So, where to begin when evaluating Week 13 of the 2012 college football season? Perhaps with Notre Dame sewing up its first ever berth into the BCS championship game, where it awaits the winner of the SEC championship game? Or maybe, we could discuss that the SEC program with the most impressive resume, Florida, cannot play for the national championship.
But, no. Commanding the lead for the Week 13 installment of The Hangover is the mediocre. The last Sunday of November marks a tradition one can set his watch to, as Thanksgiving weekend becomes thankless weekend. Numerous coaches were shown the door on Sunday morning — SaturdayBlitz.com already highlighted Gene Chizik and Tom O’Brien.
Joining the dismissed Auburn and NC State coaches on the unemployment line are Purdue’s Danny Hope, Colorado’s Jon Embree and Boston College’s Frank Spaziani. They weren’t the first, nor will they be the last casualties in the coming days.
Colorado limped to its worst season in program history, finishing 1-11 after dropping a raucous decision to Utah on Friday. The Buffaloes were 4-21 in CU alum Embree’s two seasons as head coach.
The writing was on the wall for both Hope and Spaziani, though the former gained some measure of optimism from the Boilers’ bowl game-saving final stretch. Purdue brass decided it was time for a change. Hope never matched the success predecessor Joe Tiller had, instead settling for .500 seasons as his era’s benchmark. BC fans may have been thrilled with .500 in Spaziani’s final two seasons. The Eagles had one of the nation’s longer bowl streaks end in a 4-8 2011, but the worst came with this year’s 2-10 debacle. Say, Tom O’Brien, who was 75-45 in his time at Boston College, is available…
It’s (Not) Great to be A Gator
Florida exceeded expectations in Will Muschamp’s second season as head coach. The Gators ascended from No. 23 in the preseason Associated Press poll, to the No. 4 ranked team in the BCS standings and likely to move to third this time next week. Florida ends its season with the best SEC resume, regardless of whether Georgia or Alabama wins next Saturday in Atlanta.
And there is nothing UF can do to get a shot at the national championship.
Muschamp made his case in the post-game interview, after leading the Gators to what is easily the league’s most impressive out-of-conference win this season. Florida State joined LSU, Texas A&M, South Carolina and Vanderbilt as high quality victims of the Gator Chomp. Of Florida’s 11 wins, seven are against bowl bound teams: Bowling Green and La.-Lafayette
Should Alabama win the SEC championship game, a compelling argument could be made that Florida is actually more deserving of the invitation to the BCS championship an SEC team is guaranteed. With a Georgia win, Alabama’s resume would include wins over LSU (which UF beat), UGa and Michigan. Other bowl bound opponents ‘Bama beat are Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Western Kentucky. The Tide would also have a home loss to a team (Texas A&M) UF beat on the road. More on this below.
You Can’t Spell Secession Without SEC
Secession seems to be a hot topic of late, thanks to a few honyocks threatening to leave the United States after the presidential election. Though I am vehemently against secession of states from the Union, maybe it’s the answer for the SEC.
Six straight BCS championships cultivated hubris from the conference’s followers; an all-SEC championship game a season ago spoiled them. Now that they’ve had a taste of championship exclusivity, there has emerged a lunatic fringe that wants a team outside of the Southeastern Conference, which fairly earned
The debate between Alabama and Oklahoma State last season was heated. I sided with OSU, and stand by the sentiment even after the Crimson Tide dominated LSU for the crystal ball. My theory then was that Alabama was rewarded for its loss more than its wins. OSU defeated twice the number of ranked opponents, which I believe should have been weighted more than the strength of its loss.
Florida is suffering a similar fate this season, which is worthy of equal lamentations as expressed above. The Gators have less of a gripe if Georgia emerges from the conference championship game, since the Bulldogs boast the head-to-head, but there is a debate to be had if Alabama wins.
In the case of 2011, there was debate that supported either candidate, and Alabama gave its supporters vindication. The same could happen this season. But it should be one or the other — not both. There simply isn’t an argument to be made that justifies leapfrogging an unbeaten, BCS program, as much as it may fry some fans. Where Notre Dame might finish in a hypothetical world wherein it was the 15th SEC member matters as much what exfoliating cream Brian Kelly uses. But alas, it’s a drum that is going to get beaten for the weeks leading up to the BCS championship as if the Fighting Irish should concede its fairly won bid.
I believe I have a solution. There are 14 SEC members with this year’s additions of Missouri and Texas A&M. That shakes out perfect for a 13-game round robin season. Do away with the divisions, and every team just plays each — maybe add a 14th game, the number a team playing in the conference title game currently would participate in, for everyone to schedule an FCS opponent in mid-November.
The team left standing at season’s end can proclaim itself the true national champion, much like when Ric Flair jumped to the WWF and took the WCW World Championship with him.
Never again be inconvenienced with having to play other conferences while guaranteeing a championship that never leaves the Southeast! It’s so brilliant, I can’t believe no one else has suggested it.
Another possibility is taking up the football equivalent of the banner goofballs who threatened to emigrate to Canada in the wake of George W. Bush’s reelection in 2004: pack up your tents and leave for the ACC. The conference is probably looking for another member after losing Maryland, and this weekend proved current SEC members fare pretty well against ACC members (4-0 on Week 13).
**Disclaimer: The preceding should have been read under the assumption the author’s tongue was planted squarely in cheek.
- Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Washington
An induction for a Washington Husky may come as a surprise after UW suffered an Apple Cup loss to Washington State — the same Washington State that lost to Colorado earlier this season. However, All-America caliber tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins turned the other cheek and used his stature to set the kind of example fans want from athletes.
A Washington State fan struck Seferian-Jenkins after Cougar supporters stormed the field. CougCenter.com had the below video:
Seferian-Jenkins had every reason to respond with angry and violence, but instead, he tweeted the following:
— CougCenter (@CougCenter) November 25, 2012
- Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina
Steve Spurrier doesn’t exactly adhere to Pres. Theodore Roosevelt’s advice to “speak softly and carry a big stick.” The Old Ball Coach certainly doesn’ speak softly, particularly as it pertains to Clemson; the big stick part is true, though.
Jadeveon Clowney was that proverbial big stick on Saturday, wreaking serious havoc on the Tigers with arguably his most impressive game of an already thoroughly impressive career with 4.5 sacks of Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd.
- Duke Johnson, Miami
The Hurricanes are serving a second straight self-imposed bowl ban and NCAA investigations continue to loom over the program, but Saturday sent The U. out with a high note for the future. Freshman running back Duke Johnson had a career high 176 yards and scored three touchdowns in a shootout win over Duke — Duke bested Duke, har har — 52-45.
- Landry Jones, Oklahoma
A consistent knock on Landry Jones throughout his Oklahoma career is that he’s easily flapped in the clutch. Oklahoma State went up multiple scores on the Sooners in the Bedlam Game on Saturday, but Jones responded to keep OU’s BCS bowl hopes alive.
Jones connected with Jalen Saunders on an 81-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter, one of three on the day and a sizable chunk of his 500 yards. On the final scoring drive of regulation that forced overtime, Jones completed nine passes to set up bruising, rushing quarterback Blake Bell for the tying touchdown.