First Down: The Control Theory
The nation watched the Alabama Crimson Tide and LSU Tigers duke it out in prime-time Saturday night and despite being outplayed in every aspect of the game except special teams, the Tide, along with the magic AJ McCarron, were able to maintain the controled order in the BCS rankings. With so much emphasis placed on which team will play Alabama in the BCS Championship, many forgot the Tide actually have a few more games to win. The final standings have seemed to be on a fast track to chaos, but after a Saturday on the gridiron that featured results playing right into routine, we have order, for now.
If the Tide would’ve lost, just think of all that might have followed. LSU would be in the driver’s seat in the SEC West and most likely would’ve leaped to No. 3, or even No. 2 in the new standings. Alabama probably wouldn’t have moved back much, thanks to the national perception of their conference and the fact the Tigers are a top five team, and we’ve already seen what happens when the Tide don’t win their division, but the purple and gold do. The Tigers would have the tie-breaker over the Tide, securing their spot in the conference championship.
The Georgia Bulldogs are well on their way to secure a spot in the SEC Championship, so what would’ve happened if the Bulldogs beat the Tigers in the championship game and the Tide ran the table, we could have witnessed another national championship featuring two teams from the SEC.
Second Down: Can Johnny Football best Alabama?
The Crimson Tide hadn’t been tested much this season. It has been a combination of talent and inferior competition. However, that storyline has changed recently with the crimson and white taking down the Mississippi State Bulldogs and then LSU. Now, they will travel back home to take on the Texas A&M Aggies in what will be their third straight game against a top-15 ranked team. Does anyone around Tuscaloosa take the Aggies as a serious threat to the Tide’s national title hopes?
Nick Saban won’t allow his team to overlook any opponent, however, is it possible Texas A&M could give his team their first loss? The Aggies have the best all around offense in the conference and the explosive version of the spread they run with Johnny Manziel is unlike anything the Tide’s defensive unit has faced this season. It doesn’t end with Manziel, who has accounted for 31 touchdowns in nine games, the Aggie offense has a number of options. The Aggie defense has collected 3.25 sacks a game, while the Tide offensive line has allowed McCarron to get sacked at least two times a game.
The games against the Florida Gators and LSU showed the best defenses in the conference are able to make adjustments against the Aggie’s offense and the same will most likely happen this Saturday. LSU was able to control the entire game with a balanced attack that hasn’t been around in Death Valley this season, but they rose to the occasion. A&M has a much more balanced and explosive offense than the Tigers, so there’s no reason they can’t hang around long enough to pull out the win. Don’t forget even though Texas A&M fell to LSU and Florida, those games were decided by a combined eight points.
Third Down: Smelling roses
Is there anything worse than Big Ten football this season? One analyst compared watching conference games to playing the old Atari. This isn’t a piece to bash the conference, but it is strange a team with three conference losses is in the conversation to win the conference and find a place in the Rose Bowl. The Indiana Hoosiers sit behind the Wisconsin Badgers by one game in the Leaders Division and if they can pull out a victory this Saturday, they will be in control of their destiny with roses. Indiana is 4-5 (2-3), but because both the Ohio State Buckeyes and Penn State Nittany Lions are ineligible this season, either the Hoosiers and Badgers will represent the Leaders in the Big Ten Championship.