Bulldog fans, the time has come to put last week behind us. Yes, the outcome was not desirable, but much is still on the line in the remaining two weeks of the season: the Golden Egg, an 11-win season, a potential birth in the SEC Championship, and maybe a shot at the College Football Playoff. Some of these remain squarely in the hands of the Bulldogs, but others do not. There is nothing wrong with hoping for a little help, so here is a rooting guide for the games taking place Saturday.
Looking at the College Football Playoff rankings, there is no bigger elephant (sorry Alabama fans) in the room than Florida State. The Seminoles have managed to go undefeated, but in all honesty, they have not looked like the No. 1(in the AP/Coaches Polls) team in college football, and for that matter, many question if they are really a top-four team, as they are in the CFP Ranking list. We all know that an undefeated Florida State team will make it to the playoff, but if they trip up, they are toast, and quite a few teams feel like they have a better chance at making the playoff.
That means, at 2:30 on ABC, all Bulldog fans should be stirring the echoes of Doug Flutie and Matt Ryan and hope for a Boston College upset of Florida State.
In a game starting one hour later, on the most hopeless romantic of football fans could really believe that Colorado could spring the upset over the Oregon Ducks. Yes, that would be a tremendous boost for Mississippi State's playoff chances as it would more than likely take out any hope of a PAC-12 representative in the playoff, but this one is just not going to happen. If you have a multiple TV set up, it is worth putting on a small screen and keeping on mute.
In that same hopeless romantic category, one could hope for the Indiana Hoosiers to knock off Ohio State, moving the Buckeyes to the land of two-loss teams. You know, Indiana did beat Missouri this year, so they might......
Nah, move along here. It is an early game, so you could put it on TV 2 to keep an eye on it.
What about Alabama? While there is no way the Crimson Tide will lose today, a loss would probably hurt Mississippi State in that people would wonder what is wrong with Alabama, and how did Mississippi State lose to them. All of the Anti-SEC folks would finally have their proof that the SEC is "terrible and overrated." We do not want that happening today.
Tonight, Baylor plays host to Oklahoma State, and this one could be interesting. The Big 12 has always had that late season game that dashes the conference's hopes at a national title. Just a few years ago, Oklahoma State lost such a game to Iowa State.
A Baylor loss could play very well for Mississippi State in that it would mean they are no longer a one-loss team, and it could make TCU's lone loss look a little worse. On the flip side, a Baylor loss coupled with TCU winning out (BYE, @ Texas, and vs. Iowa State) would make the Horned Frogs the conference champions, and it might bolster their hopes for a playoff birth.
This one is a tough one to call, but in the end, I do not see any way Baylor leaps over Mississippi State in the standings, and I think that even though the Big 12 might name both Baylor and TCU co-champions, everyone knows which team won on the field. At the end of the day, a backdoor championship may not be enough to help TCU leap Mississippi State, but an outright title might. Choose either team in this one, but I'm saying Sic Em Bears.
That brings us to the tough one: Ole Miss at Arkansas. Everyone who cheers for the Maroon and White has an aversion to cheering for Ole Miss to win. The degree of such aversion varies from "sure, I can pull from them on occasion" to "no way in Hell." I tend to fall more to the "sure, I can pull for them" end of the spectrum, and for some of you, this is going to make you mad, but for the Bulldogs, the best thing will be for Ole Miss to win this game. Mississippi State only has one guaranteed shot at an impressive win to show the committee, and that will come in the Battle for the Golden Egg next week. A win over a top-ten Ole Miss would be a good thing to show if that is the last chance Mississippi State gets to leave a mark on the field. Yes, it feels wrong and dirty, but it needs to happen today.