It’s been very difficult to tame the Tigers in the SEC this season. Actually, its always been tough to tame the LSU Tigers. The Bayou Bengals have been very successful. Two national titles and three overall appearances in the BCS championship game. Oh wait…..Not those Tigers. These Tigers – The Missouri Tigers and the Auburn Tigers. Wow. There sure are a lot of Tigers in the SEC. The Tigers causing all of the havoc this season have come out of nowhere to finding themselves in the thick of the SEC and yes…..the BCS championship races.
Its not that unusual for Auburn to be in the mix. After all, they did just win the BCS National Championship in 2010. However, it is quite surprising for Mizzou to be in this position. Especially, coming off of a 5-7 record in 2012. Their first season in the SEC. Mizzou is legit. In the SEC, games are won on the line of scrimmage. Once, you get past their tall and athletic wide receivers, the next thing that jumps out is their defensive front. In their last two wins, victories over Georgia and Florida, the defensive line had their way. Georgia ultimately scored some points, but it was obvious the Bulldogs were off rhythm. That had a lot to do with Missouri’s defensive front pressuring Aaron Murray all day.
Florida’s offense was never a match. The Gators had a couple of big plays to score their points, but they had nothing sustained offensively. The big question about Mizzou is how will they fare without their QB, James Franklin, and how long will he be out. Matty Mauk looked good at times against a stout Florida D. So, they may be just fine, but Franklin’s experience will probably be missed at some point. Those receivers are a nice safety blanket.
For Auburn, its been mostly about the offense. What else would you expect from head coach, Gus Malzahn? JC transfer QB, Nick Marshall is making all the right moves for the Tigers. Auburn leads the SEC in rushing largely due to the running of Marshall and running back Tre Mason. Marshall and Mason, gashed Texas A&M’s defense on their way to a huge win in College Station. Marshall, is also starting to throw the ball much better. He’s no Cam Newton just yet, but he’s perfect for Malzahn’s offense.
Defensively, Auburn has question marks, but they have been a lot more solid than most people thought before the season. Ask Johnny Manziel how good Auburn’s young defensive front is. A&M went up and down the field for most of the game, but when it counted the young Tigers made the plays to win the game. Auburn is a very dangerous team, and with their schedule, its very possible they could sitting at 10-1 when they host Alabama in the Iron Bowl. Who woulda thunk it?
Week 9 Power Rankings (Sixteen with Swag)
If you thought there was a lot of shuffling in the Week 8 rankings. Wait til you see the Week 9 rankings. A lot of it had to do with teams nicknamed ‘Tigers’. We’ve talked about Auburn and Mizzou, but LSU and especially, Clemson had a major impact also. Clemson had their usual meltdown game. What an incredible performance by Florida State and what an incredibly embarrassing performance by Clemson. Plain and simple. The Tigers choked! On to the rankings…………
1. Alabama Crimson Tide – (This Week: vs Tennessee) Another week, another blowout win for the Tide. It came at a cost however, when safety Vinnie Sunseri went down for the season with an ACL injury. Still, Bama looks very impressive, even though the competition hasn’t been all that lately.
2. Florida State Seminoles – (This Week: vs NC State) No offense to Oregon, but the ‘Noles looked amazing at Clemson. Its easily the best looking win between the two teams. Did Jameis Winston put himself at the top of the Heisman race with Oregon’s Mariota?
3. Oregon Ducks – (This Week: vs UCLA) The Ducks did nothing wrong, but they dropped. Oregon’s time to shine starts this week with the Bruins coming to town. There are still games at Stanford and against Oregon State that could be enough to reclaim one of the top 2 spots.
4. Ohio State Buckeyes – (This Week: vs Penn State) The Buckeyes just keep rolling along. They’re still going to need lots of help to get into the top 2 spots. All they can do is keep winning and run the table. Something they should do.
5. Missouri Tigers – (This Week: vs South Carolina) Mizzou has made an incredible rise in the rankings and are in complete control of their own destiny. However, the Tigers still have major tests at Ole Miss and against Texas A&M left on their schedule. Could be dicey with freshman QB.
6. Miami Hurricanes – (This Week: vs Wake Forest) The ‘Canes looked very unimpressive and were very lucky to win at North Carolina. After Wake this week, FSU is up next week. If Stephen Morris can’t protect the ball any better, the ‘Canes have no shot in Tallahassee.
7. Stanford Cardinal – (This Week: at Oregon State) Impressive how the Cardinal rebounded from their loss at Utah. Stanford’s D dominated Brett Hundley and UCLA’s potent offense. Another test awaits at rising Oregon State this week, then a Week 11 Thursday night date with the Ducks. Make or break time in the PAC-12 to say the least.
8. Baylor Bears – (This Week: at Kansas) The Bears rolled up another 70 spot in their win over Iowa State. The defense has been impressive also. Could a one loss team jump Baylor, even if they run the table? I think its quite possible. No championship game in Big 12 to hang their hats on.
9. Auburn Tigers – (This Week: vs Florida Atlantic) Gene Chizik was the head coach of Auburn’s 2010 national title team, but its getting extremely difficult to not think Gus Malzahn wasn’t more instrumental. Would easily be SEC and maybe national coach of the year right now, if not for Mizzou’s Gary Pinkel. Auburn could easily be 10-1 going into the Iron Bowl. Incredible!
10. Texas Tech Red Raiders – (This Week: at Oklahoma) The Red Raiders make their first appearance in the Sixteen with Swag. However, they haven’t really been tested yet. The first test should be this weekend at Oklahoma, depending on which Sooners team shows up.
11. UCLA Bruins – (This Week: at Oregon) The Bruins were completely taken off their game by Stanford’s D. They’ve got to get it together fast, as they have another road test on tap this week, at Oregon. The Ducks play good defense, besides being able to score like a pinball machine.
12. Clemson Tigers – (This Week: at Maryland) Losing to FSU is no crime. Losing to them 51-14 at home is. The loss brought back bad memories of past Clemson teams, that thought the Tigers had shaken away from. There’s still much to play for. Clemson can’t let this loss linger with a trip to Maryland up next.
13. Virginia Tech – (This Week: vs Duke) The Hokies still have only the one loss to Bama and will be a tough out for Miami in a couple of weeks and possibly FSU in the ACC title game if both teams get there. Hokies could be the supreme spoiler while helping themselves at the same time.
14. LSU Tigers – (This Week: vs Furman) The Tigers bowed out of the BCS title race with their loss to Ole Miss last weekend. Zach Mettenberger had his worst game of the season, in throwing 3 early interceptions. His passing did help get LSU back in the game, but ultimately the defense couldn’t stop the Rebels when it counted.
15. Northern Illinois Huskies – (This Week: vs Eastern Michigan) We welcome Northern Illinois to the Sixteen with Swag. This team definitely has Swag. QB, Jordan Lynch set an FBS rushing record in a game with 316 yards on 32 carries. Lynch, won’t win the Heisman, but he deserves to be invited to New York.
16. Texas A&M Aggies – (This Week: vs Vanderbilt) Offensively the Aggies are clealy a top 5 team. Defensively, is another story. Auburn has a very good offense, but A&M’s defense was no match for the TIgers. Now, the biggest question that remains is will Johnny Manziel win the Heisman again?
Swag on the Rise: Oregon St., Central Florida, Fresno St., Oklahoma St., Nebraska
Lost its Swag: Louisville, Georgia, South Carolina, Washington
Thanks for reading. As always, comments are welcome!
- Year of the Tiger? Mizzou vs. Auburn a possibility for the SEC Championship (tcesports.wordpress.com)
- It’s time to root for Alabama and Mizzou (espn.go.com)
- College Football – Week 8 Power Rankings: FSU and Clemson move up before battle in Death Valley (sportsandswag.com)
- Malzahn leads No. 11 Auburn to huge turnaround (arkansasonline.com)
- Missouri Tigers: Alabama’s biggest Natl Title obstacle (thesportsbank.net)
- Missouri Shut out of BCS Championship Game Despite Winning SEC? (bleacherreport.com)
- BCS: Alabama, Mizzou carry SEC’s hopes (espn.go.com)
- Missouri Tigers open strong in BCS standings at No. 5 (kansascity.com)
- 12 biggest takeaways from the SEC’s week 8 (schufootballreport.wordpress.com)