Arguably the biggest college football weekend of the regular season is upon us (conference championships notwithstanding). A little different approach to the schedule this week as I will give some analysis on most of the games scheduled over the next three days. This won’t be broken out between cable and specialty pack this week. It’s more of a chronological order dealie this time around. Hopefully you can follow along. And of course our good friends at Bell are taking their sweet old time to get their schedule out. I mean why change consistency?
7:30 – Ole Miss at Mississippi State (TSN2) – Big Egg Bowl matchup. Mississippi State must win to be bowl-eligible. Ole Miss could be looking at a New Year’s Day bowl if they can win this one.
7:30 – Texas Tech at Texas (SN360) – The Red Raiders have fallen off the Kliff (I know, horrible pun) lately. Hoping to rebound in this one against a Longhorns team that needs to win this one, beat Baylor, and get some help to get to the Fiesta Bowl.
4:00 – Stillman at Alabama State (Specialty Pack) – Traditional Thanksgiving Day FCS/D-II rivalry although I was positive it was always Tuskegee and not Stillman.
Noon – Iowa at Nebraska (ABC) – OK I can admit when I was wrong. I was so wrong about Iowa this season. And now they can put an exclamation point on a new rivalry by winning this and getting to a better bowl.
Noon – East Carolina at Marshall (CBSSN) – The defacto Conference USA East Division championship game. And chances are the winner of this will also win the actual C-USA title game in one week’s time.
Noon – SMU at Houston (Specialty Pack) – SMU needs a win either this week or next to be bowl-eligible. I can see it happening since the Cougars have been up and down since a hot start.
1:30 – Bowling Green at Buffalo (Specialty Pack) – And speaking of defacto division title games, here’s another one from the MAC East. And this will be at Ralph Wilson Stadium. It would be great to see the place even half full for this one as it should be a dandy.
2:30 – Arkansas at LSU (CBS) – Arkansas is the worst SEC team not named Kentucky. LSU is playing for an opportunity at a New Year’s Day+ bowl game.
3:30 – Washington State at Washington (FOX) – It wasn’t too long ago when the Apple Cup was on a list of rivalry games you could easily avoid. Now, you have two pretty good teams looking to move up the bowl game ladder in the Pac-12.
3:30 – Fresno State at San Jose State (CBSSN) – The Bulldogs are one win away from a perfect regular season and a spot in the Mountain West championship at home next weekend. However, they were recently leapfrogged by Northern Illinois so they will have to destroy the Spartans in this one for any chance at being a BCS buster.
3:30 – Miami at Pittsburgh (ABC) – Both teams are headed for middle-of-the-road, late December, ACC tie-in bowl games. Ho hum.
7:00 – USF at UCF (Specialty Pack) – The War on I-4 returns. This time UCF has a chance to clinch the American conference and a berth in a BCS bowl game. The Bulls are just playing out the string in Willie Taggart’s first disappointing season in south Florida.
Noon – Ohio State at Michigan (ABC/TSN) – There was a time earlier this season that many saw The Game as possibly the biggest one since a few years back when #1 OSU beat #2 Michigan in a great game. Then the Wolverines starting shitting the bed and there went Ohio State’s strength of schedule. They have to dominate Michigan and hope for some help to get to the BCS Championship.
Noon – Florida State at Florida (TSN2) – Finally the Gators’ pathetic season comes to an end. But wouldn’t it be something if they could pull off the major upset? The Buckeyes certainly hope so.
Noon – Wake Forest at Vanderbilt (Peachtree) – Vanderbilt is bowl-eligible, Wake Forest is not. There are other noon options.
Noon – Minnesota at Michigan State (BTN) – The Gophers are having a great season. But a win here wouldn’t hurt the Spartans. It would hurt Ohio State and their strength of schedule. A Minnesota win here could kill any Ohio State chance before next weekend of making it to the BCS Championship.
Noon – Rutgers at Connecticut (Specialty Pack) – Here is Rutgers’ best chance at becoming bowl-eligible. However, if for some reason they can’t beat a really bad Huskies team, they get another shot against USF the following Saturday.
Noon – Duke at North Carolina (Specialty Pack) – Every college football fan knows that if Duke wins, they win their division and go to the ACC Championship and it will basically be at home. Lose, and we get into tiebreaker scenarios which could allow Virginia Tech to get in instead.
12:30 – Maryland at NC State (WSBK) – Don’t even bother. Maryland is bowl-eligible and is almost a lock to get invited to a bowl. NC State is having a bad season and will be home for the holidays.
2:30 – Grambing vs. Southern (NBC) – The Bayou Classic is here. Other than seeing a team that basically quit earlier in the year and a sweet battle of the bands at halftime, there isn’t much worth watching here.
3:00 – BYU at Nevada (CBSSN) – With Nevada not being bowl-eligible and BYU already accepting a bowl invitation, this goes into the “don’t bother, better options available” section.
3:30 – Alabama at Auburn (CBS) – The biggest Iron Bowl possibly ever and that isn’t an exaggeration. A Bama win keeps them on the path to the BCS Championship. An Auburn win and the BCS goes into chaos. It also allows the Tigers to get a shot at the BCS Championship as well. Easily the biggest game of the weekend (and possibly the entire month of November).
3:30 – Georgia at Georgia Tech (ABC/TSN) – What could have been. Two good teams who now look relatively mediocre and no Aaron Murray. With the Iron Bowl at the same time, don’t expect many eyeballs on this one.
3:30 – Northwestern at Illinois (BTN) – Some of you may get Purdue-Indiana instead of this classic. Won’t matter. All four teams will be home for the holidays.
3:30 – Penn State at Wisconsin (Specialty Pack) – Wisconsin has to do something special in this one to sneak into the BCS conversation.
3:30 – Baylor at TCU (Specialty Pack) – This would have been on ABC and perhaps in prime time if the Bears hadn’t got their asses kicked in Stillwater the week before.
3:30 – Virginia Tech at Virginia (Specialty Pack) – Commonwealth Cup should be one of the bigger blowouts of the weekend but we’ve seen how the Hokies can make things interesting by playing poorly. They need a win and a Duke loss to have a chance at the division title. They’ll know by this point whether this game matters or not.
7:00 – Notre Dame at Stanford (FOX) – If it wasn’t for that hiccup against Pitt, the Irish would have been playing for a BCS bowl. Now they are hoping enough teams don’t qualify so they don’t have to go to a smaller bowl in, say, Shreveport. Stanford only stands to gain if teams above them lose.
7:00 – Clemson at South Carolina (Specialty Pack) – The Battle of the Palmetto State is huge. Both teams are looking at a potential BCS at-large bid. Also, the Gamecocks could back into the SEC Championship with a Missouri loss.
7:00 – Tennessee at Kentucky (Specialty Pack) – How this game made it onto ESPN this weekend I have no idea.
7:00 – Texas A&M at Missouri (TSN) – Well now that Sportsnet has signed the mother of all hockey broadcasting contracts, expect TSN to pick up more college football and get some great ESPN games like this one. Massive game for Mizzou. Win and they are in the SEC Championship and a possible BCS bowl berth. Lose and they could be somewhere in Florida for one of the SEC tie-in bowls.
8:00 – UCLA at USC (ABC) – If UCLA had been able to beat Arizona State the previous weekend, this would have been a massive game. As it stands, it could be a fun game and could earn Coach O the permanent job if he can beat the Trojans’ cross-town rival.
10:15 – New Mexico at Boise State (Specialty Pack) – Another game that is a what-if. What if Boise hadn’t blown a gasket against San Diego State? This game has been relegated close to the “who cares” pile.
10:30 – San Diego State at UNLV (Specialty Pack) – The Rebs had to go and ruin a super important game by becoming bowl-eligible last week. Thanks a lot!
So there you go. A shit-ton of games highlighted by the Iron Bowl of the century (apologies to Cam Newton). This weekend should tell a good chunk of the final BCS story as the potential for upset and chaos is rife this week.