Tuck’s College Football Top 25 Week 14

By Mike Tuck
Host, Tuck & O'Neill

Never have I ever seen an ending to a football game like that before.  YouTube is filled with all kinds of crazy plays and finishes, but in major college football and NFL, only a few things come to mind that are jaw-dropping, stunning, did-that-actually-just-happen kind of endings.

Stanford-Cal band is on the field wasn’t as important, but boy, you’ll never see anything quite like it ever again.  And the Music City Miracle when Tennessee beat Buffalo on a designed lateral kick-off return in a playoff game is about as insane as it gets.

The impact (yes, the Titans did get to and lose their only Super Bowl) can’t be compared however.

This was an intense rivalry game.  #1 vs. #4.  And most importantly, barring both Florida State and Ohio State losing this final weekend, it marked the end of the pursuit of a potential 3-peat.

When Texas defeated USC in the Rose Bowl (National Title Game) it stopped the Trojans quest for a 3-peat (albeit an AP-BCS-BCS).  It was as dramatic and electrifying national title game that has ever been produced featuring they best singular performance on a championship stage by one player, Vince Young, that have ever seen.

That denial of history was captured in a game however, and did crown another team champion.

What happened in Auburn will be captured in a play and a moment that will last for eternity.

Alabama hasn’t been perfect the last couple of years, but they have been undeniably dominant.  This team never appeared to be as good as it’s predecessors, but they didn’t have to be.  They just had to be better than the other teams they played.  Unlike the last couple of seasons, the Tide may have lost a game it can’t recover from.

A win in their bowl game would put them at 37-3 their last three years.  That is very impressive.  It is one of the greatest runs in NCAA history.  BUT, but but but but…it isn’t historic.  It is NOT a 3-peat.  The difference, in this case, between 37-3 and 38-2 is ENORMOUS.

In my lifetime, Alabama winning 3/4 and coming oh so close to making it 4/5 ranks right up there.

Nebraska won 3 titles in 4 seasons from 1994-1997.  They actually missed a field goal against FSU in the Orange Bowl in 1993 that cost them another.

I already mentioned USC’s domination, so close to winning three straight.

I don’t want to come off as the biased fan, but I don’t think anything I’ve seen matches the Canes from 1986-1992.  They went 67-6, won 3 titles, and lost to the team that won the title 3 times, twice in bowl games where they played for the title.

Perhaps the Tide can approach this still.

As for this year though, they’d need a 4-touchdown underdog to win to give them a chance.  It appears some of that luck they needed the last couple of years has run out.  Perhaps it was even ironic that they appeared to get lucky again, as they were trying to run out the clock they got into long field goal range and even got an extra second put back on the clock after overtime had been declared.  Maybe it was fitting that a team that needed some long-shots to put them in position to play for a title after losing November home games, tried an unnecessary long-shot that cost them their chance at history.

They could have distinguished themselves from everyone by laying claim to 3-straight titles however.  That hasn’t happened in the POLL ERA (beginning in 1936).  If making history was easy, everyone would do it, right?

 

UNBEATEN COUNT: 3.  Alabama loses again in November, but will need a couple of upsets in the final week to play for the title now.  Fresno State’s defense got lit up and their BCS hopes exhausted.

WINLESS COUNT: 2.  Hawaii beat Army at home for their first win.  Southern Miss ended their 23-game losing streak by scoring 62 at UAB.  Unfortunately, Miami (OH) and Georgia State finished 0-12 this year.

 

1. FSU (12-0)

2. Auburn (11-1)

3. Missouri (11-1)

4. Ohio State (12-0)

5. Alabama (11-1)

6. Oklahoma State (10-1)

7. Stanford (10-2)

8. Arizona State (10-2)

9. South Carolina (10-2)

10. Michigan State (11-1)

11. Baylor (10-1)

12. Oregon (10-2)

13. LSU (9-3)

14. UCLA (9-3)

15. Oklahoma (9-2)

16. Clemson (10-2)

17. Wisconsin (9-3)

18. Texas A&M (8-4)

19. Texas (8-3)

20. Duke (10-2)

21. Washington (8-4)

22. Miami (9-3)

23. UCF (10-1)

24. Louisville (10-1)

25. Northern Illinois (12-0)

 

– Yes, it was a freaky way to lose a game, but Alabama did a lot of things to lose the game.  Failing to convert on 3rd and short, and on 4th and short.  Penalties.  Giving up big running and passing plays.  They allowed nearly 300 yards rushing to the Tigers.  The Tide also had a 14 point lead.  And of course, missing field goals.  What I thought was defining was, going for it on 4th and 1 at the Auburn 13, up 7, with 5 minutes left.  Kick a 30-yard field goal and the game is likely yours.  They couldn’t, or at least they didn’t, because they thought they couldn’t.  Either way, that’s a pretty big problem to have if you want to be a champion.

– I didn’t like the Michigan decision to go for 2 and the win against Ohio State.  I LOVED IT.  You need one play from the 3-yard line to win the game, I am always going to be okay with going for it.  Even more so when you couldn’t stop the Buckeyes offense.

– In case you were wondering, I also tweeted @MikeTuck1080 that Auburn should kick the extra point, not go for two, because of the struggles of the Tide kicking game.

– I also would’ve thrown a hail mary, not attempt a 57-yard field goal.  The only way what they did makes sense is if this kid is hammering from 60 normally.  Saban said he had made kicks of 60 yards in practice.  He kicked it about 53 though, so I have my doubts.

– Urban Meyer 24-0.  They’ll have nothing to show for it though if they lose this week.

– David Cutcliffe won 10 games at Duke.  The Devils had lost at least 10 in the 3 years previous to his arrival.

– The Seminoles are favored by 29 over Duke.  Yikes.

– Only 3 times in BCS history did the initial #1 ranked team win the title. 1999 FSU, 2004 USC, and 2012 Alabama.

– In BCS history, lowest a team has come from the initial BCS standings to play in the title game was 12th.  Auburn was 11th this year.

– Neither Auburn nor Missouri received a vote in either major preseason poll.

 

STIFF-ARMING TROPHY RACE

1. QB Jameis Winston, FSU- Barring a poor performance and a loss against Duke, he is my winner this year.  Back-2-back seasons a redshirt freshman will be awarded college football’s highest honor.

2. QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M

3. QB Jordan Lynch, Northern Illinois

4. QB Bryce Petty, Baylor

5. QB Marcus Mariota, Oregon

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,