With the first BCS rankings of the 2011 season out this week it reminds me that there are some good things about the system, but it is still flawed as a way for determining the national champion of college football.
The best thing about it is all of the publicity, speculation and conversation it generates across the country about college football. The worst thing is that the system is designed to fail in years in which there are more than two undefeated teams, and this could be one of those years.
I won’t be surprised if we get to the end of the regular season and there are five undefeated teams jockeying for position to get into the championship game. We probably won’t have that many teams still unbeaten at that stage of the season, but it could happen.
There is a solid chance that whoever wins the SEC will be undefeated. Either Oklahoma State or Oklahoma will have a great chance to come out of the Big 12 undefeated. Wisconsin is likely to win the Big 10 and be undefeated. In my opinion Clemson is very likely to win the ACC and be undefeated because there is nobody left on the Tigers’ schedule who can stop them if Clemson stays healthy and plays like it has been playing. I will be very surprised if Boise State isn’t undefeated, too.
If four or all five of those teams should win all of their games it would be a real mess and another perfect example of why the Bowl Championship Series was designed to fail. Auburn was part of the failure of the system in 2004 and understands the flaws very well. This season could be the biggest failure of all and it could give ammunition to those in the college football community who would still like to see a postseason playoff to determine the champion.
Looking at Auburn as the Tigers prepare to play at LSU this week, at this point of the season the best part of what Gene Chizik’s Tigers have been doing is their play on speciality teams. I?have been impressed with the sophomores, Cody Parkey and Steven Clark. When coaches have kickers who are playing as well as they are that is a comforting thing going into a football game.
Steven Clark leads the nation in pinning opponents inside their 20-yard line with his punts.
If Auburn gets into a close game with LSU or anybody else, Clark and Parkey plus excellent coverage teams can make the difference between winning and losing.
I understand how difficult a challenge Auburn has this week going on the road to face a very talented LSU team. However, I really believe if Auburn can avoid turnovers and avoid giving LSU’s offense a short field to work with there is a possibility that Auburn could make it a close game going into the fourth quarter.
I would be excited to see how this young Auburn team, which has been given no chance to win vs. No. 1 LSU, responds if the Tigers can make it a four-quarter game against a great team like the one they are facing Saturday.
One of the reasons Auburn is so good on special teams is speed. I know all of the top teams in the SEC have guys who can really run, but I have looked at all of them and none are faster than Auburn. There are teams in the league that are older, more mature and more experienced, but nobody has more speed on defense and in the special teams than the Tigers.
Auburn sophomore Michael Dyer is on pace for his second 1,000-yard rushing season.
Offensively, I really believe nobody in the SEC has a tougher running back than Auburn does. Marcus Lattimore at South Carolina and Trent Richardson at Alabama are really good, but I don’t think any SEC back has gained more yards after contact than Dyer has this year, and to me that is the way you judge a running back.
Despite being a huge underdog this week, Auburn won’t go to Baton Rouge shooting blanks so I think these Tigers can give a good account of themselves there if they play their best football. The biggest factor in allowing that to happen will be the play at quarterback. The thing that will help the 2011 Auburn team more than anything is to get consistent play at that position so the Tigers will get into more third down and normal situations to have a better chance to convert those plays into first downs and keep drives alive, something the 2010 Auburn team was exceptionally good at doing.
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