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Southern comfort?

South Carolina and Florida are on the up, says Alex

Alex Ferguson Posted 10th October 2012 view comments

Before every college football season starts, each coach asks his merry band of warriors for one thing: perfection.

The teams mouth "12 and 0!" in the huddle before the game, excited about the future. It might not happen in the first week. Or the second. Or the third. But by the half-way stage, only a handful of unbeaten teams remain.

McCarron: Alabama's quarterback is protected by an experienced offensive line

McCarron: Alabama's quarterback is protected by an experienced offensive line

The rest, from Louisana Lafayette to LSU, from Texas State to Texas and from Miami to Miami of Ohio, have already fallen away, their chances of a National Championship virtually scarred by their on-field indiscretions that have blighted their quest for the Crystal Football.

But back to the ranks of the unbeaten. Everyone is chasing Alabama. This was a team that lost almost its entire defence to the NFL, then reloaded very quickly indeed, and has beaten everyone in sight. Of course, they've benefitted from a weaker schedule that some of their competitors, but they've looked the cream of the crop.

The South is a hotbed for footballing talent. The warm weather and the fact that it's played all year round means that the schools are recruiting better and better talent, and no-one can keep up.

Alex Ferguson
Quotes of the week

With an offensive line with nearly 100 starts, no-one can get through to their quarterback, AJ McCarron, or their running backs, Eddie Lacy and TJ Yeldon, who will ruin you. And they are coached by the best in the business, Nick Saban, who rules his team with an iron fist.

We asked a friend in Alabama who was more important, Saban or Jesus, and he replied: "Hell, Jesus didn't win two National Championships in three years, did he?" Sorry, Mr Christ.


So who is in the chasing pack? Well, out west you've got Oregon and Oregon State. We know that one of these two is going to finish the season with one loss, because they play each other in the 'Civil War' at the end of the year.

Oregon were meant to be this successful, considering Chip Kelly seems to just recruit sprinters to play for his team. No-one thought about Oregon State but the Beavers are showing some bite at the moment and are ranked 10th.

Could the Civil War decide a National Championship spot? We hope so - although we think it's likely that the Ducks will be going through the season with their feathers less ruffled than the Beavers.

On the country roads, West Virginia and the best player in college football (quarterback Geno Smith), can't stop scoring points, and their architect, Dana Holgerson, is leading defensive co-ordinators to consider retirement. This might just be the most fun dark horse for a National Title you'll see.

Sure, they won't defend you, but they'll happily go for it on fourth down, and before you know it, you're panting, looking up the field as they are in the end-zone, celebrating wildly with their Mountaineer mascot. The mascot, by the way, is doing one press-up every time West Virginia scores. The way the Mountaineers are scoring, Mountain Man will be He-Man by the end-season.

Out in the Mid-West they've had some trouble, or been in it. Ohio State's decision not to be bowl ineligible in 2012 rather than 2013 looks a stupid one, as Urban Meyer's team is unbeaten at the moment and looking the pick of the Big Ten.

Even if the Buckeyes run the table this year, they can't go to the National Championship Game. Ohio State's biggest rivals, Michigan and Michigan State suffered from a dose of the over-expectations, but after Notre Dame beat that out of them both, they - like the State's biggest city, Detroit - have little to smile about this season.


Out in the grains of Kansas, Bill Snyder's Kansas State campaign has again been fantastic. The Wildcats, thanks to their gargantuan quarterback/playmaker Collin Klein, are impressive at the moment, and you can't hold your breath on them either.

But how about Notre Dame? The Golden Domers, thanks to some incredible defensive work, are keeping hope alive. Manti Te'o, who lost his grandmother and girlfriend to cancer in the same week this season, has been sensational for the Fighting Irish. The golden-domed bandwagon is filling up fast folks - make sure you jump on quickly to avoid any disappointment!

And while we talk about the excitement being generated by a few eastern teams (Louisville, Cincinnati, Rutgers), the real excitement's being generated by one place: The South.

As y'all well know, the South is a hotbed for footballing talent. The warm weather and the fact that it's played all the year round means that the schools are recruiting better and better talent, and no-one can keep up with it. Think The Civil War in reverse. And while the King of The South is still Nick Saban, who's Alabama program is the standard-bearer by which the others must follow, there are other unbeatens that we simply can't sort from.

The South Carolina Gamecocks are defensively frightening, led by Jadeveon Clowney and Devin Taylor. The Florida Gators can't NOT come back in the second half, outwitting opposition offenses easily and causing enough eruption up front that Mike Gillislee can get through for winning touchdown after winning touchdown. Mississippi State under Dan Mullen is slowly but surely creating some noise. But can it last?

Questions, questions, questions.

Will anyone rival Alabama this season? Will the fast-paced offensive minds at Oregon and West Virginia be tempered at all? And will the Irish continue to rise?

It's going to be a great second half of the college football season. Then again, it always is.

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