Three And Out: Week Nine College Football Reflections

By Zach Pugh

First Down:

University of Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron has been silently making a case for the Heisman Trophy. Did you notice? Not a lot of people are talking about McCarron and whether he has a legit chance, but he has just as much claim to a spot in New York as any other player in the nation. It sounds funny to say he’s “silently” making a case with all the attention surrounding the Crimson Tide and the target on their back, however, if you look at other writer’s Heisman predictions and reviews each week, you see McCarron hanging around as a dark horse candidate. McCarron should be considered for more than an outside chance.

The problem with making a case for McCarron is he doesn’t have the big numbers in a spectacular performance on the national stage that so many voters are in love with. He will need a game that shows he is the main drive behind the offense and not just a piece to a larger puzzle. While it’s true the Crimson Tide offensive system fits perfectly with McCarron, the fact is he executes what is asked of him beyond anything a coach could ask for. McCarron rarely makes mistakes, he doesn’t turn the ball over, he hasn’t thrown an interception all season and he owns the highest efficiency rating in the nation.

McCarron probably would have more beefy numbers if he was needed in the fourth quarter. He has only attempted 18 passes in the final quarter this season and his 18 touchdown passes don’t really jump off the page, but he is on pace to match Cam Newton‘s Heisman winning passing yardage in 2010. If Collin Klein continues on the path to a national title and doesn’t stumble numbers wise along the way, then he should be the clear winner, but if he falters, McCarron should be the next man up

Second Down: There Can Be Only One

Let’s get the obvious out-of-the-way. The SEC will have a representative in the BCS National Championship. The bigger question in the championship race is which undefeated top five team will get into the second spot? The Kansas Sate Wildcats, Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Oregon Ducks are all vying for their chance in the title race, but how in the world will this finish any other way than chaotic? Many will say the mess in the top five will clean itself up during the final weeks, but what happens if the Wildcats, Irish and Ducks all finish undefeated? That’s highly unlikely, however is two finishing undefeated possible?

The computers don’t care much for the quack-attack, but the human voters do. The computers love the Irish and Kansas State and as the season continues Ducks’ fans are being told that as long as they run the table, their team will be in the BCS championship, however you shouldn’t be so sure of that. Oregon still has games against three ranked teams and if all goes to plan, the Pac-12 Championship. The problem for the Ducks is the USC Trojans already have two losses and the Oregon State Beavers lost some steam losing to the Washington Huskies on Saturday. The Ducks’ strength of schedule is shrinking every week and if the Irish or Wildcats go undefeated, there is no chance the Ducks get in over either team.

Third Down: The Cardinal Rule

The Louisville Cardinals are now the only remaining undefeated and ranked team in the Big East. They’ve also managed to sneak their way into number ten in the BCS rankings. The Cardinal’s path to a national championship is an unlikely road even if they do run the table. being the only ranked team in their conference certainly doesn’t help and with the national perception of the Big East the last couple years, it would seem more likely a one-loss team from the SEC remains ahead of Louisville if somehow every team were to lose one game. With the absence of the West Virginia Mountaineers, the conference is here for the taking and UL has risen to take advantage.

Head coach Charlie Strong has a lot of buzz surrounding his future, especially with the hot seats within the Southeastern Conference, but is there a way to keep him around? The program’s best bet is to sell Strong on the case of Louisville taking claim to dominance in the Big East. Is there really a benefit for Strong to take a job in the SEC on a team that will most likely remain as a mediocre back seat? In any case, enjoy the ride while you can Cardinal fans, it might not last long.

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