Friday, December 4, 2009

Welcome to Winter and the Last Regular Season Weekend

Greetings to you and a very happy Friday wherever you're reading from. I don't know about you, but this is always seems such a tough and long week coming off almost five days off from Thanksgiving and all the food and fun. Then again, with the current state of unemployment in this country with almost 25 million Americans out of work or under-employed, I suppose I should be thankful for a full-time job. I'm also thankful for the last regular season weekend of college football. It's sad that another college football season is almost over, but it should be a great Saturday of games. There's not much going with the Big Ten on the field, as Wisconsin and Illinois are the only two teams playing, but there's still plenty of intrigue around the conference and the country. On this cold, cold Friday (it was 16 degrees when I got in the car this morning) let's get to it!

- Adam Rittenberg has more details on the alleged Michigan State brawl, and let's just say things continue to sound worse and worse for the Spartans. A commenter provided this good link to a story from a Michigan paper that muses that this whole mess puts Sparty in danger of not only getting left out of the Alamo Bowl, but perhaps the Insight too. Although, I'm pretty sure the Insight HAS to take a Big Ten team if there is one eligble, and IF Minnesota were to get taken by the Alamo, MSU would be the only bowl eligble Big Ten left. The selection should come as late as Sunday night when the BCS bowls are announced, and it continues to sound as if the Alamo will wait as long as possible to make their decision.

- The two games involving Big Ten teams tomorrow are not exactly appointment viewing. At least not for me. Illinois hosts Fresno State at 11:30am on the Big Ten Network in what should be at least a competitive game. I like Illinois' chances of winning as Fresno's run defense is terrible, and about the only thing the Illini do well is run (well unless they're playing the Gophers, in which case they do everything well). The odds of Illinois winning are certainly higher than me watching this game, which is currently set a zero, zilch, and nada. Ditto the Wisconsin game, although I suppose it has more to do with the start time (10:30pm!!! on The Deuce) than mild interest. The Badgers should run all over the Warriors and run away with this game to earn them an Outback bowl bid. Then again, they should have done the same to Northwestern, and we know how that went.

- The most intrigue for the Big Ten this weekend is whether Iowa or Penn State will be going to a BCS game (it matters not whether Texas wins or loses. Boise will be the ones getting left out if Nebraska does the impossible, which they won't considering beating Texas with that offense-ranked like 97th or something terrible like that- IS indeed impossible, but I'm just saying). Based on how they've played Iowa deserves the bid, but as we know, this has absolutely nothing to do with how they've played. Both teams travel extremely well, but Penn State has more of a national name and following, and let's be honest, they're more fun to watch. Still, sounds like if the Fiesta has its choice (and when Texas wins they will), they'll take the Hawkeyes, probably against Boise, dropping Penn State to play LSU in what should be a dandy of a Capital One bowl.

- The BCS game we do know is set is the Rose Bowl, as Oregon locked up their first trip to Pasadena in 15 years by beating rival Oregon State 37-33 in the Civil War last night. While there's another game going on in Atlanta tomorrow that will receive a wee bit of a attention, I'm pretty sure the best game of the week was played between the Ducks and the Beavers. How will the high flying Ducks matchup against Ohio State? Nobody yet seems to love their chances, but considering how good Ohio State's defense has been, especially against the run, I think they can slow Oregon's powerful rushing offense. The key, as always, will be Terrelle Pryor and whether he's allowed (or allows himself) to scramble and run. If he's forced to be "PPP" (Pocket Passer Pryor) the Buckeyes will lose.

- Before everyone gets all caught up in the "Brian Kelly to Notre Dame" hoopla, doesn't he have to beat Pittsburgh first? I think the Panthers are overrated, but they've got a heck of a pass rush and a good running back in freshman of the year Dion Lewis, so they should give Kelly and his #5 Cincinnati Bearcats a game. But as good as the Bearcats offense has been, their defense has been almost that bad, and an upset is not out of the question. What would be in question then is if Kelly looks so good to Notre Dame if blows a pseudo conference title game and ends up in the Gator Bowl or worse instead of in a BCS bowl?

- For those that care about the most overrated award in sports, the Heisman race will be decided Saturday night. QB's Tim Tebow of Florida and Colt McCoy of Texas were the pre-season favorites, but less than ridiculous, gawdy seasons from both have put their hopes of winning the award in jeopardy. Personally I think even if Tebow has the game of his life against Alabama he still shouldn't win it, as he just has not had a monster statistical season. McCoy, on the other hand, can wrap the thing up with a monster game in their victory Saturday night over Nebraska. Although Ndamukong Suh (who deserves at least an invite to New York for the Heisman ceremony) is not going to make it easy on him.

- Oh, and finally, about that there game in Atlanta- while I think it'll be low scoring and will lack the excitement the Civil War had, I am still hoping/expecting a great game between #1 Florida and #2 Alabama. Tough to pick a winner but I'll try: both defenses rank in the top 3 in the country and both are allowing less than 11 points per game. No really, less than 11 points. That's pretty unreal. I like Florida's defense a little better than Bama's (although with the Gators losing star DE Carlos Dunlap with a case of Dumbassitis it could be a total tossup), but I like Bama's offense a little better for one reason: WR Julio Jones. He is absolutely the key to this game, as he is the only big-play receiver on either sideline. He played well in the Tide's loss to the Gators in this same game last year, and if Bama wants to score, Jones HAS to be a factor. As good as both running games are (and obviously both are really, really good), it's whoever throws the ball better who is going to win, and if Jones can have a big afternoon, I like Alabama in a low-scoring close game 20-17.


TREE said...

The problem with picking ALA is that you're taking McElroy over Tebow...not a good choice. Tebow and Meyer will not lose this game, covering the 5.5 points might be tough, but no way does FLA lose this one.

TREE said...

wow - i was 100% wrong, you were right. nice call - i didn't think there was any way the Tebow loses that big game.

Jeff said...


You won't hear me gloating about that prediction, as I said the key would be Julio Jones- and he had two catches for 28 yards. Whoops!

I did think Florida could struggle to throw the ball, but I didn't believe McElroy would play the game of his life and outplay Tebow.