Tuscaloosa, Alabama: Ryan Swope celebrates with the Aggie Nation after Texas A&M defeated top ranked Alabama, 29-24, on November 10, 2012 in Tuscaloosa. (Photo: Texas A&M Athletics)
I went 36-19 this weekend in my week 11 college football picks. In high school, that would be a failing grade of 65.5 percent. For picking the always unpredictable college football game, it’s average. I’ll take it.
It’s hard to say now that you saw Texas A&M’s upset of Alabama coming, but I certainly did think they had a good shot at it. My doubt of freshman Johnny Manziel against Alabama’s disciplined defense led me to pick Alabama. Not to mention the rushing attack of Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon and composed quarterbacking of A.J. McCarron. But Alabama’s performance has me questioning if, or how much, we overrated Alabama. They lost some key players on defense from last year and one of the traps is trying not to rate a team on how well or bad they performed the previous year. What was most impressive to me in this game was A&M’s defense hanging on to their lead as ‘Bama surged on attempting to make a comeback and then sealing the deal with an interception as Alabama was in the red zone ready to take the lead.
I thought TCU had a legitimate chance at upsetting Kansas State , but without Casey Pachall, backup quarterback – now starter – Trevone Boykin couldn’t do enough to lead his team to victory. The statline will show a closer game than it was. TCU led in total yards, first downs, and time of possession.
While Oregon has the nation’s 30th ranked scoring defense, they gave up 236 rushing yards to lowly California . The game was 24-10 at the half and could have been closer. Against a team more prepared to play a full, hard four quarters such as Stanford, I think Oregon is going to be given a run for their money Saturday. Stepfan Taylor is one of the top running backs in the country with more than 1,000 yards and nine touchdowns and he’ll be running behind a big O-line from Stanford who blocks well.
After losing two straight and looking poor in winning performances against Baylor and Kansas , Texas has bounced back with consecutive wins over a ranked Texas Tech and blowing out Iowa State . Quarterback David Ash played well in both games and as long as the defense holds up, Texas is looking like a top 20 team.
So much for Indiana controlling their own destiny in the Big Ten. It was fun while it lasted. After Saturday’s 62-14 loss to Wisconsin they are left to fight for bowl eligibility needing wins against Penn State and Purdue. Even in a weak Big Ten this year, did anybody really think Indiana could make it to the conference title game?
Saturday was a day for wild finishes including Michigan over Northwestern, Virginia over Miami, Purdue over Iowa, Florida over Louisiana-Lafayette, and Missouri over Tennessee. None of the games were top 25 matchups, but they were all fun to watch – that’s part of the beauty of college football.
Kent State broke into the top 25 rankings in the AP Poll for the first time since 1973. A win over Bowling Green this weekend will seal the MAC East division for the 9-1 Golden Flashes.
In a matchup of two of the worst teams in the FBS, Massachusetts picked up their first win of the season over Akron (1-10). That now leaves Southern Mississippi as the only winless team in the nation.
After the first five weeks of the season did anyone think West Virginia would still be searching for bowl eligibility in week 12? Well, not so surprising when your team gives up 41.4 points per game (121st). Everybody should know by now, defense wins championships, unless you play Baylor 13 times a year.
Auburn was shutout against Georgia. Will Gene Chizik have a job at the end of the season? I’ll say give the man another year, hopefully there’s a junior college transfer out there waiting to be paid to play.
How good is Mississippi State? Eleven weeks in and they still might be the hardest team to get a gauge on.