Thursday, November 1, 2012
Behind The Scoreboard
History and stats probably played a bigger role than some fans and players failed to realize in the games taking center stage in the SEC in week nine. The SEC didn’t have all of the really important contests. Across the spectrum, games like Notre Dame/Oklahoma, Texas A&M/Kansas State and Ohio State/Penn State were predicted to garner their share of attention. Of the three pairings mentioned immediately above, only one team of the six was not ranked in the top 25.
The Nittany Lions don’t have status in the national rankings although they had a record of 5-2. Their opponent, the Buckeyes, were ranked number nine and undefeated at 8-0. The real kicker in this contest is that neither team will be eligible for postseason activity this year because of NCAA sanctions. The tragedy is that both of these teams are leaders in the Big Ten. Ohio State is the first team to reach 9-0 this season and remains among the six undefeated (Alabama, Oregon, K-State, Notre Dame and Louisville).
The SEC has had seven teams in the top 25 for the past couple of weeks and those are the Tide, LSU, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, Texas A&M and Miss State. All seven also figure prominently in the BCS standings.
The SEC games which had fans on edge for a whole week were the games with rated opponents (Alabama and Miss State, Georgia and Florida), and two unranked opponents (Ole Miss and Arkansas).
I really can’t give the dear ole alma mater high marks for a game which they should have won handily but almost lost. Come on, Rebels, the Razorbacks is a rebounding team. I am equally sure that the fans of the Gators and Bulldogs (of Georgia) had their moments of anxiety on both sides of the stadium. The number 10 Bulldogs had the biggest bite in their 17-9 win over the Gators. This could throw a cloud over a clear winner of the SEC East. Georgia, now in the lead, have must wins at Miss State and Auburn to remain lead dog.
There was a lot of talk last week that the Miss State Bullies “just might” upset the Crimson Tide – a huge “just” and a bigger “might.” One could easily have predicted the outcome of the Tide and Bullies’ game by taking another look at the Vols-Tide game the week before. Tennessee knew exactly what the Tide was going to do but was powerless to stop their offense. I hope it wasn’t lost on anyone that Nick Saban pulled the Tide first stringers out last Saturday with 10 minutes left in the game. This probably prevented what was heading for a shutout. The Bullies were able to keep some pride in the 38-7 loss.
The mantle has now been draped on the shoulders of the LSU Tigers to be the stumbling block in front of the rolling Tide. Need I remind everyone the score the last time these two met? One resembled a “goose egg.”
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