College football week 12 overreactions

There is only one week left of the regular season before Championship week, but there is still a lot at stake in college football.

Nine conference championship slots will be determined in matches this week, including win-win contests in Big Ten East (Ohio State in Michigan), Conference USA East (Western Kentucky in Marshall) and MAC East (Miami, Ohio in Kent State).

And there will also be plenty at stake besides bragging rights in the Iron Bowl, Egg Bowl, Apple Cup, and Bedlam.

With another big coach change and a plethora of rivalry games coming up this week, now is the perfect time for another batch of overreaction.


Michigan has a chance against Ohio State

“The Game” has become so lopsided in favor of the Buckeyes over the past two decades, I’m not even sure it’s even the best rivalry in college football anymore. Another Ohio State win over Michigan seems inevitable, especially with the way the Buckeyes are rolling on offense right now.

There is no doubt that the Wolverines are a better football team this season. Under new defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald, Michigan ranks seventh in the FBS for scoring defense (16.3 points) and 10th for total defense (306.7 yards). They are physical and disciplined on offense and rank second in the Big Ten for rushing (218.4 yards) and scoring (36.9 points).

After struggling on the road in the past, Michigan has won over Wisconsin, Nebraska, Penn State and Maryland. The only flaw was a 37-33 loss to Michigan State on Oct. 30.

None of that matters if Michigan can’t beat Ohio State, right?

Well, not exactly. There aren’t many teams in the FBS that are likely capable of beating the soaring Buckeyes right now. Ohio State has owned “That Team Up North,” winning eight straight games, the longest in series history, and 15 of the last 16. Jim Harbaugh is 0-5 against the Buckeyes, with his teams dropping an average of 19 points. In the last two games alone, in 2018 and 2019 (last season’s game was called off due to COVID-19), the Buckeyes have scored 118 points and amassed 1,144 yards of attack. It wasn’t pretty.

Saturday’s game at the Big House will be the first time both teams have been placed in the top-five since 2016, when Ohio State won 30-27 in double overtime. The winner takes the East Division title and will compete in the Big Ten Championship game on December 4. A victory at Indianapolis likely secures a place in the college football playoffs – for either team.

“Both teams have a lot at stake,” Harbaugh told reporters Monday. “It’s a real playoff in that sense. In the college football playoff world, it’s the start of the playoffs. The team that wins will advance, and the team that won’t.”

Even though Michigan has improved, it’s safe to assume that the Buckeyes will once again be the advancing team.


Cincinnati will find a job again

Oregon lost for the second time this season on Saturday, 38-7 on the road to Utah, which again knocked the Ducks and Pac-12 out of the playoffs. The Ducks were No.3 in the selection committee’s standings last week, so one can guess that Ohio State will move up to at least No.3 (and possibly ahead of Alabama to No.2) and the Bearcats. will slide from one place to Number 4.

Or maybe not.

The Bearcats, who are looking to become the first team in a Group of 5 conference to crush the playoffs, had one of their best performances of the season on Saturday, beating SMU 48-14 at home.

But it wouldn’t be a big surprise if the committee had beaten Michigan ahead of Cincinnati for at least a week, after the Wolverines roughed up Maryland 59-18 on the road. Michigan currently does not have a win that can trump Cincinnati’s road win over Notre Dame, but their schedule is significantly better than that of the Bearcats.

That doesn’t mean the Bearcats won’t make it into the top four if they beat East Carolina on the road on Friday (3:30 p.m. ET, ABC & ESPN App) and Houston in the AAC Championship. In fact, ESPN’s Allstate Playoff Predictor gives Cincinnati a 65% chance of qualifying for the playoffs, behind only Georgia (98%) and Alabama (66%).


Your school is going to hire a bad coach

The regular season isn’t even over yet, and there are already head coach positions to be filled in three of the country’s top 15 programs: Florida, LSU and USC. Given their locations, traditions, budgets, and recruiting bases, there’s no reason these teams shouldn’t compete regularly for conference and national titles.

These programs will attract a more than competent pool of applicants, but Jimbo Fisher of Texas A&M, James Franklin of Penn State, and Mel Tucker of Michigan State are unlikely to be among them. The Aggies have already locked Fisher for a four-year extension that will net him around $ 90 million over the next 10 years. The Spartans are reportedly working on a 10-year, $ 95 million deal for Tucker, and Franklin is said to be close to agreeing to a new Nittany Lions contract, which could be approved and announced as early as Tuesday.

Fourteen FBS programs have made coaching changes since the start of the 2021 season, and only four have been staffed. There could be more openings in the coming days with further layoffs and retirements. It is expected to be one of the most volatile coaching carousels in recent history.

“I think the college football landscape is what it is,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said Monday. “The stakes have gotten higher. The pay has gone up, and with that come the expectations. It’s a different landscape now than it was four or five years ago in terms of portal, recruiting, number of initials Everything changes so fast It makes it harder It’s a lot harder job I think you’ve seen a lot of people from our level level up because it takes a little less of pressure on your family and things. “

So who stays? Lots of potential candidates, including Luke Fickell of Cincinnati, Dave Aranda of Baylor, Billy Napier of Louisiana, Matt Campbell of Iowa, and Lane Kiffin of Ole Miss, to begin with. A school might have to wait for Fickell if the Bearcats are in the playoffs, but why wouldn’t they stand for the FBS ‘hottest workout product?

So while USC fans might have hoped for Fickell, they might have to settle for Aranda, who did wonders in his second season with the Bears.

And while Florida fans might have their sights set on former Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, they might end up with Napier, who worked under Clemson’s Dabo Swinney and Alabama’s Nick Saban.

LSU might have been willing to throw Fisher $ 100 million or more – how much would that really take? – but Alabama offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien might be a more plausible candidate.


to play

3:31

Bryce Young, No.2 of Alabama, throws for a school record 561 yards (the second-tallest in SEC history) and five touchdowns to defeat the ruthless No.21 of Arkansas, 42- 35.

Georgia will crush Alabama

The SEC Championship game we’ve been waiting for months is finally set: No.1 Georgia will face No.2 Alabama at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on December 4.

This will be the third meeting between schools in the SEC title game; the Crimson Tide won the first two games by a total of 11 points. In 2012, the Bulldogs’ thwarted efforts ended with time elapsed on the Alabama 5-yard line in a 32-28 loss. Six years later, quarterback Jalen Hurts left the bench to bring Tide back from a two-TD deficit in the second half. Georgia’s failed mismatched punt with 3:04 to go helped set up a 15-yard winning run for the Hurts in a 35-28 victory.

The victory came a year after the teams met at the CFP National Championship after the 2017 season, also played in Atlanta, and Tide won this one as well. Freshman Tua Tagovailoa started the second half and threw three touchdowns, including one from 41 yards to DeVonta Smith in overtime for a 26-23 victory.

This season Georgia has looked like the most dominant team in the country, finishing 8-0 in the SEC for the first time in school history. The Bulldogs can go undefeated in the regular season for the first time since 1982 by defeating rival Georgia Tech on Saturday (noon ET, ABC and ESPN App).

Meanwhile, Alabama has at times seemed surprisingly vulnerable. The Tide barely beat Florida by two on the road (the Bulldogs blew up the Gators by 27), lost to Texas A&M by three on October 9, and then needed late positions to defeat both LSU and L ‘Arkansas struggling at home (the Bulldogs ruled out the Pigs 37-0). At various times, Alabama’s offensive line struggled and their defense was shockingly sensitive to big plays.

Still, if the Crimson Tide win at Auburn in Saturday’s Iron Bowl, they’ll have more on the line when they face the Bulldogs a week later. Unless Alabama eliminates Georgia again, it will not be guaranteed to reach the MFF. A two-losing team has never made the playoffs, and it’s hard to imagine the Tide going first, especially without winning a conference title, no matter how high they might be in the committee standings. Tuesday evening selection.

Make no mistake: Alabama will more than likely be at their best in Atlanta, and it will be another back-and-forth between Saban and Smart, his former defensive coordinator. Tidal receivers Jameson Williams and John Metchie will test Georgia’s secondary, and Bryce Young’s scrambling ability will help keep offense on the pitch.

As beautiful as Georgia is this season, finally beating Alabama has been the elephant-sized obstacle that has been staring the Bulldogs in the face since early September. Getting the Tide out of the playoffs might be Georgia’s clearest path to ending a 41-year drought without a national title.

“I have no doubt we can play for Alabama, we’ve done it three times,” Smart told ESPN in the preseason. “We’re as good as they are, and we’ve gone hand in hand with them.”

The wait is almost over to see if the Bulldogs can finally make it.


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