Nick Saban believes his team is still in the BCS hunt.
This is the take a breath week in the SEC with many teams looking to grab an easy win and prepare for a huge rivalry weekend. There are five pay per view games in the league this week as we get ready for Thanksgiving weekend and the big games. The SEC Championship Game is set and both teams are trending in different directions. The Alabama defense is beat up and should get healthy the next two weeks against Western Carolina and Auburn. The Crimson Tide has given up 304 yards rushing and was minus 5 in the turnover margin the last two weeks. Georgia has moved up to 23rd in the country in total defense and has held three consecutive opponents under 100 yards rushing. It should be an even match up and one that could get the winner in the BCS Title Game.How can the SEC get into the BCS Title Game? Everyone seems to think its the longest of long shots but just look at these potential circumstances. Oregon who I believe has played the best in the country and should be number one is banged up on defense. They have lost two starters to injury and will play a physical Stanford team this week. They may win the game, but anymore casualties and the Ducks will be ripe for an upset at Corvallis or in the Pac 12 Title Game. Notre Dame has to go to USC November 24th and lost to the Trojans in South Bend last season. With the modest success Pittsburgh and Boston College had throwing the ball this has upset written all over it. Kansas State seems the most likely to go undefeated because they are solid in all three phases. However they have choked this opportunity before and finishing with an improving Texas team will be tough. The Longhorns have won four in a row and the defense has played much better. Could we see Oregon, Notre Dame and Kansas State all lose? I am not saying it will but there is three big weeks of college football left and anything can happen.
Around the LeagueWestern Carolina at Alabama- The Crimson Tide needs to get teams off the field on third down. They have struggled the last two weeks and should dominate the Catamounts. Amari Cooper is 4th in the league with six touchdown receptions. The Tide defense has gone consecutive games without forcing a turnover.Jacksonville State at Florida-There is a good shot the Gators will be without starting quarterback Jeff Driskel. Jacoby Brissett would get the start and he actually started the first game of the season versus Bowling Green. The Gators are looking for a 7-0 home record on senior day and become the third team ever to do that at Florida.Georgia Southern at Georgia-This was a good match up for Todd Granthams defense as the rivalry game with Georgia Tech follows. The rushing defense has been stout three weeks in a row. They have allowed just 178 yards (59per game) and only 1.85 yards per carry. Aaron Murray leads the SEC with 19 touchdowns in conference games.Wofford at South Carolina- Connor Shaw has stepped up with the injury to Marcus Lattimore throwing for 628 yards and 5 touchdowns the last two games. Jadevon Clowney has had a sack in three consecutive games.Johnny Manziel and the Aggies could be headed to the Fiesta Bowl with two wins.Sam Houston State at Texas A&M- Johnny Manziel averages 379 yards of total offense per game and has accounted for 33 touchdowns on the season. But dont forget about the improved Aggie defense which has improved in conference play to giving up just 19.9ppg. The offense is averaging a league best 36.3ppg in conference play.
Samford at Kentucky- Joker Phillips will get a much needed win this week and his two young qbs should have some success. The Wildcats have not thrown a touchdown pass since October 20th. Avery Williamson has been a terrific defender for Phillips and had 20 tackles against Vanderbilt in his last game. It was the first 20 tackle game for a Wildcat defender since 2003.
Syracuse at Missouri-The Tiger pass defense will face another good passing quarterback in Ryan Nassib from Syracuse. Nassib has already thrown for over 3,000 yards and 21 touchdowns. Missouri is trying to become bowl eligible with a win and it is their final home game. Kendial Lawrence is now 5th in the SEC in rushing at just over 81 yards per game. In the last six seasons Missouri is 17-5 in November.
Tennessee at Vanderbilt-Vanderbilt is coming off its biggest come from behind win since 1999 after erasing a 17 point margin last week against Ole Miss. The Commodore defense is on pace to have their best season in forty years with regards to points allowed. Vanderbilt is ranked 16th in the country in scoring defense at 18 points per game. The defense had 14 tackles for loss a week ago against the Rebels. Tennessee has won 28 out of the last 29 games against Vanderbilt. The Vols need a win to keep bowl hopes alive. Tyler Bray leads the SEC with 29 touchdown passes.Dan Mullen has lost three in a row, but is back home this week.Arkansas at Mississippi State-The Razorbacks must win their final two games to go to a bowl game. Arkansas is a fast starting team this outscoring its opponents 89-35 in the first quarter on the season. Tyler Wilson is tied for the NCAA lead with six passes of 60 yards or more. The Bulldogs have not intercepted a pass in the last three games. The defense in general has struggled giving up an average of 499 yards per game during their three game losing streak. The Bulldogs are looking for their eighth win which has only happened 15 times in school history.
Ole Miss at LSU- The LSU Tigers could still end up in a BCS bowl if they win out. The Fiesta Bowl is making it know they would like an SEC team and the Tigers are the best 2 loss team in the country. The Tigers have gone 46 consecutive possessions without a turnover dating back to the 2nd quarter of the South Carolina game. Zach Mettenberger has gone 110 consecutive passes without an interception. Ole Miss needs a win to get bowl eligible and Bo Wallace had his best day a week ago throwing for over 400 yards. The Rebels have the best red zone offense in the SEC; however they did have to kick three field goals last week in the loss to Vanderbilt. The Rebels are the only team in the SEC without a red zone turnover this season.
Nick Saban believes his team is still in the BCS hunt.