Record after week 11: 121-61, 84-96-2 AS
12 pm ET
(10) Ohio State (9-2) at Michigan (5-6) (+12)
The Buckeyes are already going to the BCS and have no shot at the national title game, so this game is essentially a minor annoyance this year. Actually, that’s a welcome change since we’re only about three years removed from the utter freakout that was Michigan/Ohio State during Troy Smith’s Heisman season. Note: Ohio State got its ass kicked in the BCS that season too.
Therefore, the only interesting subplots to this game are these: Will this be the nail in Rich Rodriguez’s coffin? The second one is whether the horrible, horrible Ohio State offense can run it up on the equally horrible Michigan defense.
This feels like a Saturday I might REALLY sleep in.
Pick: Ohio State wins but doesn’t cover
The Floyd of Rosedale
Minnesota (6-5) at (13) Iowa (9-2) (-10)
You know, I was about to read the ESPN preview of this game when I realized there has to be something better for everyone who isn’t playing in the game or directly related to some one playing in the game to do. There just has to be. I don’t know what to think of Iowa now that they’ve been screwed by themselves AND the football gods at the same time. Let’s just move on.
Pick: Iowa wins but doesn’t cover
12:21 pm ET, 12:30 pm ET
Chattanooga (6-4) at (2) Alabama (10-0)
Florida International (3-7) at (1) Florida (10-0)
An FCS team and a 1-AA team in their second to last games of the season? And these are supposed to be the teams clearly head and shoulders above everyone? Teams who are truly good enough to earn their way into the BCS national championship game? I’m not even going to f*cking pick these games. I’m just putting them up here so everyone can know exactly how cowardly these “powers” are. At least Alabama has played SOME ONE who is respectable in Virginia Tech. And at least FIU is an FBS school.
What’s Florida’s excuse? That the SEC is just so darn hard that they don’t want to kill themselves and make it too hard to make the title game? Remember, other than LSU, there are NO OTHER RANKED SEC TEAMS besides Florida and Alabama. Quick, name one game Florida has played against a team that truly had a shot at beating them. I can think of one: LSU. And one could say the Tigers never really had a shot.
This is the BCS and NCAA’s version of no-bid contracts, corruption, and yet another example of America believing the veneer of “fairness” when it’s nothing of the kind. Florida is the Enron of college football. They just haven’t crashed and been proven to be a sham yet.
This is a pathetically easy schedule for the Gators and they should be ashamed of themselves. There’s no way the BCS has the balls to say they don’t deserve to make it based on their strength of schedule, but it’s an argument that should probably be made. We’re all crazy for just anointing Florida from the beginning of the season without making them actually schedule teams that will truly test their mettle and prove to us they deserve the title.
We have no one to blame but ourselves, Florida, the BCS, and college football in general. Okay, that’s a lot of people.
Picks: F*ck both these schools.
Oklahoma (6-4) at Texas Tech (6-4) (+6.5)
Just a year after Texas Tech was smoked by OU, ending their undefeated season, both these teams are 6-4. Texas Tech lost virtually every contributing player, which explains why they suck. But Oklahoma’s fall has been a lot more fascinating.
It all actually started four years ago with Rhett Bomar’s job and ended with Sam Bradford’s season-ending injury. This is a team that has been possibly the most painfully cursed of all the teams tormented by the football gods. Bob Stoops is no longer the coach who won a national title with virtually nothing on offense and Mike Leach as his OC. Now he’s the guy who can’t win the big game, got smoked by USC and Florida in the national title game, had a Heisman winner, but lost him to injury.
I think we have our proof that that national title with Josh Heupel was because of Satan, and now Stoops has to pay the price.
Pick: Texas Tech
2 pm ET
(4) Texas Christian (10-0) at Wyoming (5-5) (+31.5)
If Boise would ever play on a Saturday again, I would pick their games too. But no, they’ve got to play on random Friday nights. Just don’t lose this game, TCU. Your place as the latest BCS victim is assured, since the fix is already in for some combo of Florida, Texas, and Alabama. The best we can hope for is for Texas to go down in the Big XII title game, Alabama to lose before the season ends, Florida to lose to them in the SEC title game, and we get a TCU/Cincinnati BCS title game. THAT would be sweet.
2:30 pm ET
Connecticut (4-5) at Notre Dame (6-4) (-6)
Charlie Weis thinks his job is still saveable through these last two games. UConn isn’t terrible and Stanford is ranked, so there’s a good shot for a couple of decent wins before season’s end and a trip to the bowl in Boise, whatever that is.
I think the opposite. I think his job is already lost, and no one is saying it. Even Jack Swarbrick is saying he’s waiting until the end of the season to evaluate Weis. While that sounds like he’s not fired yet, it’s also usually the kiss of death from an athletic director to say he hasn’t decided yet. I think they take a quiet run at Urban Meyer in January and then see what happens.
In the mean time, if Weis wants to keep his job, he needs to win both of Notre Dame’s last two games.
Pick: Notre Dame wins but doesn’t cover
3:30 pm ET
(16) Wisconsin (8-2) at Northwestern (7-4) (+7)
Wait, why do I care about this game? Oh right, if Wisconsin, Penn State, and Iowa all win this weekend, they’re all co-champions with Ohio State, though the Buckeyes still get the BCS berth. Again. The Big Ten needs two more teams and a conference championship game. It’s f*cking ridiculous.
The Old Oaken Bucket
Purdue (4-7) at Indiana (4-7) (+3)
Hate. It’s a four-letter word, and often gets conflated with dislike or uncomfortability. But it’s not. It’s hate, and it’s the next-best feeling to love. And it only gets worse when neither team has anything to play for except an old bucket made of oak. Stay frosty, boys.
The Battle of the Land Grants
(14) Pennsylvania State (9-2) at Michigan State (6-5) (+3)
One of your possible conference co-champions just has to win in East Lansing, MI and they get to pretend like their season was a success, plus paint “2009 Big Ten Champions” on the wall of their team meeting rooms.
The reality is this Penn State team was unbelievably disappointing. Sure, they lost their top three receivers and several leaders, but they were all replaced with skilled younger players. Okay, maybe the wide receiving corps is way worse, but the Penn State defense is still great and the lack of receiving depth doesn’t explain Daryll Clark’s mediocrity all season. He completely destroyed any shot he had at playing quarterback in the NFL this year.
So sure, a No. 14 ranking is nice, and they still have something to play for, but this team is losing even more seniors off this disappointing team, Joe Pa ain’t getting any younger, and there’s no succession plan in place. Not that PSU fans would want one since all of Paterno’s assistants aren’t that great.
Pick: Penn State
(8) LSU (8-2) at Mississippi (7-3) (-4)
Apparently, this game inspired a KKK rally in Oxford because Ole Miss got rid of that one song their band played. I never gave it a second thought, but Ole Miss WOULD be the SEC school to hang on to some Civil War-related traditions. They’re like the creepy uncle no one wants around at family gatherings because he constantly leers at the teenagers and secretly drinks out of a flask. They feel bad for not inviting him too, though, so he’s always there. Somewhere in that metaphor is a reason Ole Miss sucks, but whatever.
There is no way Ole Miss can score enough points to beat LSU. That is, as long as LSU’s defense shows up. Respect to Dexter McCluster and everything, but no way. Jevan Snead has been so terrible this year, he’d probably still start for Purdue, but that’s not the point. LSU rolls.
Ooh, unless Jordan Jefferson doesn’t play. Crap.
Air Force (7-4) at (22) Brigham Young (8-2) (-10)
I love that Air Force is back to being the best service academy year in and year out. I actually have no idea if they play Army and Navy consistently, but they’re the only academy that is consistently competitive in a good football conference. Army couldn’t hack it in Conference USA, and Navy is still independent.
And they’re all better football schools than Purdue. I KNEW I had a point in there somewhere.
7:30 pm ET
The Big Game
(25) California (7-3) at (17) Stanford (7-3) (-7.5)
Whoever invented half-point spreads should be shot.
Cal has more athletic talent, but Stanford is the better football team top to bottom. They should grind the Bears to a nub and Toby Gerhart should cement his Heisman status with a big one. Cal is going to do everything it can to put the game in Andrew Luck’s hands, but it won’t be enough. Stanford had its shot at a letdown game last week. Now it’s a rivalry and they’re going to be crazy in Palo Alto. And then they’ll go home and study. Nerds.
8 pm ET
Kansas (5-5) at (3) Texas (10-0) (-27.5)
I have no idea why I’m picking this game except that this Mangino controversy is hilarious. KU’s defense sucks, their offense is a mess, Mangino is on his way out, his former players are kind of sissies, and there’s no way Texas loses this game.
The only guarantee in this game is Colt McCoy will have underwhelming numbers. Way to have a great senior season competing against each other, Colt and Sam Bradford. That was really worth the hype.
(11) Oregon (8-2) at Arizona (6-3) (+6)
The battle for the Pac-10 does not involve USC this year at all. The biggest game of the conference season is in Tucson, AZ, and I have no idea how it happened. The Wildcats were totally mediocre and have come out of nowhere.
I have no doubt Mike Stoops can think of something to stop Oregon’s offense even though Oregon lit them up last year. I just don’t think Arizona can score enough points on Oregon’s defense to win a higher-scoring game like this one probably will be. It’s nice to see Arizona good again, but this is Oregon’s year.