Current top six teams in the playoffs are: 1. Alabama, 2. Clemson, 3. Notre Dame, 4. Michigan, 5. Georgia, 6. Oklahoma. The dreaded scenario for most is Clemson, Notre Dame remain undefeated, Michigan/Ohio State wins the BigTen, Oklahoma wins the Big XII, but then Georgia beats Alabama in the SEC title game… Which four are getting in? Just thinking about the arguments is giving me a headache!
Friday November 16th
9:00PM Memphis at SMU (ESPN2) – This game has surprising implications that I’m not sure many would have predicted at the start of the season. SMU currently sits at 4-2 in the American, leads the western division and the Mustangs control their own destiny to win the division. While the Mustangs can’t clinch by winning this game, they can certainly lose their advantage over Tulane and Houston (who are playing as we’re going to press). Winning against Memphis will be huge and set up a potential clinching game against Tulsa who’s current 2-8. The Mustangs have more than earned their keep in this division by beating what everyone thought was THE team in the west, Houston, two weeks ago at homecoming in Dallas. Their offense is certainly finding its stride, as they put up 62 points and had over 500 yards of total offense against UConn in sleet and high winds. The only thing stopping SMU from being a true contender is that defense that allowed a terrible UConn team to score 50 on them and give up 500 yards of offense. Memphis is a talented team and have beaten the Mustangs in their last four match ups by scoring an average of 58.5 points per game. This is definitely going to be an offensive show.
Saturday November 17th
Noon – I tell you, the football schedulers are making my job really hard, here! Michigan state at Nebraska (FOX)? South Florida at Temple (ESPNNews)? I think the game that will provide the most excitement and not be a dreary, dull contest is going to be Pitt at Wake Forest (ACCNE). Pitt can clinch their first ACC Coastal division with a win here or a Virginia loss. The Panthers have looked the part the past three weeks as they’ve come alive on offense, averaging 43 points per game in that span and compiling a 3-0 record. Wake Forest has proven that they can play up to their competition and they have talent that’s worth watching. Sophomore WR Greg Dortch is the ACC’s version of Purdue’s Rondale Moore, an exciting undersized receiver that can make anyone miss. Dortch has touchdowns in each of the last two games and leads the Demon Deacons in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving TDs.
1:30PM #19 Utah at Colorado (Pac12 Network) – On a similar note as Pitt, Utah is oh so close to clinching their first Pac-12 South division, as long as they can win at Boulder over a reeling Colorado squad and Arizona State stumbles in one of their last two games. The Buffs started the year 5-0 (to much fanfare), but have since dropped five straight games. It appears the WR and playmaker Laviska Shenault is back and healthy which makes the Buffs dangerous against Utah. Also, rumblings out of Boulder are that Buffs HC Mike MacIntyre might be coaching for his job in this game.
2:30PM #12 Syracuse vs #3 Notre Dame at Yankee Stadium (NBC) – “Must Watch.” Syracuse is no push over – they had Clemson on the brink and at times have proved that they are the real deal, cruising to an 8-2 record (the most wins for the Orange since 2001!). ‘Cuse HC Dino Babers has a proven trigger man in senior QB Eric Dungey and an excited fan base behind them as they take on the undefeated and #3 ranked Irish. Notre Dame managed to do just fine without injured QB Ian Book as they smashed Florida State last Saturday with Senior Brandon Wimbush throwing for three scores in their 42-13 win on senior night. Book is back as the starter and looking to lead the Irish over their final big-time hurdle.
3:30PM – I’m really pulling at straws here trying to find a game in the 3:30pm slot that fits the bill of a “big game.” Unfortunately, most of the SEC is feasting on cupcakes (UMass at #5 Georgia, Liberty at Auburn etc). But if you’re really going to twist my arm and make me choose one, I’ll go with #9 West Virginia at Oklahoma State (ABC). We’ve seen the Pokes show up at home and surprise teams before, whether it’s Boise State or Texas this year. West Virginia has a huge match-up next weekend with Oklahoma in Morgantown, that game along with this one against Oklahoma state will determine who will be in the Big XII Title game.
8:00PM #24 Cincinnati at #11 UCF (ABC) – “Must Watch.” College GameDay will be in Orlando for this contest that will decide who claims the American Athletic Conference Eastern division. Cincinnati is coached by former Ohio State DC Luke Fickle, in his second year with the program, and has them at 9-1 with their only blemish being a 24-17 loss at Temple. Temple also gave UCF all they could handle two weeks ago as the Owls led the Knights by six at half and only trailed the Knights by two mid-way thru the fourth. UCF’s defense hasn’t been as good as last year, but that offense is oh so good! UCF QB McKenzie Milton is a joy to watch – he’s so relaxed in the pocket it looks like he’s napping back there! Big contest here between the two top teams in the American, national TV, the nation’s longest winning streak at stake. Can’t wait!
#16 Iowa State at #15 Texas (Longhorn Network) – Does anyone even have the Longhorn network? I’m serious! I’m pretty sure even with the “sports package” that people can’t get the Longhorn Network. This game is huge for the Big XII title race. Both teams need to win this game. Both teams need help in order to make the Big XII title game, so here’s what’s required:
Texas needs: Win vs Iowa State and needs West Virginia to lose either this week to Oklahoma State or have West Virginia beat Oklahoma next week.
Iowa State needs: Win vs Texas, win next week vs Kansas State, and needs West Virginia to beat Oklahoma next week in Morgantown. ISU can also make it if… just look at the image below.
Anyway, this should be a pretty competitive and tight contest. Iowa State actually plays defense (in a league where it seems optional), and Texas is prone to play to it’s competition.