NCAA FB

Starting 11: Baylor is passing Bucks

Art Briles, Baylor Bears; Urban Meyer, Ohio State Buckeyes
Art Briles and Urban Meyer both currently sit on the BCS title game fringe.
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Clay Travis

Clay Travis has been a columnist for CBSSports.com, FanHouse, and an editor/writer for Deadspin. He's written two books, Dixieland Delight and On Rocky Top, hosts a daily radio show in Nashville and appears on FS1's "FOX College Saturday."

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This is what happens when you're a good team in the ACC: You get so bored with the conference competition that two members of your starting secondary, P.J. Williams and Terrence Brooks, play hangman on the sideline during the fourth quarter.

CANDY FOR THE EARS

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This week against Idaho, they might be able to play hangman between plays with dry erase boards on the actual field.

That's because there is no real threat to the Seminoles this coming weekend.

Next weekend, however, I have a feeling the Gators will play them much better. At least defensively, anyway. 

But let's not kid ourselves, Florida State isn't losing on the field. The biggest challenge left for the 2013 Seminoles isn't even on the field -- it's the sexual assault investigation into Jameis Winston.  

Onto this week's Starting 11.

1. Baylor has effectively passed Ohio State in the BCS

When Baylor was just 4-0, I told y'all this would happen if the Bears kept winning, and Buckeye fans were furious that I would even suggest the possibility.

But all you had to do was look at Baylor's backloaded schedule and project what would happen. The computers already agree, having leapt Baylor up to third in the BCS. The only thing keeping Ohio State above Baylor is the notoriously unreliable coaches poll. And the Buckeyes' lead in the coaches poll keeps diminishing each week.

Now, I actually think Baylor may lose this weekend at Oklahoma State -- and I also don't think Alabama or Florida State are losing either -- but if Baylor wins out, the Bears will be the next team up in the event of a Bama or FSU stumble.

2. What has Georgia done to piss off the football Gods?

This season has been like a football snuff film for Georgia.

But everything -- the injuries, the crying fans, a loss at Vandy (!) -- paled in comparison to the way Saturday's game against Auburn ended.

It even left Alabama fans floored.

3. David Cutcliffe is doing extraordinary work at Duke

The Blue Devils, who beat Miami by 18 this past weekend, will be favored to finish 10-2 and represent the ACC Coastal in the conference title game against Florida State.

The only games left on the Blue Devils' schedule are at Wake Forest and at North Carolina.

Interestingly, if North Carolina beats Duke, then we could have a five-way, 5-3 tie in the ACC Coastal division. That tie would include Duke, Virginia Tech, Miami, North Carolina and Georgia Tech.

I have no idea who wins this five-way tiebreak, but if UNC beats Duke the final week of the season, we'd at least have a three-way tie.

Start running the tiebreaks.

But you don't really need tiebreaks for the national coach of the year race. It is now between Cutcliffe, Auburn's Gus Malzahn and Missouri's Gary Pinkel.

4. USC has rallied the troops around Ed Orgeron

There's no denying how much USC players love Coach O.

But even in the wake of the Stanford win, the Trojans can't really hire Coach O, can they?

Orgeron went 10-25 (3-21 in league play) in the SEC in three years as head coach at Ole Miss. He's now 5-0 in the Pac-12 (USC lost out of conference to Notre Dame, so will those of you who can't read stop emailing me that Coach O. isn't undefeated? I said in the Pac-12.)

Coach O would be entertaining as hell as USC's coach, but he'd fade pretty quickly with all the obligations that come with running a big-time program.

There's no way USC hires him, right?

5. Oregon is back leading the Pac-12 and will likely play Ohio State in Rose Bowl

The Ducks will beat the Buckeyes by 10 in the Rose Bowl, and we won't have to hear any more about Ohio State's regular-season win streak. (A regular-season win streak, by the way, that has also been equaled by Northern Illinois. How come we don't hear anything about this streak?)

Oregon's not even entirely out of the BCS title picture. Sure, a bunch of upsets would have to happen, but that's occurred before.

Don't sleep on the Ducks.

6. Vanderbilt is bowl eligible for the third straight year

Prior to James Franklin's arrival, the Commodores had been to four bowl games in program history. Now he's nearly doubled their bowl history in just three years.

The win over Kentucky wasn't pretty, but you know the culture at Vandy has changed when you can critique the quality of their wins. For most of Vanderbilt's history, it didn't matter how the Commodores won. A win was always sweet no matter how it happened.

Now the question is this: Can Vandy win at Tennessee?

If the Commodores can get a win in Knoxville, then a second straight eight-win regular season is likely.

Want a crazy stat? Alabama is the only SEC team with a better record than Vanderbilt in the past 17 games. Bama's 16-1, Vandy's 13-4. (South Carolina is also 13-4).

Wow.

7. Georgia's radio call of the Auburn Hail Mary

The Tigers' radio call has made the rounds, and I asked you guys to find Georgia's, and y'all did. While it's painful, it's not as painful as I expected.

8. Can Texas A&M snag the SEC's second BCS bowl bid?

Right now Fresno State and Central Florida are both likely to qualify for BCS bowls.

That means two of the BCS games are probably going to be fairly crappy. The Sugar Bowl is likely to end up with Central Florida, and the Fiesta Bowl is likely to get Fresno State.

What could help to save the Sugar Bowl? Johnny Manziel on Bourbon Street to finish his college football career. 

How does this happen? A&M has to win back-to-back road games at LSU this weekend and then at Missouri next weekend. If Manziel and A&M can pull both of these games out -- and I don't necessarily think they will -- then Manziel's career would probably end playing Central Florida in the Sugar Bowl.

That's kind of perfect, right?

9. Homeland is now perfection

If you aren't watching the show, you're wasting your life.

Fingers crossed that Dana has been written out of every episode for the rest of the series.

10. My national top 10 rankings

(For analysis of the top 10 and the SEC rankings below, click here.)

1. Alabama

2. FSU

3. Baylor

4. Oregon

5. Missouri

6. Auburn

7. Ohio State

8. Texas A&M

9. South Carolina

10. Clemson

11. My SEC Power Rankings

1. Alabama

2. Missouri

3. Auburn

4. Texas A&M

5. South Carolina

6. Georgia

7. Ole Miss

8. LSU

9. Vanderbilt

10. Florida

11. Tennessee

12. Mississippi State

13. Kentucky

14. Arkansas 

Tagged: Duke, Florida State, North Carolina, Ohio State, Ohio, USC, Oregon, Florida, Alabama, Auburn, Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Georgia, Baylor, Texas A&M, Missouri, Texas, Johnny Manziel

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