I’m Dan Mount and it’s time for another edition of Around Campus. Last week saw the upset bug bite the Southeastern Conference, Jameis Winston made himself famous, the first BCS standings and the fallout from the lack of punishment in the case of the University of Miami. As always, you can leave comments below or follow me on Twitter @DanMountSports
Upsetting the apple cart
Last week saw a number of upsets in the long-powerful SEC. We saw Vanderbilt rally past injury-riddled Georgia, Tennessee beat the disappointing South Carolina, Auburn waltzed into College Station and upset Texas A&M and Mississippi outlasted LSU. All of those upsets shook up the college rankings and have made the race for the BCS more than just the SEC Invitational. Some are wondering if the conference has lost its luster after all of the intraconference losses. The Pac-12 and Atlantic Coast Conference have made major strides and have a chance to crash the national title game party.
However, I think the conference is improving because the bottom teams are starting to play better and knock off all of these top teams. Vanderbilt used to be a joke for years. Missouri struggled in its first season in the SEC and Auburn was still recovering from the national championship hangover of a couple of years ago. The SEC at the top may not be as deep as it once was, but if the bottom is starting to catchup, then the conference may finally be the best top-to-bottom conference.
Jameis gets a famous win
Last week’s matchup between Clemson and Florida State at Memorial Stadium in Clemson, South Carolina had all of the hype leading up to it. The matchup was a national title eliminator game and also a Heisman Trophy eliminator between the Seminoles’ Jameis Winston and the Tigers’ Tajh Boyd. It was set to be the greatest game in ACC history according to some people. However, the game was a springboard for Jameis Winston’s Heisman campaign as the Noles put up the most points in Death Valley as they crused the Tigers 51-14. Many thought Winston would be intimidated by the raucous environment of Death Valley, but he looked like a pro out there and Florida State looked like a legitimate national title contender.
Florida State has a huge game next weekend as it hosts Miami in a game that will also be the for the division championship. The stakes will be high in this game, but the Noles could have the inside track at the national title game if they can win out.
Not blown away
The NCAA finally made its ruling about the Nevin Shapiro scandal involving the University of Miami and I was less than impressed with the sanctions. The football program will lose nine scholarship and no further postseason bowl ban. (The team will lose three scholarships over three years, which ESPN’s Joe Schad said was “highly manageable.”) Missouri (and former Miami) basketball coach Frank Haith was also suspended five games for his role in the scandal. (The basketball program also lost three scholarships.)
It was a very weak penalty to the Hurricane program and proved how toothless the NCAA is. USC got in much more trouble for less severe transgressions. Miami should also thank its lucky stars that the Jerry Sandusky scandal broke when it did. I know Miami did what it could to punish itself by banning itself from bowl games for the last two seasons, but it pales into what the Trojans dealt with.
Since the first BCS standings came out. Here is the top 10.
- Alabama (.984)
- Florida State (.935)
- Oregon (.932)
- Ohio State (.855)
- Missouri (.822)
- Stanford (.741)
- Miami (.720)
- Baylor (.712)
- Clemson (.625)
- Texas Tech (.622)
Here is a look at this week’s top games.
(10) Texas Tech at (15) Oklahoma, 3:30 p.m. ET (Fox): The Red Raiders are still consistent under new coach (and Ryan Gosling lookalike) Kliff Kingsbury. Davis Webb has stepped into the starting quarterback role for Tech. The Sooners are still in the hunt for the Big XII title.
(12) UCLA at (2) Oregon, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN): The Ducks start their tough two weeks starting this week and then a tough game against Cardinal. Can the Bruins’ defense slow down] the high-powered Ducks offense. Marcus Mariota has been unstoppable at the QB position. Jim Mora starting to turn UCLA into a new So Cal power.
(21) South Carolina at (5) Missouri, 7 p.m. (ESPN2): The Gamecocks were a trendy pick earlier in the year to challenge Alabama for the SEC crown. However, they’ve fallen flat to a myriad of injuries. The Tigers were on the other end of the expectations spectrum, but have more than surpassed them. Matty Mauck stepped in for James Franklin and Mizzou looks good.
(6) Stanford at (25) Oregon State 10:30 p.m. (ESPN): The Cardinal still have a shot at the Rose Bowl and bounced back after losing to Utah a couple of weeks ago. The Beavers have really come on strong after a loss to FCS power Eastern Washington. Sean Manion is one of the nation’s leaders in passing yards for OSU.
That’s it for this week. I’ll have another Around Campus for you next week.
Dan Mount is a college football and NHL writer for TJRSports.com. He is based out of Watertown, NY.