What To Watch: Florida Swamped
By Steve Barnes
Attention: The following paragraph does not have an error in it, it just seems the two teams are reversed.
Central Florida is in the hunt for a BCS Bowl bid. Florida is hoping for any kind of bowl bid.
That's right. UCF could be headed to either the Orange or Sugar Bowl and probably will get there. The Knights travel to Temple on Saturday and that should be an easy win. UCF follows that with home games against Rutgers and South Florida and a trip to SMU. Central Florida should be favorites in each of those games and will get the automatic bid from the American Athletic Conference.
Meanwhile, Florida has to play at South Carolina this week, then follows that up with Georgia Southern and Florida State. About the best the Gators can do is 1-2 down the stretch, leaving them 5-7 and in Gainesville for the holidays.
Wow. UCF in a BCS game, Florida not in any game. The second-best team in the Sunshine State resides in Orlando and not Gainesville or Miami.
NEXT UP FOR THE BUCKEYES: A lot has been written about the lack of competition on Ohio State's schedule and with Illinois, Indiana and Michigan left on the slate, the Buckeyes should finish the regular season undefeated again. Ohio State should find out its opponent for the Big Ten title game Saturday as Michigan State and Nebraska play in Lincoln. The winner should win the division and play Ohio State in what amounts to the only stiff competition the Buckeyes have seen all year.
THE HANGOVER?: After Stanford beat Oregon last week, the Cardinal has become the darlings of the West Coast. The question is can Stanford avoid a letdown against Southern California. After dismissing Lane Kiffin, Ed Orgeron has USC playing like, well, USC. Under Orgeron's direction, the Trojans are 4-1. If the Cardinal come into this one without focus, Southern Cal athletic director may have a tough time not giving Orgeron the gig permanently.
RALLY AROUND MACK: The players at Texas must love coach Mack Brown. Since losing to Ole Miss and Brown taking up residence on the proverbial hot seat, the Longhorns have not lost. They should have lost to Iowa State, but UT pulled off a Houdini escape aided by a couple of blown calls. Then they escaped Morgantown, W.Va. last week with an overtime heist. This week, Texas has Oklahoma State at home. Should the Horns win this one, Brown's job probably is going to be safe for another season regardless of what happens in the final two games against Texas Tech and Baylor.
HEISMAN POSES AND POSERS: It is looking like a two-horse race for the Heisman Trophy. Jameis Winston of Florida State plays on national TV again this week as the Seminoles take on Syracuse. Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel is off this week, but finishes the year against LSU and Missouri. Unless someone else literally comes out of nowhere, we will either have a two-time winner or back-to-back freshman winners.
A BUSTER ONE LAST TIME: Boise State. Hawaii. Northern Illinois. Each has been a BCS buster in the past and this is the last chance for another team to join the list. Fresno State is off this week, which will give it time to rest for the final two games on its schedule (New Mexico and San Jose State). The Bulldogs should win those two and finish undefeated. But here is the tough thing for Fresno — Northern Illinois also is undefeated and plays Toledo and Western Michigan to finish out the year. Unfortunately for the boys out west, NIU has more of a name after getting an Orange Bowl bid last year and they have Jordan Lynch at quarterback who provides a few highlight plays each week. Look for the Huskies to bust the BCS one last time.
MAYBE THIS TIME: In its first year of FBS eligibility, South Alabama has claimed quality wins over Tulane and Western Kentucky (the Hilltoppers beat Kentucky and a lost by a touchdown at Tennessee). This week the Jaguars travel to Navy. Don't be shocked if they bring a victory home to Mobile, Ala. It seems each loss USA has suffered this year has been a heartbreaker. The Jaguars have lost two games by one point, two games by two points and one game by three points. Maybe this is the week the Jags have karma on their side. After all, the last time Navy played a Sun Belt team from Alabama, the Midshipmen lost at Troy.