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Joe Nelson - Blogs

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BETWEEN THE LINES - NOV. 19

By Joe Nelson
Posted 11/20/2012 at 01:06 PM

What a difference a week can make in college football. We have gone from the SEC likely being locked out of a chance at a seventh straight national title to a strong possibility of a second straight year of SEC vs. SEC in the BCS championship game. Notre Dame holds all the cards and they will get to face a back-up quarterback but going to USC won’t be easy for an inconsistent offensive team. Assuming Georgia and Alabama win this week those teams will be lined up for a SEC championship game that will decide one of the title game participants. Oregon and Kansas State are now long shots to get back in the mix after both teams lost as favorites last week. Kansas State was blown out by Baylor while Oregon lost in overtime and not without controversy. Florida will likely be the team that has the computer numbers to take the #2 spot if Notre Dame loses and they beat Florida State this week. The Seminoles don’t have the same luxury if they win.

 

The Heisman Trophy race also opened back up as Collin Klein had a terrible day in the Kansas State loss. Statistically quarterbacks like Aaron Murray and Tajh Boyd can make a strong case but neither has likely received enough attention to make a late push. None of the top rushers are on strong enough teams to warrant consideration and while there will be a big push for Manti Te’o his candidacy is certainly a limited campaign in terms of the numbers to work with. The flawed logic that only players from national title contending teams deserve consideration will bring pushes to players like A.J. McCarron but he simply does not have the raw numbers and the notion that Braxton Miller deserves consideration because Ohio State is undefeated is ridiculous, though he is a very good player. Johnny Manziel has been a fun story and he may take the lead as the numbers are staggering but the door is open for any of the fringe candidates to make a big statement in the next two weeks to get into the picture.

 

While every year there is the perception of great team movement in the NFL with teams rising and falling, the current playoff picture features nine teams that were in the playoffs last season. Cincinnati is just game behind Indianapolis and should they catch the Colts the same six AFC teams would be in the playoffs from last season. New Orleans may be working back into the picture and Minnesota and Chicago, the two teams currently in the NFC picture that were not in the playoffs last season could fade out, especially if Jay Cutler misses significant time. The Bears and Vikings play each other twice yet so it is unlikely that both teams make the playoffs. Minnesota oddly owns the current wild card tiebreaker over Seattle and Tampa Bay in the three way tie at 6-4, despite the Vikings losing in head-to-head games with both of those teams as the NFC record is stronger for Minnesota. Detroit appears to be the only playoff team from last season that has a very low chance of getting back to the postseason this year. The Lions still have five of six remaining games against teams that would currently make the playoffs. Right now six of the 2011-12 division winners would win those divisions again if the season ended today.

 

It is too early to have player of the year discussions but there is good chance that the offensive and defensive MVPs would be teammates if the awards were given out right now as Peyton Manning and Von Miller would be strong candidates. Best of Luck, on to this week’s slate…

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