The Dirty Dozen and Bottom of the Barrel: The Chaos Theory
Since I'm making a somewhat obscure "Pop-Culture" reference to a monologue from the Original Jurassic Park Movie which debuted in 1993---I might need to explain what I mean to some of you.
But rather than me explain it---I'll let Jeff Goldblum do it...
Though I should add for those of you at home---it depends a little bit on what happens Saturday. The Winner of the SEC Championship game is in. So is the winner of the ACC Championship. If Wisconsin beats Ohio State---they're in too. So is Oklahoma if they beat TCU. Simple. Done.
But this is College Football and oh so very little is as it seems.
So while we have two guaranteed teams---we have two that aren't. And sure as I sit here and type this--at least one and possibly two of the others will lose.
And that is how we achieve chaos.
Because its then where the argument comes in. Who are your next runner ups? Is it Alabama who couldn't win their conference and struggled against the ranked team they played? Is it a two loss Ohio State? Or TCU? Or is the loser of the ACC Championship? Heck, Georgia might have an argument too if they narrowly lose to Auburn.
So I've rambled a bit--and will cut to the chase in a second. First the part where I get to brag: If you follow this column, you know I pick games (though not vs. spread). Last Week again was a good one. 10-4 on the week and 126-30 on the season.
Pretty damn good, ain't it....
But enough about me....
THE DIRTY DOZEN
1) Auburn 10-2: Yup. As I sit here and type this, the Tigers are today....today....the best team in College Football. Convincing wins over Georgia and Alabama in the past 3 weeks will do that. If healthy--they could run the table this season. If. This Week: vs. Georgia (SEC Title Game); Our Pick: UGA 34, Auburn 31 UPSET!!!
2) Oklahoma 11-1: And because I do this poll based on performance not reputation, the Sooners are at #2. They've earned it. Baker Mayfield and Rodney Anderson make them a threat to score anytime they touch the ball. If the defense shows up, they are that good. This Week: vs. TCU (Big 12 Title Game); Our Pick: Oklahoma 47, TCU 31
3) Clemson 11-1: I just can't get past the inexplicable loss to Syracuse marring an otherwise solid season. The Tigers don't dominate any one thing--they are just really good. Everywhere. And that counts. This Week: vs. Miami (ACC Title Game); Our Pick: Clemson 31, Miami 14
4) Wisconsin 12-0: The Badgers defense is impressive and likely will be really good against almost anyone. The question is offense. Can they score enough? Wisconsin has put themselves in a "Win and In" position. But can they win?? This Week: vs. Ohio St. (Big 10 Title Game); Our Pick: Ohio State 23, Wisconsin 17
5) Georgia 11-1: If the Dawgs can run the ball--they will likely win. If you have to play them honest, they'll kill you. Jake Fromm isn't great just very good, but if the play action is working--he can slice you up like a rib roast. If the Dawgs play fast and physical they've got a chance. This Week: See #1
6) Alabama 11-1: Are we seeing the end of an era? The Tide got beat last week at their own game by a stronger, faster team. Nothing they've done has been impressive this season--but they know how to win when they have to. They'll be on the outside looking in. This Week: SEASON OVER
7) Miami 11-1: The Canes took on water the past two weeks as the magic seems to have rubbed off. But this is still a dangerous team very much in control of its destiny. If the early season Hurricanes show up--they could pull a huge stunner here. But I doubt it happens. This Week: See #3
8) Ohio State 10-2: I want to think the Buckeyes are the most talented team here. I really do. But they've underachieved most of the season and I'll never understand what happened at Iowa. If they're not careful, it could happen again vs. Wisconsin. But I don't think it will. This Week: See #4
9) UCF 11-0: The game vs. South Florida was the best game last week. Period. Fun to watch. Exciting and dramatic as hell. Love what Scott Frost did with the Knights--they just execute and do what is needed to win. Which counts. A lot. This Week: vs. Memphis (AAC Title Game); Our Pick: UCF 53, Memphis 41
10) TCU 10-2: The Horned Frogs will live and die with defense this week. If the defense can slow Oklahoma, they've got a shot. But if it is a shooting match---they've got no chance. Kenny Hill is not Baker Mayfield and can't keep up. That matters. A lot. This Week: See #2
11) Southern California 10-2: The Trojans are a late add to our list. They've played much better the past month or so. Which matters. It's not how you start if you're still in a position to finish. And while the #CFP is not in their future--a Pac 12 title may very well be. This Week: vs. Stanford (Pac 12 Title Game) Our Pick: Stanford 31, USC 28
12) Memphis 10-1. Coach Mike Norvell has done a magic act in Memphis. They've gotten better each week and the offense is frighteningly good. Riley Ferguson has thrown for 3500 yards and 32 TD's this season. That's insane. This Week: SEE #10
THE BOTTOM OF THE BARREL:
---Barrel note. My Georgia Southern Eagles after moping to an 0-9 start and a #2 Barrel ranking have recovered to win their last two games and clearly distance themselves from the horror of the barrel. I applaud the effort....
5) Tennessee 4-8: You could argue the Vowels should be lower after the fanbase embarrassed themselves the past two weeks while groveling for a coach and alternately threatening to burn down the campus when they didn't like a different person the Athletic Director wanted to hire. Who would touch this hot mess right now??
4) Rice 1-11: Thanks for playing Fried Rice. We won't make any Chinese Food jokes to the Owl fanbase because well---they all have been out there for years. Sadly--they aren't even the worst team in Conference USA....
3) San Jose State 2-11: Hey, the Spartans won last week vs. Wyoming! Congrats. You're still awful. When you are in the 120's statistically on both sides of the ball--you don't get a pass. This team is awful.
2) Charlotte 1-11: The 49ers capped off a truly awful season by rolling over against Florida Atlantic. It's a season where nothing good happened despite accidentally winning a game. Lot of work to be done in the Queen City...
Honorable Mention: KANSAS 1-11: We probably should consider the Jayhawks a permanent member. It's hard to comprehend how they could be so bad...for so long. There's not one good thing anyone can say about this team. They are as bad today as they were 5 years ago. And they were awful 5 years ago. Maybe give up the sport and save some money for basketball??
1) UTEP 0-12: If you don't win a game, there's a good chance you'll be the worst team in College Football. The Miners were the ONLY team in the FBS to not win. Therefore they win by default. This is a brutally bad team that averaged less than 100 yards rushing and 136 yards passing this season. The defense was equally bad. Mike Price finished the season as coach and needs to run for the Border Wall or something....
Congratulations to the folks in the West Texas Town of El Paso....you truly are America's WORST College Football team. The true winner and Bottom....of the Barrel.....