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November 29, 2005

SCS.comAfter watching a few great games such as Notre Dame beating Stanford and Connecticut topping South Florida last weekend, I am finally prepared to preview and watch some of the most important games of the season. This week will determine conference champions in three major and a couple mid-major conferences, and don't forget about a couple of good battles in the Big East and the Pac-10. Final exams are here before bowl season, so let's jump into the games I am looking forward to for this weekend.

West Virginia at South Florida

I start with the least important game I am previewing, as South Florida's loss last week locked up the BCS berth and outright BCS title for the Mountaineers. West Virginia has been rolling through the Big East since winning over Louisville in a huge comeback and losing to Virginia Tech out-of-conference, while USF has struggled every week, culminating in a loss to banged-up Connecticut on Saturday. Both teams have good rushing offenses, so I suspect this game to be a grinding, low-scoring affair. Expect WVU to run roughshod over the weak USF defensive front, leading them to a big victory. Slaton from WVU only needs 162 yards to reach 1000 on the season, a remarkable achievement for this offense. The key to this game for the Bulls is stopping White, the Mountaineer double threat QB. If they can contain White and Slaton and force White to throw, the Bulls could be in this game. I expect no letdown for the Mountaineers as they prepare for the probable Sugar Bowl appearance.

MAC Championship: Akron v. Northern Illinois

On Thursday night the MAC title will finally be decided between these unexpected division champions. Toledo's defeat of Bowling Green coupled with Akron and Northern Illinois wins last week set this game up instead of the preseason expectation of Bowling Green or Miami against the Rockets. Northern Illinois has had the best offense in the conference the past few weeks, and their defense has been strong as well. Akron may not play in a bowl if they lose this game, as a 6-6 record may be overlooked for Bowling Green and Toledo. The Zips have tons to play for and I think they will play a good game, but the fact that Akron cannot seem to run the ball (99th ranked nationally) will hurt them against the Huskies. Northern Illinois wins this one in a blowout and grabs another game in Detroit in December at the Motor City Bowl.

ACC Championship: Florida State v. Virginia Tech

Florida State comes into this game limping with a three game losing streak for the first time since the mid-80's. Virginia Tech has played very well since their loss to Miami, and they have certainly earned the division title with the Hurricanes slipping up to FSU and Georgia Tech. No team has looked as impressive as the Hokies this season (except for that nasty defeat by Miami at home) in this conference, and Florida State will be hard pressed to turn the ship around here. The special teams will be crucial, as Virginia Tech plays the field position and turnover battle to many victories. Florida State has a great passing game, while Virginia Tech has a great rushing attack. Assuming Marcus Vick shows up and plays well, the Hokies will control the clock and wear down the Seminole defense with long drives all day. Florida State could win this game if they play mistake-free (unlikely given their 18 interceptions thrown already this season), but I expect the Hokies to roll in this one, putting them in the Orange Bowl.

SEC Championship: Georgia v. LSU

Statistically, these teams mirror each other in almost every category. Georgia may have slipped up against Florida and Auburn, but those losses were by a combined five points. LSU would be fighting for a national championship had it not been for a fourth quarter collapse against Tennessee with the team just recovering at the beginning of the season from Hurricane Katrina and its after-effects. They could still make the Rose Bowl with a big win here and a Texas or USC loss this week (they would have to win convincingly to jump Penn State in the BCS standings), but the Sugar Bowl is motivation enough for these teams as the loser probably drops to the Cotton Bowl or Outback Bowl, and maybe even the Peach Bowl in Georgia's case. I think LSU will finish up the season with a close win here, perhaps overtime. This is the best game of the week, so don't miss out on the last SEC game of the season.

Game of the Week Final Record: 25-14 (2-1 last week)
We will see if I can beat this 64% winning percentage in the bowl season.

BCS Bowl Projections - Final

ROSE: USC v. Texas
ORANGE: Virginia Tech v. Penn State
FIESTA: Notre Dame v. Ohio State
SUGAR: LSU v. West Virginia

Fitzy's Top 10 - Week 14
1. Texas (11-0)
2. USC (11-0)
3. Penn State (10-1)
4. LSU (10-1)
5. Virginia Tech (10-1)
6. Ohio State (9-2)
7. Notre Dame (9-2)
8. Auburn (9-2)
9. Oregon (10-1)
10. UCLA (10-1)

 > Talk about it in The College Corner...

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