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Weekend Preview: Big 12, SEC and Pac 12 stakes on the line

Lache Seastrunk, Datone Jones, Nick Florence AP

The tension is mounting. Rivalry games are just around the corner. Championship dreams are starting to fade or become reality. The time to make a Heisman moment is running out as well. This weekend has a little bit of it all to offer this weekend, eve if the BCS championship heavyweight contenders are mostly taking it easy this week.

BCS Championship frontrunners get week off, sort of

No. 1 Alabama (10-0, 7-0 SEC) and No. 2 Florida State (10-0, 8-0 ACC) can put everything on cruise control this week, but nobody will expect that. The Crimson Tide square off in an epic Iron Bowl match-up with Auburn next week but warm up with a home game against FCS Chattanooga (8-3, 6-2 Southern) while Florida State will play host to Idaho (1-9). Both should be able to name their score, but Florida State’s game will be under a bit of a microscope.

Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston is the center of attention in college football this week, but not for his play on the field. Winston has been linked to a sexual assault case from last December and a state attorney continues to review all of the information before making a decision on whether or not to press charges against the Florida State quarterback and Heisman contender. If you think Florida State is going to succumb under pressure or Winston will falter under the scrutiny, think again. Against Idaho it is not likely the first team offense will be on the field anyway.

Baylor, Oklahoma State put Big 12 on the line

No. 4 Baylor (9-0, 6-0 Big 12) visits No. 10 Oklahoma State (9-1, 6-1 Big 12) looking to keep the high powered offense in gear. Baylor is making a push to move by Ohio State in the BCS standings, and with the Buckeyes taking on Indiana the Bears may have a good chance to make a move with a strong showing against the Cowboys. The winner of this one will take over first place in the Big 12.

Since being upset by West Virginia, Oklahoma State has won six straight games including last week’s 38-13 shelling of Texas in Austin. Quarterback Clint Chelf was 16-for-22 for 197 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for a game-high 95 yards and two touchdowns in the win over the Longhorns. Chelf will need more help from the supporting cast this week because Bryce Petty, Lache Seastrunk and Antwan Goodley make for a lethal trio every time they are on the field. There will be plenty of points scored in this one, and it will be critical for Oklahoma State to find a way to keep pace early on.

Why can’t we have Clemson-South Carolina this week instead?

Every season criticism is thrown on teams scheduling cupcakes at the beginning of the year rather than improving their strength of schedule. This trend may change as college football moves to the College Football Playoff model that takes note of strength of schedule more than the current BCS formula. Unfortunately the season also ends with some blatant mismatches lacking any sizzle as well.

No. 7. Clemson (9-1, 7-1 ACC) is one of those teams. Sure, the Tigers play No. 11 South Carolina (8-2, 6-2 SEC) next weekend, but this week they host Citadel. The Gamecocks, meanwhile, are hosting Coastal Carolina.

Speaking of South Carolina…

The Gamecocks may not be playing an SEC game this weekend but they can clinch a spot in the SEC Championship Game anyway. No. 8 Missouri (9-1, 5-1 SEC) travels to No. 24 Ole Miss (7-3, 3-3 SEC) and needs to win to stay in front of South Carolina in the SEC East standings. If Ole Miss picks up the win, South Carolina will head to Atlanta as a result of owning a head-to-head tiebreaker with Missouri earlier this season.

Manziel’s Heisman moment?

No. 12 Texas A&M (8-2, 4-2 SEC) heads to No. 22 LSU (7-3, 3-3 SEC) Saturday afternoon. SEC Championship stakes may not be on the line in this one, but Johnny Manziel‘s Heisman chances may be. Manziel has become one of the favorites to win the Heisman Trophy this season, and for good reason. Manziel may not be putting up the kind of numbers he did last year during his 2012 Heisman campaign, but his numbers are superior in many areas once again this season. All that is lacking is a signature win. With home losses to Alabama and Auburn, a road win at LSU followed by a win at Missouri could help put Manziel on the top of the ballots of Heisman voters. History may be against Manziel when it comes to winning a second Heisman Trophy — it has only been done once before of course — but the schedule sets up well for Manziel to put together some lasting impressions before the votes must be submitted. Last year a road win at Alabama put Manziel over the top. Could a road thriller have the same impact this season?

Heisman aside, third place in the SEC West is on the line, which could lead to a spot in the Cotton Bowl the way things may play out.

Pac 12 South Battle in the Rose Bowl

No. 17 Arizona State (8-2, 6-1 Pac 12) is the team to beat right now in the Pac 12 South, but No. 14 UCLA (8-2, 5-2 Pac 12) gets the home field advantage in the stadium both teams dream of playing in on New Year’s Day, the Rose Bowl. While Oregon appears to be on track to host the Pac 12 championship game, the south is a bit more wide open than you might think. Arizona State has a chance to make things a bit less complicated if they can escape Los Angeles with a win against the Bruins. If Arizona State wins they will carry at least a one-game lead in the division in to the season finale against Arizona. The Sun Devils have not been quite the same team when on the road this season, going just 2-2 with losses against Stanford and Notre Dame.

UCLA has played very well at home this season. The Bruins have scored at least 37 points in each of their five home games. Quarterback Brett Hundley has thrown 12 of his 20 touchdowns at home and has been intercepted just twice in those games. The Bruins will likely keep plugging freshman linebacker Myles Jack in the offensive backfield in certain situations. In the last two games Jack has rushed for 180 yards and five touchdowns.

In a bizarre twist, a UCLA win also keeps USC in the running for a Pac 12 championship game appearance, although the Trojans need a few things to fall in to place for them to keep that dream possible.

Bowl Eligibility Update

The following teams can become bowl eligible with a win this weekend:

Colorado State, Louisiana-Monroe, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, UT-San Antonio

On the other hand, these teams can officially be eliminated from postseason contention with a loss:

Central Michigan, Colorado, Florida, Florida Atlantic, Indiana, Louisiana Tech, Memphis, Mississippi State, Northwestern, South Alabama, Tennessee, Utah, Wake Forest, Wyoming

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6 Responses to “Weekend Preview: Big 12, SEC and Pac 12 stakes on the line”
  1. classyjacklambert says: Nov 22, 2013 7:50 PM

    Hopefully mizzou wins out the regular season, no one wants to see how many points Alabama can efficiently put up on a gamecock team that has two losses to unranked opponents this year.

  2. jdillydawg says: Nov 22, 2013 8:10 PM

    Sic ‘em Bears!

  3. ajarkoski says: Nov 22, 2013 8:17 PM

    I am not impressed with Bama’s performance. It is not as dominating as last year’s run and I think they are ripe for being taken down. They are already making plans for the championship game. I think they already have the celebration plans in place to celebrate another NCAA title. Mizzou could do it and USC.

  4. classyjacklambert says: Nov 22, 2013 8:26 PM

    Yeah maybe if they played USC but they don’t unless they lose out the season and meat them in the sun bowl or something.

  5. suprmous says: Nov 23, 2013 1:08 AM

    Tho we’ve had somewhat of a gloomy season it’s been good to see our guys enjoy playin anyway. Bama fans should be proud of themselves but I still maintain when Saban leaves you like he’s done everybody before just remember you’ll know how it feels to be stung. As for as lookin toward FSU, you should be concentratin on Auburn first. Needless to say you can’t take em for granted. Gus Malzon has turned that program aroun so till it’s a wonder some didn’t fall harder. As for TA&M we all know that it’s goin to be a fight but we can handle it. Mizzou came out of the ashes and came up short but at least you can say they made a run out of it. To what’s left I’ll only say Good Luck and here’s to ya and your team.

  6. dhardy8207 says: Nov 23, 2013 10:59 AM

    @Suprmous;

    We are proud of our team and continue to support them even if they don’t win out the season. No one can tell the future as to the plans of Saban, but he has went on record and explained the reasoning behind the Miami fiasco and has admitted that he regrets handling the matter the way he did.

    Most BAMA fans are in no way looking past Auburn. The battle chickens always gear up for BAMA even when the rest of their season has been a wash. They have some excellent young players and Gus has that team firing on all cylinders as a complete unit. The Iron Bowl will be a nail bitter (my prediction only) that I’m sure will either give BAMA an upper edge going into the SEC Championship game or put a damper on our post season hopes. Either way a team from ALABAMA will play in the SEC Championship game and possibly the BCS!….

    Thanks for the “Good luck” there, and I will return that “Good Luck” to ya on your tigers oportunity against the Aggies….

    Roll Tide……

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