NOVEMBER 14, 2016
FOOTBALL DOWN SOUTH
Football Quote of the Week
“I’ve found that prayer works best when you have big football players.”
Knute Rockne, Notre Dame
I want to get up front on something; I don’t think that Alabama is the best football team in America. I believe the Dallas Cowboys or the New England Patriots could give them a good game. The SEC is beginning to look a lot like Alabama and the eleven dwarfs.
Mississippi State struggles to stay respectable in the SEC, but they have no business playing an NFL team. Alabama steamrolled my Bulldogs 51–3 without breaking a sweat. To Nick Saban’s credit, he substituted liberally but could not hold the score down. I’d say that he began substituting when the outcome was out of doubt, but that would have been on the bus ride to the stadium.
The remaining top four teams didn’t fare as well. Pitt beat Clemson; USC beat Washington, and Iowa knocked Michigan out of the ranks of unbeaten teams. With three of the leading contenders for the playoffs beaten, the whole process is up in the air. Only #1 Alabama and #21 Western Michigan remain undefeated in the FCS. Skip Johnson’s Citadel Bulldogs are 10–0 after edging VMI, but neither the Broncos nor the Bulldogs will make it to the big dance.
It is clear that at least three of the final four will have one loss, and that throws the door wide open. In addition to the three teams that lost last weekend, you have to consider Ohio State and Louisville. Ohio State and Michigan will settle the Big Ten, and only one will still be in contention. Clemson still has to beat archrival South Carolina, and Louisville needs to handle the hated Kentucky Wildcats. Washington Huskies must face 8–2 Washington State. When the dust settles, some combination of these five teams will be swamped by the Crimson Tide.
I watched the Ole Miss v A&M game, and I have to admit, the Rebels have found their next QB. Freshman Shea Patterson was pulled from the redshirt program and thrust into battle against a tough opponent. He performed like a senior, and an injured Chad Kelly would have a hard time getting his job back. His debut has strengthened Hugh Freeze, and to some degree, vindicated the Rebel procurement department.
Auburn returned to reality after a trip between the hedges. The Tiger defense played well enough to win, but the offense didn’t show up. Gus stayed with an injured QB all the way, making one assume he had no other option. The loss of Pettway at running back hurt the offense, but not being able to pass hurt it more. They have a week off with Alabama A&M, before traveling to Tuscaloosa to face the Sabanator.
Each week I try to mention my football friends and how their teams fared. Usually, some are happy, and others are sad. Ole Miss edging A&M allowed Billy Story and Pat McNease to move back just a bit from the suicidal ledge they’ve been hovering over. Both bleed Red and Blue, and bleeding is what 2016 has been about for the Rebs.
A.J. Kazimi and John Griggs are smiling after Notre Dame, and Penn State had big wins, but Ken Walslaben remains quietly despondent after his Orangemen fell to UNC. The worst news is that they have Florida State and Pitt left. Grant Carter is grinning, with a fly rod in his hand, since his potted plants upset Auburn. Bill Harvey and I are glad to return the realm of the living after the shellacking in Tuscaloosa. Arkansas and Ole Miss both are decent football teams, but at least they are mortal.
Categories: As I Like It!