NCAA title fight may pit SEC splendour against Pac men

Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback AJ McCarron celebrates last week's win over the LSU Tigers. (SEAN...

Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback AJ McCarron celebrates last week's win over the LSU Tigers. (SEAN GARDNER/Reuters)

TODD SAELHOF, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:30 PM ET

How's your remote thumb feeling seven days later?

Are you suffering from football elbow after all that channel-flipping last Saturday night?

If you're like me, I'm sure the arm got quite a workout checking out the two vastly different styles of football showcased on the tube in Week 9 action.

And your brain's probably in overdrive trying to figure out which is the best brand of ball.

On one network was a textbook display of SEC splendour, featuring the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide and the arch-rival LSU Tigers.

On the other, the Pac-12 track meet between the Oregon Ducks and the USC Trojans kept us on the edge of our seats.

Two tilts of stark contrast, to be sure.

While most U.S. college football fans recognize the SEC as boasting the best programs in the nation — mainly because of its teams' dogged defensive execution — you can't deny the high-octane offence that puts many of the Pac-12 squads on the map.

Most years, it comes down to an SEC dogfight to determine a national champion.

But this winter, how about a title tilt that pits offence vs. defence, the SEC top-dog against the Pac-12 powerhouse?

It would trump the BCS Championship Bowl of 2010 between Auburn vs. Oregon, because this edition of the Ducks — now sitting at No. 3 in the BCS Standings — is that much stronger, while Alabama's … well … arguably the strongest team ever.

A 'Bama-Oregon head-to-head title fight would give us more fodder for that great age-old debate about which side of the ball — offence or defence — wins championships.

And with QB Collin Klein a possible non-starter for No. 2 Kansas State putting the Wildcats' perfect record in jeopardy, it's looking more and more like a Tide-Ducks finale, with the best part being you'll be able to give that clicker — and the thumb — a rest while you sit back and indulge.

FIRST DOWN

Klein's status for Saturday is up in the air after spending most of the second half on the sideline with a head injury in K-State's win last week. Stay tuned … Stat of the week: The Wildcats have allowed just four turnovers this year and no points allowed off those miscues … Head coach Joker Phillips, with a 12-23 three-year record, was fired Sunday by 1-9 Kentucky. No joke … So LSU puts No. 1 'Bama up against the wall and nearly pulls off the upset, and the Tigers' reward is a slip of two places in the BCS Standings to No. 7. This computer thing sucks. At the very least, LSU deserves a standings spot ahead of No. 6 Florida … Nice to see the computers finally giving No. 3 Oregon its due, though, as the Ducks knocked No. 4 Notre Dame beneath them in the BCS. The Irish escape job against pedestrian Pitt should really have dropped them south of LSU and out of the top seven. They've lucked their way to a few wins this year. Again, silly computers.

FOURTH & INCHES

Washington State (2-7) loses its sixth straight tilt and has now suspended WR Marquess Wilson, who's rolled up 134 catches for nearly 2,300 yards and 17 TDs in two seasons for the Cougs. But it's cool, man, because Wazzu fans can chill — legally — after Washington became one of two states Tuesday to legalize the possession and sale of pot. The other state? Colorado, where the 1-8 Buffs could use some 'happy times.' … Speaking of the munchies, it looks like Cincinnati's going with backup QB Brendon Kay over starter Munchie Legaux, which would make the Bearcats more pass-happy … Stanford is changing QBs, with redshirt freshman Kevin (at 6-foot-4, 224 lbs., can we call him 'Hulk'?) Hogan climbing into the ring under centre. Bad luck for junior Josh Nunes, who replaced Andrew Luck at pivot for the Cardinal this year … Other QB changes: In Wisconsin, with Joel Stave (broken collarbone) done for the year, it'll be junior Danny O'Brien or fifth-year man Curt Phillips; And will it be junior Devin Gardner running around again in place of Denard Robinson (sore elbow) for Michigan? Again, stay tuned.

todd.saelhof@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/SUNToddSaelhof


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