Better Late than Never?

Many people (actually, just Elliott) were severely disappointed that this week’s sermon did not hit the blogosphere on its normal schedule. As usual, I have a few excuses for my tardiness. I spent the entire weekend with my girlfriend Laura at Michigan State University, and I definitely wasn’t going to post my thoughts there. When I got back to Auburn, I had a ton of work (one project) to catch up on before Tuesday’s class.

Because I wanted to spend time with Laura, I didn’t watch many games this weekend. I did see Indiana’s 46-21 (let’s just admit it: 46-7) trouncing of Michigan State. The Spartans recently announced the end of the Smith era, which is understandable, considering his season-ending performances the past few years. I also got to watch the last five minutes of Oregon State’s “upset” of USC. Laura and I were eating dinner with some of her friends during the second half, so I had to leave the table a few times to check the score online.

Like I predicted, USC did not going to go undefeated this season. Still, who would have guessed that their first loss would come so early? Here’s hoping one or two (or three) of California, Oregon, and Notre Dame will deliver another loss to the Trojans. Vanderbilt-ed Georgia, another early loser, is still on track to make me look like a genius (or Captain Obvious). The Bulldogs lost a dogfight (literally: think “Smokey vs. Ugga”) against Tennessee and a Florida game that was not as close as the final score. Now, Georgia has a week at Kentucky before being slapped around by Auburn and Georgia Tech.

The ACC: what is up with this now-whacky conference? Miami, then Virginia Tech, was the favorite to win last year’s ACC, which was ultimately won by Florida State (who finished 5-3 in conference play). This year has been just as ridiculous. BC, Wake Forest, Maryland, and Clemson all seem to have a shot at the Atlantic Division title. Georgia Tech, after getting past NCState this weekend, should have an easy road to taking a 10-2 record into the conference championship. I guess I shouldn’t complain. The ACC of the recent past is definitely more interesting than the decade beforehand, when Florida State never lost.

Virginia Tech plays Miami this weekend, and honestly, I’m not sure who to pick. This used to be the game that determined the Big East championship, but now it seems to determine who is the best decent team in the ACC Coastal Division. Larry Coker is basically done at Miami, but a decisive win against the Hokies could make his argument for continued employment a tiny bit more interesting. He’d probably have to win the rest of his games (at Maryland, at Virginia, Boston College) to keep his job, though.

This weekend is chalk full (what does that even mean?) of interesting conference matchups. West Virginia goes to Louisville to decide the Big East (until they both have to play Rutgers and Pittsburgh). Missouri goes to Nebraska to decide the Big 12 North. Oklahoma travels to College Station, where Texas A&M must win to have a shot at the Big 12 South. Arkansas goes to South Carolina to begin a three-game crusade for the SEC West. Tennessee hosts LSU, trying to keep their SEC East hopes alive. Boston College plays Wake Forest, and Maryland plays Clemson to bring the ACC Atlantic race into focus.

I’ll end this week’s sermon by addressing the question on everyone’s mind: who will play for the national title on January 8? The Ohio State/Michigan winner looks like a lock for No. 1, but the No. 2 BCS spot is still up for grabs. A close loss by Ohio State could set up a rematch, but that seems unlikely. I’m guessing West Virginia, Louisville, Florida, Auburn, or Texas will face the Buckeyes in Arizona, and I don’t think any of those teams would win. Thankfully, there is still a lot of football to be played (and watched) before then.

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