We’re on the cusp of a couple of rivalry weekends, which should either separate the pretenders from the for-realers or muddy the waters even further. This weekend typically sets up next weekend, the real rivalry weekend, with so-called border wars and such. I find this year’s scheduling particularly interesting. The next two weekends should provide endless hours of entertainment, and piss off a few football widows as well.
Here are some of the games:
#14 Michigan (-5) vs. Penn State. Well, you all know what happened between Michigan and Indiana at Memorial Stadium last Saturday: the best offense in the league squared off against the best defense, while on the other end, a marginal offense battled the crappiest defense in the league, and they fought to a near draw. This gives me some hope if Penn State can get its running game going to set up the long pass. But the short game has to be there.
#9 Moo U. vs. #2 Ohio State (-13). The sad-eyed cow catchers have lost their mighty defense this year, and appear to be lost little lambs, although they’ve still got one of the best quarterbacks running the offense, if he’s not hurt. Still, tOSU has way too much, including an NFL starter.
#10 Baylor vs. #4 OK State (-1). Battle of the Big 12 titans, except there are four teams up there at the top and the other big game is listed next. We’ll see who is for real and who is the pretender.
#11 Texas Christian vs. #7 Oklahoma (No Line Yet). See above. Four teams battle for Big 12 supremacy, with OK State on the inside track having no conference losses. The right combinations of wins and losses sets up a huge weekend next weekend, as TCU plays Baylor and Oklahoma plays Oklahoma State. Funny how a playoff sort of thing just naturally fell into place in the Big 12 (where there only exist 10 teams and thus, no championship game).
California vs. #15 Stanford (-12). The Big Game. This could have a bearing on who Penn State will face in the Foster Farms Chicken Bowl this alternate fowl is predicting as a post-season venue for Penn State. With Stanford having lost to Oregon, #4 in the Pac-12 seems to be anyone’s slot. A loss by Stanford in The Big Game would put the Cardinal right in the middle of the Chicken mess. Could this mean a replay of the 1993 Last Annual Blockbuster Bowl instead of a replay of the 1995 Rose Bowl? It also is is the 33rd anniversary of the “The Play”, but I don’t think the band will take the field with time still on the game clock this year.
#22 Southern Cal vs. #23 Oregon (-4). Also figures in to the Pac-12 Race for the Chicken Bowl.
UCLA vs. #18 Utah (-2). More Chicken Bowl ramifications, which could make the UCLA-USC game next weekend all the more significant.
#17 LSU vs. #25 Ole Miss (-4). Never, ever count Ole Miss out. Hotty Toddy, never miss a party.
Florida Atlantic vs. #8 Florida (-31). Bye week for McElwain. Hey! How the hell do the Gators manage to schedule a pussy for their penultimate game of the regular season? I’m crying scheduling foul! The Gators get a big rest before next weekend’s big Florida-FSU game.
Charleston Southern vs. #3 Alabama (No Betting Line). Bye week also for Saban and the boys. WTF????? Charleston Southern has an eight game winning streak, but they’re an FCS school operating in the Big South Conference. What is it with the SEC, anyway? Nice rest for the Tide before next weekend’s big rivalry game against Auburn.
Ahhh, then we likely will see Florida vs. Alabama in Atlanta for the SEC Championship.
On another note, Jesse James has been getting some good playing time for the Pittsburgh Steelers due to the injury to #2 tight end Matt Spaeth. James, a rookie third-string tight end out of Penn State, has had three receptions including a touchdown thus far. In the game against Cleveland, he caught a pass that triggered a “Heeeeeeeath” response from the crowd — only it wasn’t Heath Miller (#83), it was Jesse (#81).
I’ll be back soon with a preview and prediction of the forthcoming Michigan game, which will be played before a “whited-out” crowd in Beaver Stadium at noon on Saturday and broadcast on ABC to a national TV audience. Michigan is currently favored by five.