Educated Guesses Week 8: ACC mega-showdown in Death Valley
I know this week is all about Florida State and Clemson pitting Famous Jameis Winston against Tajh Boyd in the game ACC execs have been dreaming about, however ...
That showdown gets treated in Friday and Sunday columns. Let’s instead review where everything stands with the always entertaining SEC East, where suddenly Missouri of all teams controls its own destiny.
Mizzou, however, doesn’t have star quarterback James Franklin for the remainder of the season and has No. 22 Florida and No. 11 South Carolina on deck the next two weeks. Even with both of those major tests at home, I don’t like the Tigers’ chances. Win even one and you likely eliminate the loser from contention.
Lose both and injury-riddled Georgia is back in the co-driver’s seat with Florida. All the Bulldogs would have to do is win out in its four remaining conference games against offenses that are certainly inferior to all of the teams Georgia has already faced. So the defense could look improved by default. No. 24 Auburn and No. 22 Florida posed the greatest threats.
All the Gators have to do is win out as well because it would win all tiebreakers with its lone conference loss to the SEC West’s LSU.
South Carolina remains in the picture but needs to win out and get help, most notably from the Gators. If Florida can beat both Mizzou and Georgia, the Gamecocks could sneak into the back door of the Georgia Dome with a strong enough ranking to be playing for a BCS title berth. (That of course assumes a continuation of Palmetto dominance against Clemson, which is a HUGE assumption.)
Over in the ACC, things are so much more simple. The big showdowns between Clemson-Florida State and Miami-Virginia Tech should settle everything nicely.
In addition to following these weekly guesses on ScottMichaux.com, anyone wishing to play along can join The Augusta Chronicle’s Football Fever Challenge. You can register to try to catch me (that’s right, my lead has grown again) at http://chronicle.augusta.com/sports/footballfever#.UD9xLcFlSE8
Bring on Week 8:
FloridaState @ Clemson: I can’t explain why Florida State is a 3-point favorite in a deliriously loud Death Valley. But I can’t explain why I think that’s how it plays out. Just a hunch (I reserve the right to change my mind before Saturday, but I probably won't). SEMINOLES 38, Tigers 35.
Georgia @ Vanderbilt: This is not the same Bulldogs offense anymore. Not the same Vandy as last year, either. BULLDOGS 31, Commodores 20.
South Carolina @ Tennessee: Let’s not lose track that the only reason Vols nearly beat Georgia was emotional death spiral of accumulating injuries. GAMECOCKS 28, Volunteers 17.
Syracuse @ Georgia Tech: After dropping three straight, Jackets coach Paul Johnson desperately needs a win. YELLOW JACKETS 35, Orangemen 24.
Florida @ Missouri: In battle of backup QBs, Gators may have gotten an upgrade. GATORS 27, Tigers 23.
Auburn @ Texas A&M: Johnny Manziel is not going to get beat by a former Georgia defensive back playing QB. AGGIES 42, Tigers 30.
BYU @ Houston: Back in the day, this could have been consecutive Heisman winning Cougars, Andre Ware vs. Ty Detmer. COUGARS 38, Cougers (Houston) 27.
LSU @ Ole Miss: This will not be easy visitors. It never is with Les Miles. TIGERS 31, Rebels 28.
Washington @ Arizona State: I know everybody seems high on the Huskies, but two tough Pac-12 losses take toll. SUN DEVILS 38, Huskies 31.
UCLA @ Stanford: Jim Mora’s unbeaten team has won at Nebraska and Utah already. BRUINS 31, Cardinal 28.
Southern Cal @ Notre Dame: It’s a shame Lane Kiffin isn’t around to mock anymore. FIGHTING IRISH 27, Trojans 21.
LAST WEEK: 9-2
Winners: South Carolina, Clemson, BYU, LSU, Maryland, Oregon, Wisconsin, Louisville, Georgia Southern
Losers: Georgia, Oklahoma,
Year-to-date record: 66-11 (.857)
2012 record: 117-48 (.709)
2011 record: 115-51 (.693)
2010 record: 97-49 (.664)