BCS Championship?

Crimson Tide Vs LSU Tigers

Tide Vs Tigers face off on Nov 9th.

Following their defeat of the Texas A & M Aggies in College Station the Alabama Crimson Tide are again odds on favorites to finish number one in the country and represent the SEC in the BCS title game in Pasadena on January 6th. A title game appearance by the Tide would be their fourth in five years. Under Nick Saban they are a perfect 3-0 in title games. Alabama’s remaining schedule is conducive to a potential undefeated season, but is not without pitfalls. Here’s a look at the three remaining matchups that could blemish Alabama’s potentially undefeated season.

Saturday, November 9th versus LSU: The Tigers and Crimson Tide have formed a tremendous rivalry over the past five years with the annual matchup typically deciding the SEC West. Les Miles and his staff have their typical roster full of future athletic players, with the offense again being the big question mark. Since LSU defeated Alabama 9-6 two years ago the Tigers have struggled offensively versus Alabama, including a whitewashing in the 2011 title game. Zach Mettenberger has been efficient and protected the football this season and the Tigers have a stud running back in Jeremy Hill. LSU will be entering a tough environment in Tuscaloosa, but if Mettenberger can limit his turnovers the Tigers defense should make it a close game.

Saturday, November 30th at Auburn: The annual Iron Bowl should be a closer contest this season with Gus Malzahn in at head coach of the Tigers. Auburn has their usual talented roster but had perhaps the worst head coach in all of college football the past few years in Gene Chizik. Malzahn is an elite offensive mind and the Tigers offense should continue to improve all season. The big question is the defense, a unit that has struggled in early season non-conference play at times. After falling behind quickly in a tough environment at LSU the Tigers rebounded and made the game respectable, showing a grit they lacked last season.

 SEC Championship Game

SEC Championship Trophy


SEC Championship Game: If the Tide can navigate the regular season undefeated they’ll face a tough opponent in the SEC championship game. The trio of Georgia, South Carolina and Florida all could stiff competition for Alabama, especially if Georgia wins the right to represent the SEC East in the title game in Atlanta. All three teams present unique challenges to the Crimson Tide. Under quarterback Andy Murray and running back Todd Gurley the Georgia Bulldogs have a high powered offense that put big numbers on the board versus Clemson and South Carolina and should be able to move the ball versus the Tide. The question mark for Georgia is their young defense, although they are a talented bunch that will have a full regular season behind them by the time they reach the SEC title game.

South Carolina is playing from behind after a loss to Georgia, but are a well coached and talented bunch that could very well run the rest of their schedule undefeated. They have a versatile dual threat quarterback in Connor Shaw and a game-breaking running back in Mike Davis. The defense is led by Jadeveon Clowney, the odds on number one overall pick in next spring’s NFL draft. If the Gamecocks can reach the SEC title game they may give the Crimson Tide their toughest opponent.

Due to their struggles at quarterback the Florida Gators may be a longshot to reach the SEC title game, but have a deep roster with an elite defense. If the offense can get sorted out in conference play the Gators have the depth of talent on defense to give the Bama offense fits. Unfortunately for the Gators their schedule is brutal with trips to LSU and South Carolina. They get the Georgia Bulldogs at home in their traditional rivalry game, aka “The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party”.

Alabama’s remaining schedule is highly favorable to an undefeated regular season and a return to the BCS Title game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. They’ll receive tough opposition from LSU on November 9th and in the SEC title game, but the odds are Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide will be back in the BCS Title game on January 6th. By:Chris Michaels

How the BCS Top Ten Fared Last Weekend

NCAA College Football Showdown Saturday did not disappoint as the weekend was full of quality match-ups, including a Top Ten battle in Gainesville. The No. 2-ranked Florida Gators proved they are worthy of their lofty BCS ranking clearly outplaying No. 7 South Carolina Gamecocks in a 44-11 victory. The Florida defense and special teams forced four Gamecock turnovers, three of which Gator QB Jeff Driskell turned into touchdown passes. Driskell, who continues to improve, threw for four touchdowns. Both Florida and SC played outstanding defense. The Gators managed just 183 total yards, becoming the first FBS team in history to score over 40 points without gaining 200 yards of total offense.

Alabama Crimsontide, ranked No. 1 in the BCS, had little trouble with Tennessee in a 44-13 win. Tide QB A.J. McCarron threw for a career-high 306 yards and four touchdowns. The vaunted ‘Bama defense gave up just 79 yards rushing to the Vols and held Tyler Bray, the highly touted Vols’ QB, to 184 yards on 13-of-27 passing and no touchdowns.

Prior to Saturday’s lineup feast, the No. 2 Oregon Ducks traveled to Arizona State and dismantled any hopes of an upset in the first 15 minutes of play en route to a 43-21 win over the Sun Devils. ASU scored on its first play, a 28-yard pass from Taylor Kelly to Kevin Ozier, to jump out to a 7-0 lead just 49 seconds into the game. The Ducks countered with a Kenjon Barner 71-yard run and two Marcus Mariota touchdown passes to take a 22-7 lead at the end of the first quarter. Barner would run for two more scores and Mariota, an 86-yard run, as the Ducks built a 43-7 halftime lead.

In somewhat of a surprise, head coach Bill Snyder’s No.4 Kansas State Wildcats went to Morgantown and made it look easy against Geno Smith and West Virginia as Wildcat QB Collin Klein accounted for seven touchdowns in a 55-14 thrashing of the No. 13 Mountaineers. Klein established himself as a legitimate Heisman favorite with a career-high 323 passing yards, completing 19-of-21 passes, three touchdowns, and added 41 yards on the ground and four scores.

No. 5 Notre Dame Fighting Irish remained unbeaten fighting off a 14-7 halftime deficit to defeat Brigham Young, 17-14. The Irish rolled up 270 yards on the ground and George Atkinson III scored on a two-yard run early in the fourth quarter to seal the win. Running backs Theo Riddick (15 carries, 143 yards) and Cierre Wood (18-114) led the way for ND. Irish QB Tommy Rees, playing in place of the injured Everett Golson, completed six of his first seven passes, then only attempted three in the entire second half. Notre Dame’s defense limited BYU to just 66 yards on the ground.

After falling behind 12-0, No. 6 LSU scored 24 unanswered points and downed No. 18 Texas A&M, 24-19, in College Station. The Tigers started ugly but were able to gain some momentum going into the halftime break when Zach Mettenberger hit Kadron Boone with a 29-yard TD pass with 11 seconds to go to give LSU the lead for good at 14-12. Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M’s dynamic freshman QB, was held to just 27 yards rushing on 17 carries and was intercepted three times. LSU RB Jeremy Hill ran for a career-high 127 yards on 18 carries and scored once.

The surprising Oregon State Beavers, ranked No. 8 in last week’s BCS poll, took care of Pac-12 opponent, Utah, 21-7. OSU forced four Utah turnovers and Beavers’ RB Storm Woods rushed for three touchdowns. Oregon State is 6-0 and off to the school’s best start in 105 years after being picked to finish last in the Pac-12 North this preseason.

Oklahoma got ready for its showdown next weekend with Notre Dame by handing Kansas a 52-7 setback. The No. 9 Sooners were hardly challenged by coach Charlie Weis’ Jayhawks. Sooner QB Landry Jones threw for three touchdowns and Penn State transfer Justin Brown returned a punt 90 yards for a TD. OU has now won three consecutive games by at least three touchdowns.

It was a record-breaking day at USC Trojans as QB Matt Barkley threw three touchdown passes in the game’s first six minutes as the Trojans, BCS No. 10, beat Colorado, 50-6. Barkley’s second TD pass, a 39-yarder to Robert Woods, broke former Trojan QB Matt Leinart’s Pac-12 career touchdown passing mark. Barkley finished the day 19-of-20 for 298 yards and six touchdowns, giving him 102 TD passes for his career.