Rocky’s V: Go Irish, Go Johnny

11/29/2012

I. Notre Dame can beat Alabama or Georgia

SEC fans (and ESPN’s David Pollack) have already declared that the Irish will get stomped by either team they face in the BCS Championship Game, but let’s get real about this. Alabama’s toughest game this year was versus Texas A&M, and they lost. At home. Georgia’s toughest game was an impressive win at Florida, but other than that their schedule was relatively easy. The next toughest was South Carolina, a game in which the Dawgs got smoked. Notre Dame, on the other hand, sported what I think was actually a tougher schedule than either ‘Bama or Georgia, and won at Oklahoma (holding the Sooners to 5 yards rushing) and notched a victory against the now 8th-ranked Stanford Cardinal. People want to talk about how Notre Dame has squeaked out a couple victories as evidence of their lack of strength. But I see this as an advantage. Winning one close game is luck, winning six close games is a talent and may be one of the most valuable assets the Irish utilize to win the title game. (Editor’s note: Rocky Boiman played four years as a linebacker at Notre Dame from 1998-2001.)

II. Johnny Manziel for Heisman

Manziel, aka “Johnny Football,” is already a college football legend and for good reason. He finished with 3,419 yards and 24 touchdowns through the air and 1,181 yards and 19 TDs on the ground. That’s more rush yards and rush TDs than RG3 last year, and we all know that Griffin hoisted the Heisman. The problem is, because Manziel is only a freshman, many of the 870 Heisman voters may discriminate based on his age or say that he hasn’t paid his dues. If Manziel doesn’t win, it will be a shame because he is in my opinion easily the most dynamic player in the country.

III. Georgia has a chance to beat Alabama

Everyone has already written the Crimson Tide into the championship game, but I think Georgia can pull another “upset.” Georgia has surged every week since losing to South Carolina 35-7 on October 6th. But the main asset they have in this game is experience. As a young team last year the Bulldogs lost in the SEC Championship Game but the experience they gained, now being a veteran team, will give them the confidence and poise to take down the Tide.  Throw in the fact that Bulldogs QB Aaron Murray is statistically one of the best in football right now and I’m liking Georgia more and more.

IV. Stanford should have gone with Kevin Hogan sooner

Stanford is ranked #8, but boy, think about what could have been! Kevin Hogan took over the starting quarterback job three weeks ago versus Oregon State and in just three games as the man under center has thrown for 818 yards, 8 TDs and sports a 73% completion percentage. That’s exactly the kind of play that leads to big wins – in this case, against the Beavers, Oregon and UCLA. Hogan makes Stanford much better in the red zone and has the ability to extend plays with his legs. It makes Cardinal fans wonder how they would have fared in their bad loss to Washington and that very, very tight overtime loss to Notre Dame.

V. Oregon: How hard the mighty Ducks have fallen.

Oregon fans have to be absolutely sick right now. Two weeks ago the Ducks were far-and-away the most feared and most explosive team in the country. But with one upset loss to Stanford, not only are they not playing for a BCS title, they are not even playing for a PAC-12 title. To me, their fall illustrates two points. First, is if you are going to lose, lose early, especially if you play a weak schedule like Oregon did. Secondly, the old adage of defense wins championships holds true. Oregon’s defense ranked 27th in college football in giving up 22 points per game. Notre Dame, Alabama and Georgia – the three teams in the mix for the BCS championship game – rank second, first and 16th respectively in points given up per game. However the game on Saturday in Atlanta shakes out, don’t expect a shootout on January 7th in Miami.

— Rocky Boiman

Rocky Boiman is an analyst for Westwood One’s coverage of NCAA Football. Each week in “Rocky’s V,” the former Notre Dame captain and Super Bowl champion writes about five topics that have captured his interest from around college football. You can also follow Rocky on Twitter.

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