Week 8 of the 2015 college football season has come and gone, and I have something to confess. After watching Auburn’s four-overtime loss to Arkansas and the start of the Alabama—Tennessee game, I snuck off to attend the Columbus Symphony Orchestra’s performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. We had an early dinner, and thanks to the time difference (Columbus is only thirty minutes from Opelika, but it is in the eastern time zone.) and XM radio, I caught most of the second half of Ole Miss v Texas A&M and Mississippi State v Kentucky.
The Ninth is right at the top of my musical list of favorites, and I’ll gladly give up a couple of hours of football to enjoy Beethoven’s interpretation of Schiller’s Ode to Joy in the fourth movement. It all worked out well. Ole Miss returned to the win column by beating A&M, and my Bullies baffled the announcers and trounced Kentucky. Both teams improved to 6–2, and both will have a chance to play a part in deciding the SEC West championship.
Ole Miss can still run the table and go to Atlanta, while the Bulldogs are getting better by the week and have a decent chance of bettering their pre-season sentence to the cellar. I’d rather finish strong than start with a bang, but there’s a lot of football left to be played. Auburn slipped to 4–3 and still has some formidable opponents left. My guess and my hope is that they can finally pull it all together and salvage the season.
Vandy won at home in a close one with Mizzou, and Tennessee found a way to let a flat Bama team escape with a win. LSU won over Western Kentucky as expected. On the national scene there were some big surprises, and the biggest to me was Georgia Tech’s upset of Florida State. Clemson is firmly in the ACC driver’s seat, but the Duke Blue Devils are eyeing the conference championship game. I’m also a bit shocked by USC’s easy win over unbeaten Utah.
Next week there are some interesting matchups that hold post season possibilities. The Ole Miss–Auburn game will be crucial if Ole Miss is to win the SEC West, and Auburn won’t have a thing to lose. If the Rebels bring their A game they can leave the plains with a win. Anything else and the dream can be over.
The nation’s biggest outdoor cocktail party will be held in Jacksonville on Saturday and it will probably decide the SEC East. I’m picking the Dog’s in a fight to the finish. Vandy takes on undefeated Houston, and has an opportunity to redeem the SEC’s image after the Ole Miss debacle against Memphis. If the Cougars can get by the Commodores, then their match up with Memphis becomes a premier game.
The Tennessee–Kentucky game will be a shootout, and both teams badly need a win: Tennessee to stay alive in the East and Kentucky to become bowl eligible. I like the Vols, but won’t be shocked by a Wildcat win. Notre Dame takes on undefeated Temple, another team from the American conference, and while the #9 Irish should prevail, they, like Ole Miss, will need to bring their A game.
I want to end this week’s thoughts on a high note. My grandson Jackson’s high school team, The Jackson Wyoming Broncos will be taking their 8–0 regular season record into the playoffs for the State Championship. I’m really proud of Jackson. He’s a good kid, in addition to being an outstanding athlete. He’s living proof of generation jumping genetics. Jackson’s Great Grandfather played it all, from basketball to golf, and made it look easy, and Jackson reminds me of my Dad. I just wish I could tolerate the altitude so I could see him play.