The No. 1 ranked Crimson Tide kept it cookin last Saturday at home against State in a 51-3 victory. Super freshman Jalen Hurts completed 28 of 37 passes for 347 yards and four 7's. Jalen also ran for 100 yards and a TD. Jalen should be in the Heisman conversation with what he's done this year. He's been terrific. ArDarius Stewart caught 8 passes for 156 yards and 3 TDs. Quite a football player. The defense was at its usual standard of excellence. This Crimson Tide machine looks unstoppable right now, but they have two more regular season games to take care of starting this Saturday at home against an overmatched Chattanooga team, then the Auburn Tigers, and then the SEC Championship game. There is still little margin for error, but this fantastic football team doesn't look like it makes any errors. The organization keeps on producing.
AU lost a really tough one between the hedges to the Dawgs last Saturday, 13-7. Sean White played with a banged up right shoulder and shouldn't have played. I know Sean wants to compete and help his team win and I admire that, but John Franklin III would have given the Tigers a better shot in the second half with Kamron Pettway out and Kerryon Johnson probably at 50 percent. The defense did their part. It was still a really good football game, and Kirby and the Dawgs earned a hard fought victory in the 120th matchup of the Deep South's oldest rivalry. Georgia now holds a 57-55-8 advantage in the series. But the Tigers have three more opportunities, this Saturday at Jordan-Hare versus Alabama A&M, next Saturday in Tuscaloosa, and in a bowl game. The Tigers need to win this weekend, do their best at Bryant-Denny, and win their bowl game to get momentum in recruiting and for 2017. So they've got a lot to play for.
One of the top four teams in the playoff rankings is highly questionable to me. Bama is a slam dunk at No.1 and Ohio State is a solid No.2. The next two get interesting. I won't argue with Clemson at No.4, but I disagree 100 percent with Michigan at No. 3. They lost to double digit underdog Iowa, and while Iowa is a pretty solid Big Ten team, Michigan doesn't belong in the top four after that. I like Louisville at 4 and Clemson at 3. Still believe in Clemson. This idea of the Big Ten getting two teams in the playoff is comical. Louisville should be in the top four. They would waste Penn State, Wisconsin and beat Michigan. Lamar Jackson is a game changer. There is still some football left, but if the committee wants the best four teams, if all of these four teams take care of business, that should be the final four. Clemson survived Louisville at Clemson. I picked Clemson to beat Louisville, but it was a hard fought, knock down, drag out contest in which Lamar Jackson was unstoppable. The Cardinals crushed Florida State at home. They've taken care of business in their other games, though they've been close @ Virginia and at home against Wake Forest, at least for three quarters, but those teams played well. I like the Cardinals in the playoff with the other three. That's the best four in my opinion. The committee ought to do the right thing and take the best four regardless of conference championships. I like to use the eye test to determine the best four teams, and my eyes are telling me unequivocally that these are the best 4 teams.
Onto the predictions for week 12.
Last week: 10-8, Chaos Erupted
Overall: 167-74, 69%
No.1 Alabama 52, Chattanooga 3
6 PM CT/7 PM ET, Bryant-Denny, ESPN2
No. 15 Auburn 56, Alabama A&M 3
6:30 PM CT/7:30 PM ET, Jordan-Hare Stadium, SEC Alternate Network
No. 5 Louisville 34, Houston 31
The Cardinals get tested at Houston, but survive and advance.
7 PM CT/8 PM ET, ESPN
Troy 42, Arkansas State 35
Troy is 8-1 and one of the most underrated stories in college football this season. Their only loss is to No.3 Clemson @ Clemson, 30-24. They deserve a good bowl if they can finish strong in the Sun Belt, but they'll be tested tonight against a pretty hot Red Wolves team, which has won its last five in a row after an 0-4 start. Troy has games @ Texas State and @ Georgia Southern to finish off the season. This is a really good football team under second year coach Neal Brown, who's done a spectacular job.
8:30 PM CT/9:30 PM ET, ESPNU
No. 20 Boise State 56, UNLV 24
The interesting thing about this game is the Broncos are the highest ranked Group of Five team that would qualify for a New Year's Six Bowl if they can finish that way. The only problem for Boise State is even if they win out, if Wyoming beats double digit favorite San Diego State Saturday and win out, Wyoming would win the Mountain Division of the Mountain West and play San Diego State in the Mountain West championship game most likely canceling out Boise State's chances of a New Year's Six Bowl. Plus San Diego State is 9-1 with their only loss coming at South Alabama, and the Jags annihilated them surprisingly, so if San Diego State were to beat Boise State in the Mountain West Championship game, that would knock Boise out as well. San Diego State is a good team. South Alabama has been good at times this season, and has quality players and a quality head coach in Joey Jones, so this is an interesting scenario in the Mountain West. You still have Western Michigan hanging around at 10-0 and Navy to me is the most underrated team in the country. The Academy can make some noise if they keep winning. So some pretty serious drama forthcoming outside the playoff.
8 PM CT/9 PM ET, ESPN2
No. 16 LSU 24, No. 23 Florida 20
LSU running back Derrius Guice has been mouthing off this week about how LSU should have beaten Alabama. That trash talk after the game is nonsensical and not very smart. I see the Gators giving the Tigers a good game here.
Noon CT/ 1 PM ET, SEC Network
No. 19 Tennessee 34, Missouri 24
The Vols need to win this game and next week's game against Vandy to win the East, coupled with a Florida loss to LSU.
2:30 PM CT/3:30 PM ET, CBS
Ole Miss 42, Vanderbilt 17
Shea Patterson and Ole Miss put on a performance for the ages in the fourth quarter last week at A&M in a Rebels' 29-28 victory. It was amazing. Hugh Freeze is one of the top 7 coaches in college football in my opinion. I'd go with: 1. S, 2. Urb, 3. Dabo, 4. Jim, 5. Petrino, though he's not my favorite personality, 6. Hugh, 7. Kirby Smart. Kirby is an up and comer for sure. Hugh did his best job of coaching in this game five years ago when he recruited the all world five star dual threat quarterback from Shreveport, LA. It was an amazing victory for the Rebels, who have endured a very difficult season. Huge fan of Hugh Freeze. See greatness for Shea, Jalen Hurts and Jacob Eason in the next two to three years.
7 PM CT/ 8 PM ET, SEC Network
Mississippi State 34, Arkansas 31
State is somewhat surprisingly the favorite here, but I like'em at home.
6 PM CT/7 PM ET, ESPNU
Georgia 42, Louisiana Lafayette 24
11 AM CT/ Noon ET, SEC Network
No. 25 Texas A&M 48, Texas San Antonio 7
11 AM CT/ Noon ET, ESPNU
Kevin Sumlin is a good coach and I really like him as a person. He's a really good guy. But I don't know if his coaching style works that well in college. He seems more like a Bill Belichick, Mike Tomlin, NFL coach. I like him as a coach and I'm not giving up on him at A&M, but I see him doing better in the NFL. Maybe that's where he wants to be, but he may want to stay at A&M and see if he and his program can somehow overcome the immense hurdles of Alabama and the rest of the west next year and in the upcoming years. It's just hard for Sumlin and others to beat Saban and Alabama. So he may want to try the NFL waters. I don't know if he could get a head coaching job there, but I could see him doing a good job on Sundays. I do like him a lot as a person and as a football coach. He may be better suited for the pro game though.
South Carolina 42, Western Carolina 7
Will's building in Columbia.
3 PM CT/4 PM ET, SEC Network
Kentucky 48, Austin Peay 17
Kentucky had their chance to possibly win the East last Saturday in Knoxville, but got blasted. see Mark Stoops, just like his big brother, Big game Boob. Can't get it done in the clutch.
3:30 PM CT/4:30 PM ET, SEC Alternate Channel
No. 14 West Virginia 35, No. 9 Oklahoma 31
I watched West Virginia and I trust them. I don't trust Big game Boob in big games, and I really like this West Virginia team. The Mountaineers knock off the Sooners in Morgantown in an upset and matriculate into the playoff conversation.
7 PM CT/8 PM ET, ABC
No. 10 Colorado 38, No. 22 Washington State 35
This should be a really good football game pitting two quality teams with Mike McIntyre and his Buffaloes team just edging out Mike Leach and the Cougars, who are 7-0 in the Pac-12 North. Colorado states its case for the playoff with a victory here, but have to face Utah next Saturday, but at home.
2:30 PM CT/3:30 PM ET, FOX
No. 2 Ohio State 35, Michigan State 28
Urb gets a scare. I see the Spartans with a chance of knocking off Penn State next week at Happy Valley and ruining the Nittany Lions chances of a Big Ten East title and a shot at the playoff. Still believe Mark Dantonio is a really good football coach, and they'll play with a lot of pride these next two weeks.
11 AM CT/ Noon ET, ESPN
No. 3 Michigan 28, Indiana 24
Jim survives, but his starting quarterback is out for the season and his team is hanging by a thread. Trip to the Horseshoe next Saturday looks very challenging.
2:30 PM CT/3:30 PM ET, ESPN
No.4 Clemson 42, Wake Forest 20
Like Dabo and his Tigers to bounce back and remain in the top 4.
6 PM CT/7 PM ET, ESPN
No.7 Wisconsin 35, Purdue 17
11 AM CT/ Noon ET, ABC
Believe in what Paul Chryst is doing in Madison. Good solid football team.
TCU 45, No. 11 Oklahoma State 35
See TCU getting together. Gary Patterson is too good of a coach. They blasted Baylor two weeks ago @ Baylor, 62-22.
11 AM CT/Noon ET, Fox Sports 1
No. 17 Florida State 45, Syracuse 24
Jimbo Fisher is a hot name in the LSU search. Should be a riveting next couple of weeks in the LSU coaching search.
2:30 PM CT/3:30 PM ET, ABC
No. 21 Western Michigan 49, Buffalo 17
Game Day is going to be in Kalamazoo for the game. P.J. Fleck has done a spectacular job and his team is very much in the hunt for a New Year's Six Bowl. Fleck is a real up and comer in college football.
2:30 PM CT/ 3:30 PM ET, Duh U
San Diego State 38, Wyoming 35
This is actually a super game with both teams trying to win the Mountain West and maybe make a run at a New Year's Six Bowl, at least the Aztecs who are 9-1. The Aztecs will need some help, but with the chaos we experienced last week and the anticipated chaos ahead, they're in it. Really like both of these teams. Two super running backs in Donnell Pumphrey of the Aztecs of San Diego State, who has rushed for 1,779 yards and 14 TDs, and Brian Hill of the Cowboys, who has rushed for 1,417 yards and 16 TDs. Craig Bohl is in his second year at Wyoming after winning multiple FCS National Championships at North Dakota State. He's superb, as is Rocky Long, who in 6 years at San Diego State, has a 52-24 record.
2:30 PM CT/3:30 PM ET, CBS Sports Network
No. 6 Washington 45, Arizona State 17
The Huskies are still a factor in the playoff picture. Not counting them out. If they win here and @ Washington State next week, then in the Pac 12 title game, they'll make a strong case. Still a very good football team. USC was just awesome against them last week.
6:30 PM CT/7:30 PM ET, FOX
No. 12 Utah 38, Oregon 31
The Utes still very much alive in the Pac 12, and will win it if they can win Saturday, next week at Colorado and in the Pac 12 title game. They'll be in the Rose Bowl if they do so. The semifinal games are at the Peach Bowl and the Fiesta Bowl this year on December 31st, and the national championship game is in Tampa at Raymond James Stadium on January 9th, but the Utes can play in the grandaddy of them all, the Rose Bowl, which would be really solid. They're not out of the playoff picture totally either.
1 PM CT/ 2 PM ET, Pac-12 Network
No. 13 USC 45, UCLA 30
USC is one of the hottest teams in college football, and I like the way they're trending both for this year and next year. They probably won't win the Pac 12 South, but they're still in it. Colorado is 6-1, USC is 6-2 and Utah is 5-2. A Utah loss this Saturday, a Utah upset victory over Colorado next Saturday and the Trojans are in because they defeated Colorado earlier this season. They did lose to the Utes @Utah, so they're going to have to get lucky. Jim Mora is really having a tough time in Tinseltown. He seems more suited for the professional game as well. I like him as a coach, he's just been decimated by injuries the last couple of years and maybe college is just not the right place for him. Believe in him as a coach, but maybe at the next level.
9:30 PM CT/10:30 PM ET, ESPN
No. 24 Stanford 42, California 31
The Cardinal have come alive recently. David Shaw changed quarterbacks and went to the guy who should have started to begin with, Keller Chryst. He's outstanding and Christian McCaffrey has been quietly rolling up the yards lately.
4:30 PM CT/5:30 PM ET, Pac-12 Network
Navy 42, East Carolina 35
Really like this Midshipmen team. They should get in the top 25 and should have a shot at a New Year's Six Bowl if they keep winning. They are 7-2, and have beaten some good teams in the American Conference including Houston, which was ranked in the top 10 at the time. I really like this team and with some more chaos, they could be playing on Jan. 2nd.
3 PM CT/4 PM ET, ESPN News