By College Football Analyst Marty Jenkins for TonySoftli.com
1. Florida State (12-0)- The Seminoles had no issues with the embarrassing Gators on Saturday as they cruised to a 37-7 win. Heisman favorite Jameis Winston threw for 327 yards and three touchdowns, while receiver Kelvin Benjamin corralled three scores on 212 receiving yards. The Gators recorded only 193 total yards…yikes! The leash for head coach Will Muschamp will be very short heading into next season. FSU now heads to the ACC title game to face Duke…yes, Duke. Kudos to Blue Devils head coach David Cutcliffe for putting together a magnificent campaign. However, they stand no chance against a Noles’ team that is favored by 29. FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher will finally get the troops to the BCS title game. I believe that they’ll hoist the trophy regardless of who they match up against.
2. Ohio State (12-0)- The Buckeyes survived the trip to Ann Arbor thanks to a terrible decision from Michigan head coach Brady Hoke. The Wolverines scored with :32 left to make it a 42-41 Ohio State lead. Hoke then decided to go for the two point conversion which resulted in an interception. Wow, Hoke…wow. This wild game also featured a brawl in the first quarter that resulted in three ejections. OSU back Carlos Hyde had a monster game with 226 yards and a score, while quarterback Braxton Miller recorded three touchdowns and 286 all-purpose yards. The Buckeyes now head to Indy to face 10th ranked Michigan State in the Big Ten title game. Now this is where things get interesting. OSU’s schedule is an absolute joke. I think that they need to win by two or three touchdowns to get to the title game. If Auburn wins convincingly against Mizzou, and the Buckeyes barely win then Auburn should get the nod. That won’t happen though. It’s “THE “ Ohio State University and they’ll likely get the invite even if they win by one.
3. Auburn (11-1)- If you still haven’t seen the Iron Bowl ending from Saturday then I feel for you. I really do. After a back and forth grueling battle, the game was knotted at 28 with :01 left. Tide head coach Nick Saban decided to go for the win with a 57 yard field goal from freshman kicker Adam Griffith. 57 yards and a freshman is not a good combo. What happened next falls under the category of “best finishes in sports history”. Griffith’s kick fell short and Auburn’s Chris Davis caught it and ran it back for a 109 yard touchdown. To say it was unbelievable would be a huge understatement. That’s why we love football folks. It was a very rough day for the Tide’s starting kicker Cade Foster. The senior went 0-3 on the day in field goals. Keep your head up kid. This is an Auburn team that was supposed to win only five or six games this year. Head coach Gus Malzahn has a great chance to win coach of the year. The Tigers now head to Atlanta to take on Mizzou in the SEC title game.
4. Alabama (11-1)- The Tide can still get in the national title game if Auburn and Ohio State lose. Both of those teams have to lose because Florida State is not going to lose to Duke. It’s just not going to happen. I can see OSU losing because Michigan State has a really good defense. I could also see Auburn losing because that game against Mizzou is a toss-up. Many will say Mizzou should jump Bama if the Tigers win and Ohio State loses. Those people would have a solid argument considering their only loss was to South Carolina without starting quarterback James Franklin. However, I just don’t see the Tide being passed by Mizzou. Alabama still has a shot at getting to the big game. The likely scenario though is FSU and OSU both winning this weekend and then hooking up for the title. Bama will then have to deal with the fact that they missed out on several opportunities to close out that Iron Bowl game. You can’t win them all Tide fans.
5. Missouri (11-1)-It was a great scene in Columbia Saturday night as Mizzou capped off their amazing regular season with a 28-21 win over Texas A&M. This was a team that was supposed to win only six or seven games this year and now they’re SEC East champs. Head coach Gary Pinkel has done a tremendous job this year. Mizzou’s defense also did a tremendous job limiting Johnny Football to only 21 yards on the ground and 195 in the air. Manziel’s largest run of the night was only a six yard scamper. The Tigers defense frustrated him the better part of the night. Aggies star receiver Mike Evans was also frustrated as E.J. Gaines limited him to only eight yards on four catches…wow. Henry Josey had a big day for the Tigers as he ran for 96 yards and a score. Quarterback James Franklin racked up 313 total yards and two scores. Mizzou now has a very interesting matchup in the SEC title game vs. Auburn. Keep an eye on Mizzou’s stud defensive line going up against one of the best rushing attacks in the land. Auburn is fifth in the nation in rushing yards per game with 318. There’s a lot on the line in Atlanta Saturday night and it will be very interesting to see how it plays out. Auburn is perhaps playing for a spot in the BCS title game. Mizzou’s only shot to get there is with a win and an FSU and OSU loss. That is very unlikely.
6. Oklahoma State (10-1)- The Pokes had the week off as they prepare for the “Bedlam Battle” this Saturday vs. the Sooners. Oklahoma State likely will be going to the Fiesta Bowl if they can notch a win over OU this weekend. The Sooners are sitting at 17th right now and have a solid defense and one of the best running games in the land. However, OU is one of the worst passing teams in the land. OSU probably has too much firepower in the air for the Sooners to handle. The Cowboys are scoring 41 points a game and have a good defense. I don’t see OU winning this one.
7. Stanford (10-2)- The Cardinal eeked out a 27-20 win over the Irish thanks to two fourth quarterback interceptions from Irish quarterback Tommy Rees. Stanford back Tyler Gaffney had a monster game with 189 rushing yards and a score. The Cardinal now head to Tempe to take on Arizona State in the Pac-12 title game with a trip to the Rose Bowl on the line. The two hooked up earlier in the year in Palo Alto with the Cardinal posting a 14 point win. In that game Sun Devils quarterback Taylor Kelly tossed a couple of picks. The story won’t be the same this time as the Cardinal will have a tough time dealing with a raucous ASU crowd. This will be a tight contest and in the end I’m going to go with ASU. Stanford struggles with the passing game and I don’t trust Cardinal quarterback Kevin Hogan to make big plays in the air.
8. Baylor (10-1)- The Bears won a barn burner 41-38 at TCU this weekend to keep their BCS hopes alive. Quarterback Bryce Petty tossed two touchdowns while the Horned Frogs turned the ball over four times. Baylor now hosts an 8-3 Texas team that is not as good as their record indicates. Despite beating Oklahoma, they have beaten several bad teams by not a lot of points. The Bears offense will be way too much for the Longhorns, and add to that the fact that Texas quarterback is a turnover machine. I will say this though: A win by Texas will go a long way for head coach Mack Brown and his status on the hot seat.
9. South Carolina (10-2)- The Gamecocks notched a nice 31-17 home victory on Saturday against Clemson. Gamecocks quarterback Connor Shaw racked up 246 yards with two scores, while Clemson signal-caller Tajh Boyd had an off outing with two interceptions. Clemson turned the ball over six times in the loss…yes, SIX! My guess would be that SC gets an invite to the Outback Bowl. The Gamecocks entered the season with National Title aspirations as many hailed this as Spurrier’s best team since coming to Columbia. 10-2 is great…but, I thought they’d be better.
10. Arizona State (10-2) – The Sun Devils smoked rival Arizona 58-21 in Tempe Saturday night. Running back D.J. Foster scampered for 124 yards and two scores, while quarterback Taylor Kelly threw for 274 yards and two touchdowns. ASU wide receiver Jaelen Strong had a great outing with 142 yards and a score. Arizona quarterback B.J. Denker had a terrible outing with three picks. This has been a great year for ASU and they should be just as good next year as they return a bunch of key players.