SEC Football Q&A: More Likely, Johnny Manziel Staying or Nick Saban Leaving?

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SEC Football Q&A: More Likely, Johnny Manziel Staying or Nick Saban Leaving?
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Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel

Every Thursday on The SEC Blog, we feature questions from the Bleacher Report inbox, Twitter and email at bsallee@bleacherreport.com.

You have SEC questions, and I have SEC answers. Thank you for your questions. If I didn't get to them this week, they will be saved and used in the future.

And we're off! 

I'd say both are very unlikely, but if I had to choose between those two, I'd say Alabama head coach Nick Saban leaving is slightly more likely than Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel staying.

Manziel has done all he can at Texas A&M. He's helped the program transition to the SEC, won a Heisman Trophy, established himself as one of the most dynamic players in college football history and—most importantly—developed into quite a pocket passer during his redshirt sophomore season in College Station.

He completed 69.1 percent of his passes this season, tossed 33 touchdowns and displayed remarkable accuracy, even when he was on the run. If he came back to College Station, I'd be floored.

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I'd also be floored if Saban left Alabama for Texas, just slightly less floored. 

He's 62 years old and has elevated Alabama to a level that is nearly impossible to reach during the BCS era. Does that create special pressure? Sure. 

Building and maintaining a mirror image at Texas so close to retirement would take that special pressure to the next level. 

With that said, the coaching silly season is unpredictable, and if Texas offers the sun, moon and stars to Saban, he'd at least consider it—despite the seemingly endless amount of denials he's already issued.

Well, he'd at least consider it for a brief moment.

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Alabama head coach Nick Saban

 

Auburn is the only one of the two SEC Championship Game participants that has a chance to jump undefeated Ohio State since it has a win over Alabama on its resume, but it's still just a very remote possibility.

Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

Ohio State's resume—while lacking strength of schedule—is still unblemished. I don't care what metrics you throw out there, whether it be Top 25 wins, victories over bowl teams, etc.; together they don't equal the importance of the win/loss column for power conference teams. 

The only chance I'd give Auburn in this debate would be if it runs Missouri out of the Georgia Dome and Ohio State looks like hot garbage in a win over Michigan State, or the Buckeyes win on something fluky or silly like a fifth down.

In that scenario, then maybe Auburn would jump. But the Tigers are already well-received by the computers and a lot of voters would have to flip.

I just don't see it happening.

With that said, it's a non-issue because Michigan State is going to beat Ohio State this weekend.

The Program: Predicting Week 15's Biggest Headlines

 

Yes, from the voters anyway.

Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Missouri QB James Franklin

The problem for Missouri—which is why I wrote above that Auburn is the only SEC Championship Game participant that has a chance to jump undefeated Ohio State—is that it isn't as well-received by the computers. Auburn is only one spot behind Ohio State in the computer average, while Missouri is three.

With that said though, Missouri is essentially in the same boat as Auburn. Win the SEC Championship Game and get either an Ohio State or Florida State loss, and Missouri will jump Alabama and play for the BCS National Championship.

Missouri is actually hurt a bit by the fact that Alabama didn't win the SEC West. A win over the Tide in Atlanta would probably resonate with voters and computers more than one over Auburn.

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Missouri RB Henry Josey

 

The BCS announced on Tuesday that South Carolina was one of seven teams not in contention for an automatic berth through their conference championship that are still in at-large consideration.

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South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier

With that said, no, I don't see how South Carolina getting a BCS at-large spot is even possible at this point. In your scenario, Missouri would get the SEC's automatic bid and play in the BCS National Championship Game and the SEC's other at-large bid would either go to Auburn or Alabama.

In fact, if Alabama finishes No. 3 or 4 and an at-large SEC team doesn't play for the title (which won't happen because Missouri would get an automatic bid), the Crimson Tide would get an automatic bid according to the BCS bylaws (Sections 5 and 6).

Even if that wasn't the case, I can't imagine a scenario in which South Carolina would be selected for the SEC's second BCS bid over Alabama or Auburn.

So, to put it simply, South Carolina's chances for an at-large BCS bid are as close to "zero" as they could possibly be.

 

Do you have a question for next week's Q&A? Send it to SEC lead writer Barrett Sallee via the B/R inbox, on Twitter @BarrettSallee or at bsallee@bleacherreport.com.

 


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