Thanksgiving weekend offered a whirlwind of chaos, none more chaotic than the final minute of the Iron Bowl. With Auburn’s last-second defeat of Alabama, there is a new number one atop the Tailgater Top 25… and there are now two clear contenders for the last championship game in BCS history.
Florida State and Ohio State are the favorites to play in Pasadena for the crystal pigskin, but there is bound to be a groundswell of support for the SEC champion (either one-loss Auburn or one-loss Missouri) to take one of the championship invites. Of course, we also have a weekend of football left to play, with teams like the Seminoles and Buckeyes needing to win to stay alive.
But below the battle for the top two positions, there are other intriguing story lines as teams jockey for the best possible bowl berth. Upsets and close calls predominated the weekend, but how did all of this affect the Tailgater poll this week? Before we go any further, here’s how our ballots combined to form the Week 14 poll on this first Monday in December:
|1||Florida State (3)||75||2|
ALSO RECEIVING VOTES: Texas A&M (3), Marshall (1)
For the first time since 2010, the Crimson Tide are no longer a part of the championship picture. Only two AQ-conference teams remain undefeated after Saban’s 57-yard gamble turned into a 109-yard reversal of fortunes at Jordan-Hare Stadium, and that means that all Florida State and Ohio State have to do is beat Duke and Michigan State respectively to ensure a spot in Pasadena.
Another big result clarified the BCS Buster picture. After David Fales and the San Jose State Spartans took down Fresno State 62-52 on Black Friday, the door has swung wide open for Northern Illinois to play the Cinderella role for a second straight season. They’ve got their eyes on UCF, which nearly lost to South Florida but remains the top-ranked AAC team in the BCS standings.
Only one more weekend remains for teams to make a statement worthy of poll reconfiguration. December offers the promise of both hope and despair as the contenders are separated from the pretenders.
That said, you’ve probably got a different opinion than us. With the spirit of contention in mind, you will find our individual ballots below. Leave your personal picks, acrimonious invective, base insults, insulting suggestions, or belligerent rants down in the comments below. You’re also always welcome to hit up any of us on Twitter to offer a piece of your mind…
About the Author: Zach Bigalke
Zach is a historian and author who has been covering sports near and far for various publications since 2006. Formerly the managing editor of Informative Sports and Global Turnstile, he has also been featured at Helium, FanSided, the Portland State Vanguard and other online publications and is the author of three books, including "Dispatches from Vancouver: A Non-Traditional Sports Fan in America's View of the XXI Winter Olympiad". He currently lives in Eugene, Oregon. Follow him at Twitter @zbigalke; for more info on his books, visit Amazon.