Well fans, we have reached the end of the 2012 college football regular season. This year has had a variety of teams occupying the top spot in college football and Notre Dame ended up #1 when the music stopped. The Irish will take on the SEC Champion Alabama Crimson Tide in the BCS National Championship Game that is sure to be one of the most watched in history. While Alabama has one loss, other one loss teams like Kansas State, Florida and Oregon will play in lower tier BCS bowl games. If there was any year for a playoff system in college football, this would be the one. Let’s do a hypothetical final four projection and see if we end up with the same BCS Championship game.
Final Four Projection
#4 Oregon at #1 Notre Dame: Does anyone think Notre Dame could keep up with Oregon if they’re going full throttle with their offense? I’ve underestimated the Irish’s defense all year, but USC was moving the ball against them with a quarterback making his first start. I think Oregon has the capability of really dominating the Irish, although Notre Dame could use their running attack to slow down the ball game and keep Oregon’s offense off the field. While comparing their same opponents, Oregon lost to Stanford 17-14 in overtime and beat USC 62-51. Notre Dame beat Stanford in overtime 20-13 and beat USC 22-13. I call the Stanford games a wash due to both going into overtime, but Oregon’s offense against USC prevails over Notre Dame’s defense against a quarterback making his first start. I think the Ducks waddle all over the Irish. Projection: Oregon 35, Notre Dame 31
#3 Florida at #2 Alabama: The Crimson Tide demolished every team it faced in September and October, only to struggle to win against LSU in the first weekend of November and then lost to Texas A&M in the second weekend of November. It seemed Alabama was out of the title hunt after that, but they were fortunate that Kansas State and Oregon lost, and set up a matchup with Georgia where the winner would play for the BCS Championship. The Gators put together a year that showed a new era in Florida football by relying on their defense to keep them in games. The Gators defense was ranked 3rd in the nation in points allowed (12.9) while the offense would dink and dunk their way to points. Factoring their common opponents, there’s plenty to analyze with both teams playing in the SEC. The Gators beat Texas A&M while Alabama lost to the Aggies at home. The Tide defeated Georgia in the SEC Championship while the Gators couldn’t defeat the Bulldogs earlier in the year. Both teams beat LSU with the Gators beating them by 8 and Bama beating them by 4. Tennessee was a cakewalk for both teams. The opponent with the biggest difference in margin of victory is Missouri. Alabama traveled to Mizzou and beat them 42-10. Florida had a home game in the swamp against the Tigers, and could only muster a 14-7 victory against them. I think it’s fair to say Alabama is the better team against the Gators, but it would be a heck of a semifinal game. Projection: Alabama 23 Florida 14
So there you have my take on the 2012 could’ve been final four of football. I have Oregon and Alabama for the BCS Championship. While it may not get the ratings the Irish and Crimson Tide will likely get in their matchup, I have a suspicion that it would be a much more entertaining game to watch.
Since this is the final week before the bowls start up, this edition of Monday’s Rewind and Look Forward categories will be based on the entire year’s body of work.
BMOC: Johnny Manziel, QB Texas A&M
In the upset of the year, Texas A&M went into previously unbeaten #1 Alabama’s home turf and did what was thought unthinkable at the time. Led by Johnny “Football” Manziel, a freshman out of Kerryville, TX, the Aggies ran and threw their way past Alabama and Manziel became an overnight national celebrity. While Manziel might be a little small to be quarterback, he’s adept at using his legs to either escape from the pocket and run or scramble in the backfield and keep the play going. Manziel looks like the favorite to win the Heisman, and will lead his team against Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl.
They Gave Him a Contract? Mark Richt, Head Coach, Georgia
The SEC Championship was one of the few big time college football games that actually lived up to it’s hype. It was a frantic fourth quarter that saw the lead change hands late as Alabama connected on a touchdown bomb to give the Tide a four point lead with about a minute remaining in the game. Georgia QB Aaron Murray led the Bulldogs down the field with some great reads and sideline routes. With about 14 seconds left, Murray could’ve spiked the ball and given his team two legitimate shots at the end zone. Instead, they called a play and the ball was tipped and fell into a receiver’s hands well short of the goal line. After the game, Richt was questioned about not spiking the ball in that situation, and he responded “We had the play we wanted, we had a good play.” Richt continued, “The ball got tipped at the line of scrimmage and if fell in the arms of a guy in play. The ball was going to the back end of the end zone, either a catch or out of the end zone.” Was he watching the same pass that I saw? That ball was going towards the front pylon of the end zone, and if Murray was throwing a fade, there’s no way the ball gets tipped at the line of scrimmage. It was just another in the long line of coaching disappointments of Richt’s career, where he could be doomed to be always the bridesmaid and never the bride. Georgia will face Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl on New Year’s Day.
Project Runway NCAA: Army Black Knights and Navy Midshipmen
One of my favorite college football events is the annual Army-Navy game. Both service academies’ students and alumni show up and root hard for the best our country has to offer. No one on either team is going to go pro, and for the seniors of Army and Navy, you either leave with your head held high, or a loss that will sting for a long time. This year the teams are wearing cool new uniforms for the game. Navy’s new duds feature a helmet with signal flags on the back of it that spell out “Beat Army.” The Black Knights uniforms feature sleeves, numbers and headgear that is a map of The Battle of the Bulge. These uniforms add even more to the legacy of this rivalry and salute the history of our military academies.
Small School, Big Time Numbers: DeNarius McGhee, QB, Montana State
The Montana State Bobcats advanced in the FCS playoffs with a win over Stony Brook 16-10 in Bozeman, Montana last Saturday. Leading the Bobcats was QB DeNarius McGhee who who passed for 208 yards and ran for 75 yards. Montana State never trailed in the game and will now take on Sam Houston State Friday Night in Bozeman. The 11 wins for the Bobcats this year are the most for the team since 1984.
Thursday Night Social: ?
Sorry, no game this Thursday. Don’t fret too much, we’re about to hit bowl season. You’ll be up to your eyeballs with Games of the Week, Clear Your Schedules and Monday’s Rewind and Look Forward. We have bowl season covered better than anyone here at FBSchedules.com.
Josh Adams is a contributor to FBSchedules.com and Stadium Journey. Follow him @Joshthescribe.