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Week Twelve


TOP THINGS I NOTICED LAST WEEK....
This Big Ten race is going to be really fun to watch as it comes down to the wire. Although the conference was not expected to be that strong and isn’t as strong as some, it has been fairly exciting to watch this season. The conference slate pretty much wraps up this weekend when Michigan travels to Ohio State for their battle in Columbus. If the Buckeyes pull out the win, they will claim a share of the Big Ten title with Iowa but more importantly, they will advance to the Fiesta Bowl and a chance to play for the National Championship. Meanwhile, Iowa fans everywhere will be pulling for the Wolverines to pull this one out, which would give Iowa the outright Big Ten title and leave them with a shot to play for the National Title if the right things happen over the next few weeks.
The ACC race has been turned upside down over the past couple of weeks. The leaders just a couple weeks ago, NC State was looking as if they’d run away with the league title. After an upset loss to Georgia Tech at home, the Wolfpack has lost consecutive road games to Maryland and Virginia. At the same time, Florida State, a team that looked dead and completely out of anything this year, has come back from the dead and is the only ACC team without a conference loss. Maryland, conference champions last season, has taken advantage of NC State’s demise and taken a step up in the conference. The Terps have a tough game this weekend at Virginia while FSU goes on the road to take on NC State. The Terps need to win this weekend and hope Florida State loses to give them a share of the ACC title.
The SEC East got a lot clearer over the weekend while the SEC West is still up for grabs. Georgia pulled out a stunning win over Auburn on the road to claim the SEC East title and eliminate any shot Florida had at pulling out the division. Who the Bulldogs’ opponent will be in Atlanta is still up in the air right now. With Auburn’s loss, the Tigers are basically out of the race considering their final conference game is this week at Alabama. I don’t see AU having much of a chance. LSU’s final two games aren’t easy, but they do have a one-game advantage on Arkansas, the other team fighting for the West championship. LSU should win their home game with Mississippi this week, while I think Arkansas will defeat Mississippi State on the road. That will leave the following week’s showdown of the Tigers and Razorbacks in Fayetteville determining which team will go to the SEC Championship in Atlanta. Somehow, I think Arkansas will pull this out.
The PAC 10 race is coming clo and end, and the finish should be an exciting one. Washington State holds the lead and its own destiny going into these final few weeks of the season. The Cougars are 6-0 in the PAC 10 and have games left against Washington and at UCLA. Southern Cal, just one game behind the Cougars at 6-1, have only one remaining game, at UCLA. UCLA, at 4-2 in the conference, still has an outside shot at capturing the conference title. The Bruins host both USC and WSU at home. To win the PAC 10, Washington State needs only to finish tied with Southern Cal (as long as UCLA isn’t involved in that tie as well). Southern Cal must win this week at UCLA to keep their best hope alive. Then the Trojans will need Washington State to lose at home this week to Washington and then on the road at UCLA. The Cougars win a two-way tie with USC thanks to their win earlier in the season over the Trojans. UCLA must win their final two games over USC and WSU while also hoping for a Washington win over Washington State to win the PAC 10 title. If Washington State beats Washington this weekend, the Cougars clinch at least a share of the PAC 10 title (and would win the tiebreaker in any possible scenario).


TOP GAMES LAST WEEK....
Ohio State at Illinois: Once again this past weekend, the Ohio State Buckeyes avoided near-disaster. The Buckeyes struggled with Illinois all afternoon long. The Illini, after having a drive stall with just over two minutes remaining, punted, held OSU, and then received the ball with just enough time to make a run at a field goal attempt. After missing a 55+-yarder minutes before, the Illini booted a FG to send the contest into overtime tied at 17-17. After the Buckeyes scored, the Illini were stopped, and Ohio State prevailed and continued with their undefeated season.
Georgia at Auburn: Everyone knew this would likely be a very good game that had many implications on both the SEC East and West races. The Tigers jumped out in front in the second half. With just a small amount of time left, the Georgia Bulldogs drove the ball down the field, and David Green threw a touchdown pass to give UGA the victory. The loss took away almost any chance the Tigers had to win the SEC West, while Georgia clinched the SEC East and a trip to Atlanta for the SEC Championship Game.
Texas at Texas Tech: This battle of in-state rivals was expected to be a good one with Texas, a team that had already proved themselves worthy of a top ten ranking, coming into Lubbock against a high-powered offense led by Heisman candidate Kliff Kingsbury. The UT defense let the team down as they allowed Kingsbury to have a field day as he torched the Longhorn defense for six touchdowns. The Red Raiders scored a touchdown in the fourth quarter to take the lead, and on Texas’s next possession, the Texas Tech defense came up big with an interception to seal the win. Texas Tech now goes on the road to take on Oklahoma for the Big XII South title.
Louisville at Southern Miss: The Golden Eagles jumped out to a quick lead of 17-3 which they took into the locker room at halftime. Louisville bounced back offensively in the second half, though, and held USM scoreless in both the third and fourth quarters. The Eagles had a chance to kick a field goal near the end of regulation to capture the win, but the kick was far short. The game went into overtime. After both teams went scoreless in overtime number one, Louisville was able to add a FG in the second extra period. USM was also forced to attempt a FG, but they also missed. The Cardinals escaped Hattiesburg with another CUSA win.


SMOKIN'....
Michigan: The Wolves have bounced back tough from the loss to Iowa and have a chance to spoil Ohio State’s season
Maryland: The Terps have been unstoppable lately
Ohio State: Even when they play bad, they win
Iowa: ...and the fans carried away Minnesota’s goalposts?!?!?!?
Virginia: Rather quietly, this team under Al Groh is making some noise and improving drastically
Colorado: The Buffs wrapped up the Big XII North for the second year in a row
Alabama: Best team in the SEC West undoubtedly, maybe the best in the SEC


NOT LOOKIN’ SO HOT....
NC State: After looking like a sure-thing for the BCS a few weeks ago, the ‘Pack has fallen off the map
Texas A&M: Beat Oklahoma one week, lose to Missouri the next?
Oregon: Yet another home loss...what happen to that Autzen mystique?
LSU: The Tigers, after getting lucky at Kentucky, fall hard to Alabama...at Death Valley...at night


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