Thursday 14 December 2017 / 03:29 PM

The Captains’ Run – Dec 7

If all I watched last weekend was the Ohio State v Michigan game, the enthralling back and forth non-stop action, Michigan stepping up to the plate, Ohio State feeling the pressure and responding, an out and out belter of a game decided in the final minutes by a point, it would have been more than enough to satisfy the romance and performance that is built into rivalry games. Then Jordan Hare happened. Auburns kick returner Chris Davis, with scores tied and 1 second on the clock, returned a missed Alabama 57-yard field goal attempt 109 yards for a touchdown to win the Iron Bowl and in the process knocked Alabama from National Championship reckoning (barring some outrageous results happening this weekend). Auburn went nuts. Columbus, Ohio went nuts. For the first time this season the Buckeyes now are legitimate BCS Title contenders. This match will, and has, gone down as perhaps the greatest finish to a football game; ever. Another outstanding Alabama team, undefeated this season, seemingly rolling towards a third straight National Championship, its fourth in five years, fell to a very good Auburn team who took their chances and deserved the win. No doubt some luck played a role in the Tigers win but it was luck they made and were good enough to capitalise on. Rivalry round has produced again, showcasing all that is great about College Football and that the tradition and fan bases and the ability of these teams to rise to an occasion is indeed something special and not easily replicated, if at all.

As it stands, FSU and Ohio State are headed for Pasadena in January. If Auburn can take the SEC Championship this weekend against Mizzou there will be a significant push for the Tigers to be there against the Noles, but an undefeated Ohio State should get the nod. If one or either of the undefeated’s lose, Auburn and then Alabama come back into the picture. What are the odds on an Iron Bowl sequel?

The Rewind

So the picks were a little off, this happens sometimes. At least there is room for improvement. Ole Miss were disappointing against a pumped up Bulldogs team, the Rebels though will improve again next year. LSU rose out of their slumber in the nick of time to beat a terrible Arkansas outfit. The Spartans and Langford kept the run going and will have the chance to claim their most prized scalp this weekend. Tahj Boyd and Johnny Manziel both signed off on their College careers with a loss but I am sure success in the NFL awaits.

Let’s step it up a notch for this weekend’s hand full of games and Conference Championships.

Attention Seekers

It’s all about the Conference Championships this weekend. Sunday morning Australian time throws up Stanford travelling to Arizona State with the winner securing a Rose Bowl birth and the surprise packet Duke taking on FSU for the ACC title. Mizzou v Auburn is battling it out for the SEC, but the one with the most intrigue is Ohio State v Michigan State spectacle, the Buckeyes need to win this, either way the Spartans are going to California.

 

Where Are The Biscuits?

 

Texas at Baylor

Both teams are coming off wins, but Baylor have looked a little off over the last couple of weeks. Having said that, the Bears are at home for the final game of the season and are looking for a Bowl birth, with a couple back from injury I expect the Baylor offense to be too much for the Longhorns. The Bears will get the points they need to cover the spread late in the game. Baylor -14.5.

Oklahoma at Oklahoma State

The Cowboys and QB Clint Chelf have had a great year, excusing the Mountaineers game. After a big win over Baylor two weeks ago then a break, plus the Sooners also having a week off, both teams will be firing for this local derby in Stillwater. The Pokes will be too strong and will win by -9.5.

Missouri vs. Auburn

Can Auburn back up from their mammoth win last week? Have they even come down yet? You better believe it. Gus Malzahn pulled these guys heads out of the clouds about two hours after that historic win against Alabama. They have their eyes on the National Championship prize despite having to rely on one of the undefeated teams to lose to get there. The Tigers will be flying after last week and will win handsomely, so much so there will consideration for the one loss SEC winners to get the BCS birth ahead of a Buckeye team who are only just sneaking in. Auburn -2.

Duke vs. FSU

This column had to wait for the state prosecutor to announce there were to be no charges brought against Heisman favourite and freshman gun Jameis Winston before picking FSU such has been the performance of Duke over the last month to get the Conference Championship game. The Blue Devils will be up for this game but the Noles will be far too strong and are on their way to being National Champions. FSU -29.5.

Stanford at Arizona State

Arizona State gets a big advantage playing at home where a raucous Sun Devil crowd will be wishing for a Rose Bowl start. Arizona State was without RB sensation Grice last week and had enough in their bag to put Arizona away; I don’t think the same can be said for this week. He will be missed against an intimidating Cardinal defense, which will ultimately be the difference. Hogan will have his best road game of the year to take the Cardinal to the Rose Bowl. Stanford +3.5.

Ohio State vs Michigan State

There are two schools of thought here; only one will be proven this weekend. Has Michigan State’s defense been sufficiently tested against a good offense or has Ohio State’s Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde yet to come against a solid defense? In reality it is probably both. However I think Ohio State’s offense is good enough to cover the Spartans D line. I also think the Buckeyes will handle the run of Michigan State’s Jeremy Langford. Ohio State -5.5.

Utah State at Fresno State

The Bulldogs are first overall for passing yards in the FBS this year. They have had an outstanding year and will be disappointed the loss last weekend spoiled their season. While the Aggies defense has been solid they won’t hold the Bulldogs to within a touchdown. Fresno State -3.5.

The multi at $10 will get you just under $700 to spend on Christmas drinks.

OT

Roll anything you want into Jameis Winston winning The Heisman, Stanford winning The Rose Bowl and then FSU taking out the National Championship. This will happen.

Go well.

Note: The preceding ramblings should be treated as such. Odds may change.

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Gregory Neale

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