Rocky’s V: Physical play, upsets and staying undefeated


I. Alabama got out-physicaled

Sometimes when facing a seemingly insurmountable foe, the best strategy is to punch them in the mouth and that’s exactly what Texas A&M did versus the usually very physical Alabama Crimson Tide. Towards the end of the third quarter, the normally dominant front seven of Alabama looked shocked that they couldn’t impose their will upon the Aggies in the same way they have done to so many other teams. Combine that with the uncanny play of A&M quarterback Johnny “Football” Manziel and A&M winning the turnover margin 3-0, and Texas A&M has shown the rest of college football the blueprint to beating the mighty Crimson Tide.

II. Texas A&M undoubtedly belongs in the SEC

We all wanted to say it a few weeks ago, but last week just makes it official. By defeating the Tide, the Aggies have silenced all the naysayers in the SEC and they did it in very non-SEC fashion: with dynamic play from the quarterback position. In no time, they have adopted the mantra of being a very physical team that plays great defense, but A&M’s reliance on the quarterback sets them all the other SEC schools this year. For the life of me I still can’t understand how there isn’t now, and there really hasn’t been for a while, a dominant QB at an SEC school. Other than Johnny Football, of course.

III. Not so fast on that 2014 playoff scenario

Last week I ranted about how great it would be to have the 2014 playoff system in place.  With four unbeaten teams at the time, the four-team playoff format couldn’t be sweeter. But last weekend’s action goes to show you how really an eight-team playoff is the way to go. At season’s end, if there are three unbeatens, could you imagine the nationwide angst over which team deserves that fourth spot? Florida? Georgia? LSU? Alabama? Right now a case could be made for any one of those teams. Maybe by 2020, they will finally get this thing right. I won’t hold my breath.

IV. Kansas State not out of the woods yet

With Kansas State taking over the #1 spot in the BCS rankings after Alabama’s loss, I hear many folks talking about how they are a sure-fire bet for the Championship Game. Sure, they will easily beat the defense-less Baylor Bears this week, but quietly lurking is a still dangerously good Texas team to close out the season. People seem to have forgotten about the Longhorns after they suffered back-to-back mid-season losses to then eighth-ranked West Virginia and then #13 Oklahoma. Texas still has a good football team, and you better believe that an upset of the undefeated Wildcats would make their entire season.

V. Exciting match-up in Eugene this week

Stanford has a chance to be this week’s version of the Texas A&M Aggies by going into a hostile environment and taking down the seemingly unstoppable Oregon Ducks. The blueprint to beat Oregon isn’t complicated: keep Marcus Mariota and his countless offensive weapons on the sideline by controlling the clock with a steady, yet physical run game. I feel that Stanford has the players and scheme to make this plan a reality with tailback Stepfan Taylor leading the way. Defensively, Stanford is very stout in the middle with great play by the interior linebackers. But as many teams have already found out, realizing the game plan and implementing it are two very different things. This one will be fun to watch.

– Rocky Boiman

Rocky Boiman is an analyst for Westwood One’s coverage of NCAA Football. Each week in “Rocky’s V,” the former Notre Dame captain and Super Bowl champion writes about five topics that have captured his interest from around college football. This week, Rocky and John Tautges will be in Eugene to bring you all the action as Oregon hosts Stanford. Coverage begins Saturday at 7:30 PM Eastern.


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