Well, the first domino fell, somewhat. One of the unbeatens many thought would remain that way until at the very least the last week of the regular season fell and another unbeaten lost as well. But overall, everything seems to remain the way it has happened. We will get into all of that this week.
TOP 5 WINNERS
1. ALABAMA: 33-14 over a strong Texas A&M squad with a good defense. They were down for a short time and had some questionable play-calling but overall they got it together and became Alabama. 2 of the final 4 games however, are against vastly improved and possessed Tiger squads of LSU and Auburn. The LSU game once again might decide the SEC West.
2. LSU: From the dead, the Tigers have risen. And at the perfect time. And Leonard Fournette is back, rested and ready to go. Of course next game they have will be against Alabama. Will be a massive war. But overall the Tigers have realized their full potential they didn't get out of Les Miles.
3. AUBURN: Speaking of rising from the dead, the Tigers put a 56 score and only allowed 3 to Arkansas. So they too will have a say in the SEC West after all.
4. WEST VIRGINIA: I'm beginning to think the Mountaineers don't belong in the Big 12. They can play defense. BEST thing could possibly happen as their schedule is "favorable" and could win out they might have a better chance at the playoff since Ohio State lost.
5. MICHIGAN: I am betting Michigan fans want the season to end today so they could have their wish of an Alabama/Michigan National Championship and not have to worry about Ohio State.
TOP 5 LOSERS
1. TEXAS A&M: They fought for about 2 and a half quarters. But it wasn't that the Aggies played bad against Alabama, but Alabama is on another world. Their schedule is still favorable with Ole Miss and LSU at home and Mississippi State (now the SEC's punching bag outside South Carolina). But they will need major help though.
2. HOUSTON: Somebody tweeted that the Big 12's dumb decision (yes, it is dumb) of not expanding got the Cougars upset and it showed last night. Can't argue with that logic actually since SMU destroyed the Cougars. And it pretty much sets Boise State and Western Michigan in the driver's seats for the "other 5" to get a New Year's Six game.
3. THE REST OF THE BIG 12 NOT NAMED WEST VIRGINIA: This week while the Big 12 will act "proud" of their no expansion decision it is probably now more of when the Big 12 folds than "if" first off. Secondly, you have some of the worst displays of football in the nation being played. I'm sorry, but games of 49-31, 66-59, 45-40, etc. is NOT football. At least have some defense. And the game last night between Texas Tech (the ringleader of the all offense, no defense mentality) and Oklahoma (getting there themselves) was a joke. The sad part is, those teams are PROUD of that! I don't think I would be jumping for glee if I lost though I scored 59 points. I'd be furious. But hey, it is the Big 12, and they think their way is the wave of the future. They better hope there is a future.
4. ARKANSAS: 56-3 to Auburn? Maybe they shouldn't have won but 56-3? I think the Bret Bielema Era isn't going to pay off for the Razorbacks.
5. OHIO STATE: I had a difficult time even putting the Buckeyes on this list, but that said, they lost to an unranked team. But if they win out (which is likely), they are still going to be in the playoff. But the margin of error is gone for Ohio State.
TOP 5 QUESTIONS NOBODY WANTS TO ASK:
1. CAN EITHER AUBURN OR LSU BEAT ALABAMA? Yes to LSU but no to Auburn. The Tigers have a lot of things going for them heading into the Alabama game. They are playing the way everybody expected them to play at the start of the season. The game is at home and Fournette is well rested since he sat out for nearly a month (but come on Musburger, Fournette for Heisman? Give me a break!). That really tips it in their favor where Alabama might be maybe a less than a TD favorite leading up to that game. But Auburn? I do give them props for decimating Arkansas, but in 7 games, the Tigers have played on the road ONE time and it was to a bad Mississippi State squad. They will be road-hopping starting in Ole Miss and then Georgia and then of course Alabama. I am not expecting Auburn to run the score up in those places, even at Georgia. And honestly, the holes Auburn created last night for their runners won't be working against the Tide like it did Arkansas.
The one thing I am curious about though is how good both teams really are given they have been away from home only 3 times this year total (and LSU lost both times) so I am not sure if it is more of a front-loaded schedule that benefited them or they are actually that good.
2. DO YOU BELIEVE A LOUISVILLE, TEXAS A&M, OR OHIO STATE WILL MAKE THE PLAYOFF IF THEY DON'T WIN THEIR CONFERENCE? Absolutely not! I'm tired of hearing all these analysts say that the Cardinals can sneak in over a 1-loss Washington team or a 1-loss Ohio State squad (BTW Ohio State really doesn't fit here because they still control their destiny). In fact, I nearly threw up hearing how Louisville should be considered "ahead" of Clemson given how they beat NC State while Clemson needed a miracle to beat the Wolfpack. But it is tiring to hear that argument because it didn't work last year with Ohio State. In fact, had the Big 12 champ had 2 losses, they would have been jumped by Stanford and Ohio State would have been jumped by Stanford in the playoff. Bottom line is, unless say a Washington goes to the PAC-12 Championship game and plays a possible 3-loss Colorado team and loses, then maybe you have an argument there. The playoff is really set up for the conference champions, meaning you won't see a 2nd team in the same conference in the playoff. I guess maybe it is just feed time for ESPN, CBS, FOX, and whoever else I am missing that talks their tails off.
3. IS HUGH FREEZE ON THE HOT SEAT AT OLE MISS? I think he is. It looks like he has lost control of the players and that is a big problem. Do I think he gets fired? Probably not, especially since he sent the Rebels to two New Year's Six bowl games. But with the issues surrounding the program, it is possible/feasible that he will be the top guy next year that could get grilled and fast.
4. DID JAMES FRANKLIN SAVE HIS JOB AT PENN STATE FOR ONE MORE YEAR BEATING OHIO STATE LAST NIGHT? Yes. You have to think that he did given he is the first guy in the Big Ten not named Mark Dantonio to beat Ohio State in 5 years. That does have to account for something, right?
5. DOES KENTUCKY HAVE A GREAT SHOT AT WINNING THE SEC EAST? No. Unless they beat Tennessee and Florida fumbles with LSU and Arkansas (both road games now). It goes to show how bad the SEC East is this year if a team like Kentucky who got destroyed 41-14 to Alabama, 45-7 to Florida and got the score ran up on them by Southern Mississippi is still a "threat" to the division.
-Fan in the Obstructed Seat