Monday Morning Quarterback by @YeahFlanny

College football no longer has a defending national champion. The formally #1 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide tasted defeat for the first time Saturday, and must prepare to relinquish the title belt come January 6th. The Tide lost a heart-breaker to their in state/arch rival Auburn, in the year end clash known as, The Iron Bowl. In a finish that was EASILY the craziest I’ve ever seen with my own two eyes, the Tigers trumped the Tide and punched their ticket to Atlanta for the SEC title game. Below I’ll dissect this weekends 4 marquee conference titles games, and unveil the new BCS top 10.

  1. Florida State
  2. Ohio State
  3. Auburn
  4. Alabama
  5. Missouri
  6. Oklahoma State
  7. Stanford
  8. South Carolina
  9. Baylor
  10. Michigan State

ACC Championship Game- The newly minted #1 Seminoles of Florida State have just one hurdle in their way in order to punch their ticket to Pasadena. That hurdle comes in the form of the Duke Blue Devils, easily the countries most surprising team this season. Duke clinched their first ever 10 win season on Saturday after besting rival North Carolina, and will make their first appearance in the conference title game. Duke coach David Cutcliffe seems to be a shoe in for national coach of the year with the exceptional job he’s done turning around this once dismal program. Cinderella story aside, the Blue Devils may have finally met their match. FSU is without a doubt the best and most complete team in the country. There is not a single hole anywhere on this Florida State roster, and with the BCS title game in their sights, you better believe coach Jimbo Fisher will have his team exhibiting laser focus Saturday. Couple that with the superior athletes on FSU’s side, and most are expecting a runaway victory for the Noles.

NCAA Football: Florida State at Pittsburgh

Big 10 Championship Game- The only fans in the country who were happier than Auburn fans Saturday night, were those in Columbus. With Alabama going down, Ohio State finally found itself on the inside looking out after nearly two years. Now at #2, the Buckeyes find themselves one win away from reaching the Rose Bowl to play in the BCS title game. Michigan State and the nations #1 defense stands in their way. All year Big 10 folks have wondered what would happen if OSU’s high powered O, met Sparty’s vaunted D, on Saturday evening we find out. All the talk has been about QB Braxton Miller and the Buckeyes wide receivers but Carlos Hyde is a MAN, and one of the more under appreciated players in the nation. I personally believe this game will be decided when the Spartans have the ball. The Michigan State offense hasn’t scared many folks this year, but yet the OSU defense can’t seem to stop a nosebleed. The Buckeyes enter the game as a slight favorite, but I’m having a hard time having any confidence in Urban Meyer’s squad, now that they control their own destiny.

SEC Championship Game- Riding high off of their miracle win over Bama, the Auburn Tigers now find themselves in the spot Ohio State’s been in for weeks, spot #3. They draw the SEC east champion, Missouri Tigers in the Georgia Dome, Saturday afternoon. A stingy defense, filthy receiving corp, and clutch quarterbacking has vaulted Mizzou to the top of the SEC east. Senior James Franklin is back at the helm after a mid-season shoulder injury and he’s the leader the Tigers will need if they want to hoist the SEC crown. Auburn will have to take their momentum into the Georgia Dome and again rely on the arm of QB Nick Marshall to lead them to victory. Unfortunately for both teams, winning this game may just be a consolation prize, as I wouldn’t expect either to pass the Buckeyes in the polls if OSU beats Michigan State. Of course, if Ohio State losses (wouldn’t surprise me) the winner of the SEC title game would then head to Pasadena, to play for it all.

Pac 12 Championship Game- I know you were expecting hurry up offense, scat backs everywhere, beautifully hideous uniforms (had a nice ring to it) in this game but, nope, no Ducks. Just grown men, smash mouth football, and traditional uni’s, kinda. The Arizona State Sun Devils will host the Stanford Cardinal in this year’s title game. The Cardinal come in as the national power, who dismantled the conference favorites earlier in the season. The Sun Devils come in with a chip on their shoulder, as the national media has seemed to neglect that they even exist, let alone that they’re on the verge of a Rose Bowl birth. Even with a loss, the Cardinal may receive a BCS at-large bid, but of course they’d like to keep it rolling with a victory. Winning this game is the only way for Arizona State to make a BCS appearance. Expect them to be ready, and Tempe to be rocking.

Extra Point- I would like to sincerely thank the Big 12 conference for NOT having a conference title game, thus forcing me to explain the scenario to you regarding who can win the Big 12 title this Saturday. It’s really not that complicated actually, I’m just getting toward the end of this post and my arthritis is beginning to kick in (I’m 24, going on 42). Oklahoma and Oklahoma State face of in their year end clash known as, Bedlam. If the Cowboys can beat the Sooners at home in Stillwater, they will be the outright Big 12 champs and clinch a berth in the Fiesta Bowl. If the underdog Sooners pull off the upset, things get interesting, and the atmosphere in Waco will ratchet right up. The nightcap between the Texas Longhorns and the Baylor Bears would then be for the Big 12 crown. While I have no dog in the race, the college football fan in me wouldn’t mind seeing a Sooners victory, in order to make the Texas vs Baylor contest for all the marbles.

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The NBA’s “One and Done” Rule and Our Modern Day Indentured Servants: By @ProfessorCorria

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“The subject matter is over their head but…Under their nose.”- David Styles

Indentured servitude was a form of debt bondage, established in the early years of the American colonies and elsewhere. It was most used as a way for poor teenagers in Britain and the German states to get free passage to the American colonies. They would work for a fixed number of years, then be free to work on their own. Sound familiar? This definition of indentured servitude sounds eerily similar to how we would describe our modern day student athletes. The only difference is the glory and star worship they receive on campus and nationally, but the only compensation is room and board. NCAA football and College basketball traffic in the inner city, dangling the carrot of the NBA and NFL in front of a majority of kids who see becoming a professional athlete as their only way of becoming successful, with their million dollar a year coaches acting as de-facto overseers. It’s high comedy that the coach of the Kentucky Wildcats is vilified in the media and seen as the boggy man by other college basketball coaches, because he has found a happy medium in getting his prospects to the NBA as fast as possible, while maintaining an elite program. And when a player like Johnny Manziel challenges the construct of the stereotype of an athlete who is looking to cash out, it brings the entire process of amateur athletics into the forefront.

Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins

         Something’s feel so simple, yet have no easy answer. It’s not because there isn’t a viable solution, it’s because every individual has a different opinion on how to deal with the same subject, and it’s supremely difficult to get a snowball to reverse its motion once it begins to cascade down the hill. The business at hand, and I do emphasize the word business, is the NBA’s “One and Done” rule, and the industry as a whole that does not pay its labor force. We live in a space where in our pro sports everything is “collectively bargained”, meaning that the players and owners get together to set the financial parameters in which their league or association will adhere to over a finite amount of time.

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        There are 3 primary reasons for the NBA’s “One and Done” rule, no it’s not money, money and money, but the current NBA players want to keep high school kids out an extra year because that’s an extra year on the back end of a veteran’s career. Secondly, the NBA enjoys their “free” minor league, even though they have the NBDL, nobody watches it, and therefore college basketball acts as a marketing tool to help bring millions of eyes to the new crop of young basketball players that will be coming into the NBA. Lastly, the NBA’s GM’s and coaches feel like they can get a better feel for the players that will be in the draft if they get a chance to watch them in college for a year and talk to the college coaches who they trust to get honest insight about a particular player. Lots of unspoken agreements are intertwined between the NCAA and the pro leagues in order to put both parties in mutually beneficial situations in regards to maximizing their profits, and they will go to great lengths in order to make sure gravy train keeps undulating.

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The “One and Done” rule evokes a great deal of emotion, simply because most if not all of the prospects that it effects are black youths. Nobody cares if baseball, hockey, tennis or golf players skip college or in some cases parts of their high school careers in order to become professionals, where most of the athletes are comprised of mostly white people. Make no mistake, there is jealousy, resentment, anger, biased and bigotry when it comes to the discussion of the NBA’s one and done rule. Are some people bitter that there were unproven 18 year old black kids coming straight out of high school and getting guaranteed contracts for millions of dollars, while they’re struggling to make ends meet? Of course. One thing I think David Stern never gets credit for is selling a black league to a majority white consumer base, which no one wants to acknowledge because race is such a difficult subject to broach.

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Race has a great deal to do with the feelings and sentiment around the NBA’s “One and Done” rule and the NFL keeping prospects out of the league until they have spent three years on a college campus. But, in reality the only color that really matters is green, money, the religion that we all worship in this great nation, is why the gate keepers of these two great sports have decided to place restrictions on when players can enter the professional ranks. The NCAA signed a 14 year, $10.8 billion dollar deal in 2010 to televise the Men’s Basketball tournament on CBS and Turner Networks, as well as 14 year, $500 million dollar deal to televise the “smaller sports” championship games with ESPN. This doesn’t take into account the dollar amount that the individual NCAA conferences have signed  to show basketball games on ESPN, FOX Sports, CBS, Raycom, NBC Sports, Big Ten Network, Longhorn Network, and the Pac 12 Network. All of these deals factor into Billions of dollars over the next few years, but the basketball money barely begins to scratch the surface of the money troth that is major NCAA sports. College Football is the number two sport in terms of television ratings, and the amount of money that TV networks will pay in order to broadcast these games being played by kids age 17-22 are staggering. ESPN and Fox will pay the Big 12 conference $ 2.6 Billion Dollars until the year 2024, while also shelling out $3 Billion Dollars to the Pac 12 conference through 2023. The SEC, the number one football conference in America will receive $3.075 Billion Dollars through 2023 from CBS and ESPN, while the Big Ten will receive $1 Billion Dollars from ESPN through 2017 and another $2.8 Billion Dollars from their own “Big Ten Network” through 2031. The ACC is bringing up the rear with $ 3.6 Billion Dollars from ESPN through the year 2026. Those numbers are staggering considering the labor force of these “corporations” aren’t being properly compensated, unless you consider a college scholarship fair compensation? I wanted to share these numbers because it’s important to see the revenue that is being generated by big time college sports, do with these dollar amounts what you will.

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Monday Morning Quarterback by @YeahFlanny

BCS Top 10 (11/24/13)

  1. Alabama
  2. Florida State
  3. Ohio State
  4. Auburn
  5. Missouri
  6. Clemson
  7. Oklahoma State
  8. Stanford
  9. Baylor
  10. South Carolina

We have made it to the last week of November. Most folks refer to it as Thanksgiving week, but us college football fans would prefer to refer to it as, rivalry week. Rivalry week, which doubles as the last week of the college football regular season is often the most exciting week of the season as not only bragging right are on the line, but in many cases, conference titles and national title implications hinge on this weekend’s slate of games. Let’s dissect some of the weekends marquee match-ups.

  • The Iron Bowl. Alabama vs Auburn. Number 4 hosting number 1, with the SEC West crown on the line. It’s been a few years since we’ve had an intriguing Iron Bowl match-up with both Bama’s supremacy and Auburn’s rapid dissent from the top of the mountain. The Tigers enter this game riding high, with an undefeated record, and the luxury of hosting this always important rivalry game. While QB Nick Marshall still has some question marks a passer, his running ability and the ability of his backfield mate Tre Mason have helped Auburn become one of the nation’s best rushing teams. We all know what to expect from #1 Bama by now, laser focus, pinpoint execution, and grown man football. I expect the Tigers to come out firing, but I don’t expect it to last long. The Tide will weather the early storm, and pull away late, strengthening their hold on the #1 spot in the BCS, heading into the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta.
  • The #2 team in the country, the Florida State Seminoles, coming off of an 80 (YES, 80) to 14 victory over lowly Idaho will travel to “the swamp” to face off against the dumpster fire that is the Florida Gators. The Gators coming off what just may be the worst loss in the history of the program, a 26-20 defeat to Georgia…Southern, stand absolutely NO chance against the high-power Seminoles. The Florida players seem to already given up on their coach, who may be roaming the home sideline at Florida for the last time. The Noles will look to keep it rolling against their in state rival, while attempting to avoid any injuries with the ACC title game looming December 7th. FSU quarterback Jameis Winston, who with 2 passing TD’s will break FSU’s single season TD record, currently held by former Heisman winner, Chris Weinke, hopes to pad his Heisman resume, while continuing to block out the off field issues he is currently dealing with. I said months ago that this Florida team would endure a 4-5 loss season, after Saturday’s game they’ll end the season at 4-8…
  • In the other BCS top ten match-up, the #6 ranked Clemson Tigers will make the short trip to Columbia to face their arch rival, and #10 ranked Gamecocks of South Carolina. There are HUGE postseason implications for both squads in this season finale. The Gamecocks must win, and hope for a Missouri loss in order to qualify for the SEC title game, while the Tigers are looking to lock up a BCS at large bid, likely sending them to Miami for the Orange Bowl, if they can beat South Carolina. The Gamecocks have had Clemson’s number for what seems like forever, but I have a feeling this is the Tigers year. Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins have never beat their in state rivals, and I think that changes before they head off to the NFL next year.

Quick Hitter Predictions-

– Ohio State at Michigan- It really pains me to see a Michigan team THIS bad. They can’t pass, they damn sure can’t run. Honestly, I don’t know what they can do. Ohio State is rolling, and hoping that style points can somehow get them ahead of FSU (no chance) in the BCS. Urban and his crew will be out for blood, I got the Buckeyes…BIG.

– Texas A&M at Missouri- The jig just may be up for Johnny Football. He looked horrendous against LSU on Saturday and floundered any chance he had left of winning back to back Heisman’s. The Tigers have their leader back at the helm in senior QB James Franklin. Mizzou knows what’s at stake, comes out firing, and books their trip to Atlanta.

– Minnesota at Mich St- Sparty may be the best team in the country that no one is talking about. They are undefeated in conference play and last week locked up an appearance in the Big 10 title game. The Gophers come in at 8-3 after a crushing defeat at the hands of Wisconsin last Saturday. I got the Spartans winning this one, but closer than the experts think.

– UCLA at USC- Bruins QB Brett Hundley has been extremely underwhelming down the stretch, while the defense has been a little suspect themselves. Myles Jack has been the savior on BOTH sides of the ball. The Trojans come in rolling, winning 5 in a row, and 6 of their last 7. This SC team seems to want Ed Orgeron as their official new head man, and while I don’t believe he’ll get the gig, I think the players send him out with a victory in his last game in the Coliseum, as the Trojans head coach.

Monday Morning Quarterback by @YeahFlanny

BCS top ten (11/11/2013)

  1. Alabama
  2. Florida State
  3. Ohio State
  4. Stanford
  5. Baylor
  6. Oregon
  7. Auburn
  8. Clemson
  9. Missouri
  10. South Carolina

Last week I posed the question, can they do it again? “They” being the Stanford Cardinal, with “it” being a second straight victory over the Oregon Ducks. The answer was an emphatic, yes. The Cardinal flat out dominated the high flying Ducks for three plus quarters, and if it wasn’t for a comedy of errors late, they would’ve blown the Ducks out. While I did not pick Stanford to win this one, I did say they matched up perfectly against the Ducks, and had more than a legitimate shot to pull off the upset. Stanford asserted their will in the trenches on both sides of the ball, and kept (former) Heisman frontrunner Marcus Mariota in check all night. The Ducks are now all but eliminated from title contention, and now must hope for a Stanford loss in order to play for the Pac 12 title. Winning out will assure them an at large bid. The Cardinal find themselves ahead of the Ducks in the BCS standings, and in the Pac 12 north. Continue to win and they’ll find themselves in Pasadena…for the Rose Bowl.

Thursday night’s “other” top ten match up, just was not that entertaining, unless you’re a Baylor fan. #10 Oklahoma traveled to Waco to face the #6 ranked Baylor Bears in a contest that was over, well, before the main event out west even kicked off. Baylor was up 24-5 at halftime, and cruised to an easy 41-12 victory. Baylor now jumps into the BCS top 5, at #5. They still has match ups with Texas and Okie St left on their schedule and can bolster their resume en route to wining the Big 12 title. Many people feel that Baylor should at least be at #4 ahead of Stanford, or even ahead of the Buckeyes at #3. I can surely understand where those folks are coming from being that OSU hasn’t beat a damn soul, and Stanford lost to Utah. Baylor just needs to  keep winning and their resume just may vault them to #3.

Saturday’s main event saw the #13 LSU Tigers travel to Tuscaloosa to face #1 ranked Alabama. This game rarely disappoints and Saturday was no different. Both teams came out throwing hay-maker, after hay-maker, in what can always be counted on as one of the season’s most physical contests. After securing only a three point halftime lead, Aj McCarron executed flawlessly in the 2nd half leading his team to a 38-17 victory. While the Tide won by 21, the game seemed to be a lot closer than that. Ironically enough, Bama showed some vulnerability on their way to obtaining a resume bolstering victory. The Tide defense was ran through and over early in the game, while the LSU wideouts had their way with the Alabama secondary all night. Bama remains at #1, and rightfully so, but Saturday’s contest may have gave teams some insight on how to attack the Tide.

Quick Hitters-

  • The Florida State Seminoles were the big winners this weekend as they not only dismantled Wake Forest 59-3, but vaulted up to #2 in the BCS rankings with Oregon’s defeat. For once Jameis Winston was overshadowed on Saturday, but not by the opposition. The FSU defense stole the show in Winston Salem forcing SEVEN turnovers, including SIX interceptions, two of which were returned for TD’s. With the Noles defense now playing on par with the offense, it’s easy to argue that FSU is the most complete team in the country.
  • The Auburn Tigers and Alabama Crimson Tide are now officially on a crash course. The newly minted #7 Tigers are playing some of the best football in the country right now. They will welcome in Alabama in three weeks for the “iron bowl”, with the winner heading to the SEC Championship Game. Alabama seems to have only one thing in front of them and Pasadena, and that’s their in state, arch rival.
  • The team most likely to meet Alabama or Auburn in Atlanta, is the Missouri Tigers. Maty Mauk continues to impress, with major help from his stellar wide receiver corp, notably sophomore Dorial Green-Beckham, who hauled in 4 TD’s in four jaw dropping ways Saturday. Only the season finale against Johnny Hancock and A&M stands between Mizzou and the SEC title game.
  • Speaking of Johnny Heisman, don’t expect that moniker to be renewed for another year. While I do understand that statistically Manziel is having a better season this year, the Heisman voters will do everything they can to NOT award him with the trophy for a second consecutive year. Not to mention, it’s Jameis Winston’s Heisman to lose at this point. The odds makers have Winston as a virtual lock. With upcoming games against Syracuse, and Idaho, and a rivalry game against Florida, Winston will have ample opportunities to pad those stats, and make another statement to the Heisman voters.

Gameday will be in LA this Saturday, for Stanford and SC. While the Trojans have looked mighty impressive since sending Lane Kiffin out to pasture, I can’t see them beating a bigger, and better Cardinal team. Georgia travels to Auburn in a very intriguing match-up. This Georgia team has three losses, but they also have Aaron Murray and Todd Gurley, watch out Auburn. Oklahoma State travels to Austin in a fun Big 12 match-up. The Longhorns are undefeated in conference play, but a letdown game has been destined for weeks now. In a game with HUGE ACC coastal implications, the Duke Blue Devils host the Miami Hurricanes. Miami is reeling after two straight conference defeats (blowouts), while the Blue Devils control their own destiny in the division after beating the Hokies. Duke knows it’s, win and their in, meaning they’ll be ready to go Saturday afternoon.

Monday Morning Quarterback by @YeahFlanny

BCS top ten (11/3)

  1. Alabama
  2. Florida State
  3. Oregon
  4. Ohio State
  5. Stanford
  6. Baylor
  7. Clemson
  8. Missouri
  9. Auburn
  10. Oklahoma

Last week saw five of the BCS top ten enjoying a bye. Alabama, Oregon, Stanford, Baylor, and Oklahoma all used the week to rest up and prepare for HUGE conference games this week, with even bigger national title implications. Alabama will host SEC west foe LSU Saturday night, while Thursday will be filled with fireworks, as Stanford hosts Oregon, and Oklahoma travels to Waco to face Baylor. Before we look ahead to next week, let’s first discuss Saturday’s college football happenings.

Saturday’s marquee match-up pitted two of college football’s biggest rivals against one another, as the #7 ranked Hurricanes of Miami traveled to Tallahassee to face the #3 ranked Florida State Seminoles. The spread was -27 in favor of the Noles, by far the biggest of any top ten match-up, and while it looked in jeopardy for a half, the Noles went on to cover with ease winning 41-14. Jameis Winston looked like a freshman, for once, in Saturday’s first half, tossing two interceptions, resulting in two Miami touchdowns, having them only down 7 at halftime. The second half for “Jaboo” went a lot differently, as he executed with precision, and let his workhorses in the backfield carry the Noles to victory. Junior running back, and Miami native, Devonta Freeman was unconscious Saturday night, with nearly two hundred yards of total offense and three TD’s. The FSU defense also stifled the Miami duo of QB Stephan Morris and RB Duke Johnson (get well soon!) in the 2nd half, not allowing a single point. Florida State proved that even when their freshman sensation QB is off his game, they are still an elite team, and that’s downright scary. While Miami proved what I’ve been telling you all year, they are not in any way, shape, or form, a national contender. The win vaulted the Noles to the #2 in this weeks BCS rankings, but that can and will change with an Oregon win over Stanford Thursday. FSU must just continue to win, and hope for an Alabama or Oregon loss down the stretch if they want to reach Pasadena.

Quick Hitters-

  • The Ohio State Buckeyes dominated yet again, against the cellar dwellers of the Big Ten, Purdue, by a score of 56-0. OSU has looked very sharp these last few weeks, and is acquiring a ton of style points, style points that will do them no help, since their only chance to get to Pasadena is for two of the three teams ahead of them to lose. Well, stranger things HAVE happen.
  • Clemson has seemed to finally recover from their drubbing at the hands of Florida State three weeks ago, as they dominated Virginia on the road, 59-10. The last team between the Tigers and a BCS at large birth are their in state rivals South Carolina, who seem to always have their number.
  • Texas Tech has now gone from a BCS hopeful, to all but out of the Big 12 championship race after a devastating home loss to Oklahoma State. The game wasn’t even as close as it’s 52-34 score, at least Kliff Kingsbury still has his looks.
  • Don’t looks now, but the Auburn Tigers might just be on to something. Running back Tre Mason found the endzone FOUR times, leading the Tigers to a 35-17 win on the road at Arkansas. The season finale between Auburn and arch rival Alabama continues to get more, and more interesting, and could decide who will go to Atlanta to represent the west in the SEC championship game.
  • Missouri and South Carolina both took care of business Saturday, cruising to easy victories over conference opponents. While they lost to the Gamecocks last week, the Tigers of Mizzou still control their own destiny in the SEC east. The Gamecocks may hold the tiebreaker, but that only comes into play in Missouri drops another game. Still A LOT of football left to play.
  • A round of applause for Johnny Football. My god, this kid is fun to watch!

Can it happen two years in a row??? Oregon travels to Palo Alto Thursday, for what will be their biggest test of the season, against the Stanford Cardinal. While I don’t think this Stanford team is a championship caliber team, I think they can be the squad to knock off the mighty Ducks. They are a big, physical, and extremely well coached team, a few of the necessary ingredients if they want to pull off this major upset. I’m certainly not calling the upset, as my better judgment tells me the Ducks will find a way to pull this one out, on the shoulders of their Heisman candidate quarterback Marcus Mariota, but my Garnet and Gold heart is forcing me to put the Ducks on upset alert Thursday night.

Also on Thursday, we get a Big 12 style shootout in Waco. As the Sooners come to town, looking to slow down the Baylor aerial attack. Both teams come off of a bye, and should be healthy and focused for the match-up that will go a long way towards deciding the Big 12. The Baylor Bears come in as the favorites, while not having a signature win on the season. The Sooners are a big, tough team, who are really starting to come into their own. Expect Oklahoma to assert themselves on the ground, taking the air out of the ball for themselves, and Baylor. If the Bears though can get out to a fast start, the scoreboard may get lit up, all night long.

LSU vs Alabama. In recent years it has not gotten any better than this SEC west rivalry. For as long as we can remember, the winner of this game often goes on to win the entire SEC and well, the national championship. This LSU team comes in with a very balanced attack, highlighted by two of the nation’s best wide receivers. The defense though, has been a bit suspect this year, especially in the secondary. With all that said, it just doesn’t matter, the Tigers are running into a buzzsaw this weekend in Tuscaloosa. This Crimson Tide squad is clicking on all cylinders right now, and there may not be a team in the country that can beat them right now….well, maybe there’s one.

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Monday Morning Quarterback by @YeahFlanny

Without further adieu I present to you the new, updated BCS top ten rankings.

  1. Alabama
  2. Oregon
  3. Florida State
  4. Ohio State
  5. Stanford
  6. Baylor
  7. Miami
  8. Clemson
  9. Missouri
  10. Oklahoma

After dismantling Tennessee 45-10 there was no doubt that the Crimson Tide would hold on to the #1 spot in the BCS rankings. Bama just continues to get better each and every week and only LSU and Auburn will create a challenge for the Tide down the stretch run of the regular season. As expected by myself, and many, the Oregon Ducks have jumped the Florida State Seminoles for the #2 ranking this week. While FSU only needed their starters for a half after jumping out to a 42-0 lead against NC State, the Ducks looked almost as impressive versus a very darn good UCLA Bruins team, winning 42-14. The Bruins came in ranked #12, while the Wolfpack is, and was unranked on Saturday.

The Ducks simply need to win out to make it to Pasadena, while the Noles will likely need to win out, and have either the Ducks or the Tide drop a game down the stretch for them to reach the BCS National Title game. Both teams will be facing top ten opponents next on their schedule as the Noles host #7 Miami this Saturday in primetime, and the Ducks travel to #5 Stanford next Thursday, Nov 7th. The Noles opened as a 21 point favorite against the Canes, and while it is a rivalry game, and stranger things have happened, I fully expect FSU to dismantle the “U” Saturday night. I also fully expect the Ducks to have their hands full on “the farm” against the Cardinal. While the bye week should immensely aid the Ducks, the fact that it’s a Thursday night game against a big, strong, smart team in Stanford, will be a lot for the Ducks to overcome. I’m not yet convinced the Cardinal will or even can beat Oregon, but the Ducks will surely be in for a war.

I must tip my cap to Urban Meyer and his Ohio State Buckeyes for their masterful performance Saturday evening against a scrappy Penn State team. From the opening kick, OSU imposed their will on the Nittany Lions, cruising to an EASY 63-14 win. The win gave the Buckeyes a percentage bump in the polls, but they are still a long ways away from contending with the Seminoles for the #3 spot. I still believe their only chance to get to Pasadena is with losses by two of the top three teams in the BCS rankings. With that said, I have a feeling Ohio State is going to drop a game this season, taking themselves fully out of national title contention.

The Stanford Cardinal jump up to #5 in this weeks rankings after a hard fought 20-12 victory over the Beavers of Oregon State. Coach Shaw and his Stanford team just seem to always find a way, reaching deep to come out on top in most close contests. The Cardinal now head into their bye week, with the Oregon contest looming next Thursday. Stanford gets nearly two weeks to prepare for the high powered Oregon offense and Heisman front-running QB Marcus Mariota. UCLA did a great job of slowing down Mariota, and STILL got blown out. I don’t know if anyone can beat the Ducks, but as of today, I am giving the Cardinal an ok shot at pulling the upset.

The Baylor Bears vault up to #6 in this week’s BCS rankings. That high powered offense of Art Brile’s did not miss a beat Saturday, hanging 59 on Kansas. While this Baylor offense is putting up amazing numbers, let’s remember that they’ve yet to face a defense worth a damn. They get this week off, and begin a three game stretch versus Oklahoma, Texas Tech, and at Oklahoma State. The jury is still out on the Bears until we can see what they can do against the top half of the Big 12.

Staying at #7 is the Miami Hurricanes, after yet again scraping by an inferior ACC opponent. Let’s be frank here, the Canes are not the 7th best team in the country. Just for giggles, here’s a few teams ranked behind the Canes, who I firmly believe are better than them. Clemson, Missouri, Oklahoma, Auburn, LSU, Texas A&M, UCLA, Texas Tech, South Carolina, Louisville, and there’s many more. Barring a miracle, the Canes will come back down to earth Saturday night after their clash with the Seminoles. Likely dropping them out of the top 15, which will still be too high for this team.

The Tigers of Clemson and Missouri come in at #8 and #9 respectively this week. Clemson, after starting extremely slow against a depleted Maryland team, rallied for a 40-27 victory on the road. I said after their dismantling at home at the hands of Jameis Winston and Florida State last week that they’re a better team than what the scoreboard indicated, but their not helping their case any. With that said, Clemson still has a great shot a running the table and getting a BCS at large bid. Something else I said last week in this column, was that I did not believe in Mizzou. It didn’t take long for my inkling to come to fruition, as the Tigers lost in OT at home to South Carolina. Connor Shaw entered the game in the 4th for the Gamecocks and led three straight scoring drives to force OT, where the Tigers missed a chip-shot field goal to prolong the game. Ironically enough, had Shaw played all game, South Carolina likely cruises to an easy victory.

Making their first appearance in the BCS top ten this week, is the Oklahoma Sooners. Saturday afternoon, the Sooners hosted the then #10 ranked Red Raiders of Texas Tech, in one of the weekend’s most exciting games. With a strong second half, OU outlasted Tech, giving the fighting Kliff Kingsbury’s their first loss of the season. We’ve now seen two drastically different OU teams this season, the one that rolled over against a really bad Texas team, and the one who thoroughly outplayed a darn good Tech team. The Sooners will not rest up and get ready for their trip to Waco next Thursday in a showdown with the #6 ranked Baylor Bears. That will be a true measuring stick game for both teams, with HUGE Big 12 title implications.