NCAA Football

LSU Football: Adjustments Tigers Must Make on Bye Week to Prep for Alabama

LSU head coach Les Miles was at his best Saturday night against Ole Miss. 

Miles watched his team battle through adversity to defeat the Rebels 10-7. He stuck with the game plan late, which was to ground-and-pound the opposition until it wore out. Because of Miles' leadership and his team's resolve, the Tigers are now in the midst of a three-game winning streak. 

LSU's next opponent is Alabama in two weeks. The Crimson Tide are on a three-game winning streak of their own behind a stout run defense and a high-powered passing attack. Meanwhile, head coach Nick Saban is currently on a three-game winning streak against the Tigers.  

Both teams will be coming off a bye week when they meet November 8. Here are some areas the Tigers must improve if they want to defeat the Crimson Tide. 

Begin Slideshow

Arkansas' 350-Pound NFL Prospect to Surpass Matt Miller's Top QBs in 2015 Draft?

In case you missed it, 350-pound Arkansas offensive lineman Sebastian Tretola threw a touchdown pass in Week 9 vs. UAB...and it was glorious. He showed poise, mobility and tons of pocket presence.

Bleacher Report College Football Analyst Michael Felder and Lead NFL Draft Writer Matt Miller discuss the emerging quarterback and his "draft stock."

Will Tretola rise up the big boards and go straight to the pros?


Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Which 2015 Texas Commits Are Key for Charlie Strong and Longhorns' Recovery

The Texas Longhorns' 2014 season has been filled with struggles. However, the future is bright for this Big 12 powerhouse. Head coach Charlie Strong's 2015 recruiting class has quite a few freshmen who could have an immediate impact.

Bleacher Report College Football Analyst Michael Felder discusses the impact these future freshmen can have.

How good can the Longhorns be with these future players?

Watch the video and let us know!

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

North Carolina vs. Miami: Complete Game Preview

The North Carolina Tar Heels head south for an Atlantic Coast Conference matchup with the Miami Hurricanes on Saturday, Nov. 1.

After a four-game losing streak, North Carolina (4-4, 2-2 ACC) upended Georgia Tech and Virginia to stay alive in the hunt for the Coastal Division.

Last week, the 'Canes (5-3, 2-2) hammered conference rival Virginia Tech 30-6 behind a career performance from their star running back.

Kickoff is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. ET and will be available on ESPN3. As of this writing, Miami is favored by 11 points, per OddsShark.

Begin Slideshow

Karlos Williams Domestic Battery Investigation: Latest Details on FSU RB

Florida State running back Karlos Williams is currently under investigation for a domestic battery allegation following an incident Saturday night, the Tallahassee Police Department has confirmed.

"TPD received the case on Saturday night, October 25th, 2014 and it was immediately assigned to the Criminal Investigation Division," a statement on the police department's Facebook page read. "The alleged crime is an active on-going investigation and Florida Law does not allow TPD to discuss the details of any case while it is on-going."

Florida State later spoke on Williams' status, via Brett McMurphy of ESPN:

Williams was also at Florida State's practice on Monday, via Corey Clark of the Tallahassee Democrat:

The investigation comes just days after rumors claiming Williams was suspended came to light. As noted by Brendan Sonnone of the Orlando Sentinel, Jacksonville radio personality Rick Ballou first reported and then backtracked from claims the Seminoles back was being suspended. Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher also denied the reports Friday.

"There's another false report, and that's amazing how things happen," Fisher said. "Whoever has sources, whoever has rumors, needs to check who they are talking to—because that is about as far from truth as there is."

Sonnone later provided more details on the case:

Williams, a senior, is the team's leading rusher with 378 yards and seven touchdowns. A converted safety, Williams has struggled as a lead back in 2014 compared to last season. His yards-per-carry average is down to 4.6 from 8.0 last season, and he's failed to break a run longer than 28 yards. As a junior, Williams posted three runs of 45-plus yards.

The Seminoles play at Louisville on Thursday night in arguably the toughest game remaining on their schedule. Williams declined to comment on the case through his attorney, Tim Jansen, per Sean Rossman of the Tallahassee Democrat.

 

Follow Tyler Conway (@tylerconway22) on Twitter

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Illinois Fighting Illini Complete Game Preview

A week after escaping Happy Valley with a 31-24 overtime win over Penn State, the Ohio State football team will return to action on Saturday for a prime-time matchup with Illinois. All eyes might already be looking at the Buckeyes' Nov. 8 matchup with Michigan State, but Ohio State must first past make it past a Fighting Illini team that's riding some momentum of its own.

With the Spartans sitting at 7-1 and enjoying a bye week, the Buckeyes will hope to match MSU's record with a win on Saturday, making the much-anticipated showdown between the two squads a de facto Big Ten East championship game. After averaging 56 points per game from Sept. 13-Oct. 18, Ohio State came back to Earth against the Nittany Lions but will hope to head to East Lansing on a high note.

Illinois, meanwhile, managed to end a three-game losing streak last Saturday with an impressive 28-24 win over 6-2 Minnesota. Whether that game says more about the Illini or Golden Gophers remains to be seen, but it could be the start of a much-needed second-half surge for Tim Beckman's 4-4 team.

Whether the Buckeyes will regain momentum or Illinois will maintain it will be determined on Saturday. Until then, here's everything you need to know about this weekend's Big Ten battle:

 

Date: Saturday, Nov. 1

Time: 8 p.m. ET

Place: Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio

TV: ABC, ESPN 3

Radio: Ohio State Football Radio NetworkFighting Illini Radio Network

Spread: Ohio State (-28.5), via Odds Shark

Begin Slideshow

Florida State vs. Louisville Complete Game Preview

Florida State has done very well coming off a bye week the past few years, winning four straight games.

Last year, FSU opened the season with a Labor Day win at Pittsburgh 41-13. The Seminoles had 11 days off before routing Nevada 62-7 on Sept. 14.

The Seminoles also won off the second bye in 2013. After a 63-0 rout of Maryland at home on Oct. 5, FSU thrashed Clemson in a Top-Five showdown 51-14 at Death Valley.

This season, FSU easily handled The Citadel 37-12 in Tallahassee on Sept. 6. With two weeks off, and with Sean Maguire starting at quarterback, FSU slipped past Clemson 23-17 in overtime.

The Seminoles haven't spent time since the 31-27 win over Notre Dame resting. FSU has taken a few days off, but there hasn't been much of a break with an ACC showdown at Louisville next on Thursday night. Let's take a look at the matchup:

Begin Slideshow

USC vs. Washington State Complete Game Preview

WHEN: Saturday, Nov. 1; 4:30 p.m. ET

WHERE: Martin Stadium; Pullman, Washington

TV: Pac-12 Networks

Coming off a loss at Utah that puts it behind the eight ball in the Pac-12 South race, USC pays its first visit to Washington State since 2010.

USC hasn't lost on the Palouse since the 2002 in which the Trojans shared the conference championship with the Cougars. Likewise, first-year USC head coach Steve Sarkisian went 2-0 at Washington in his two Apple Cup rivalry matchups with Washington State head coach Mike Leach.

Past results have no impact on current matchups, of course. Besides, the most recent development in the 71-game USC-Washington State series was last year’s 10-7 Cougars’ win in the Coliseum.

Both last year’s result, as well as the Trojans’ loss last week at Utah, should serve as motivation when they invade Martin Stadium.

USC needs this win to avoid total elimination from the Pac-12 South championship picture. The Trojans have zero margin for error after suffering their second conference loss.

“I firmly believe we have a good football team,” Sarkisian said on his weekly conference call Sunday. “I know our guys are going to get up off the mat. They’re going to prepare hard and go out and play well this Saturday against Washington State.”

Begin Slideshow

USC vs. Washington State Complete Game Preview

WHEN: Saturday, Nov. 1; 4:30 p.m. ET WHERE: Martin Stadium; Pullman, Washington TV: Pac -12 Networks Coming off a loss at Utah that puts it behind the eight ball in the ...

Begin Slideshow

Will Auburn End Ole Miss' Dream Season by Handing Rebels 2nd Loss?

A pair of one-loss SEC teams square off in Week 10 when the Auburn Tigers travel to Oxford, Mississippi, to take on the Ole Miss Rebels. After the Rebels' shocking loss to LSU in Week 9, they will need to stop Nick Marshall and the suddenly surging Tiger offense in order to keep their College Football Playoff hopes alive.

Bleacher Report College Football Analysts Adam Kramer and Barrett Sallee break down what should be a can't-miss SEC showdown. 

Will the loser of this game be eliminated from the College Football Playoff?

Watch the video and let us know!

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Denzel Nkemdiche Injury: Updates on Ole Miss Star's Ankle and Recovery

Ole Miss lost its first football game of the season Saturday against LSU. In the process, the Rebels also lost linebacker Denzel Nkemdiche for the season due to a broken ankle. 

Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze confirmed the news, per Edward Aschoff of ESPN.com, acknowledging Nkemdiche underwent surgery Sunday. Prior to the announcement, Freeze spoke about the impact injuries can have on team success, per Patrick MaGee of the Sun-Herald.

"This league is brutal," Freeze said. "It's difficult each Saturday to win football games, particularly when you may not play your best, and you suffer some injuries you're not used to having and you've got to play some other kids."

The loss of Nkemdiche is a significant one for the Rebels, as he has 28 tackles this season. Ole Miss will now have to move on without him against a tough Auburn (6-1, 3-1 SEC) team on Saturday.

Looking to make it to the first ever College Football Playoff, being without the linebacker might be a huge blow to the Rebels' chances.

 

Follow @RCorySmith on Twitter.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

TCU's 82-Point Outburst Against Texas Tech Leads to Shortage of Fireworks

TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin led the Horned Frogs to a record-setting 82-27 blowout of the Texas Tech Red Raiders this past Saturday. As much fun as the game was for the players and the fans, the school ran into a bit of a problem during the game.

Every time the Horned Frogs score a touchdown at home, fireworks go off. When the team scored 10 touchdowns Saturday, seven of which were thrown by Boykin, it presented a bit of a problem for the school. Its inventory of fireworks had been used up.

The 82-point outburst set a school record for most points in a single game. TCU leads the nation by scoring an average of 50.4 points per game this season, so it's no surprise the school ran out of fireworks before October ended.

Good news, Horned Frogs fans: More fireworks are on the way.

[Twitter]

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Navy Midshipmen Complete Game Preview

College football's longest-running intersectional rivalry continues this weekend, with Notre Dame and Navy meeting for the 88th time.

Just a game after battling the defending national champions in Tallahassee, the Irish will take on one of their oldest rivals in a game that certainly lacks the glamour of Florida State but still demands the respect of Notre Dame. 

The Midshipmen's four early losses are a disappointment for a Navy team that had high expectations entering the season. But injuries to quarterback Keenan Reynolds and a rash of uncharacteristic turnovers have plagued the Midshipmen, a team that usually operates on a razor-thin margin.

But Ken Niumatalolo's squad enters FedExField on a two-game winning streak, with a healthy quarterback and an offense firing on all cylinders. 

For the Irish, the challenge will be simple, yet difficult to achieve: Slow down Keenan Reynolds.

Navy's junior quarterback may not be playing at the level he was in 2013, but he's Navy's all-time touchdown leader. Against a young Irish defense with a coordinator who hasn't seen the option in a decade, playing assignment correct football will be critical. 

With the College Football Playoff Selection Committee releasing their first rankings later this week, 6-1 Notre Dame will find out its starting spot in the race to the postseason. But none of that matters if the Irish can't take care of business against the Midshipmen, something that's gotten a lot harder in recent years. 

Let's get you ready for the annual matchup with Navy:

 

Date: Saturday, November 1

Time: 8:00 p.m. ET

Place: FedExField in Landover, Maryland

TV: CBS

Radio: IMG College Sports, SiriusXM Channel 129

Spread: Notre Dame by 14.5, according to Odds Shark.

Begin Slideshow

College Football Playoff 2014: Bracket Predictions Ahead of Week 10

The insanity continues across the college football landscape, with yet another top team falling on Saturday. Ole Miss dropped its first game of the season ahead of the first College Football Playoff poll, but another SEC West team re-entered the discussion.

Mississippi State is the only undefeated team in the division remaining but nearly fell to Kentucky in Week 9. The Bulldogs still have a road game against Alabama and the Egg Bowl before being a playoff lock. They also have to worry about a resurgent Auburn team looking to make a statement this weekend.

As the top teams in the SEC continue to knock each other off, Florida State remains undefeated and has just one true test left. This Thursday, the Seminoles face Louisville in a game that might determine their chances at another title shot.

Prior to Week 10, here's a look at the latest projections for the first ever College Football Playoff.

 

Breakdown of Predictions

There are currently three SEC West teams at the top of both the Amway and Associated Press polls. However, one of those teams is destined to lose, while the Rebels still have a chance to enter the picture again.

For now, Mississippi State remains the top dog in the SEC and the country as a whole. The Bulldogs are led by Dak Prescott, who has been historically great this season, per ESPN College Football:

Any worries about a foot injury shouldn't be huge, as the Heisman contender remains upbeat. Asked about the boot on his right foot, Prescott told Michael Bonner of The Clarion-Ledger, "Oh yeah, this is just precautionary. ... It's just, I got a boot on it."

The junior didn't appear to miss a step as he went off for three total touchdowns to lead MSU over Kentucky. Meanwhile, another SEC team routed a second straight opponent when Alabama returned to the spotlight.

Nick Saban's program crushed Tennessee 34-20 and has won its last two games by a total of 73 points. Kyle Tucker of The Courier-Journal offered his take on the Crimson Tide:

Given the No. 2 ranking in the playoff projections, the Tide will remain undefeated the rest of the way. That includes a win over the Bulldogs and an Iron Bowl victory on their way to an SEC title.

Even with a great run into the postseason, the Tide simply won't be able to do enough to move into the No. 1 seed if Florida State remains undefeated. The Seminoles had a bye after a statement win over Notre Dame and have a favorable schedule the rest of the way.

Thursday night presents the most daunting matchup for the Noles, as Brad Edwards of ESPN.com (subscription needed) points out:

The FPI gives Miami the best chance to upset FSU (on Nov. 15), but if you believe that the formula for beating the Seminoles is a stout defense and a difference-making crowd, then this Thursday's game at Louisville could be all that realistically stands between Florida State and a spot in the playoff. Either way, the amount of resistance on FSU's path to an unbeaten regular season is far less than what fellow unbeaten Mississippi State faces.

Along with FSU, another strong offensive team has a chance to finish the season in the College Football Playoff. Oregon may have fallen to Arizona earlier this season but still has strong wins over both Michigan State and UCLA.

While it appears some voters have forgotten about the dominant win over the Spartans, the Ducks can overtake them moving forward. Wins over Stanford and Utah should propel Oregon back into the playoff picture.

Marcus Mariota has been at the top of his game for Oregon, as ESPN Stats & Info notes:

If Mariota can simply lead the charge the rest of the season, the Ducks should eventually get the jump over Michigan State with the win.

By virtue of the lone loss for Mississippi State, Oregon will draw No. 2 Alabama. Given the recent run by the Tide, that's not necessarily the matchup the Ducks might want, but it gives hope for a national title all the same.

 

Follow @RCorySmith on Twitter.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

College Football: Week 9 Recap, Pick Results and Final Thought

The nation wasn’t sure what it would be in for with only two matchups featuring ranked teams, but Week 9 of the 2014 college football season did not disappoint.

There were dramatic endings in both Death Valley and Happy Valley, along with an exciting game-winning final minute drive late Saturday night in Salt Lake City and an 82-point clinic put on by TCU.

No. 3 Ole Miss was looking to win its first game in Baton Rouge since 2008 with a 7-3 lead in the fourth quarter, but No. 24 LSU wasn’t going down without a fight. On a long, 95-yard drive that lasted six minutes, the Tigers managed to score on a three-yard touchdown pass from Anthony Jennings to Logan Stokes to take a 10-7 lead with 5:07 remaining.

On the ensuing possession, Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace failed to convert on a quarterback sneak on 4th-and-1, giving the ball back to LSU. The Tigers failed to convert a first down themselves, however, and were unable to close out the game before affording Ole Miss one last chance to pull off a win.

Wallace drove the offense down the field and appeared to have his team in field-goal position, but there was a monumental collapse for Hugh Freeze and company with nine seconds remaining. The field goal unit failed to get the ball off in time and it resulted in a delay-of-game penalty. Instead of putting freshman kicker Gary Wunderlich back in for a 47-yard game-tying field goal, Freeze put the offense back out. Wallace then made a critical error by trying to throw for a touchdown, which ended up being intercepted by LSU safety Ronald Martin on the 1-yard line.

The Rebels' hopes and dreams of going undefeated this season ended in Death Valley with a disappointing 10-7 loss.

No. 13 Ohio State was in for a surprise when it traveled to Penn State. Not only did the Buckeyes get an unexpected 4 a.m. wake-up call from Nittany Lion fans Saturday morning, but they also had to settle things in overtime after giving up 17 unanswered points in the second half.

Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett didn’t have his strongest outing of the season with two interceptions, but he helped lead his team to a much needed 31-24 double overtime victory with two rushing touchdowns.

As if there hadn't already been enough excitement Saturday night, the late night Pac-12 showdown between No. 20 USC and No. 19 Utah did not disappoint. Steve Sarkisian’s Trojans once again had trouble closing out a game when they failed to get a first down deep in Utah territory on 4th-and-2 with about two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. Utah quarterback Travis Wilson then took advantage of USC’s missed opportunity and led the Utes down the field for a game-winning touchdown with eight seconds remaining.

With Utah’s come-from-behind victory, it is now in a position to contend for the Pac-12 South Division title. The Utes have yet to win the division since joining the conference in 2011.

The No. 10 TCU Horned Frogs seemed to be the big story of the day though, as they did more than just dismantle in-state Texas Tech.

Gary Patterson’s squad is currently one of the hottest teams in the country and it's fair to say that TCU’s 82 points—the most scored in a Big 12 Conference game—would give any opposing team’s defense nightmares. Quarterback Trevone Boykin threw a school-record seven touchdowns, while also leading the offense to a school best of 785 yards on offense.

No. 1 Mississippi State managed to get by an improving Kentucky team on the road. The 45-31 came with help from running back Josh Robinson’s 198 yards and two touchdowns.

Meanwhile, No. 11 Kansas State shutout Texas 23-0. It was the first time the Longhorns had been shut out since 2004.

Heisman contending quarterback Marcus Mariota helped No. 6 Oregon blow past Cal 59-41 with 326 yards and five touchdowns.

Finally, No. 5 Auburn got all it could handle from Steve Spurrier’s South Carolina Gamecocks, but the Tigers came away with a close 42-35 victory. 

Pick Results

Overall Record: 28-17

Week 9 Record: 4-1

Note: Team in bold indicates author’s pick

Prediction: Michigan State 35, Michigan 13
Result: Michigan State 35, Michigan 11

Prediction: Ole Miss 35, LSU 27
Result: LSU 10, Ole Miss 7

Prediction: Auburn 38, South Carolina 24
Result: Auburn 42, South Carolina 35

Prediction: Ohio State 34, Penn State 17
Result: Ohio State 31, Penn State 24 (2OT)

Prediction: Utah 37, USC 34
Result: Utah 24, USC 21

Final Thought

The College Football Playoff selection committee will meet for the first time this season in Dallas on Monday. It now gets interesting, as the current 12 members are getting their first opportunity to put their top four teams together.

With so much anticipation for this new era, there is already controversy over which teams should be in the third and fourth spots. The first and second spots should be set in stone, as Mississippi State and Florida State are both still undefeated.

Though there is a group of one-loss teams vying for two of the spots in the top four, there are two specific teams that the nation should see in the three and four spots when the first rankings are released Tuesday night. 

 

3. Alabama Crimson Tide

Record: 7-1 (4-1 SEC)

Quality Wins: West Virginia, Texas A&M

The Alabama Crimson Tide have taken care of business since their 23-17 loss at Ole Miss and narrow 14-13 win at Arkansas. Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide blew out then-No. 21 Texas A&M 59-0 at home on Oct. 18 and handled Tennessee on the road 34-20 this last week. With the offense clicking and things appearing to be smoother in Tuscaloosa these past two weeks, expect Alabama to be in the top four when the rankings are released.

 

4. Ole Miss Rebels

Record: 7-1 (4-1 SEC)

Quality Wins: Alabama, Texas A&M

Yes, the Rebels did defeat the Crimson Tide earlier in October, but the chances of being ranked higher than Alabama after a heartbreaking loss at No. 24 LSU on Saturday night are low. If not for a questionable decision by Hugh Freeze to not give his kicker a chance to tie the game right away—or quarterback Bo Wallace trying to be heroic with a pass to the end zone that was intercepted—this team very well could still be undefeated. The offense had an off night, but the landshark defense was in full force while holding LSU to only 10 points. Ole Miss is deserving of the No. 4 spot this week.

 

Just Missed:

Auburn Tigers

Record: 6-1 (3-1 SEC)

Key Wins: Kansas State, LSU

It’s difficult to leave Auburn out of the top four with a quality win at Kansas State in September and a blowout win at home against LSU, but it struggled at Mississippi State on Oct. 11 in a 38-23 loss. Quarterback Nick Marshall had a rough game against the Bulldogs when he threw two interceptions. The Tigers also had to hold on for dear life against a South Carolina team last week that has not been as good as advertised. 

Oregon Ducks

Record: 7-1 (4-1 Pac-12)

Key Wins: Michigan State, UCLA

A loss to then-unranked Arizona at home on Oct. 2 was a tough one to swallow for the Ducks—and it's basically the reason they don't make the top four, despite not having key left tackle Jake Fisher at the time and the Wildcats continuing to win. Since the return of Fisher, the Ducks have averaged 48.7 points per game, but the defense continues to be the big question.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish  

Record: 6-1

Key Win: Stanford

If not for an offensive pass interference call at Florida State, Notre Dame would find itself in at least the No. 2 spot. Stanford is now unranked and, other than that, the Fighting Irish haven’t defeated a quality opponent. The teams they’ve beaten are a combined 17-22.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Will Anyone Ruin the Mississippi State Bulldogs' Undefeated Season?

The Mississippi State Bulldogs stand atop the college football world as seemingly the best team in the country. Dak Prescott has led one of the most dominant offenses in the country to an undefeated season thus far.

Bleacher Report College Football Analysts Adam Kramer and Barrett Sallee debate whether these Bulldogs can be stopped.

Will the Mississippi State Bulldogs win the national championship?

Watch the video and let us know!


 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Doomsday Scenario: Could the SEC Be Shut out of the College Football Playoffs?

No. 24 LSU beat No. 3 Ole Miss, and now the SEC fan who covets national championships is thinking Doomsday Scenarios as far as the College Football Playoff. This conference is tyrannical. You knew that, right?     

Here is one scenario: Auburn loses to Ole Miss this Saturday, and the Tigers have two losses. Alabama gets to two losses with a loss at LSU. Georgia with a loss to Auburn will have two losses. Mississippi State loses at Alabama and at Ole Miss and has two losses. Ole Miss takes its second loss in the SEC title game against Georgia.

Every SEC contender has two losses.

Is the SEC champion, with two losses, assured of an automatic bid to the College Football Playoff? I think so. I don't know. FSU looks like a given (we'll see this Thursday at Louisville). Could one-loss Michigan State, or one-loss Oregon, or one-loss Baylor/TCU be in the CFP ahead of a two-loss SEC team?

Notre Dame looked pretty sharp in Tallahassee. Twelve people saw that last-second loss. The problem for the Irish is playing 12 games. Notre Dame still needs to rock a few teams left on its schedule to have any chance. (Arizona State is a good team, and so is USC).

That crooked number "2" will weigh on people picking four teams. For all the data the committee will be handed, they still have been conditioned by decades of conventional thinking: Wins and Losses. Suddenly, 12 people could be thinking: "The SEC is a terrific conference, but it doesn't have a terrific team." "They look good on the home field. What about a neutral field?"

Then there is the Bob Stoops background noise. The SEC's superiority is a myth. You see that sloppy Ole Miss offense? You see the threadbare look of the Auburn defense vs. South Carolina?

So come to the edge of your seats for this last month of the season. Could Goliath, the SEC, be left at home for the playoffs? SEC teams can make SEC teams look bad. A columnist smarter than me sent a message about Doom for the SEC.

I have no idea what is going to happen with the SEC West. Neither does anyone else. It's like spinning a Roulette Wheel. The kids who play this game are well-trained, intense, talented and have football IQs out the roof, but they are not robots. They have good days and bad days. Bo Wallace, who was having a good season, had a bad night in Death Valley. Geez, that's never happened before to a quarterback in that place.

This is going to be fun. We're about to add drama, burn brain cells and make a sponsor giddy because so many people are paying attention to the CFP brand. The first CFP rankings come out Tuesday. The NFL doesn't have anything like this.

The first four on Tuesday could be Mississippi State, Florida State, Alabama and Auburn. So far, so good for the SEC. The Pac-12, Big 12 and Big Ten will howl and then hope the SEC really is a beast and eats its own.

There is plenty of time for Ole Miss and Georgia to get into the top four. Or not. There is plenty of time for Mississippi State, Alabama and Auburn to get knocked out of the top four. Or not.

Johnny Majors, the former Tennessee coach, told me almost 30 years ago that he didn't know when the SEC would win another national title because the conference was too deep with good teams. The SEC was in a 12-year drought (Georgia, 1980 to Bama, 1992). "We beat each other up too much now," he said.

The dilemma for the SEC is still the same three decades after it grew into the best conference in college football. These very good teams have to play each other week after week after week. Dents are coming. Alabama has to play at LSU on November 8, and you just witnessed what happened in front of the frothing fans in the improved 100,000-seat Tiger Stadium. Ole Miss, a good team, scored seven points. LSU has grown in a month. Alabama has already lost on the road to a ferocious Ole Miss defense.

Mississippi State has to play at Alabama on November 15 and will be well-rested. It was a nice bit of scheduling by the Bulldogs to have UT-Martin in Starkville on November 8 while Alabama is in a battle with LSU. Dan Mullen and Scott Stricklin saw this team coming. Auburn has to play at Ole Miss, at Georgia and at Alabama. 

This is going to be one amazing stretch run in the SEC, which may be too good for its own good. We're about to see why I wrote that column in September that the College Football Playoff Committee should have front-row seats on the sidelines for a closer look, or be made up entirely of scouts. The 12-person committee has to determine if the offense-first teams in the Pac-12 and Big 12 could score on Alabama, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Auburn. How do you do determine that watching TV? How do you compare?

SEC fans berated other conferences for insisting that only conference champions get in the College Football Playoff. That was when SEC fans thought it would have at least two one-loss teams and they didn't want to be limited to one team in the CFP.

What if the SEC champ has two losses? "Hey, conference champions get in!" will come the cry from the south.

Here are some things to consider:

• Ole Miss had serious injuries against LSU on Saturday night. Its best offensive player, left tackle Laremy Tunsil, was injured in the second half. Its best defensive player, tackle Robert Nkemdiche, was on the sidelines part of the second half. If Ole Miss regroups and gets healthy, does it get cut some slack if it has two losses?

• The Big 12 plays just 12 games, but it plays everybody in its conference. Notre Dame plays just 12 games.

• Strength of schedule also looms. Analyst Jeff Sagarin says the toughest schedules are all in the SEC: Tennessee, Auburn, Alabama and Florida. But we also have to consider your opponents' record and your opponents' opponents' record.

• There is, of course, head-to-head. Think about TCU bashing West Virginia on the road this Saturday and then being compared to two-loss Alabama, if it is the SEC champion. Bama beat WVU, 33-23.

Before this is all over, somebody is going to go out to the slag heap and fetch one of those BCS computers and declare unbiased computers are the way to go. The SEC fan, with its two-loss champion, will not be one of those people. It might need all the help it can get from the humans sanctifying southern football.

 

 

Ray Glier covers college football for Bleacher Report. He has covered college football and various other sports for 20 years. His work has appeared in USA Today, The New York Times, CNN, The Washington Post and Al Jazeera America. He is the author of How the SEC Became Goliath (Howard/Simon & Schuster, 2013). All quotations were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Georgia vs. Florida: Complete Game Preview

For the better part of two decades, the Florida Gators dominated the Georgia Bulldogs in one of the SEC's most bitter rivalries.  Regardless of talent or season record, the Dawgs struggled mightily against the Gators between 1990 and 2010, winning just three contests during that period.

Things have changed as of late, however.  Though the games have all been close in score, the Bulldogs have prevailed in each of the last three contests.

Will Georgia's winning streak continue and strengthen the Bulldogs' grip on the SEC East's standings?  Or will Florida upset the heavy favorite?

Here's what you need to know about Saturday's game:

  • Date: Saturday, November 1
  • Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
  • Place: EverBank Field, Jacksonville, Florida
  • TV: CBS
  • Radio: Georgia Bulldog Radio Network, Gator IMG Sports Network
  • Spread: Georgia (-10), per Odds Shark

Begin Slideshow

Ole Miss Athletic Director Offers to Meet Disgruntled Fan in Person

Ole Miss athletic director Ross Bjork has no time for "anonymous" haters. If you have something to say to him, he wants you to say it to his face.

No. 3 Ole Miss lost to No. 24 LSU, 10-7, this past Saturday. The loss dropped the Rebels to 7-1 on the season and dealt a huge blow to the team's playoff hopes. That disappointing loss left one fan disgruntled.

For whatever reason, the fan decided to call out Bjork. That led to a response from the Ole Miss athletic director.

Social media has given people the ability to throw shade at others practically anonymously. Now, this fan has the opportunity to clear the air with Bjork in person if he so chooses. Chances are, nothing will come of this. 

[Twitter, h/t College Spun]

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

College Football Picks: North Carolina Tar Heels at Miami Hurricanes Odds

Two contenders for this season’s ACC Coastal Division title square off this Saturday when the North Carolina Tar Heels and the Miami Hurricanes butt heads at Sun Life Stadium. Game time is set for 12:30 p.m., and this conference clash will be available on ESPN3.

North Carolina is coming off a big 28-27 upset of Virginia this past Saturday as a seven-point road underdog. The Tar Heels have now covered against the spread in their last three games. The total stayed “under” the 60-point closing line against the Cavaliers after going “over” in four of the Tar Heels' last five games.

The Hurricanes have won three of their last four games both straight up and ATS, including a 30-6 romp over Virginia Tech last Thursday as 2.5-point road favorites. The total stayed under the closing 47.5-point line in that game, and it has now stayed under in three of their last four contests.

 

North Carolina at Miami Betting Storylines

The Tar Heels’ back-to-back victories over Georgia Tech and Virginia have them in the thick of the division title race at 2-2 in conference play. They scored a total of 76 points in those two games, and on the season, this offense is averaging 37.4 points a game, which is ranked 20th in the nation. The problem has been a very inconsistent defense that is allowing an average of 41.3 points, which is ranked near the bottom of Division IA.

Marquise Williams has been the driving force behind the Tar Heels’ potent offensive attack. The versatile quarterback has thrown for 2,025 yards and 17 touchdowns while completing 63.3 percent of his 270 attempts. He also leads the team in rushing with 497 yards on 108 attempts while tallying five scores with his legs. Against the Yellow Jackets two weeks ago, he threw for 390 yards and four touchdowns in a wild 48-43 last-second win.

Miami has relied on a balanced attack to average 31.3 points per game. The offense is averaging 242.4 yards through the air, and the ground game is adding another 187.4 yards per game. Brad Kaaya has also done a good job under center with 1,898 passing yards and 17 touchdown throws with a completion rate of 61.6 percent. Duke Johnson has already rushed for 1,036 yards and seven scores on 139 carries.

The Hurricanes defense has helped the cause by holding opponents to an average of 22.1 points a game. However, this unit did give up 28 points to Georgia Tech in an early October loss and 34 points the following week in a win over Cincinnati. This could be some cause for concern against the Tar Heels this Saturday afternoon.

 

North Carolina at Miami Betting Odds and Trends by Doc’s Sports

Point Spread: Miami -12

Total Line: OFF

Covers betting trends have the Tar Heels going 7-1 ATS in their last eight games following an ATS win, and they are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 conference games. The total has gone “over” in four of their last five road games.

The Hurricanes are 11-5 ATS in their last 16 home games but just 3-8 ATS in their last 11 games against a conference foe. The total has stayed under in their last four ACC games.

Head-to-head in this Coastal Division clash, the road team has won four of the last six meetings SU, but the home team is 4-1 ATS in the last five contests. The total has stayed under in three of the last four games.

 

College Football Pick: North Carolina at Miami Betting Prediction

I like Miami’s chances to get the SU win in this matchup, but covering a higher-than-expected 12-point spread will be a major challenge. The Hurricanes defense has already proved it can be scored upon, and the Tar Heels have had little problem lighting up the scoreboard this year. Take North Carolina and the points in what should be a very entertaining, high-scoring affair.

Take: North Carolina (+12) over Miami; Saturday, Nov. 1, 12:30 p.m. 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Pages