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Vols will reign in SEC Championship
Posted: Wednesday December 02, 1998 11:44 PM
The top three unbeaten teams in college football must all pass monstrous tests this weekend to stay alive in the Bowl Championship Series.
Tennessee and Mississippi State meet in the SEC Championship game in Atlanta. State offensive coordinator Lynn Amedee told me the whole key is whether running back James Johnson will be fully recovered from a groin injury. However, even without Johnson, State's offensive line averages more than 300 pounds a man. And the Bulldogs have the best power running game the Vols will face since Nebraska in last year's Orange Bowl. Mississippi State will score points, but Tennessee seems to have a different star step up each week offensively. I like Tennessee in a close game that won't be decided until the fourth quarter.
Georges' makeup matchup
UCLA travels to Miami in a game that was postponed in September due to Hurricane Georges. Miami was embarrassed 66-to-13 last week at Syracuse, and now faces an even more potent Bruin attack that's averaging 40 points a game. However, this matchup will come down to UCLA's ability to stop Miami's offense. Bruin defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti told me his defense was embarrassed after head coach Bob Toledo publicly challenged it. So to take the pressure off, Aliotti cut his game plan in half. With only two seniors, the Bruins defense is just now beginning to gel. UCLA wins and will play Tennessee in the Fiesta Bowl.
Spying on Bishop
Kansas State's hopes of a perfect season go through Texas A&M in the Big 12 title game. Aggies defensive coordinator Mike Hankwitz told me Kansas State keeps it simple for quarterback Michael Bishop. He has one primary receiver, and if he is covered, Bishop is told to scramble. The Aggies will counter by having someone "spying" on Bishop at all times. Kansas State had last week off and is as healthy as it's been all year, while the Aggies are still recovering from an emotional loss to in-state rival Texas. I like K-State.
So there you have it. The top three teams will win this week and the BCS gets its worst nightmare ... no "true" national championship game. Fellas, how about turning the channel and watching the Division I-AA playoffs. See, it's really not that hard.
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