Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Wednesday, October 10, 2012 at 9:15 AM
I noted some weeks ago I had taken South Carolina at 40-1 to win the BCS national championship and was certainly elated when the Gamecocks passed a major test by burying then-5th ranked Georgia, 35-7, and then was jolted back to reality by the fact the reward for that was a win to head for Baton Rouge to meet LSU followed by a visit to Florida. Such is life in the Southeastern Conference, never easy, no time to relax. It is one big game after another and if you survive and play for the national championship you will most likely win it.
There is a reason teams from the SEC have won six straight national titles and it was no accident two teams from the conference - Alabama and LSU - met in the big game last season with Alabama winning 21-0 and getting revenge for a regular season 9-6 loss to the Tigers.
Missouri is playing its first season in the SEC is fast learning it takes the highest level of talent - and lots of it right through the three-deep depth chart - to be successful. The Tigers are 3-3 this season with wins over Southeastern Louisiana, Arizona State and Central Florida and with a 0-3 record in the SEC, losing at home to Georgia, 41-20, at South Carolina, 30-10, and Saturday at home to Vanderbilt, 19-15. Before the win in Columbia, the Commodores had beaten only 1-AA weak sister Presbyterian, 52-0.
Missouri's reward this week is to get to face top-ranked and defending national champion Alabama at home in Columbia. Alabama (5-0) had last week off to get ready for this game and is a 21½-point favorite.
No time to relax; no time to reflect; hardly enough time to get ready for the next game which will prove tougher than the last. It's called life in the SEC - just another Saturday of facing another football giant.
It was another wild weekend in college football and it was nice to win my 200-unit College Football Game of the Year with Fresno State (-17 ½) and its 28-7 win at Colorado State in a contest that was never as close as the final score. After a slow start, Fresno State fired up and dominated, with the Rams lone score coming on a garbage time touchdown with 42 seconds to play.
The 200-unit Fresno State win followed the previous Saturday's 200-unit College Football Blowout Game of the Year with LA-Monroe (-20) and its 53-point, 63-10, over Tulane. Mark this coming Saturday on your calendar because I am coming back with a third 200-unit college play.
What Have You Done For Me Lately?
Nebraska football fans are beside themselves after that 63-38 loss to Ohio State, a 3-point favorite in the Horseshoe in Columbus. The thought the Cornhuskers to be as good as their press clippings and find it unbelievable they could lose by 25-points to anybody. The pill was a bitter one to swallow, since Nebraska opened in high gear, and led 17-7 early in the second quarter and at that point had limited Ohio State to 17 yard of offense.
Then, someone turned out the lights and the Ohio State homecoming party began, with the Buckeyes embarrassing the Cornhuskers from that point on. Nobody had an answer for what happened but it certainly put fifth-year coach Bo Pelini's job on the line. Despite going 42-18 in his tenure in Lincoln, that is not good enough for the Nebraska faithful.
For openers, they never thought Pelini was the right man for the job. The did not like him then and they do not like him now. Despite winning, in the eyes of Nebraska's fans and supporters said (1) his teams are very inconsistent and (2) he has never taken the team to a BCS game.
You heard it first - he will not be back next year.
And, now it is on to Auburn where the Tiger mafia wants to tar and feather and ride out of town on a rail fourth-year coach Gene Chizik, whose team has opened the season 1-4 and its only win came over LA-Monroe, 31-28, in overtime. This stuff is against the law in Opelika.
With Saturday's 24-7 loss to an Arkansas team that had lost four straight, the message was sent for Chizik to starting making plans to move. And, yes, I am serious about this and, yes, I realize just three seasons ago he led Auburn to a 14-0 season and won the national championship.
In the eyes of Auburn fans, that is old news. They want to know what Chizik has done for them lately - and maybe they are right.
Many coaches in the SEC say Chizik has become a lazy recruiter since winning the BCS title and has left Auburn minus the talent to compete in the SEC. For instance, three years ago he had Cam Newton at quarterback, today he has nobody. The team began falling apart last season and it continued in 2012 - with an offense that is averaging but 15.4 points per game and with a defense that can't make the plays at crunch time.
Right or wrong, he's gone.
Three Other Coaches Who Will Be Fired
While Pelini and Chizik will be gone at season's end, the firing does not stop there. It is a certainly three more have no chance to keep their jobs - Frank Spaziani at Boston College, Ron English at Eastern Michigan and Joker Phillips at Kentucky.
Spaziani was in trouble when the season started and has done nothing to save his job, going 1-4 with BC's only win coming over I-AA Maine, 34-3. Ron English is 0-5 this season and right now he stands 8-33 in his time at EMU. Phillips was on shaky ground when the season began and a 1-5 start won't be tolerated in Lexington. Phillips sealed his fate in the third game of the season with that unthinkable 32-31 loss to Western Kentucky, a team five years removed from I-AA play.
At a later time, we will offer thoughts on the new coaches and how they are doing but it is obvious five first-year coaches deserve failing grades.
Colorado State's Jim McElwain, the former offensive coordinator at Alabama, saw his Rams open the season with a 22-17 win over Colorado - and there the season ended. Colorado State has since gone 0-5 and is a serious candidate to close out the season 1-11. Grade F
At Hawaii, long-time assistant Norm Chow is off to a terrible 1-4 start with his team's only win a 54-2 decision over I-AA Lamar. Long-gone is the famous offense Hawaii used to chew up teams and the defense, giving up 425.8 yards and 43.8 points per game, is a complete disaster. Grade F
At Kansas, Charlie Weis, former Notre Dame head coach and last year the offensive coordinator at Florida, has led the Jayhawks to a 1-4 start and has advised the fans "wait ‘til next year" - the battle cry of losers. Kansas scored its only victory of the season by whipping I-AA South Dakota State, 31-17, and has the distinction of losing at home to a terrible Rice team, 25-24. Grade F
At Southern Miss, Ellis Johnson, the former assistant head coach at South Carolina, is fast destroying one of the best football programs in the country. The Golden Eagles are off to a 0-5 start and are hardly competitive. Southern Miss went 12-2 last year, returned 42 lettermen from that team, and my memory is not good enough to say when the Eagles had a losing season. Once dreaded for their fierce physical play, teams now look forward to playing them. Grade F
At Tulane, Curtis Johnson, former wide-receivers coach for the New Orleans Saints, has opened the season 0-5 and has reduced the Green Way to one of the two or three worst I-A teams in the country. They are currently 0-5 and averaging just 9.5 points per game. Grade F