Auburn fans got somewhat of a surprise last night when they debuted at number four in the first BCS rankings. Why? They can thank the computers. While Auburn sits at number five in both the Harris and Coaches polls this week, the computers liked the Tigers better and put them at number three. That landed Auburn at number four in the only rankings that count.
All Auburn fans have to be thinking "what if" right now. What if they run the table and finish third behind Oklahoma and Oregon. That's not likely to happen this time around. With top 10 showdowns remaining against LSU and Alabama plus an appearance in the SEC Championship game, Auburn will likely end up playing for the national championship should they win out according to ESPN BCS guru Brad Edwards.
Even if they remain outside the top three in the human polls, Auburn's chances of playing for it all are excellent. But with five games and a possible SEC Championship game still left to be played, we are getting way ahead of ourselves.
Once again, SEC officiating is taking center stage as we get into the meat of the SEC schedule. It was another bad weekend all around for conference officials. From the phantom holding call against offensive lineman Lee Ziemba that negated a long Darvin Adams reception in the first quarter Saturday to a suspect interference call on Auburn in the third quarter, SEC officials were uneven at best Saturday.
And the calls weren't just against Auburn. Say what you will; but let's admit it, Mario Fannin didn't cross the goal line with the ball during Saturday's controversial call. On the postgame show, Auburn sideline reporter Quentin Riggins made a good point, saying that teams have to learn to play through bad calls. No argument here. That said, SEC coordinator of officials Rogers Redding needs to be on the hot seat after what's transpired the past two years.
During a Q&A with an SEC blog last week, I was asked whether it was fair that Cam Newton hadn't gotten the recognition he deserved so far. I told him the next two weeks would give him ample opportunity to make a statement. Little did I know that things would change so drastically for Newton in a matter of 60 minutes.
Regardless of what college football website you visit today, you'll find Newton at the top of the Heisman list. He's without question the consensus favorite heading into week eight of the season. Just remember, he can drop just as quickly.
Quarterback Dameyune Craig was in the mix after six games of the 1997 season. Auburn then lost two of its next three games and he was done. That said, he was not close to being the consensus favorite and had nowhere near the highlight reel that Newton has heading into this week. Still, it's a cautionary tale for all fans. Heisman races are extremely fluid at this point in the season - ask Michigan's Denard Robinson.
Don't look now, but the Georgia Bulldogs are right back in the hunt for the SEC East Championship. They have arguably played the best football in their division over the past two weeks. Who would have dreamed it? The Dawgs now sit a half game behind South Carolina in the East with a 2-3 conference record. How the mighty have fallen.
They'll need a little help down the stretch to catch the Gamecocks, but anything is possible in this crazy season. After Saturday's convincing win over Vanderbilt, things get more difficult this week when they travel to Kentucky.