It’s just plain wrong Boise State and Ball State can go undefeated, win their respective conferences, and not get into the BCS. What makes it ironic is it’ll be another undefeated non-BCS team (Utah) that’s taking their place.
Once again, we’ve learned exactly what makes the BCS so shitty. Instead of taking the top ten teams to play in the BCS National Championship, Rose Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, Sugar Bowl, and Orange Bowl, bids have to go to conference champions, even if that champ sucks. While USC and Oklahoma are surely better than Boise and Ball State, Cincinnati isn’t. But the Bearcats are going to get into the BCS because they’re winning a crappy BCS conference. The ACC champion is the same way. You will never convince me that Utah, Boise State, and Ball State couldn’t compete in the ACC and Big East this year.
No, it’s not fun to watch major conference teams destroy overmatched non-BCS teams, so this is partially a quality-of-play issue. Should Boise State make the BCS, they might have to play USC or Oklahoma, and that’s not a fair matchup on paper. After all, we’re only a year removed from Georgia destroying a Hawai’i team people thought were legitimately dangerous. But my response to that criticism is simply this: (5) Boise State 43 (11) Oklahoma 42 and (5) Utah 35 Pittsburgh 7. The Utah game is a great example because they beat a crappy Big East champion. Hey, guess what, the Big East is crappy again! And yes, Oklahoma gags in January, but everyone thought Boise would be physically dominated and they weren’t.
When it comes down to one game left in the season and the teams have weeks to prepare, anyone can win a game. Hawai’i got destroyed last year, but other teams have won and will win given the chance. Is Ball State undersized? Yes. But the only thing that makes Cincinnati and whoever wins the ACC more deserving is their conference affiliation, not their talent. And that’s incredibly unfair.
The BCS is wrong. Wrong! Free college football!
I love Thanksgiving week so much. And I even get to go home to San Diego for Thanksgiving for the first time in like five years, so this is basically a perfect weekend, or it would be if I wasn’t flying Thanksgiving morning. Hope springs eternal for me this time of year. Maybe, just maybe, this is the year we have turducken (fingers crossed).
As with last week, I’ve attempted to label as many rivalry games, contrived or otherwise, as possible. But I just want to say: thank God Indiana’s season is over. I couldn’t take another week of knowing my beloved Hoosiers were going to come out and play like a shitty Pop Warner team. This season sapped a lot of the fun out of that program for a bunch of different reasons. Okay, season’s over, no more whining. It’s money-making time.
Record through week 13: 144-61, 99-102-6 ATS
Thursday Nov. 27, 12:30pm ET
Titans (10-1) at Lions (0-11) (+11)
I really wish they’d stop making the Lions play on Thanksgiving until they can get their crap together. But I wish even more people would stop repeating that take…Okay, that’s a pipe dream. Not the part about not playing on Thanksgiving, the part about the Lions ever getting their crap together. Let’s all collectively face it: the state of Michigan sucks at sports that matter. I figured the Lions would be getting the 4:15 ET game Thursday because no one watches then, but I realized the NFL would much rather truamatize the East Coast and have the West Coast miss the game entirely since it starts at 9:30am. I never watch the Lions game anyway, so I’m not sure this matters at all.
So the Titans got their asses kicked at home by the Jets last Sunday, and now they’re playing a short week against the worst team in the league. Does anyone else think Jeff Fisher was saving LenDale White for this game by not playing him Sunday? He had to have known the team didn’t have it that day after the first quarter. Why wear out your rotund power-back when you can save him for the game you have to play in four days? And could White have handled it any worse? Dude, the only 40 you’re fast in is the amount of Devil Dogs you can fire down in 40 minutes. Actually, I think LenDale White and Artie Lange are the same person.
Pick: Titans win but the Lions beat the spread somehow.
Update: Titans 47 Lions 10.
I spent all Thanksgiving day convinced I had picked the Titans to cover and was feeling really good about it until right now (11am Pacific). Damn that sucks. And it was a really dumb-ass pick too. How the hell would the Lions cover against Tennessee? Detroit is terrible! This is an ominous start to the weekend, for sure.
Record: 145-61, 99-103-6 ATS
Seahawks (2-9) at Cowboys (7-4) (-12.5)
The second AWESOME matchup of Turkey Day. The Seahawks suck and the Cowboys really need this win to keep up in the NFC playoff race. Plus it’s the last week of the regular season for InterSpecies Erotica, and we’re very much fighting for a good playoff seed. I might need this win more than the Cowboys.
Update: Cowboys 34 Seahawks 9.
At least I got this one right. Plus Romo worked wonders for the fantasy team last night with that outburst. That’s the kind of production I could have used from him all season, damn it. I’m convinced I’d still be undefeated if Romo and Reggie Bush hadn’t gotten hurt.
Record: 146-61, 100-103-6 ATS
The Lone Star Showdown
Texas A&M (4-7) at (2) Texas (10-1) (-35)
Trophy: The Lone Star Showdown Trophy, Series Record: 73-36-5 (Texas)
Actually, the Lone Star Showdown isn’t just for the football game. It’s a year-long competition in all sports between the Aggies and Longhorns. You know, because we should care when their softball teams play each other.
This game is nothing but bad news for Texas A&M. The Longhorns just got promoted back to #2 in the BCS standings, so they have the entire world to play for heading into the Big XII title game. All Texas has to do is blow out a crappy Aggies team at home, and they’re on their way. Worse for A&M, they won this game last year, so the Longhorns will be looking for some serious revenge. Oh, and Colt McCoy has that Heisman thing going for him. So there’s that.
Update: Texas 49 Texas A&M 9.
It was a hell of a lot of fun yelling at Texas last night for taking so long to make the cover. I got to watch this one with my cousin, who’s a pretty big Texas fan, and all we had last night were questions. What the hell does “gig ’em” mean? Why does Texas A&M have absolutely no attractive female fans? Are there any two more different college towns than Austin, TX and College Station, TX? I think the point is it sucks to be the Aggies most of the time, except for the one night after they win against Texas. When they lose that game, it sucks to be the Aggies all the time.
Record: 147-61, 101-103-6 ATS
Cardinals (7-4) at Eagles (5-5-1) (-3)
Everyone is piling on the Eagles this week because of the McNabb thing, and yet they’re playing a short week and McNabb is starting anyway. Is it possible the Eagles aren’t even seeing the press coverage of this all week? That they’ll keep their heads down, McNabb will get it together, and Jim Johnson will remember Kurt Warner melts down every time he’s pressured? No, no it’s not possible. They’re screwed. This is the NFL, after all.
The best part about this game is it’s by far the best one of the day and no one will see it. It’s on NFL Network, which means no one gets it in the first place, AND it’s airing right during dinner time for pretty much the entire country. I know men are assholes in beer commercials and stuff, but there’s no way in hell my family would leave the Cardinals/Eagles game on in the background. Chargers, maybe. But not this game.
Update: Eagles 48 Cardinals 20.
I really should write my picks down somewhere so I can remember what they were when I’m not in front of a computer. I spent the entire Texas game cheering as the updates of this game came across the screen because I thought I’d picked Philly. Thanksgiving is screwing with my head already.
At least I was right about the Eagles. They came through that controversy and kicked the shit out of a playoff team. Shows how McNabb is probably pretty used to dealing with bullshit from the Philly fans and national press. Also shows how terrible the NFC West is. Shout out to The Baker, who had a big night from Bryan Westbrook.
Record: 147-62, 101-104-6 ATS
Friday Nov. 28, 12pm ET
The Backyard Brawl
West Virginia (7-3) at (25) Pittsburgh (7-3) (+3.5)
Trophy: none, Series Record: 60-37-3 (Pitt)
I’m truly convinced West Virginia can win this game. But not because of the spread. Swear. Pitt is having a great season, and Wanny has saved his job, but they’re overrated as hell. As HELL. They still don’t throw the ball well and their defense isn’t so much scary as it is average. Yet WVU isn’t that scary anymore. That crazy-fast team that almost made the title game last season is gone. They’re not nearly as impressive as they once were. Fucking Big East.
Pick: West Fucking Virginia
Update: Pitt 19 WVU 15.
What the hell is it about Pitt that screws West Virginia’s offense up so badly? I know Wanny is a defensive guy, but this is two years in a row the Mountaineers have been totally shut down by a seemingly average defense. That’s food for thought for the WVU football program, that’s for sure.
LeSean McCoy is badass. He’s getting better as the season is going on and has pretty much singlehandedly saved his coach’s job. Without him, this is a two-win team. I can’t even name one other player on Pitt, despite all those well-respected recruiting classes. I’m still not impressed with this team. Their wins are almost always inexplicable, and they never dominate. Don’t forget, though they’re winning some close games now, this is a team that lost to Bowling Green to open the season.
Record: 147-63, 101-105-6 ATS
12:30 pm ET
Ohio (3-8) at Miami (OH) (2-9) (+1)
All I know is it’s a rivalry game. There doesn’t seem to be a trophy or anything special. It’s just a rivalry game. I wonder if the students even know that. I think I picked Ohio once or twice earlier this season too, not that I should remember that sort of thing.
Update: Ohio 41 Miami (OH) 26.
Doesn’t look like this game was worth taking time away from killing a guy at Wal-Mart since it’s Black Friday and people are awful. At least Ohio finally came through for me when I picked them. It was Ohio that got me on a streak of getting MAC games wrong every week early in the season. I’m sure this means there’s some kind of closure, but in truth I don’t really care. I do wonder what happened to Frank Solich’s team, though. The guy is a good coach and to only have a four-win team isn’t going to help his status as the martyr for the death of Nebraska’s football program.
Which reminds me. The rise of the Urban Meyer/spread/Paul Johnson offenses is pretty ironic since not so long ago, Nebraska freaked out because it thought it couldn’t run the option anymore. Now everyone is incorporating principles from that same offense into their systems, the mobile quarterback is back in a big way, and now Nebraska is stuck trying to run a pro-style system that is no longer de rigeur for successful programs. The point, as always, don’t obsess about the trends in college football because things are always changing. Isn’t it possible Nebraska’s offense simply wasn’t working because they weren’t always the biggest, fastest, most talented team on the field anymore? That’s a recruiting problem, not an offensive problem. Indiana has offensive problems. I’m not so sure Nebraska did back then.
Record: 148-63, 102-105-6 ATS
The Egg Bowl
Mississippi State (4-7) at Mississippi (7-4) (-16)
Trophy: The Golden Egg
This game counts for something I’m sure. What happened to the Legion of Croom? They were actually bowl-eligible last season, along with other have-not Indiana. 2007 was a big year for them. Now, just like Indiana, they’re crappy again, though they’ve managed four wins. I’m happy for Mississippi, too. Must be nice for Houston Nutt to be winning with Ed Orgeron’s players. Two separate books featuring Coach O and his recruiting prowess, but he can’t get anything out of them once they’re in Oxford. Then again that guy Houston Nutt can pretty much win with any players. If this game were in Starkville, I’d say it’ll be close, but it’s not, so I’m thinking easy Ole Miss win.
Update: Ole Miss 45 Mississippi State 0.
Sy Croom, what are we going to do with you? Then again, the Bulldogs’ shittiness isn’t totally his fault. There was post-success karma to deal with, and the likes of Sylvester Croom and Bill Lynch at Indiana just aren’t equipped for it. Both teams had major issues in all three phases of the game and seemed to take major steps back in their progress. And now, both teams have been blown out in their big rivalry games. I didn’t call for Bill Lynch to be fired, though I really, really wanted to, so I won’t for Croom either. But both Mississippi State and Indiana need to show major improvement next season or both crappy programs will be looking for new coaches.
The fact that Ole Miss is 8-4 is amazing, but it couldn’t have happened without the crappy Ed Orgeron years. Though he was definitely not an X’s and O’s coach, the guy can recruit talent anywhere, and he left Houston Nutt plenty of talented players to win games with. And, miracle of miracles, Ole Miss is having success with a coach that (kind of) knows how to use talent. At least Nutt knows how to throw things together and keep the fans believing. He’d still be at Arkansas if the Razorback fans hadn’t tried to shoot the moon with hiring a new coach and ended up with Bobby Petrino.
Record: 149-63, 103-105-6 ATS
2:30 pm ET
The Battle for the Boot
LSU (7-4) at Arkansas (4-7) (+4.5)
Trophy: The Golden Boot, Series Record: 33-18-2 (LSU)
Give Arkansas two years, and this is a game. LSU isn’t LSU this year and they may not be in the future unless they get a quarterback and start playing Keiland Williams. Arkansas is going to recruit and they have that dude from Michigan ready to go next year instead of one of the Dick brothers. Some CBS announcer also mentioned LSU fans will always think of 2008 as the year Ryan Perrilloux should have been the quarterback, but then the color guy mentioned how none of the LSU players miss him. So no, no one is going to miss Perrilloux. 2008 is the year he couldn’t NOT fuck his career up. Some people just can’t function in a successful situation.
This year, however, there really isn’t anything impressive about Arkansas at all. There just isn’t anything they do well, including getting arrested. It’s clearly not a Bobby Petrino team yet. So LSU is going to win, probably with one of those Les Miles “blowouts” in which they win 24-10 but the other team only crosses the 50 two times and the TD is defensive or a return. It’s how they did things in the 1970’s, and Les Miles thinks Woody Hayes was an offensive innovator.
Update: Arkansas 31 LSU 30.
A year after winning the BCS National Title, LSU is 7-5 and going to a crappy bowl game. This is definitely all Ryan Perrilloux’s fault. I have no idea if the team would have won with him at quarterback or if they would have melted down on and off the field, but it’s somehow his fault. It couldn’t be the once vaunted LSU defense just sucks now. It couldn’t be their continuing misusage of Keiland Williams. And it definitely couldn’t be they just aren’t a very talented or motivated football team. No way. All Ryan Perrilloux’s fault.
Record: 149-64, 103-106-6 ATS
3:30 pm ET
Colorado (5-6) at Nebraska (7-4) (-18)
Trophy: none, Series Record: A lot – A little (Nebraska)
Another trophy-less rivalry game. Whoopdy-freaking-doo. This used to be the big game in the Big XII North way back when. Colorado when they had Rashan Salaam et al. and Nebraska in pretty much every other year were some good teams. So basically, Nebraska would clinch the Big XII North whenever they played Colorado, and thus it became a rivalry. VERY exciting.
This year, the teams are gawd-awful, and I wouldn’t watch this game with two Perfect 10 models and an some uncut Colombian yayo. Because if I had two Perfect 10 models and some blow, the fuck would I be watching football at all for?
Pick: Nebraska wins but Colorado beats the spread.
Update: Nebraska 40 Colorado 31.
This must have been some meaningless Big XII game, huh? Nebraska isn’t good enough to cover an 18 point spread against a decent conference opponent. The real issue was whether Colorado is good enough because watching their games really makes you wonder why the hell Dan Hawkins left Boise State. The Buffaloes really bring nothing to the table at the moment, but this was a complete rebuilding job, so I’m sure the CU brain trust is going to give him more time.
Record: 150-64, 104-106-6 ATS
The Battle of I-75
Bowling Green (5-6) at Toledo (3-8) (+2)
Trophy: The Peace Pipe, Series Record:15-13 (Toledo)
With the trophy being The Peace Pipe, I wonder what it is Bowling Green and Toledo students do before, during, and after this game? Right, yeah, study. That’s it. Lots and lots of bowls of studying.
Pick: Bowling Green
Update: Bowling Green 38 Toledo 10.
Record: 151-64, 105-106-6 ATS
Battle for the Milk Can
Fresno State (7-4) at (9) Boise State (11-0) (-21)
Trophy: The Milk Can, Series Record: 2-1 (Boise State)
Games between these two teams have been so good in recent years, I guess they decided to create a contrived rivalry just for fun. I don’t know who came up with the “milk can,” but I’m sure there’s some dumb story behind it.
Wow, is Fresno State disappointing. Weren’t they the ones who were supposed to go undefeated and make the BCS? Then they lost to a Wisconsin team that almost lost to Cal Poly, so there’s that. But that doesn’t mean they can’t give Boise State a game. They do all the things effective teams do, it’s just Fresno’s offense isn’t doing them as well as other teams. Hah. They only threw eight times in their last game because the passing game is so FUBAR. But now all they have to do is get it together for one game, and suddenly my argument about Boise and Ball State making the BCS is moot.
As for Boise, what the hell happened to Ian Johnson? That was the same guy who scored on the Statue of Liberty play against Oklahoma, proposed to his girlfriend, and then came back to school. He was a good runner that year. What happened? Anyway, Boise should win this game going away. Fresno State is mediocre and if the Broncos really are legit, they have to win.
Pick: Boise State wins but Fresno State beats the spread.
Update: Boise State 61 Fresno State 10.
I hate that the wrap for this game is all about how blowing out a team by 51 points is meant to “impress” the BCS pollsters. I thought the whole point of the BCS was to avoid letting the polls dominate the way people play games. Now everyone has to have “style points” when they play crappy teams. That term is just despicable, as is anyone who believes they need to run the score up just to help out their team’s chances at making more money. That’s shitty and it’s against everything college football used to stand for. At this point, we’d be better off without the BCS and back with the old system.
Record: 152-64, 105-107-6 ATS
Saturday, Nov. 29, 12pm ET
Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate
(22) Georgia Tech (8-3) at (11) Georgia (9-2) (-8)
Trophy: pride, Series Record:59-38-5 (Georgia)
Tech fans sing a song (set to “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”) called “To Hell With Georgia” and the two schools can’t even agree on how many times this game has been played. Georgia says 99 times and Georgia Tech says 101 because Georgia doesn’t believe two Tech victories should count because they happened while many Georgia players were fighting in World War II. Love it.
And yes, this is the ultimate game to prove my season-long allegiance to Tech, the triple-option and hatred of Georgia correct. If all is right with the college football world, Georgia Tech will win Saturday. They have the defense to stop Knowshon Moreno and (the overrated) Matt Stafford, and their offense can score points, despite not throwing a whole lot. I’m telling you, Georgia Tech can win this game.
Pick: Georgia Tech
Update: Georgia Tech 45 Georgia 42.
Mark Richt is now inventing what I like to call “good mediocrity”. His teams will always win more games than they lose, he’ll recruit good talent, and they might even threaten to make a BCS game from time to time. But, they will never win the important games and definitely will never go undefeated. He’s not that kind of head coach and his players are the worst kind of talented, yet mistake-prone players, with their field general being Matt Stafford. The scouts are gonne be drooling over this kid. He’s got all the measurables scouts want. Then teams are going to look at film and see he doesn’t check down ever, isn’t terrible accurate, and relies wholly on his arm strength to save him from bad decisions. He’s a project at best. I’d take Sam Bradford, shit I’d even take Graham Harrell, over him every day of the week.
Record: 153-64, 106-107-6 ATS
The Commonwealth Cup
Virginia (5-6) at Virginia Tech (7-4) (-8)
Trophy: The Commonwealth Cup, Series Record: 47-37-5 (Virginia Tech)
Yeah not redshirting Tyrod Taylor was totally worth it. There’s no way Sean Glennon could have led this team to a 7-4 record. Yup, Taylor was the difference. Great coaching decisions there by Frank Beamer. Hey Frank, maybe it’s your system that sucks, not the players. I hope Hokie fans are irate.
Pick: Virginia Tech
Update: Virginia Tech 17 Virginia 14.
This game was of no consequence except to the two schools, and it wasn’t on TV anywhere near me, so I didn’t watch a minute of it and I don’t really care now that it’s over. So…yeah.
Record: 154-64, 106-108-6 ATS
Battle of the Palmetto State
South Carolina (7-4) at Clemson (6-5) (-1)
Trophy: The Hardee’s Trophy, Series Record: 64-37-4 (Clemson)
I think it’s appropriate for the trophy in this rivalry to be named after a fast food joint that sells nothing but ultra-calorie food and is helping make America fatter.Yeah, I’m paying $6 for a fucking drive-thru burger. Keep dreaming.
Despite Spurrier doing his off-year thing in which he rotates quarterbacks and laments his underachieving team, South Carolina should still win. They’re more talented and Clemson has never figured out how to play good football. The next coach should be able to win a ton of games there, but there has to be a reason beyond Tommy Bowden as to why this program can’t win more because Clemson has never been a big winner. They’ve always been on the cusp, but have never been able to take it to the next level depite often being the most talented team in the ACC, including this year. I hate the rotating South Carolina quarterbacks, and that O is unpredictable as hell, but Clemson isn’t any good.
Pick: South Carolina
Update: Clemson 31 South Carolina 14.
I love how going 7-5 against mediocre competition suddenly makes Dabo Swinney the front runner for this job. He did the same mediocre job Tommy Bowden had been doing for years and suddenly he’s a miracle worker. Brilliant. This is yet another reason why Clemson will always stay Clemson and never become that top tier program all the fans want them to be. Mediocre is good enough in that part of South Carolina.
As for The OBC, I don’t know what to say. Everyone kind of knew South Carolina would be his last coaching job, since he’s in his early sixties now, but I think we all expected them to be a little better than this. And we definitely did not expect them to be plagued with offensive disaster after offensive disaster, but that’s exactly what’s happened. He’s never had the players on offense and the Gamecocks have never been any good.
Record: 154-65, 106-109-6 ATS
The Border War
Kansas (6-5) at (13) Missouri (9-2) (-16)
Trophy: Indian War Drum, Series Record:54-53-9 (Missouri)
I’m not going to call it the “Border Showdown” because it would mean the terrorists win, since the name was only changed in 2004 out of a silly worry about referring to college athletics as “war” given the current world situation. And unless you’re rooting for slavery and the Confederacy, you should always root for Kansas in this game. Nothing personal, Mizzou.
Also, Michigan and Ohio State fans love to say their rivalry is the best partially because the two states actually fought a war over Toledo. Then Kansas and Missouri fans say they’re full of shit because these two states fought it out like no one else in college football. People actually died because of the deep acrimony between these two states. There is real hate in this rivalry, not staid, midwestern hate.
I guess Kansas is another team, along with Indiana and Mississippi State to follow a wildly successful season with disappointment. Missouri is a much better team in 2008, though the deep hatred in this rivalry means this game might be closer than it should be.
Update: Kansas 40 MIssouri 37.
The danger of being a spread team like Mizzou and most of the rest of college football is teams can be shut down on any given day, but with more frequency. Those old-school running plays can still work if executed properly, but when teams throw on most downs, there is a whole other level of execution involved that could go horribly wrong at any moment. Plus, when the spread doesn’t work, it hangs every defense out to dry. Hell it even does that when it works. This is why Missouri was talented, but was always a house of cards in 2008. They didn’t have a great defense to begin with, and their offense made it so that defense was on the field quite a bit.
Record: 154-66, 106-110-6 ATS
(4) Florida (10-1) at (20) Florida State (8-3) (+16.5)
Trophy: Governor’s Cup, Series Record: 31-19-2 (Florida)
Florida has to lose this game and the SEC championship against Alabama in order for another non-BCS team to get in. And even then, a one or two-loss BCS conference team might get in over Boise State or Ball State. If they beat lose to FSU and beat Alabama, both the Gators and the Crimson Tide will probably get into the BCS. If they beat FSU and lose to Alabama, we might get some one in there, but it’s more likely the Gators will remain in the BCS picture. My head hurts.
Oh, right, the Florida State matchup. Honestly, Florida should blow them out. The Gators are playing about as well as they ever have for Urban Meyer, and the Seminoles still aren’t totally recovered from their 21st century crappiness. You have to love a program that’s fallen so far the Thad Busby years look like shangri-la.
Update: Florida 45 FSU 15.
Florida/Alabama is going to be one hell of a game. Not because Alabama is an offensive juggernaut, but because Nick Saban will be coach of the year if he can hold the Gators under 45 points. This is the best Florida has played under Urban Meyer. Even better than their National Championship squad. Maybe it took a bad loss to a plucky Ole MIss team to get them working right, I don’t know. Either way, both the Gators and Crimson Tide are going to BCS games, so I really don’t care who wins at the moment because it doesn’t get any of the little guys into the BCS.
Record: 155-66, 107-110-6 ATS
Maryland (7-4) at (21) Boston College (8-3) (-7)
The multiple-personality Terrapins are playing yet another ranked team, and you know what that means. They looked like crap against Florida State, but BC isn’t as good as FSU at this point since Chris Crane is out for the season. And I know BC gets a lot of credit for running the ball effectively, but that’s exactly what Maryland does well too. This is a big game in the ACC, but I honestly don’t care that much.
Update: BC 28 Maryland 21.
Now let’s never speak of Maryland being dangerous again.
Record: 155-67, 107-110-7 ATS
The Houston-Rice Rivalry
Houston (7-4) at Rice (8-3) (+3)
Trophy: Bayou Bucket, Series Record: 24-9 (Houston)
Just on here because it’s a rivalry game, though it could be a very entertaining shoot out, since both teams have great offenses and not so much on defense. Who knew two Houston schools could hate each other so much? Rice is in Houston, right? I’m too lazy to google it, or, you know, read one preview of this game. Though what this rivalry has to do with a bayou, I have no idea.
Update: Rice 56 Houston 42.
Case Keenum completed 25 straight passes in this game, but Houston lost. What does that mean? Who gives a damn? It’s C-USA football!
Record: 155-68, 107-111-7 ATS
North Carolina (7-4) at Duke (4-7) (+7.5)
Trophy: The Victory Bell, Series Record: 39-20-1 (UNC)
North Carolina just lost their leading tackler to a spine injury that ended his career. It’s a real shame that happened, but there’s still no way UNC is losing this game. Um, right? The Tar Heels are looking worse and worse every week and they keep losing players to injury. The offense has no continuity and there just isn’t a whole lot to like about this team. I loved them at the beginning, but the long season has taken its toll. They’re basically a NASCAR driver trying to finish a race on 10 oz. of gas, one tire, and two dudes they hit on the hood.
Update: UNC 28 Duke 20.
So 4-4 in the ACC isn’t all that pretty, but this is definitely a successful season for UNC. 8-4 sounds pretty damn good when you consider how far down they were. Duke is even further down than that, so 4-8 is still pretty good for them. Moving on…
Record: 156-68, 108-111-7 ATS
The Iron Bowl
Auburn (5-6) at (1) Alabama (11-0) (-14)
Trophy: The James E. Foy, V-ODK Sportsmanship Trophy, Series Record: 38-33-1 (Alabama)
This series is actually a lot closer than I expected. I figured Alabama dominated Auburn for a long time, but I guess not. In any case, this year’s game isn’t exactly a heavyweight matchup. Maybe it will be next year when Auburn has a new head coach, but this year, the Tigers are just plain crappy. Sure, it’d be nice to upset the number one team in your rivalry game, but what exactly is it that Auburn does well enough to pose any kind of threat to Alabama? You know Saban will have the troops ready for this one even though it doesn’t matter. There’s a small chance they’ll be looking ahead to Florida, but this is the biggest game the Crimson Tide plays all year in the minds of their fans, and I think Saban is keenly aware of that fact.
Update: Alabama 36 Auburn 0.
Alabama is the quintessential “ugly but effective” team. They don’t do one thing that’s going to make it on to SportsCenter, but they get the job done on pretty much everyone they play. They only had that one shootout with Georgia, but they already had a big lead so it didn’t matter. Is this defense good enough to stop Florida? Is their offense good enough to score on a Pop Warner team? Hard to say.
Record: 157-68, 109-111-7 ATS
The Shula Bowl
Florida International (4-6) at Florida Atlantic (5-6) (-4.5)
Trophy: The Don Shula Award, Series Record: 5-1 (FAU)
What does Don Shula have to do with this rivalry? Absolutely nothing. The two team’s coaches (Howard Schnellenberger and Don Strock) had something to do with him, so they figurd they’d name the rivalry after him. Real creative, guys.
Update: FAU 57 FIU 50 (OT).
Record: 158-68, 110-111-7 ATS
The Border Battle
Kentucky (6-5) at Tennessee (4-7) (-4.5)
Trophy: The Beer Barrell
Phil Fulmer’s last game as the head coach of the Tennessee Volunteers. Vols fan needs to be careful about celebrating his demise because they definitely don’t have a clear idea of where their program actually stands. Yes, Fulmer needed to go, but you can tell by the names being thrown around for this job that Tennessee isn’t a marquee name anymore. Whoever the next coach is going to have to build them back up. Maybe he should start by getting a decent quarterback.
Oh yeah, Kentucky. They’re not good. This is Tennessee’s final game with Fulmer. That equals blowout. And if it’s not, the new had coach might as well clean house of all the remaining players.
Update: Tennessee 28 Kentucky 10.
Goodbye, Phil Fulmer. It was a pleasure knowing you were one of the few good-guy coaches in the game and still making fun of you for not totally understanding “offense” or “defense” for the last ten years or so. You will be missed.
Record: 159-68, 111-111-7 ATS
The Civil War
(23) Oregon (8-3) at (17) Oregon State (8-3) (-3)
Trophy: The Platypus Trophy, Series Record: 55-46-10 (Oregon)
Phillips really need Oregon to win this game. Actually, I think I might too. If Oregon State is an automatic BCS bid, then USC will be an at-large bid, which eliminates an open spot for a non-BCS team…or a shitty Big XII team. You know, whatever.
On the bright side for Phillips, Jacquizz Rodgers is doubtful for this game, and he’s taking most of Oregon State’s offense with him. I’m not impressed with this team without Rodgers. And now they’re facing a very explosive Oregon team that has absolutely no defense of any kind. At all. Whatsoever. I don’t like where this is heading, so I’m going to stop now and make my pick before I change my mind.
Update: Oregon 65 Oregon State 38.
So Oregon did USC a favor and now the Trojans are Pac-10 champs as long as they don’t lose to UCLA next week. With Jacquizz Rodgers out, it was kind of hard to see the Beavers winning anything. This was a one-man team, so without that one man, there really was no hope. Still, 38 points speaks to how gutty this Beavers team is, and also how shitty Oregon’s defense is again this year. They couldn’t stop a car from the driver’s seat.
Record: 160-68, 112-111-7 ATS
Notre Dame-USC Rivalry
Notre Dame (6-5) at (5) Southern California (9-1) (-32.5)
Trophy: The Jeweled Shillelagh, Series Record: 42-32-5 (Notre Dame)
Okay, so USC needs to beat Notre Dame too, which will make them a national story for a whole other reason too. The Trojans may just have the honor of ending Charlie Weis’s Notre Dame career, though I personally think he’ll get another year. Sure he’s pissed away the first two years of the Jimmy Clausen Era and all those recruiting classes aren’t panning out. Plus they can’t run the ball. So yeah, USC is going to fuck them up, even if the Trojans, dealing with offensive issues of their own, only score 24 points. Mark it down. Notre Dame is getting their asses kicked.
Update: USC 38 Notre Dame 3.
Missed it by that much. And all because Pete Carroll isn’t one of the guys looking for “style points” from games like this. The Trojans always take their foot off the gas unless the opposing team is so bad (see Wazzu, Washington) they can’t help but score 50+. I’m also told this game is the death knell for the Charlie Weis Era in South Bend. While he’s recruited well, those classes haven’t turned into anything and the team looks terrible. I understand they weren’t going to be crazy-good after last year’s disaster, but 6-6 is the kind of horrible mediocrity Domer fans can’t deal with. Also, the team got worse as the season went on. Jimmy Clausen has regressed to the point the radio announcers were saying Dayne Crist will seriously challenge him for the starting job in the spring. And most of all, the team is slow, slow, slow. They might as well have kept Ty Willingham.
Record: 161-68, 113-111-7 ATS
The Bedlam Series
(3) Oklahoma (10-1) at (12) Oklahoma State (9-2) (+7)
Trophy: The Bedlam Bell, Series Record: 78-16-7 (Oklahoma)
Since Oklahoma has to steal everything from big brother Texas, The Bedlam Series is actually a competition between the two schools in all sports, not just football. It’s just that we only choose to care about this rivalry when they play every November.
OSU is a great team that’s built for an upset, and Oklahoma is great for being upset. Texas took ’em down with a very similar style to Oklahoma State’s, but the problem is, again, the BCS. If OU loses, they’re probably still an at-large BCS team, even though they have no chance of winning a national championship. I respect the hell out of OSU, and they’re at home. But OU is hot and there’s no stopping that.
Update: Oklahoma 61 OSU 41.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking this is an impressive win for Oklahoma. Yes, OSU is good and a very tough beat, but this game shows how horribly mediocre OU’s defense has been this year. Their O can score on anyone, but their D can be scored upon by anyone. Take that to the Big XII Championship game and possibly the BCS title game, and you’ve got a recipe for an undeserving national champion. I’m saying it now: this thing should be Texas/Florida.
Record: 162-68, 114-111-7 ATS