Thanksgiving weekend is upon us, and college football will share the spotlight all week with pro football showdowns. Rivalry week brought us many memorable moments, not the least of which being Joe Paterno capping off his Big Ten title with a win over Michigan State. Nittany Lion fans can start asking all the what if questions now as they were literally one second in Ann Arbor from an undefeated season. They did share the conference title with Ohio State, as the Buckeyes showed a lot of heart in coming back from a nine-point deficit in Michigan with seven minutes remaining. If it had not been for all the uncharacteristic Buckeye mistakes (which lost them games against national powers Texas and Penn State earlier this year), OSU would have made Michigan look bad. As it ended up, we had a classic closing weekend of Big Ten football.
Of course I do not want to lose sight of another couple games which made the weekend enjoyable. Reggie Bush forced USC past Fresno State in an exciting overnight shootout, while Auburn trampled all over Alabama. Georgia Tech ended any hope for Miami making the title game and probably knocked them out of the ACC title race as well. The Gator Bowl will be little consolation to the Hurricanes this season. One more rivalry game of note had Oregon stomping all over Oregon State, as the Ducks make one last claim at the final at-large BCS berth. The statements have been made, and the debate will rage on for a couple more weeks as college football wraps up the loose ends of this exciting season. Of course, there is still some football to preview for this weekend, so let's get into it now.
My first game of the week is Tuesday night's MAC battle between Toledo and Bowling Green. The crazy MAC race cleared up with four critical games last week, and this game is crucial to both team's hopes to make the MAC title game. Bowling Green would like nothing better than clinching a title game appearance against their hated rivals from half an hour up Interstate 75, while knocking Toledo out of the MAC race and probably out of a bowl game as well. Toledo had trouble defending Northern Illinois's rushing attack last weekend, and I think BGSU will run all over Toledo again this week. If Bowling Green gets an early lead, the Rockets will probably collapse, ending a disappointing November for Toledo. Falcons wins by 10 in this one.
A couple of southern ACC-SEC state bragging rights rivalries comprise the other two games of the week, the first being Georgia at Georgia Tech. All of a sudden after a trip to Miami, Georgia Tech ends Miami's ACC hopes and makes this game all the more interesting. This is just a tune-up for the SEC title game for Georgia, and the Bulldogs must not let the Yellow Jackets capitalize on mistakes like they did against Miami. Georgia is still recovering from their loss to Auburn, and I suspect they get back on top of things with a seven point win against their state rivals.
In some seasons, Florida and Florida State are playing for national title hopes at this point in the year. This year the Gators and the Seminoles bring identical records of 7-3 into this season-ending showdown, practically unacceptable for these two schools. Florida State has backed into the ACC title game, while Florida is also reeling from a loss to their old coach at South Carolina, which cost them the SEC title game. When faced with playing for just pride, Florida State has not come out swinging this season. The Swamp is no place to start slow, and I expect FSU to continue sliding in this one. Florida takes this battle by one, as I see it is too close to call!
Game of the Week Record to Date: 23-13 (3-0 last week)
Conference Race Breakdowns
BCS Bowl Projections
Rose: USC v. Texas
The only change this week was replacing Miami with Virginia Tech as ACC champion. Miami and Alabama's losses have removed them from all BCS possibilities, leaving a race for the last at-large between Ohio State, Oregon, and Auburn, who have all finished their seasons. Although Oregon only lost to USC, and Auburn has been playing like a top-five team the past few weeks, I still think Ohio State is a more appealing matchup for Notre Dame, and the Buckeyes have good history with Tempe, winning two of the last three Fiesta Bowls. Let the debate begin this week and conclude in two weeks when the bowl matchups are set, but I highly doubt anybody will know for sure which of these three will take the berth. The only thing which could ruin this scenario is a loss by Texas or USC in their last games, thereby knocking out these three for the last at-large.
Fitzy's Top 10 - Week 13
1. Texas (10-0)