This will be a longer post than normal. We will start with the schedules and then look at the games with implications this week. And there are a lot of them. So get your remote ready as this will be a crazy two-and-a-half days. Let’s start with the cable schedule:
|LSU at Texas A&M (Thu)||7:30 PM||TSN4/TSN5|
|Nebraska at Iowa (Fri)||12:00 PM||ABC/TSN3|
|Houston at SMU (Fri)||12:00 PM||CBSSN|
|Arkansas at Missouri (Fri)||2:30 PM||CBS|
|Stanford at UCLA (Fri)||3:30 PM||ABC/TSN1|
|Colorado State at Air Force (Fri)||3:30 PM||CBSSN|
|Arizona State at Arizona (Fri)||3:30 PM||FOX|
|Old Dominion at Florida Atlantic||12:00 PM||WNYO|
|Purdue at Indiana||12:00 PM||BTN|
|Rice at Louisiana Tech||12:00 PM||CBSSN|
|South Carolina at Clemson||12:00 PM||TSN3|
|Georgia Tech at Georgia||12:00 PM||TSN4|
|NC State at North Carolina||12:30 PM||WSBK|
|Grambling vs. Southern (in New Orleans)||2:30 PM||NBC|
|Michigan State at Penn State||3:30 PM||ABC/TSN5|
|UAB at Southern Miss||3:30 PM||WNYO|
|Minnesota at Wisconsin||3:30 PM||BTN|
|Mississippi State at Ole Miss||3:30 PM||CBS|
|San Jose State at San Diego State||3:30 PM||CBSSN|
|Florida at Florida State||3:30 PM||TSN3|
|Notre Dame at USC||3:30 PM||FOX|
|Middle Tennessee at UTEP||7:00 PM||WNYO|
|Auburn at Alabama||7:45 PM||TSN1|
|Oregon at Oregon State||8:00 PM||ABC/TSN2|
A lot of split games/simsubs by TSN. I guess it keeps the specialty packs relevant because if TSN had to pick between the games left over, the specialty packs would have no games (maybe this would force them to pick up ESPNEWS, ESPN3, and (God forbid) FS1 games). Also, TSN still has to think about ratings whereas the specialty pack it doesn’t matter. Speaking of the specialty pack:
|Northern Illinois at Western Michigan (Fri)||11:00 AM|
|UCF at USF (Fri)||12:00 PM|
|Virginia at Virginia Tech (Fri)||8:00 PM|
|East Carolina at Tulsa (Fri)||8:30 PM|
|Kentucky at Louisville||12:00 PM|
|Illinois at Northwestern||12:00 PM|
|Syracuse at Boston College (SD only)||12:30 PM|
|NC State at North Carolina (SD only)||12:30 PM|
|Baylor vs. Texas Tech (in Arlington)||3:30 PM|
|Rutgers at Maryland||3:30 PM|
|Tennessee at Vanderbilt (Bell only – SD)||4:00 PM|
|Pittsburgh at Miami||7:00 PM|
|Wake Forest at Duke||7:00 PM|
|Auburn at Alabama (Finebaum SEC Network telecast)||7:45 PM|
|Utah State at Boise State||10:15 PM|
|Nevada at UNLV||10:30 PM|
A few important games (out of the many) are highlighted in the specialty pack. The asterisks (*) denotes that the game isn’t set yet on the specialty pack schedule; however, I see more than enough spots where it says college football with the game to be announced so all the games above should appear on the specialty pack. Update: all games now set on the specialty pack. I am guessing the specialty pack version of the Iron Bowl will be the one with the Paul Finebaum commentary which I will wholeheartedly avoid. Otherwise, this is going to be a great week of college football!
OK now for the important games of the week. Basically these are the games with some sort of implication. So for all of you asking where Notre Dame-USC is on this list, there are no implications with this game at all. Kind of why it lost its primetime spot to the Civil War.
TCU at Texas (7:30, for us? Nowhere) – A much-improved Longhorns team can destroy TCU’s College Football Playoff chances by winning in. Don’t count them out either. If TCU wins big, it may trump their head-to-head loss against Baylor in the minds of The Committee.
Northern Illinois at Western Michigan (11:00am, probably the specialty pack) – If Northern Illinois wins, they go to the MAC Championship game. If WMU wins, then they have to hope Toledo loses so that they can go to the MAC Championship.
Western Kentucky at Marshall (Noon, we aren’t seeing it) – This is simple. Marshall has already clinched a spot in the C-USA Championship game but need a win here (and probably a decisive one) to keep their New Year’s Six bowl chances alive.
UCF at USF (Noon, specialty pack) – The War on I-4 is somewhat big…for UCF at least. The Knights have to win this game to stay alive in the American conference title race. Lose and they are probably done.
Houston at SMU (Noon, CBS Sports Network) – For Houston this isn’t a big deal. For SMU it is massive. They really don’t want to have the embarrassment of being winless this season. Also, they haven’t just been winless…they’ve been horrible. They would have struggled in the Sun Belt this season.
Toledo at Eastern Michigan (1:00, ESPN3, so nope for us again) – Toledo gets one of the worst FBS teams ever to finish their season. I’m sure at least 18,000 will pack the stands there for this one. I hope you saw the sarcasm in that last sentence. Toledo needs to win and have Northern Illinois lose for them to win the MAC West.
Akron at Kent State (1:00, not here) – Akron needs a win to become bowl-eligible and possibly go to their first bowl in 9 years.
Arkansas at Missouri (2:30, CBS) – A Mizzou win here puts them, amazingly enough, back in Atlanta for the SEC Championship. A loss and Georgia goes. Don’t count the Hogs out yet since they have been red-hot for the past month.
Navy at South Alabama (3:00, no TV…or ESPN3, whichever you prefer) – Navy wins here and they are going to the Poinsettia Bowl. If they lose, it creates an interesting issue. They would be 5-6 going to the Army-Navy game. Can the Poinsettia Bowl give Navy the bid even though they haven’t clinched bowl eligibility?
Arizona State at Arizona (3:30, FOX) – Arguably the biggest Territorial Cup ever. Team RichRod wins here and UCLA loses against Stanford and Zona is going to the Pac-12 title game up in 49ersLand. Hey how about that, same scenario for the Sun Devils. So the winner gets to sit and wait and scoreboard watch. Nice.
Stanford at UCLA (3:30, ABC) – UCLA won the huge Battle for LA, setting up this game against a not-so-good Cardinal team. Then again, this is David Shaw’s Stanford. They can compete with anyone. UCLA wins here and it doesn’t matter what else happens; they go to face Oregon in the Pac-12 title game. And then potentially Playoffs? PLAYOFFS???!!?! I wish Jim Mora Jr. would do that for at least one press conference.
Colorado State at Air Force (3:30, CBS Sports Network) – CSU does not have their fate in their own hands in the Mountain West and the New Year’s Six. A win doesn’t guarantee them anything if Boise State doesn’t lose. But a loss here eliminates everything (except a run-of-the-mill bowl).
Virginia at Virginia Tech (8:00, specialty pack) – Biggest Commonwealth Cup in a while and probably not for the best reasons. The winner will go to a bowl game and the loser is home for the holidays. For the Wahoos, this season is already better than imagined. For Grandpa Beamer’s Hokies, this has been a brutal one, punctuated with last week’s terrible display of all things football against Wake Forest.
Cincinnati at Temple (Noon, no TV here) – The Bearkats have recovered from a slooooooow start and need to win here to continue their chances at the American conference title. Temple on the other hand could surprise a lot of people if they win here because then they would be bowl-eligible.
South Carolina at Clemson (Noon, TSN3) – The Battle of the Palmetto State isn’t as huge this season as it normally is. However, there is a possibility that Clemson, of all teams, could snag the Orange Bowl berth if they win here and Georgia Tech loses big in their next two games. Improbable, or as we’ve said this season, it very well could happen.
Georgia Tech at Georgia (Noon, TSN4, specialty pack) – Time for some Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate! Georgia will know by this point if they are headed to Atlanta. Ironically enough, Atlanta’s FBS team, the Ramblin’ Wreck, don’t need this win in terms of going to the ACC Championship (they are already booked for a Seminole Beatdown); however, a big loss here could make them drop in the rankings meaning the only way to get to the Orange Bowl would be to somehow beat Florida State.
Kentucky at Louisville (Noon, specialty pack) – For the Wildcats, a big Governor’s Cup. For one, beating Louisville almost validates the football season, regardless of what they do otherwise. And secondly, a win puts them in a bowl game…making Mark Stoops an instant coach-of-the-year candidate.
Michigan at Ohio State (Noon, ABC) – The Game comes to the Horseshoe and is, as usual, important for both teams but for VASTLY different reasons. tOSU needs a win here to stay in the hunt for the College Football Playoff. Michigan needs a win to go bowling, although I am pretty sure nothing will save Brady Hoke’s job.
Rice at Louisiana Tech (Noon, CBS Sports Network) – LaTech’s stunning loss to Old Dominion last week set’s up this Conference USA West Division championship game. The Owls figured they were out as the Bulldogs only needed to beat ODU to move on to the conference championship game. Instead, the Monarchs’ win, sets this up. Winner faces Marshall. And remember what happened to Houston a few years back with the BCS money on the line in the C-USA Championship (spoiler alert for anyone who doesn’t remember: they were beaten pretty badly by Southern Miss).
Illinois at Northwestern (Noon, specialty pack) – I don’t care what they call it now, it’s still the Sweet Sioux Tomahawk to me. And somehow, someway this game is relevant. Winner take all (meaning bowl eligibility). Also, Tim Beckman’s job could be on the line in this one.
Louisiana-Lafayette at Troy (12:30, who the hell knows) – Thanks to the idiotic NCAA policy that dictates “transitional” teams can’t win conference championships, the Ragin’ Cajuns still have a shot to win the Sun Belt. Just beat a weak Troy team and they’re in.
Mississippi State at Ole Miss (3:30, CBS) – It is certain that CBS is regretting pulling the trigger on picking the Egg Bowl now. Then again, the Bulldogs still have an outside shot at the College Football Playoff if they beat Ole Miss. Lose and it’s New Year’s Six (which isn’t a bad consolation prize).
Florida at Florida State (3:30, TSN3) – The chances of Florida beating FSU are almost nil. Meaning there is a good possibility considering the way this season has gone. WILL MUSCHAMP’s last game and he’s hoping they don’t get embarrassed. Florida State wins and chances are they are almost guaranteed a CFP spot. Lose and they are not going. Simple as that.
Baylor at Texas Tech (3:30, specialty pack) – Trap game! The Fighting Kingsburys have been pretty bad this season, much worse than most people expected. Baylor needs to win this one to set up the showdown of sorts against Kansas State. Lose and their chances of the College Football Playoff and probably the New Year’s Six are down the toilet.
UAB at Southern Miss (3:30, WNYO) – Somehow UAB is within one win of becoming bowl-eligible. It also may help save the entire program as it seems like there is a good possibility it will be shut down. So yeah, to say it’s huge implications may be understating this.
Minnesota at Wisconsin (3:30, BTN) – How the Big Ten Network got this game I will never know. This is the Big Ten West Division championship right here. Two of the best running backs facing off. Maybe Melvin Gordon pushes towards a Heisman trophy. Either way, I am pissed off I won’t be seeing it.
Kansas at Kansas State (4:00, FOX Sports Fucking One Damn It) – The implications here are all on Papa Snyder’s Wildcats. They need to win to even have a chance at the Big XII crown. Can’t see them losing here but who knows in the Governor’s Cup (wait, another one?).
Connecticut at Memphis (4:00, ESPNEWS meaning we probably won’t see it) – Memphis? MEMPHIS? They were supposed to struggle for bowl eligibility, not compete for a conference championship. But there they are. They win out, they clinch the American conference title, which gives them…..absolutely fucking nothing (although they are going to a bowl so that’s kinda sorta nice).
Tennessee at Vanderbilt (4:00, specialty pack) – I can’t believe it’s been as long as it has since Tennessee went to a bowl game. Butch Jones has a chance here to validate his hiring by winning and going to a bowl game. Vandy can do what Vandy used to always do…try to play spoiler.
BYU at California (4:30, no TV for you!) – Sonny Dykes has done a remarkable job in Berkeley and they are now one win away from going to a bowl game. Plus, BYU has looked unbelievably average without Taysom Hill in the lineup. Cal could pull this one out.
Hawaii at Fresno State (7:00, I have no clue) – It amazes me that Fresno State is in the driver’s seat in the Mountain West’s West Division. They’re 5-6 for Christ sake! But if they win against a much improved Hawaii team, they go to the MWC championship. Crazy.
Pittsburgh at Miami (7:00, specialty pack) – Pittsburgh has disappointed me a lot this season. I had them pegged for an 8-0 start. So what do they do? Blow a gasket….over and over and over again. They can somehow make it to a bowl game if they can beat Miami, joining almost every ACC team not named Wake Forest or Syracuse in a bowl game.
Auburn at Alabama (7:45, TSN1 & specialty pack) – Iron Bowl time! Again this is a huge game. Not as huge as last year’s one when we witnessed the greatest play in college football history not called The Play. Alabama probably cements their CFP spot with a win. Auburn can play the spoiler of all spoilers if they can pull this one out.
Oregon at Oregon State (8:00, ABC & TSN2) – The Civil War! Team Nike has a chance to get a chance to claim their so-called rightful spot in the final four with a win here over their little brothers. State, on the other hand, needs a win to go bowling. Fun times on the coast and it’s not even #Pac12AfterDark!
Utah State at Boise State (10:15, specialty pack) – Boise will host the Mountain West Conference championship with a win here. Plain and simple. A win also probably gives Marshall the New Year’s Six spot as I can’t see how The Committee would potentially give it to the Broncos. Lose here and Colorado State has a chance to make some history. USU trying to play spoiler with probably their 14th-string quarterback playing.
I was able to get Friday off so I will be (most likely) live-tweeting on both Friday and Saturday. Now I have to make sure I have some good food without gorging on crap too much. Despite the fact it will be an awesome two days of college football viewing, I don’t want to wake up Sunday morning feeling like I gained ten pounds. Then again…..FOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOTBALL!!!!!!!!!!!