Friday, November 25, 2011

College football Friday/Saturday Thanksgiving weekend round-up and open thread: the Rivalry Week edition



We're coming down to short strokes on the college football regular season and Jonesy deals the goods right here and right now.

Greetings & Salutations,

I always have mixed feelings about Rivalry Week.

One the one hand it is generally the best week of the college football season. I love the in-state matchups, team from different conferences often only playing for pride and states bragging rights. Sometimes, there are even conference and national championship implications of these games. For instance the last two Alabama-Auburn Iron Bowls. This weekend brings us about a dozen plus games that have good value.

On the other hand, Rivalry Week is typically the last weekend of the regular season. And this leaves me with a heavy heart. All we have left is the conference championship and bowl games. And while they are great games and will take us through early January, I hate to see my favorite sport come to an end.

Since there are so many worthy matchups let’s get right to the best games of the weekend. This list is in order of importance based on national, conference and bragging implications.

Games Worth Watching

Arkansas @ LSU: Implications: National. The country’s best team, LSU, versus the country's most over-rated team Arkansas[1]. The Razorback’s best win is against a mediocre Texas A&M team. They got smoked by Alabama. Having said that, Arkansas has an offense can put up numbers to make this game interesting. Still, expect an LSU blowout.

Alabama @ Auburn: Implications: National but more importantly, state wide. Anything can happen in this game. But, Alabama has the better team and should pull this out. It’s also the first game since the infamous tree poisoning at Auburn last year. Always worth watching.

The Pennsylvania State University @ Wisconsin: Implications: Winner goes to conference title game. The PSU football players have had a year like no other.

While controversy swirls all around the university, region and state, the team just keeps on playing solid football. Actually, they play great defense and mediocre offense. Wisconsin is two plays away from a perfect season. Should be a good game.

Texas[2] @ Texas A&M: Implications: Only state-wide bragging rights for the foreseeable future. Both teams are mediocre at best. Still, with A&M committing football suicide by joining the SEC next year, this is the last matchup of these two rivals until cooler heads prevail[3].

Notre Dame @ Stanford: Implications: National. The entire nation will be watching for Stanford to kick the shit out of Notre Dame. This week, Stanford is my third favorite team[4]. It’s an excellent matchup. An excellent Stanford team against a decent Fighting Irish squad looking for a signature win for their head coach.

VaTech @ Virginia, Georgia @ Georgia Tech, Clemson @ South Carolina: Implications: Damn good teams seeking state-wide bragging rights. Here are three rivalry games that feature all ranked teams. It doesn’t get much better than this. These games might rank higher but, the conference implications are non-existent.

Ohio State @ Michigan: Implication: Cross-state bragging. It’s been so long since Michigan has beaten OSU, I can’t remember their last win. This should be the year. Michigan is much improved, playing at home, has the better coach and OSU is in a rebuilding mode[5].

Florida @ Florida State: Implications: A state-wide referendum on their respective head coaches. Both coaches replace legends and are having very mediocre seasons. At least Will Muschamp can blame (somewhat) his predecessor for leaving the cupboard bare and/or implementing a new system. Jimbo Fisher is on a hotter seat. He’s been at FSU for several years and his team had very high expectations this year.

Non Football Football Thought

Look, PSU has a ton of issues more important than this one but Rivalry Week got me thinking: One thing they can do now that they got rid of Paterno is bring Pitt back on the schedule. These teams played each other for a century (usually at the end of the season) and it was as intense as any other state rivalry out there. But for multiple reasons, the matchup was discontinued. Now that JoePa is gone, let’s move forward and do what is both right and good for the state of Pennsylvania’s football.

Hope youse all[6] enjoy the weekend.

[1] A close runner-up in VaTech. A team that has only played one ranked opponent and got their asses handed to them at home. Still, they are ranked in the Top 5. What a joke.

[2] It might just be me but I’m starting to think the Mac Brown era of excellence is winding down. I can see Texas having an extended (for them) string of mediocre seasons.

[3] It is interesting. State political action is probably the only way this rivalry gets rescheduled. We’ll witness the struggle Texas has with its love of football verses passion for small government.

[4] My favorite teams are always PSU, Temple, whoever is playing Notre Dame, whoever is playing Pitt, and all the service academies.

[5] Which will happen very quickly once Urban Meyer finally admits he accepted a deal with OSU while they still had a head coach in place.

[6] Youse all is a Philly vernacular that I’m working to spread beyond God’s country.

What? No love for the City Championship: USC vs. UCLA? USC, on its last season of bowl probation is playing for pride and a chance to get QB, Matt Barkley, a seat as a finalist in a couple of weeks at the Downtown Athletic Club for the Heisman Tropy. And UCLA, against all odds and expectations, is playing for a spot in the inaugural PAC-12 championship game.

What? Pt. II. No love for the Civil War: Oregon vs. Oregon St? Oregon is also playing for a crack at the PAC-12 championship game. This game is about as intense as it gets with class warfare implications: Phil Knight's high tech kids vs. the flannel-clad forestry majors at the state college.

* LSU's Tiger Stadium (aka Death Valley) under the lights.

** So it goes in college football, as Wisky is two last-second heart-break losses away from being BCS championship contenders, QB Russel Wilson is also that away from being a Heisman contender.

*** Michigan QB, Denard Robinson.



K T Cat said...

My Cursillo groupies are all Notre Dame fanatics. I'm hoping for an upset there.

Other than that, I'd love to see LSU run wild.

Anonymous said...

Psu already has Pitt back on the schedule starting in 2014 I think

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