Friday, November 1, 2013
November never easy for contenders
By Chris Low
Legendary Arkansas coach Frank Broyles, in his famed genteel drawl, was fond of saying, "They always remember what you do in November."
Collin Klein and Kansas State were shocked by Baylor, 52-24, late last season.
Indeed they do, and with the calendar flipping to November in this final year of the BCS, it's also worth remembering that the only sure thing going forward is that nothing's for sure.
This is when it gets good, when upsets become the norm, when the ranks of the unbeaten start to dwindle and when the players and coaches on those teams at the top of the BCS standings start to hear the "Twilight Zone" theme in their sleep.
Weird things just seem to invariably happen once we get to November and beyond in the college football season, and it would probably only be fitting if the BCS' last hurrah provided us with some of the most compelling drama yet.
So what can we expect?
For starters, the six unbeaten teams from BCS conferences aren't all going to stay unbeaten. In fact, No. 3 Florida State and No. 7 Miami square off this weekend in Tallahassee.
The fact that we have a Florida State-Miami game that carries national championship implications only adds to the intrigue. It's the first time since 2004 that the two heated rivals have met as top-10 opponents.
It's also the first time they've both entered the game unbeaten (with each having at least seven wins) since 1991. That was the famed Wide Right I game, when No. 2 Miami beat No. 1 Florida State 17-16 after the Seminoles' Gerry Thomas missed a 34-yard field-goal attempt in the final seconds.
Of course, the next year, the Seminoles had to deal with Wide Right II when Dan Mowrey's 39-yard attempt to tie the game was no good, preserving Miami's 19-16 win.
It's difficult to see Saturday's game coming down to a field goal. Florida State is a huge favorite at home and has won six of its seven games this season by at least 28 points, while Miami had to scratch and claw just to get past Wake Forest and North Carolina the last two weeks.
But, remember, this is November. There are no gimmes.
It's like trying to get those final three outs in a tight baseball game. The ninth inning takes on a whole new life.
That's where we are right now in the college football season. Every snap, every decision, every turnover, every missed tackle and every injury are magnified.
"I think the cumulative effect of the season probably affects every team to some degree," Alabama coach Nick Saban said.
The same goes for being at the top of your game each week.