Let us compare this week’s schedule to almost any other week’s schedule this season. OK stop. Don’t bother. Let me break this down for you: this week’s schedule is terrible. Almost nothing stands out. I’m not even that excited about it and I am a die-hard college football fan. I am thinking the casuals will be turned off by this and just wait until next week’s football-gasm. Our only hope is that some of the games this week go down to the wire and we have some fantastic finishes because there is almost no hype for these games at all (and rightfully so). The only thing that could make it worse is a shitty ABC Saturday Nighter (a la Michigan-UConn last season). We are spared that by having almost the most important game of the week in the Battle for LA.
Alright, let’s get down to it. Cable schedule time:
|Bowling Green at Toledo (Wed)||8:00 PM||TSN2|
|Air Force at San Diego State (Fri)||9:30 PM||CBSSN|
|San Jose State at Utah State (Fri)*||10:00 PM||TSN2|
|Elon at James Madison||12:00 PM||WNYO|
|Indiana at Ohio State||12:00 PM||BTN|
|Fordham at Army||12:00 PM||CBSSN|
|Minnesota at Nebraska||12:00 PM||TSN3|
|Penn State at Illinois||12:00 PM||TSN2|
|Virginia Tech at Wake Forest||12:30 PM||WSBK|
|Wisconsin at Iowa||3:30 PM||TSN2|
|FIU at North Texas||3:30 PM||WNYO|
|Maryland at Michigan||3:30 PM||BTN|
|Ole Miss at Arkansas||3:30 PM||CBS|
|Lehigh vs. Lafayette (in New York)||3:30 PM||CBSSN|
|Arizona at Utah||3:30 PM||TSN3|
|Boston College at Florida State||3:30 PM||ABC/TSN1|
|Louisville at Notre Dame||3:30 PM||NBC|
|Florida Atlantic at Middle Tennessee||7:00 PM||WNYO|
|Oklahoma State at Baylor||7:30 PM||FOX|
|Vanderbilt at Mississippi State||7:30 PM||TSN2|
|USC at UCLA||8:00 PM||ABC|
|Cincinnati at Connecticut||8:00 PM||CBSSN|
I guess you could say there’s a fair amount of variety but other than that it’s whole lot of blah. Nothing really special here. Hate to say it’s disappointing but compared to the schedule the rest of the season it is. Maybe it’s the College Football Playoff that really does add a small layer of extra excitement that we didn’t get from the BCS. Then again there will always be people out there bitching about it. “Let’s make it like March Madness. 68 teams baby!” Yeah, and while we’re at it, can you tell me who your dealer is since that is a completely idiotic idea.
Update: Reverse mirror fun this weekend. If you receive ABC out of Buffalo, you will get the Boston College-Florida State game on ABC. If you receive ABC out of Detroit, you get the Wisconsin-Iowa game on ABC. Either way, both games are on a TSN network so you’re fine either way, luckily.
Now on to the specialty packs:
|Kent State at Buffalo (Wed)||8:00 PM|
|North Carolina at Duke (Thu)||7:30 PM|
|Arkansas State at Texas State (Thu)||9:30 PM|
|San Jose State at Utah State (Fri)||9:30 PM|
|Northwestern at Purdue||12:00 PM|
|Charleston Southern at Georgia(Bell only)||12:00 PM|
|Virginia Tech at Wake Forest||12:30 PM|
|Syracuse at Pittsburgh||3:30 PM|
|Georgia State at Clemson||3:30 PM|
|Western Carolina at Alabama (Bell only)||4:00 PM|
|Samford at Auburn||7:00 PM|
|Miami at Virginia*||7:00 PM|
|Missouri at Tennessee*||7:30 PM|
|Boise State at Wyoming||10:15 PM|
|Fresno State at Nevada||10:30 PM|
* – denotes game not set yet on the specialty pack schedule
Wow, not a whole lot of choice here. Still worth the money in the end (at least on the Bell end of things) but these are those rare weekends when I wonder if it’s worth it….ah, who am I kidding, I’d pay for it anyway.
Update: The Kent State-Buffalo game has been postponed due to weather (obviously). No one knows if the game will happen tomorrow night, Friday night, or at a later date. They won’t put the game on Saturday with the Bills playing on Sunday. The only issue will come if the Bulls win their last game of the year against UMass they would be 5-6 and one win away from bowl eligibility, which would mean the KSU-Buffalo game would have to be played. I will keep updating as I get information on this.
Update #2: The Kent State-Buffalo game has been canceled completely now. Next week’s game for KSU against Akron that had been moved to Friday will stay on Friday. The Bulls had a shot to finish 6-6 but would have had to apply for a waiver to play in a bowl because two of their victories were against FCS teams (you are only allowed to count one towards the 6-win minimum). Wouldn’t it be interesting if there weren’t enough bowl-eligible teams come the end of the regular season.
A few notes on both schedules:
- The SJSU-USU game on Friday night is, as of this point, on both TSN2 and the specialty pack. The game starts at 9:30 and can be seen in its entirety on the specialty pack. On TSN2 it will appear after the UMass-Lowell/Notre Dame hockey game. They have it scheduled for 10:00 but that’s based on no overtime. Update #3: I noticed a couple hours ago that the SJSU-USU game was taken off the specialty pack because TSN2 will go to it in progress. Makes sense. So why was it on the guide until some time today?
- VT-WF appears on both WSBK and the specialty pack on Saturday. This happens often.
- Odd occurrence. We have been receiving ACC regional games through FOX Sports Net on the specialty pack all season. Now we have an SEC regional game appearing through FSN. South Alabama-South Carolina is on at noon, at least on Bell’s package. Interesting to see this on here and I am not complaining. Update #4: Well I should know better than to do this. Of course Bell still had to tinker with their schedule until Friday night. USA-SC will not be shown at all and Eastern Kentucky-Florida was replaced by the other SEC Network game, Charleston Southern-Georgia. Ridiculous.
- According to schedules I have seen, Rogers has a noon game and an afternoon game as TBA. Looking at the full schedule, I can’t really see what this could be. My best guess is they are putting one of the other ESPN games on there, despite the fact it’s already on TSN. Either that or they have come to their senses and finally decided to show SEC Network games. Yeah you’re right that won’t happen.
- Only one simsub this weekend, and it’s the ABC afternoon game (BC-FSU). Unless BC keeps it close, no one will care.
Games o’ the Week
USC at UCLA (8:00, ABC) – This is the de facto game of the week. Yeah this is how bad the schedule is this week. Anywho…the Battle for LA is still an important game. A lot at stake in the Pac-12 South with this one. A USC win eliminates Utah, UCLA, and Arizona from winning the division title. It also puts a ton of pressure on Arizona State. UCLA wins and it could be totally chaos. Five-way tie anyone?
Arizona at Utah (3:30, TSN3) – When was the last time the top two games of the week were Pac-12 affairs? I can’t remember one. This is the appetizer to the Battle for LA main course later on. Utah needs a win and a lot of help to stay alive for a chance to go to Santa Clara. Arizona wins and it makes the Territorial Cup next week against ASU a HUGE game.
Minnesota at Nebraska (12:00, TSN3) – Can Nebraska bounce back after getting the shit kicked out of them by Melvin Gordon (and the rest of the Badgers I guess)? Can Minnesota bounce back after keeping it close with tOSU in the snow last Saturday? Loser is definitely done in the Big Ten West. Nebraska probably can’t win the division anyway unless chaos occurs inside the division. Plus, Pelini has lost two games with two and a bowl left to go. Will he get to his four losses that he seems to always get?
Kansas State at West Virginia (Thursday 7:00, we won’t get it) – KSU seems to be on the outside looking in. It’s almost forgotten that they are technically tied with TCU and Baylor in the Big XII (one loss). They should (SHOULD!) be able to handle the Fighting Holgorsens and Kansas. It sets up a game with Baylor. Potentially it will be for the Big XII title and could be for one of the Final Four spots. Potentially. Until, KSU gets into the top 10 they probably won’t get a whole lot of respect from The Committee.
Boston College at Florida State (3:30, ABC/TSN1) – We all thought Miami had them on the ropes. We thought the Irish had a great shot. Oklahoma State and Clemson gave them scares. But the Seminoles are still standing with an unblemished record. Something tells me one of two things will happen in this game: either it will be a blowout in favour of FSU or the Eagles will make a game of it, further putting The Committee in turmoil.
Missouri at Tennessee (7:30, SP (I think)) – I have no idea if we are getting this game or not on the specialty pack. At this point I will assume yes despite the fact it isn’t appearing on any guides. Anyway, this is a trap game for Mizzou, no doubt about it. They have to win this to stay alive for a second consecutive SEC East crown. The Vols, on the other hand, can go to a bowl game with a win today (despite the apparent layup forthcoming against Vanderbilt) so it’s huge to them and especially Butch Jones who can validate his hiring (potentially) with this one win.
Picks, picks, and more picks
Not talking about interceptions here, although it feels like any of my most recent weeks of picks could be considered a pick-six early in the first quarter from the opponent’s red zone. Yeah, pretty deflating.
Duke over North Carolina
Minnesota over Nebraska
Utah over Arizona
Ole Miss over Arkansas (barely)
Notre Dame over Louisville (barely)
Wisconsin over Iowa (and you have to drop Gordon to an easy 200 in this one don’t you think?)
Cal over Stanford (and then the ensuing hot seat comments about David Shaw)
UCLA over USC
Boise State over Wyoming (to set up a HUGE Mountain West game next week)
OK so there may be some changes to the specialty packs in the coming days. I can pretty much safely say the cable schedule is set. Not that that’s a good thing. But next week will be huge. Really huge.