What a difference do we see in college football after just one weekend – albeit, the last regular season weekend!
Alabama should have taken the week off
Last week, most people considered Alabama a lock for the College Football Playoffs – they were probably the only team in every weekly ranking so far. Well, bring on the Iron Bowl and all of the sudden the Crimson Tide might be on the outside looking in of the playoff for the first time in the CFP’s short history. With Auburn and Georgia squaring off in the SEC Championship game next weekend, it would be hard to take Alabama over either Auburn or Georgia is the SEC gets only one slot. If Auburn wins, I can see the scenario where the Committee takes Auburn and Alabama. But if Georgia wins, how can the committee select Georgia – the SEC winner- and then Alabama over an Auburn team that just beat them a week before and made it to the SEC championship game?
Speaking of 2 bid conferences, all of the sudden, the Big Ten is back in play as well! Ohio State was left for dead after an early season loss to Oklahoma, but they have been unstoppable since and playing good football on both sides of the ball. Pair them up with an undefeated Wisconsin team in the Big Ten Championship game and you basically guarantee that the Big Ten will have at least one of the four CFP slots.
You have to think the committee will do the same with the ACC championship as well with the new #1 Clemson facing off against previously undefeated Miami, which slipped from #2 to #7 this week. With two top 10 – two former top 2 - teams in the championship game, the committee will have to take the winner of the ACC Title game either way. The Big 12 is also in play too as former Top 5 and current #10 TCU and #2 Oklahoma tangle in the Big 12 Championship.
So, if you take the champion of the Big Ten, SEC, Big 12 and ACC, that already leaves out the Pac-12 champion and it will be hard to take Alabama over any of the conference champs without totally making a conference title game a farce!
Start up the carousel!
What a week for Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn too. A week ago rumors were swirling that he was on the hot seat at Auburn and with the prospect of home state Arkansas’s head job open, Tigers’ brass might not stand in his way to open the door for someone else. Now, can they possibly let him walk? They might as well back up the armored car now as Malzahn’s reps will likely play off the Razorbacks job against Auburn, although it would seem difficult for Malzahn to leave Auburn after this run. He probably bought himself five extra years on his contract.
Well, Chip Kelly was the big domino of the weekend. His acceptance of the UCLA job, which was probably the right one for him, set the pieces in motion. #2 choice Dan Mullen jumped from Mississippi State to Gainesville to take the spot the Gators were holding open for Kelly. Now, that leaves Tennessee, Mississippi State, Texas A&M, and Arkansas all open in the SEC making it a coaches’ market! Couple that high profile jobs such as Nebraskaand Arizona State, there will be a lot of shaking going on.
Bowl Sanity Restored!
After a couple years of seeing sub-.500 teams getting invites to bowl games due to the lack of qualified teams, sanity has been restored as there will be more bowl-eligible teams this season than available slots – currently at 78. There are currently 79 teams eligible and Florida State still has a matchup with Lousiana-Monroe this weekend to make up a goal cancelled earlier in the season due to a passing hurricane. Louisiana-Lafayette and New Mexico State each play Sun Belt Conference games this weekend and a win for either would mean they would become eligible too! For New Mexico State, they will be kicked out of the Sun Belt after this season so becoming bowl eligible and not going to a bowl will add insult to injury for the Aggies.
What a difference a year makes for those 2-3 teams that will be left out this year!