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AROUND THE COLLEGE NATION
November 18, 2004

I'VE GOT MAIL

Q : Where do you think Urban Meyer will be coaching next year?

A : Utah. Everyone knows that Meyer is a Big Ten/Midwest guy. Meyer graduated from the University of Cincinnati and held assistant coaching jobs at Ohio State, Illinois State, Colorado State, and Notre Dame before grabbing his first head coaching job at Bowling Green in 2001. After two extremely successful seasons at BGSU, Meyer was hired by Utah in 2003 and has had two impressive seasons with the Utes.

In Meyer's contract, there is a clause that says he can freely depart to two schools and two schools only: Ohio State and Notre Dame. This again proves that Meyer has his eyes set on a job in the Midwest. Had Ty Willingham not turned things around in South Bend this year, it is very likely Meyer could have landed that job this offseason. And now with the Ohio State fiasco raising its head in recent weeks, Meyer may see that job come open within the next year or two. But that won't happen in the next few weeks, so Meyer will stay put in Salt Lake City and continue to polish the Utes' BCS resume for the time being. Since it appears that neither the OSU or ND jobs will open this winter, expect Meyer to hang around Utah for one more season, regardless of various reports released earlier this week.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH IN WEEK TWELVE

(1) First and foremost, it's rivalry week. All around the country, big-time rivals will get together on the gridiron for the annual grudge match. Here are a few of the showdowns set to take place that have very interesting implications: (a) Auburn at Alabama [Tigers' BCS title game hopes on the line]... (b) BYU at Utah [Utes BCS hopes riding on this one]... (c) Michigan at Ohio State [Wolves can grab Big Ten title, BCS berth]... (d) Oregon at Oregon State [Both at 5-5, so winner goes bowling while loser stays home]... (e) Florida at Florida State [Noles and Gators; what else can you say?]... (f) Illinois at Northwestern [Cats must win to be bowl eligible]... (g) South Carolina at Clemson [Tigers must win to go bowling]

(2) With Auburn easing closer to Oklahoma in this past week's edition of the BCS standings, the Sooners need to win convincingly at Baylor to help sway the votes their way. Auburn, meanwhile, has a much tougher contest at in-state rival Alabama. If the Tigers can win that game with ease, it may not matter what the Sooners do. Another big win for Tuberville & Co. could put Auburn in position to take on Southern Cal in the BCS title game.

(3) For the second straight week, we'll keep a close eye on the Big XII North. Iowa State (3-3) currently leads the way, but the Cyclones are on the road at Kansas State. Missouri is the only other team in the race that takes the field this week. The Tigers can stay in the hunt with a home win over Kansas.

WHAT WE WATCHED LAST WEEK

(1) The showdown on the Plains between Auburn and Georgia was not much of a contest. The Tigers dominated early and often and cruised to an easy win. Like we said, the difference was the play of Tiger RBs Ronnie Brown and Cadillac Williams. Brown caught a TD pass while Williams ran for one score and threw for another. The win vaulted AU into a tie with Oklahoma in the AP poll, but it wasn't enough to move the Tigers into the BCS top two.

(2) Two of the unbeatens went on the road last week, one coming away with a win and the other not coming out so well. Utah, after a two-hour power delay, scored early and often, jumping out to a 45-14 lead by the third quarter's end and eventually winning the game by 17 points. Wisconsin, meanwhile, found the round much more difficult. The Badgers were throttled on the road at Michigan State, ending UW's winning streak and likely any BCS hopes Barry Alvarez's team had.

(3) As expected, Nebraska was easily dismissed by Oklahoma last week, leaving Iowa State all alone in first place in the Big XII North. Colorado stayed in the hunt with a seven-point win at Kansas State, meaning NU and CU are sitting at 3-4 in the league while ISU leads the way at 3-3. In fourth place is Missouri with a 2-4 Big XII record. Only Kansas State and Kansas are totally out of running for the division's trip to the Big XII title game.

Programming Note: Due to the Thanksgiving holidays, there will be no edition of Around the College Nation next week. It will return in two weeks, with the next edition set to be published on December 2.

 > Talk about it in The College Corner...

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