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Acker Assessment – Week 11

The SEC West Championship could well be decided this weekend when these two meet in Tuscaloosa.

Acker Assessment: Week 11

By: Jon Acker

 Assessing the playoff picture. 

The playoff shake-up continued in week 11.  This is the second week now that one of the four will drop-out, likely for good.  Last week it was Ole Miss- this week it’s Auburn.  Not looking good for the SEC to get two or more teams in the playoffs.  I think only two SEC teams remain with any shot at the playoffs- Mississippi State and Alabama.

The selection committee top 10 from last week were (this week’s results):

  1. Mississippi State (Won)
  2. Florida State (Won)
  3. Auburn (Lost)
  4. Oregon (Won)
  5. Alabama (Won)
  6. TCU (Won)
  7. Kansas State (Lost)
  8. Michigan State (Lost)
  9. Arizona State (Won)
  10. Notre Dame (Lost)

Mississippi State rolled over Tennessee-Martin 45-16.  It was another yeoman’s performance by the Bulldogs who coasted to victory.   State amassed 520 yards but gave up 367 to UTM.  How many of those were in garbage time- I don’t know, but State has issues on defense, which I believe will bite them next weekend at Alabama.   Could this be Mississippi State’s last week atop the polls and selection committee ranking?   A win would cement them as the undisputed cream of the college football universe.  A close loss in Tuscaloosa could keep them in the top-four, while a three-score or more loss could knock them out.

Felon State University turned in another very lackluster performance winning at home 34-20 over Virginia.   We keep hearing about how much talent FSU has but this season it seems to be hiding.  Has anyone considered that maybe last year was an aberration and this team really is performing as it should and really is not that good?   Next weekend could spell doom for Fisher’s felons as the Criminoles go on the road to play a peaking Miami team (UPSET ALERT).

The unthinkable happened in Jordan-Hare Stadium.  Texas A&M was a 23-point underdog, had lost by 59 up the road in Tuscaloosa two weeks earlier, and seemed ready for another drubbing.  But the 12th man showed up on the road and shocked the disGUSting coach and his band of Destiny Dummies.  Heather Dinich of ESPN said, “College football’s Team of Destiny is now destined to be a spectator of the playoff.”  Will the pain continue next weekend in Athens?  Todd Gurley is set to return to action for Georgia, all the while Nick Chubb has been tearing up the league in rushing.  Plus, Hutson Mason’s QBR of 99.4 at Kentucky almost can’t be topped indicating the potent run threat is opening up the passing game.   You know Georgia has revenge on their mind for what happened last year, and it is a must win game to stay alive in the race for the East.   I think the Bulldogs get their revenge sending the Stuart Smalley fan base into the mirror mumbling, “Auburn’s good enough, Auburn’s smart enough, and dog-gone-it, people like Auburn.”

The Ducks had their hands full early against the Utes, until (perhaps) the most boneheaded play ever to be seen in football happened.  If you haven’t seen it go to the link, below.   That play may not have resulted in the Utes loss, but it sure would have made it a more challenging affair.  Three additional Utah turnovers also sealed their fate against the Ducks.   Oregon clinched the PAC-12 North Division and won’t be challenged again until the conference championship, so their spot in the top four seems cemented for at least the next three weeks.


The Tide, in an instant classic, albeit sloppy game on both sides, should slide into the four-spot after their overtime win at LSU.  It remains clear that Alabama’s struggles on the road have not been overcome.   Fortunately for the Tide they are in the friendly confines of Bryant-Denny Stadium their last three regular season games.  Despite poor play on the road, this team has found ways to win, which is the mark of a true champion.  Up first at home is a monumental matchup next weekend against Mississippi State, likely number 4 versus number 1.  I have not heard but surely ESPN Gameday will be in Tuscaloosa.  One bad note- West Virginia’s loss to Texas didn’t do the Tide any favors with schedule strength.   West Virginia dropped out of the rankings, meaning the Tide has now only beaten a single currently ranked team so far, LSU at 20th.   Despite that, according to the Sagarin Rating, Alabama has played the third toughest schedule in the country, having played seven teams in the Sagarin top-30 and two in the top-ten.  Contrast that to Florida State who has played two top-30 teams, and Ohio State only one.

For teams six through ten- TCU and Arizona State had statement games with big wins over other top-ten teams.  Those wins should give them a leg-up on other one-loss teams, such as Ohio State, Baylor, and Nebraska all of which could themselves jump into the top-ten.   Poor Dr. Lou (Holtz) had another bad dose of reality with his irrational lofty perception of Notre Lame crashing down once again.   He probably still thinks the Tarnished Domers should have beaten Alabama by two-scores in the national championship.

What’s on tap next week?  As previously mentioned, the giant match-up of Mississippi State (1) at Alabama (4), a hugely important game for the SEC East with Auburn (9) at Georgia (16), Florida State (2) at Miami (UPSET ALERT),  Nebraska (11) at Wisconsin (22), and I’ll throw in LSU (20) at Arkansas (UPSET ALERT).  Could the Hogs break the conference losing streak?   Rankings are from the AP poll.

Jon Acker is the Coordinator for Student Assessment at The University of Alabama and also assesses sports for us here.

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