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One Yellow Flag Can Change the Whole Season and Other Things We Learned in Week 8

The SEC West still rules the roost and officials may determine the playoff teams. Just a few of the things we learned this week in college football.

It’s the SEC West’s World. Everyone Else is Just Living Here.

Every year, we hear that some other conference is really strong and balanced and is ready to challenge the SEC for college football supremacy. And every year, that turns out just to be a pipe dream. This year it’s gotten even worse as just one half of the conference is now running the show. Outside of Florida State sitting at No. 2, the entire AP Top Five consists of SEC West teams. Yes, I know Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Alabama and Auburn will all have to play each other and could knock each other off. But at this point, can you really imagine a scenario in which at least two SEC West teams don’t make the playoff? Me neither.

We Have Our First Real Officiating Controversy

There is always plenty of criticism of officials to go around. But, unless you’re a fan of a team on the losing end of a bad call, most folks forget all about it by the next day. But Saturday night’s Florida State-Notre Dame game gave us a call that we’ll see replayed all season and that could well decide who gets a playoff birth.

Facing fourth and goal with just 17 seconds left, Everett Golson threw what appeared to be the game-winning touchdown. But the play was called back for an offensive pass interference penalty.

Whether you think it was the right call or not, prepare for it to be discussed ad nauseam if the Irish run the table and are still in playoff contention six weeks from now. The “bad luck of the Irish” jokes will get old really fast.

Will Muschamp is Toast

Congratulations Brady Hoke, you’ll have some company in the unemployment line very soon. After Florida’s woeful performance this season, there’s simply no way the Gator faithful will let Muschamp hang around in Gainesville any longer. Florida’s offense and special teams are so bad that Mizzou put up a stat I didn’t believe when I first read and had to triple-check to make sure it was factual: late in the third quarter, the Tigers only had 97 yards of total offense . . . but led 42-0.

Yes, you read that right. Missouri scored on a kickoff return, a punt return, an interception return and a fumble recovery return. With six Florida turnovers, Missouri obviously didn’t need to do much (just 119 total yards in the game) to win.

This was the opening kickoff. Which was the high point of the game for the Gators.

This was Florida’s worst home loss to an unranked opponent since 1967. In the last ten years, teams that have held their opponents to less than 120 total yards are a combined 147-2. Both of those two were playing against Will Muschamp-coached teams. It’s been nice knowing you, coach.

We’ll always have Florida players blocking each other.

Nobody Really Wants to Win the Big 12

If you had predicted that Kansas State, West Virginia and TCU would be the teams to beat in the Big 12 this year, I want to go to Vegas with you. On second thought, scratch that, because you’re a terrible liar and I don’t want to have anything to do with you. With Saturday’s upset of Oklahoma, Kansas State is the last remaining team still unbeaten in conference play. West Virginia upset No. 4 Baylor thanks in large part to 18 Bear penalties for a Big 12-record 215 yards. And the Horned Frogs rebounded from last week’s disappointing collapse to destroy No. 15 Oklahoma State.

The Big 12 likes to trumpet how its round-robin schedule leads to “one true champion.” But this season looks like it could result in a conference-wide bloodletting that knocks everybody out of playoff contention.

Things are Getting Rough in College Station

Remember Johnny Football? And that time a few weeks ago when Texas A&M dominated South Carolina and Aggie quarterback Kenny Hill was suddenly a hot name in the Heisman race? Ah, good times, good times.

Unfortunately, those are just fond memories as the Aggies have hit a new low they haven’t seen in some time. Alabama scored on all seven of its first half possessions en route to handing Texas A&M its first shutout loss since a 77-0 drubbing by Oklahoma in 2003. The 59-0 blowout was the second-worst loss in school history. At halftime, three Alabama players had more rushing yards than the Aggies had total offense.

Dramatic reenactment of Alabama vs. Texas A&M.

We thought Texas A&M would have to rebuild after the departure of Johnny Manziel. This loss showed that the job might require a bigger overhaul than we originally thought.

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