COLLEGE FOOTBALL 2011
Most of the teams in the SEC West have eleven games under their belt. LSU and Alabama have consumed the rest of the West in a fairly impressive manner. I realize that LSU still has to play Arkansas and Alabama must face Auburn on the road. I suspect Les Miles will have the Bayou Bengals ready to for Arkansas after disposing of a spirited Black Bear team that was coming off a valiant effort against a clearly superior Louisiana Tech team last week in Oxford. Ole Miss hung in with the Ruston Bulldogs for most of the first half, but the Dawgs superior talent and depth wore the bruins down and the second half was all La. Tech.
Arkansas could be another story. At least LSU will get the red hot Hogs in Tiger Stadium and skip the trip to the second most remote football stadium in America. The most remote is in Gunnison, Colorado at Western State University. Fayetteville, Arkansas makes Starkville look like a trip to New Orleans. Speaking of Starkville, it will be the site of a showdown between the doormat and the boot-scraper of the SEC West. Having lost this weekend by a total of 96-20 the Bears and the Bulldogs will be fighting over the crumbs under the table. The irony of the whole deal is that Arkansas is very likely the third best team in the SEC West and thus the third best team in the country.
The eventual winner of the SEC West will have to face the Georgia Bulldogs in the SEC Championship game in Atlanta. I doubt that Georgia can actually beat the three best teams in the West, but stranger things have happened in the Southeastern Conference. If LSU prevails and runs the table, they will be haunted by the specter of a revenge hungry Crimson Tide just itching for a re-match.
Alabama will destroy a much over hyped Auburn team and since Oklahoma State pulled an el foldo, the upcoming game with the Big School in Norman, which pulled its own el foldo against Baylor, will likely have little, if any, significance. Oregon found away to lose to Lane Kiffin’s Trojan’s, thus giving a modicum of credence to the most crooked program in the NCAA. The Ducks dealt themselves out of contention and prevented another spanking by the Bengals. Assuming that the BCS actually works, the rematch with Alabama will be held in New Orleans on January 9th of 2012. It will probably be easier to buy a membership in the Augusta National Golf Club than to find a spare ducat to this little rodeo.
Having settled the BCS issue, I am forced to admit that I vastly underrated both LSU and Alabama at the first of the season. I thought that the SEC would have such parity that all of the teams would have at least one, and probably two, loses and this would be the year for the Big Ten in the person of the Wisconsin Badgers or the Pac 12 and the Oregon Ducks to sneak in and steal a championship. Boise State was never a serious contender in my mind so I wasn’t particularly shocked when they finally lost a home game to a pretty good TCU squad.
Houston Nutt has plummeted from the reincarnation of Johnny Vaught to the wrong man needed to rebuild the glory of the Grove in just four short years. The search committee in Oxford is being led by Archie Manning and the Bruin faithful are certain he will procure the best coach in America. I believe he will hire a coach that will be hailed as a miracle worker and will prove to be such, at least for another four years. Oxford is on its way to replacing Starkville as the graveyard of coaching dreams.
In closing, let me respond to the repeated allegation that the Egg Bowl is not a rivalry game to the Ole Miss faithful, it is just another game and LSU is their arch rival. That may well be their attitude, but let me get up front and say that I don’t share their disdain for the Golden Orb. The Ole Miss game is the keystone of my year. I suffered through the Vaught years chanting “Wait till next year” and fuming for twelve months till we had another shot. 1947 through 1964 is a long, long time and I’ll never forget it. I like the present trend and hope we can make it three in a row. It ain’t seventeen, but it’s a good start. As the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu is credited with saying, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.”