Sentinel college football writer Matt Murschel answers your questions about the college football season. To submit a question for future mailbags, email, Facebook or tweet them.
A: If I was a betting man Anthony – which I’m not – I would put my money on Alabama. They appear to be the most complete team out there at this point. In fact, there doesn’t appear to be very many weaknesses – if any – for the Crimson Tide. That being said, they have a tough matchup this weekend against LSU and if they beat the Tigers – which I expect them to do – then they would just have Texas A&M, Western Carolina and Auburn left on the schedule followed by the SEC Championship Game against Georgia at this point. Notre Dame would be my second pick. The Fighting Irish have games against Pittsburgh, Boston College and Wake Forest which have a combined record of 10-14 followed by a finale on the road against USC. Kansas State has tough matchups against Oklahoma State, TCU and Texas while Oregon must play USC, Stanford and Oregon State.
A: Sure. Listen, when you take over a program that had six losing seasons over the past decade, it’s easy to have lowered expectations, but RichRod has done an admirable job getting the program back on track. At 5-3 and with wins over USC, Washington and Oklahoma State, the Wildcats appear to be headed in the right direction. Plus, the rest of the schedule features winnable games against UCLA, Colorado, Utah and Arizona State which makes bowl eligibility almost a sure-thing. That hasn’t happened in Tucson since 2010. The offense – led by Matt Scott – is one of the most dynamic in college football and imagine if the ‘Cats had any sort of defense?
Q: What happened to USC? If I remember correctly, didn’t you pick them to snap the SEC’s dominance this season by winning the national championship? You missed the boat on that one. – Scott
A: Can I get a do-over? Seriously, what was I thinking? Oh, wait. I remember. USC had a talented roster full of NFL-caliber players including quarterback Matt Barkley, Silas Redd, Robert Woods and Marqise Lee. Little did I know that some of those players would struggle as badly as they have. After the type of season Barkley had in 2011, it was a no-brainer to expect him to have similar numbers in 2012. However, he’s struggled at times in the pocket and his decision-making skills haven’t been the best at times. He’s not the only one as the team has suffered through a rash of miscues and injuries to wind up 6-2 with critical losses to Stanford and Arizona. A win over Oregon this weekend could do a lot to help make up for what I would consider has been a disappointing season.
Q: Which coaches do you think will be looking for new jobs at the end of the season? – Michael
A: There are a lot of college coaches who are just as busy updating their resumes as they are updating their game plans. The SEC, I believe, will have anywhere from two to four openings when things are all said and done. Arkansas, Auburn, Tennessee and Kentucky. The only thing that could save Gene Chizik’s job is if he beats Alabama in the Iron Bowl. Even that may not be enough. Frank Spaziani at Boston College could be out especially with a new athletic director while Paul Johnson has been feeling the pressure at Georgia Tech. Cal’s Jeff Tedford seems to have been on the Hot Seat for the past couple of seasons, but at disappointing season in 2012 could be the final straw. Other schools to consider are Wyoming, UNLV, UTEP and Southern Miss. I know Southern Miss just hired Ellis Johnson, but after the season the Golden Eagles have had, he might not be around much past December 1.
Don't forget about Matt's Murschel's weekly mail bag. If you have any college football questions you would like answered or just issues or players you would like his thoughts on please email him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @osmattmurschel.