login | Register

Saturday's Slate: SEC vs. Big 12 South Looking Good!

Posted: Nov 15, 2008

After a season of many a wild ride, a little clarity emerged from last week's games.  The SEC has their championship game set.  The Big 12 is now down to three (maybe four) potential BCS participants.  The rest of our TF conferences have a ways to go, but none of their teams will have the impact of the SEC or the Big 12 who look likely to meet in the BCS title game.

The SEC has a full slate, but these games only have interest in a historical sense.  Two teams have emerged above the rest this season, Alabama and Florida, one of whom has the inside track to the national title.  If either win out, they WILL be crowned BCS and SEC champs.

The only thing that can derail the SEC from a third straight BCS title shot is a late season stumble.  This week features a few potentials.

South Carolina @ Florida - The Ole Ball Coach comes back to try and haunt Gainesville.  His season in Carolina has been a good one, emerging from some early season wreckage to find his Gamecocks at 7-3.  There's nothing Spurrier would love more than to knock of this year's Gators.

TF just doesn't see it happening.  The Gators have already had their stumble when they lost to Ole Miss by underestimating the Rebs.  Since then, the Gators defense, offense, and special teams have improved considerably.  They sliced and diced their way through Kentucky, Georgia, and Vanderbilt in consecutive weeks.

We're not sure anyone can stop the Gators right now.

Miss St @ Alabama - Bama hosts Mississippi State who are currently holding a win streak against the Tide.  This will end today. 

As we wrote at the beginning of the season, coaches like Nick Saban and Urban Meyer are re-writing the rules of college football.  They are running machines.

Vanderbilt @ Kentucky - Besides having either Alabama or Florida in position to win a third consecutive title game for the SEC, the second best story has to be a successful ending to Vanderbilt's elusive quest for a bowl bid.  In a year where the SEC might not be able to field 10 bowl eligible teams, Vandy seems poised to finally break their streak.

Kentucky is no pushover.  They've already qualified for a bowl.

Vandy must again find the grit and will that led them to wins over South Carolina and Auburn early in the season.  They can't be the team that lost at home to Duke.

Georgia @ Auburn - The South's oldest rivalry isn't the same this year.  Both of these teams disappointed tremendously in 2008.  Georgia was expecting to be in a national title hunt, but their poor showings against Florida and Alabama sealed their fate to a likely Citrus Bowl bid.  Auburn expects to be a factor in the SEC West each year and hasn't been.

Auburn is trying to decide if Tommy Tuberville is Phil Fulmer, a formerly great SEC coach who can't keep up with Saban and Meyer in this new era.

Tubs has two chances to show he deserves to stay.  He has Georgia and Alabama to finish out the season.  A win against either makes a good enough case for him to hang around and get a chance to make things better.

We could be wrong, but this week's Big 12 slate looks like a bunch of blowouts.  The real story for the Big 12 comes next week when Texas Tech visits Norman.  That will be the game that decides who will win the Big 12 South.

Oklahoma State @ Colorado - This game is only interesting because a Colorado win would give the Big 12 8 bowl eligible teams.  Don't count on it Buffs.  The Cowboys are more likely to beat you by 30.

This year's ACC has been a revelation.  The move to 12 teams is finally starting to pay off.  It took a while because teams had become complacent.  When alumni started actually expecting more at Georgia Tech, FSU, Miami, UNC, and NC State, it led to mediocre coaches getting the boot in favor of some proven winners.

This effect also carried over to some other holdovers like Ralph Friedgen at Maryland, Al Groh at Virginia, and Frank Beamer at Virginia Tech all of whom have been upping their game.  Add in solid coaching at Wake and Duke, the two smaller academically-minded ACC programs, and you have a third emerging power conference in TF country.

Miami's win against Virginia Tech on Thursday shows that Randy Shannon may stick around to see the fruits of his recruiting labor.  Although many felt Shannon deserved to come back in 2009 no matter what, his losses to both FSU and UNC at home didn't bode well for long term success.  All of those three programs are led by young players.  Miami shouldn't have lost both at home.

Since then, Miami has lost no more conference games.  They are in the driver's seat to go to the ACC title game in Tampa.

UNC @ Maryland - The Tar Heels are right behind the Hurricanes in the ACC Atlantic and need this win to keep pace.  Maryland would love nothing more to deny them their potentially magical season.

Butch Davis and UNC desperately need to keep winning.  This marriage is still a fragile one.  Davis remains a top flight college coach, the kind that UNC has not been able to keep (see Mack Brown) when schools with bigger traditions (and pocketbooks) come calling.  They can say what they want now, but Tennessee, Auburn, and Clemson would love to have Davis as their coach.

Our theory is that if Davis brings Carolina to the football promised land in his second season, meaning a BCS bid from being ACC conference champs, Carolina will pony up the money that keeps him in Chapel Hill long term.  If the Heels lose one or two down the stretch, the adminstration and their basketball-obsessed alumni might be willing to let Davis go over dollars.  This would be a HUGE mistake.

Our desire to see UNC and the rest of the ACC become a football power keeps TF rooting for UNC to keep winning.

BC @ Florida State - Bobby Bowden's plan is coming to fruition a year early.  Had he only won in Atlanta, the Noles would already the Coastal's participant in Tampa.  Instead, FSU must keep winning and hope for a Wake loss.  (Let's hope some recent suspensions won't hinder their offense too much.)

BC should be easy picking after their win against Notre Dame.  That means more to their fans than winning the ACC - another reason this school should not be part of this conference.

TF looks for a homecoming win for the Noles!

Wake Forest @ NC State - Although this looks like an easy win on paper, TF won't be surprised if the Wolfpack knock off the Deacons.  State is young and has been improving every week.

As we've said in the past, Wake is a great story, but they can't keep representing the Coastal in the ACC title game if this conference ever expects to make it to the next level.

We have been beating this dead horse for a while, but the Big East is a football nightmare.  It has four legit TF programs (Louisville, West Virginia, South Florida, and Cincinnati) trapped with Pitt, Syracuse, UConn, and Rutgers.  This conference has no tradition, no real rivalries, and little chance of developing either in their current make up.

They've just promoted John Marinnato as their new commissioner.  Reading this interview with him, it is apparent that the Big East represents the worst side of a BCS system that TF has always supported.

When asked about the Big East's down year, he said:

From a global stand point the past few years, the Big East Conference was one of the founding members of the Bowl Championship Series. We have been really good in that system, winning our last three BCS games, and I think that the other 10 conferences have been very supportive.

Ugh!  With all due respect Commissioner Marinnato, you have missed the point of college football.  It is about the season as one long playoff.  Who cares if the Big East wins its BCS games against unmotivated teams like Georgia or Oklahoma when those teams were disappointed that they came up short in a national title run.

The BCS bowl is the cherry on the top.  One win in a BCS game does not fool anyone about the state of the Big East in football.  This conference is free riding off other tougher and deeper conferences.  They bring nothing to the table.

In no way does this mean that TF thinks that the Big East doesn't have good teams.  Their problem is that they are a basketball conference that slums it in football.  They do a disservice to the future prospects of football in the media-heavy Northeast and the four TF programs currently mired in this 8 team abombination.

Back to the field...

Cincinnati looks to have wrapped up the Big East with their win at Lousiville last night.  All they have to do is avoid a loss to Pitt next week.  What this means is that their coach, Brian Kelly, is likely to be coaching elsewhere next year. 

If Marinnato doesn't think this down year is a problem, wait until 2 or 3 of his coaches are poached in what should prove to be an interesting December.  This year's conference struggles could lead Randy Edsall, Greg Schiano, and Brian Kelly to look elsewhere.  These coaches have to see that the Big East has reached its ceiling and has little chance of ever making a national impact as a football conference.

Rutgers @ South Florida - This game could also lead Jim Leavitt to look elsewhere as well.  Leavitt has remained loyal to a USF program he built from the ground up.  However, the Bulls have fallen apart in Big East Conference play - something that we at TF think has to do with a lack of emotional investment.  The Bulls and their players are more excited about playing and beating teams from the SEC, ACC, and Big 12 than they are doing the same to Big East teams like Pitt.

We sincerely doubt that Leavitt will leave, but this season and the many openings at better conferences might turn his head.  Although erratic at times, Leavitt still built the team from scratch and has strong recruiting ties to the talent-rich state of Florida.  Those two attributes would make him attractive at Clemson and Auburn and Kansas State where he already has ties.  His fiery demeanor also will make him a fan favorite wherever he coaches.

Assuming that Butch Davis stays in Chapel Hill, the value of coaches that have built winners from scratch like Brian Kelly, Randy Edsall, Greg Schiano, and Jim Leavitt will be at a premium.  Both Edsall and Schiano have to privately be kicking themselves that they didn't take the Georgia Tech and Michigan jobs that they were respectively offered.  Kelly made it clear he would have gone to Michigan.  They weren't interested, but others will be if Cincy earns their likely BCS bid.

Remember that there will be openings in the SEC (Tennessee and likely Auburn), the ACC (Clemson, and maybe Maryland and Virginia), the Big 12 (Kansas St), and the Pac 10 (Washington, Washington State).  Depending on how the coaching musical chairs play out, all four of these guys could be leaving the Big East.

The Big East is already a mess.  How bad will it be if it suffers a coaching purge?

As bad as the Big East has been, C-USA has been worse.  When Tulsa fell to a transitioning Arkansas team a week or so back, that left the conference without any team having a national profile.

For the good of football, we continue our call to find some way to combine parts of the Big East with Conference USA and make a new conference.

Tulsa @ Houston - A Tulsa win here would pretty much ensure a Tulsa v East Carolina C-USA championship game.  A matchup of these two teams is about the best the conference can hope for.

Let's not leave the Sun Belt out of this Big East/C-USA discussion.  This conference needs an overahaul as well.  It has all kinds of potential, but it needs tweaking.

Troy @ LSU - Troy continues to dominate the Sun Belt.  Let's see how they do in this hurricane make up game.  A blow out loss won't help the Sun Belt's cause.

LA-Monroe @ Ole Miss - In the other SEC/Sun Belt matchup, Ole Miss figures to use this opportunity to get bowl eligible.

LA-Lafayette @ FAU - The Ragin Cajuns have surprised the rest of the Sun Belt by going undefeated so far.  They finish with a tough schedule starting with last year's conference champs, FAU.

Perhaps, we will write again about it soon, but combining the Big East, C-USA, and Sun Belt into two larger conferences could be the answer to many of the current problems for each conference.

related tags

Tribal Fever,
New Orleans,
West Virginia,
South Carolina,
North Carolina,

Wireless from AT&T


newyork22 says...

I saw something shocking on my way to work the other day. uggs new york While bundled in a long sleeved shirt, wool sweater and coat, with a Pashmina, hat and gloves, I saw a man with his bike a the bus stop in SANDALS. He wasn’t overly well dressed for cold weather, in jeans, t-shirt and open jacket. Now, having lived in Oregon for the past decade I have come to be aware of what “true Oregonians” consider winter attire. This primarily consists of the inbred belief that flip-flops are a necessity year round, and sweaters and umbrellas are for tourists. I do not uphold this belief. I love getting dressed up for winter, layering on leggings with my sweater dress and ugg boots new york, a sweater and a jacket, and a rotating army of scarves, hats and gloves. I don’t enjoy being frozen, especially knowing how easy a situation that is to avoid. uggs new york saleSo personally, I do not consider myself a “true Oregonian.” I like umbrellas, and only wear flip flops when it’s above 75 degrees.Based on the population of Oregon, ugg new york I’m probably in the minority. Although I have come to accept that these people are just immune to cold in a way I am not, uggs new york of sale I do still think they are crazy. I’m guessing that the good folks at UGG Australia caught wind of these people because look at what they have to offer: sandals with fleece!uggs new york on sale

Please login or you can to leave a comment.

If you aren't registered, Register Now to start leaving comments.

Copyright 1998-2018 by Swampland Inc. All rights reserved.