Hess: SEC title set, Big 12 picture clears (column)
On College Football
The most recent weekend of college football cleared up a lot in the SEC and the Big 12.
Alabama showed that they are heads and shoulders above the rest of the country. With a shutout at No. 3 ranked LSU, Alabama isn’t just making a case for the best team in the nation, but they are starting to make a case for one of the greatest teams of all time.
The Crimson Tide had an “off night” against the Tigers stout defense and they still scored 29 points. To beat Alabama, a team is going to have to be perfect on offense and defense. Good luck.
Georgia didn’t struggle with Kentucky and now the winner of the SEC Championship, Alabama or Georgia, is all but guaranteed a playoff spot.
In the Big 12, West Virginia took out Texas at the last second and either the Mountaineers or Oklahoma will have a solid playoff resume as a Big 12 champion. But the eventual Big 12 champion will be waiting in line behind Michigan. I could see a one-loss Big 12 champion making the playoff over a one-loss Big 10 champion Ohio State, but not over Michigan if they win the Big 10.
Buffs swoon continues
Colorado continues its spiral with its fourth loss in a row. The Buffs are a completely different team without Laviska Shenault Jr. He has missed the last three games and the Buffs offense has not been the same.
After declaring the Pac 12’s playoff chances dead in this column weeks ago, Washington St. has emerged as a serious candidate for the final four. The Cougars could face a Shenault-less Buffs this weekend, but even if the do-it-all receiver plays, the Buffs are going to be outmatched. Washington St. can score against anyone in the country and it might get ugly Saturday, Nov. 10, in Boulder.
The Cougars still need some chaos to make the playoff, but if they keep winning, Washington St. will be a team to consider.
At the end of the season, seven teams could be vying for the four playoff spots. The five-Power 5 champions, Notre Dame and an undefeated UCF. It makes sense that the playoff should expand to eight teams, but the truth is only two teams have shown championship mettle all season, Alabama and Clemson. The old BCS formula would have figured this one out.
Notre Dame has not looked dominant one game this season and although they are undefeated, I don’t see the Fighting Irish making it through the season unbeaten. Look for Syracuse to knock off Notre Dame in two weeks.
This weekend’s slate of games is not as exciting as last week and will definitely not be as eventful.
Mississippi St. will be the next team to try to look competitive against Alabama, but the Crimson Tide haven’t lost to the Bulldogs since Nick Saban’s first year at the helm and Saturday should be no different.
Boston College is facing Clemson in the only other ranked matchup. It would be nice to see either Clemson or Alabama in a competitive game, but we won’t see that this weekend.