First Saturday Shows Bettors That SEC Could Again Win Title
The first Saturday of every college football season has been the same for bettors and fans over the past five years. The SEC is perceived to be the best conference in the nation, and each year a couple of tests present themselves early on that show whether the conference will again be on top come the end.
This year was no different. Boise State, Utah State, and Oregon all had chances on Saturday to give SEC early losses that could decrease the chances a team from the conference plays in the title game. Two of the three failed their tests, and now gamblers are left to wonder whether or not any conference will have a chance in the BCS title game.
Utah State took the first shot at the SEC when they took on defending national champion Auburn. This was not a game that many predicted would be close, and odds makers exemplified that point by making the Tigers a three touchdown underdog. Auburn played anything like a team that can repeat, and found themselves down ten points with just over three minutes remaining. Many of Auburn's fans headed for the exits.
Like they have done so many times over the past decade, however, an SEC team showed its superiority down the stretch. The Tigers scored a touchdown to cut the lead to three, then recovered the onside kick that followed. Several plays later, the upset dream had ended for Utah State.
The premiere match up of the weekend, according to many analysts, was LSU and Oregon. The Ducks had come close to breaking the SEC's dominance in championship games earlier this year, but fell late to Auburn. The Ducks were not nearly as crisp as they were in January on Saturday evening, and the Tigers, even without starting quarterback Jordan Jefferson, hung forty points on Oregon en route to a blowout win.
Boise State provided the last opportunity for non-SEC teams, and they finally broke through for the other conferences. The Broncos crushed Georgia in their home state, and made a statement that if they run the table, they could handle an SEC team in the title game. This was expected to be the Broncos toughest test, and they passed with flying colors.
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