Posted on: November 20, 2011 8:49 pm
Edited on: November 20, 2011 8:57 pm
Posted by Eye On College Football
On Sunday night the new BCS standings were released. As expected, there have been some drastic changes after the dramatic upsets of Week 12. For the first time since 2001, three teams in the top five of the BCS standings lost in the same weekend. Now we are left with three teams from the SEC West fighting not only for a division title, but a shot to play for the national championship.
You can check out a rundown of the Top 10 below, with some thoughts from our College Football Bloggers. For a full breakdown of the Top 25 teams in the BCS formula, you can check out the comprehensive standings.
1. LSU:How pretty are the Tigers sitting? As a unanimous No. 1 in both BSC polls and the consensus No. 1 across the computer rankings, it's possible that LSU could lose this week's showdown with No. 3 Arkansas and still go to New Orleans for a BCS title shot. It might take a little help -- like Georgia upending the Hogs or Alabama in the SEC title game, or voters ranking the three hypothetical SEC West champs in a way that sends the Tigers to Atlanta -- but when you have this much power consolidated at the top of the BCS standings, that's the kind of advantage you earn. - Jerry Hinnen
2. Alabama: Just win, baby. Thanks to this past weekend's widespread BCS carnage, the Tide have come all the way back from their home loss to LSU to control their own national championship destiny. Defeat bitter Iron Bowl rivals Auburn this week, and they'll be all but a lock for a national title shot in the event of an LSU win ... and if Arkansas pulls the shocker and the BCS shakeout sends the Tide to Atlanta to face the Dawgs, a win there would do the trick just as well. At this point, it's hard to construct a scenario -- a dominating Oklahoma State win over Oklahoma paired with a lackluster showing vs. Auburn seems the only remotely feasible one -- in which the Tide win out and don't play for it all. - JH
3. Arkansas: Remember when the Razorbacks were going to take a sizable step back after the departure of Ryan Mallett? Instead the Hogs have climbed to BCS heights even Mallett couldn't touch, with only one win standing between Bobby Petrino's team and the sort of total standings chaos that could give them a crack at their first BCS title. Of course, that win is going to be the single hardest win to come by in college football this season: against LSU in Baton Rouge. And even with a win, the Hogs' chances would depend (and depend heavily) on how voters ranked the three SEC West teams locked in their unbreakable tie atop the division. But whatever happens vs. the Tigers, this 2011 season has proven beyond a doubt that Petrino's program isn't going anywhere as a national power. - JH
4. Oklahoma State:This is probably the best Oklahoma State could have hoped for following its loss to Iowa State. The Cowboys caught a huge break on Saturday with Oregon losing, but Oklahoma's loss hurt it as much as it helped to keep the Cowboys in the top four. Now if Oklahoma State beats Oklahoma to finish the season, it may not mean as much. In other words, the biggest Auburn and LSU fans next weekend may reside in Stillwater. - Tom Fornelli
5. Virginia Tech:The Hokies may not pass the "eye test" as the fourth best team in the nation for some, but Virginia Tech's ability to close out opponents on their current six-game winning streak kept them moving up while the competition falls. There have been hiccups, like the 14-10 victory over Duke, but Frank Beamer reaches double-digit wins for the eighth straight season with the win over North Carolina. But maintaining this top ranking will be no cakewalk, as the Hokies travel to Charlottesville to face in-state rival Virginia with a berth to the ACC Championship Game on the line. - Chip Patterson
6. Stanford:The Pac-12's only one-loss team is sixth in the latest standings yet can still be shut out of a BCS bowl this season. They'll need two of the trio of Arkansas, Oklahoma State and Virginia Tech to lose so they can slide into the top four and ensure they're headed somewhere (likely the Fiesta). A home game against a ranked Notre Dame team this week should provide a nice boost in the final standings. - Bryan Fischer
7. Boise State:While the Broncos' toughest heartbreak undoubtedly was the loss to TCU at home a week ago, the upset specials in Week 12 twisted the knife for Boise State fans. As top teams in the nation fell one-by-one, Kellen Moore and the Broncos had to be thinking "what if" as arguably their best opportunity to move into the top 2 of the BCS standings occurs a week after their first home loss under Chris Petersen. Boise State's only hope now is for more teams to fall in the final two weeks, allowing the Broncos to sneak into an at-large bid. - CP
8. Houston:If college football made sense then Houston would be ranked second right now, as it's the only other undefeated team in the FBS along with LSU right now. Unfortunately, the BCS isn't about a level playing ground for all, and if an undefeated Boise State team or TCU team weren't good enough in recent seasons, then Houston doesn't have a chance. I mean, it's already 10-0 and it's just now cracking the top ten. - TF
9. Oklahoma:The Sooners may still be in the top ten of the BCS, but this team's title chances are gone. There's really nothing that can happen at this point that will move the Sooners from 9th to the top two over the final weeks. Still, Oklahoma still has a Big 12 title to play for which would sent it to the Fiesta Bowl. Something it has to win to reach the BCS this January because another loss against Iowa State or Oklahoma State will ruin any chance for an at-large bid. - TF
10. Oregon:The Ducks fell six spots after their home loss to USC and are out of the national title race but remain in the top 10. They still control their destiny in the Pac-12 race and are looking at a likely trip to Pasadena for the Rose Bowl against an average Big Ten opponent. With plenty of games to be played, Oregon can rebound and move back up in the rankings by the end of the season with two mediocre - at best - Pac-12 opponents left on the schedule. - BF
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Tags: ACC, Adam Jacobi, Alabama, Andrew Luck, Arkansas, Auburn, BCS, BCS Rankings, BCS Reactions, BCS Standings, Big 12, Boise State, Brandon Weeden, Bryan Fischer, Casey Pachall, Chip Patterson, Clemson, Dabo Swinney, Dabo Swinney, David Wilson, Frank Beamer, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Houston, Kellen Moore, LSU, Mississippi State, Mountain West, MWC, Non-BCS, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Pac-12, SEC, South Carolina, Stanford, Stanford, Tom Fornelli, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest
Posted on: November 20, 2011 2:32 am
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
But neither the Tigers nor the Razorbacks are as happy this weekend as is Alabama. Thanks to Oklahoma State's pratfall in Ames, Oregon's loss to USC, and Oklahoma's defeat in Waco, the Tide has now seen every conceivable obstacle between themselves and a hypothetical BCS rematch against the Tigers fall by the wayside. Win next week against Auburn, and the Tide are all but guaranteed to head to New Orleans ... one way or another.
LOSER: The other three quarters of the SEC. No one who's watched the SEC week-in and week-out would argue this is a vintage year for the league's depth, but the conference reached a new 2011 low on Saturday morning. With three SEC teams taking on three representatives from the FCS Southern Conference, the combined score of the three games midway through the collective second quarter was a tight 42-34 ... in favor of the SoCon.
Yes, Auburn eventually pulled away from Samford, Florida from Furman, and South Carolina from the Citadel. But when the conference's de facto No. 5/6/7 (in some order) teams have those kinds of struggles with FCS competition, "down year" doesn't totally cover it. And team No. 4 -- Georgia -- may have won the East, but anything similar to their sloppy, flat, lackluster performance against Kentucky will get them annihilated in Atlanta in two weeks.
WINNERS: Tauren Poole and Da'Rick Rogers. Even as Tennessee collapsed to a 0-6 SEC record, a handful of Vols continued to shine amongst the wreckage, and Poole and Rogers were two of the brightest spots. With a chance to salvage a bowl berth at home against a Vanderbilt team that some would argue had surpassed the Vols -- in the coaching department, on the recruiting trails, and on the field -- Poole and Rogers put the team on their back. Poole ran 19 times for 107 big yards and added 21 more in the receiving game. Rogers was even bigger--10 catches, 116 yards and two touchdowns, including a sensational one-handed grab to tie the game at 21 in the fourth quarter. The two late interceptions of Jordan Rodgers -- the game-winner obviously included -- were the Vols' biggest plays. But with Tyler Bray rusty, Poole and Rogers were their biggest players.
LOSERS: The officials at Tennessee-Vanderbilt. We want to be kind to college football officials, who have a thankless job we would never, ever volunteer for ourselves. But kindness only extends so far, and it doesn't extend past the phenomenal botch-job in the first overtime of 'Dores-Vols. If you missed it: Rodgers threw an interception to Eric Gordon, who returned it for an apparent game-winning touchdown. But Gordon was whistled down by the line judge, even with replay showing he wasn't close to having his knee down. Unfortunately for the Vols, that play isn't reviewable ... except that the officials reviewed it anyway under the pretense of checking if the whistle blew. And even though it did, the call was overturned anyway. It's not just us saying this either--the official SEC response confirms that the call was butchered six ways from Sunday.
To be fair, the officials eventually arrived at the right call; Tennessee won the game fair-and-square on Gordon's play. But that it took two dreadful wrongs to get there was an embarrassment.
WINNER: Blair Walsh. Sure, the longest of his four field goals vs. Kentucky was just 39 yards. But Walsh has been so erratic this season -- just 13-of-23 coming into this game --that Georgia will take four routine makes in a heartbeat. The Dawgs won't feel better about their chances of winning the SEC after their outing today, but a Walsh with his head screwed on correctly will be a big positive nonetheless.
LOSER: Will Muschamp's defensive reputation. The transition from Urban Meyer's spread looks to Charlie Weis's pro-style schemes was always going to be a problem for the Gators. But with the bevy of athletes at their disposal in the front seven, Muschamp's coaching acumen, and a defense that ranked ninth in the country in total defense a year ago, the Florida defense shouldn't have taken that much of step back, right? Statistically, they haven't; entering this week, the Gators were still 11th in the FBS. But Muschamp's and coordinator Dan Quinn's defense has had a few notable lapses this season, maybe none bigger than somehow allowing Furman 446 yards and 32 points. Motivation couldn't have been easy to come by, but that's simply not the sort of defensive numbers put up by a top-notch SEC defense.
Tags: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Blair Walsh, Charlie Weis, Da'Rick Rogers, Dan Quinn, Eric Gordon, Florida, Furman, Georgia, Jordan Rodgers, Kentucky, LSU, Oklahoma, Oregon, Samford, SEC, SEC Winners and Losers, South Carolina, Tauren Poole, Tennessee, the Citadel, Tyler Bray, Urban Meyer, USC, Vanderbilt, Will Muschamp, Winners and Losers
Posted on: November 20, 2011 1:23 am
Posted by Tom Fornelli
A handy recap of who really won and who really lost that you won't find in the box score.
WINNER: The SEC
Were you one of the people who were dreading the idea of a rematch between LSU and Alabama for the BCS title? Well, blame the Big 12 because I don't think you've got any other choice right now. Thanks to Iowa State and Baylor knocking off Oklahoma State and Oklahoma this weekend, two of the biggest threats to SEC dominance have been knocked out of the running. Oddly enough, even though Oklahoma State lost on Friday night, it actually had a chance to still be in the running given all the other losses in the top ten this week, but then Oklahoma had to go lose to Baylor.
Now if Oklahoma State beats Oklahoma in Bedlam, it won't mean as much with the Sooners already suffering two losses.
WINNER: Paul Rhoads
The man is becoming an expert at upsetting high-powered offenses en route to the BCS title game. He did it as Pitt's defensive coordinator against West Virginia in 2007, and now he's done it to Oklahoma State in Ames. I'm not sure if Iowa State is ever going to be a contender for a Big 12 title under Rhoads, but there's no denying that he has this program headed in the right direction. The Cyclones will have to work hard to keep him in Ames, too, because it won't be long before other schools come calling.
LOSER: Brandon Weeden's Heisman campaign
There are much worse things that happened to Oklahoma State this weekend, and I'm not just talking about football. Still, as far as losses on the field are concerned, Brandon Weeden lost quite a bit on Friday night. He can kiss his shot at the Heisman Trophy goodbye. He'd been building up steam every week, but after throwing 3 interceptions in Oklahoma State's loss to Iowa State, he'll be falling off a lot of ballots.
WINNER: Robert Griffin's Heisman campaign
Griffin's Heisman candidacy had taken a hit in recent weeks thanks to some subpar performances against Oklahoma State and Texas A&M, but the whole country was able to see Griffin's game-winning drive against Oklahoma on Saturday night. In a season in which the Heisman may be more up for grabs than ever before, that was one of those drives that will be stuck in the memory of many a voter when it comes time to turn in the ballots.
LOSER: Bob Stoops
Bob Stoops had set himself up for some second-guessing in Waco on Saturday night. After Oklahoma scored in the final minute to cut the lead to 38-37 Stoops was ready to go for two and the win. Unfortunately a false start forced Oklahoma to have to kick the extra point, which may have saved Stoops because had Oklahoma gone for two and not gotten it, well, there'd have been a whole lot of 20/20 hindsight in Norman. Still, despite the second chance, Stoops had to go and make himself the goat anyway by calling a timeout when Baylor was content to head to overtime.
Then Baylor went down the field in a few plays before scoring the game-winning touchdown with 8 seconds left.
WINNER: Terrence Williams
There may not have been a more perfect target for Robert Griffin on that game-winning touchdown. Earlier in the contest Griffin found Williams for what would have been a sure touchdown, only Williams dropped the pass. Imagine how terrible Williams might have felt if Oklahoma had gone on to win in overtime? If he'd made that catch earlier, the overtime would have never happened. Instead he was able to redeem himself by catching the game-winner, which is a pretty great way to forget about your earlier mistake if you ask me.
LOSER: The Texas offense
In its last two games, after running roughshod over opponents in the previous two weeks, Texas has managed just 18 points and 481 yards of total offense with only 1 touchdown. To put that in perspective, Texas rushed for 439 yards and 5 touchdowns against Texas Tech three weeks ago. Making matters worse, the Longhorns seemed to be ready to roll with David Ash as their quarterback, but his performance the last few weeks could mean Case McCoy is starting against Texas A&M on Thanksgiving. In other words, letting Garrett Gilbert transfer may not have been the best idea.
WINNER: James Franklin
Poor, James Franklin. He had a monster game on Saturday but it's going to be overshadowed by Robert Griffin's performance and the losses of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. Still, i'm going to give him his due here. Franklin finished his day with 324 total yards and 4 touchdowns, leading Missouri on a fourth quarter comeback and scoring the game-winning touchdown with 2:22 left. I'd say Gary Pinkel owes Franklin a beer, but Franklin's not old enough to drink and Pinkel's in enough trouble as it is.
I don't even know what to say to you anymore, Jayhawks. Every time I think things can't get any worse you go and have a game like the one you did on Saturday. The Jayhawks got destroyed by Texas A&M on Saturday, losing 61-7. If Turner Gill wasn't already on his way to a pink slip, I think it's safe to say he'll be getting one now.
WINNER: Kansas State's BCS hopes
It's a longshot considering that Kansas State can't win the Big 12 this season, but the Wildcats chances of landing an at-large berth in a BCS game increased a bit on Saturday. If Kansas State can go on to beat Iowa State next week -- and we can't just assume they will anymore, can we? -- and Oklahoma State knocks off Oklahoma in Bedlam, then the Wildcats will finish second in the Big 12 this season and likely in the top 12 of the BCS. Sure, the Wildcats need a few other things to happen before that from other schools around the country, but their prospects improved all the same.
Tags: Alabama, Baylor, Big 12, Big 12 Winners and Losers, Bob Stoops, Brandon Weeden, Case McCoy, David Ash, Garrett Gilbert, Gary Pinkel, Iowa State, James Franklin, Kansas, Kansas State, LSU, Missouri, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Paul Rhoads, Pitt, Robert Griffin, Terrence Williams, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Tom Fornelli, Turner Gill, West Virginia, Winners and Losers, Winners and Losers Week 12
Posted on: November 20, 2011 12:18 am
Edited on: November 20, 2011 12:18 am
Posted by Tom Fornelli
BAYLOR WON. For the first time in school history Baylor beat Oklahoma on Saturday night. They can now claim a 1-20 record against the Sooners. In a weekend full of wonderful games, this one may have taken the cake. Robert Griffin emphatically announced to the world that he needs to be on every Heisman ballot in the country, leading Baylor on a game-winning drive in the final minute to upset the Sooners. Griffin finished the night with 551 total yards and 4 touchdowns, as Baylor racked up 620 yards of offense in the game. Not that Oklahoma didn't have some fun on offense as well, as the Sooners had 605 yards of offense and backup quarterback Blake Bell rushed for 4 touchdowns as Landry Jones threw for 447 yards.
WHY BAYLOR WON. This will sound incredibly simplistic given all that happened in this game, but Baylor won this game because Bob Stoops let it. After Oklahoma tied the game 38-38 with 55 seconds left, Baylor was content to run out the clock and go to overtime. For some reason Stoops called a timeout, and Baylor said "Well, if you want to play that way, all right." A few plays later Baylor was scoring the winning touchdown.
WHEN BAYLOR WON. When Robert Griffin danced around in the pocket for a while and unleashed a rocket to Terrence Williams in the back of the end zone with 8 seconds left. Griffin paid the price for it, too, taking a big shot after the throw. Not that he likely felt it once he heard the crowd go crazy.
WHAT BAYLOR WON. It's signature win of 2011. This win is even bigger than the upset of TCU to start the season. As I said above, Baylor had never beaten Oklahoma before tonight, and now it not only beat the Sooners, but it destroyed any chance Oklahoma had of reaching the BCS Championship Game in the process.
WHAT OKLAHOMA LOST. Oklahoma's chances of reaching the title game took a hit on Friday night when Iowa State upset Oklahoma State. But then things began turning for the Sooners. Clemson lost, Oregon lost, and if the Sooners won this game they'd be right back in the title picture. Only they didn't win. The Sooners can still win the Big 12 and get to the Fiesta Bowl by beating Oklahoma State next week, however, so not all hope is lost.
THAT WAS CRAZY. This entire game. If you saw it, you know what I'm talking about. If you missed it, well, sorry.
Posted on: November 19, 2011 11:41 pm
Edited on: November 19, 2011 11:42 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
KANSAS STATE WON. For the fourth straight meeting between these two schools, Kansas State emerged victorious. On Saturday night it was not exactly a game in which coaches around the country will show their teams how an offense should be run, but I don't think Bill Snyder and his Wildcats will mind all that much. Collin Klein had what was easily his worst game of the season, throwing for only 83 yards and a touchdown while completing 9 of 17 passes. But so what, it's his legs that matter, right?
Yeah, well Klein rushed for 4 yards on the night. On 26 carries. Still, he also rushed for a touchdown that proved to be the game-winner. What was really amazing in this contest is that Kansas State only had 121 yards of total offense on the night! Compare that to Texas which had 310.
WHY KANSAS STATE WON. Simple, it took advantage of two turnovers that left the Wildcats with a short field. Kansas State's two scoring drives totaled 91 yards, or 75% of the output the offense had on the night. Other than that, Texas defense smothered the Wildcats offense all night, but unfortunately for the Longhorns, they could never get anything going when they had the ball.
WHEN KANSAS STATE WON. It wasn't until Case McCoy was sacked in the final minute on a 4th and 10 that we knew this one was over.
WHAT KANSAS STATE WON. Kansas State won this game, but it may have actually lost something in the long run. With both Oklahoma State losing this weekend and Oklahoma currently losing -- as of the time this was written -- to Baylor, it's possible that the Cotton Bowl will no longer be in play for the Wildcats. That being said, it's hard for Kansas State to be sad when it could finish the regular season with 10 wins.
WHAT TEXAS LOST. Texas is definitely out of the Cotton Bowl as the bowl president said earlier this week that if Texas lost to Kansas State, they'd be out of consideration. Still, that's not the only problem the Longhorns have right now, as they'll be playing Texas A&M on Thanksgiving for the final time as Big 12 partners, and if the Longhorns offense continues the sad display of the last two weeks, it won't be a pleasant goodbye.
Posted on: November 19, 2011 12:12 am
Edited on: November 19, 2011 12:13 am
Posted by Tom Fornelli
IOWA STATE WON. That's right, Iowa State. A game that most people felt would be a mere formality before Oklahoma State moved on to play Oklahoma in two weeks -- I include myself in that -- turned out to be one of the biggest shockers in college football this season. Some will say that this was an Oklahoma State team distracted by the tragic airplane crash that took the lives of women's basketball coach Kurt Budke and assistant Miranda Serna. Others will say that Oklahoma State got caught looking ahead to Oklahoma. Then there will be those who admit that Iowa State just beat Oklahoma State because it made plays when it had to and Oklahoma State didn't.
Whatever you want to feel happened on Friday night in Ames, you can't say you saw it coming.
WHY IOWA STATE WON. It started early with Iowa State's defensive scheme. The Cyclones continually brought pressure up the middle causing Brandon Weeden to move around, throwing the quarterback out of his rhythm. This led to an early turnover from Weeden, and Oklahoma State turning the ball over was a constant theme. On the night the Cowboys turned the ball over 5 times, and forced only 3 from the Cyclones.
WHEN IOWA STATE WON. This game may have needed two overtimes, but it may have ended when Quinn Sharp missed a field goal in the final seconds of regulation. Sharp's kick was wide right -- barely -- and you just got the feeling that this was just going to be Iowa State's night. After scoring on the first play of overtime, Iowa State allowed the Cowboys to tie the game and force a second overtime. Then, in that second overtime, Iowa State forced Weeden's third interception of the night. It then became a steady diet of Jeff Woody who accounted for all 25 yards on Iowa State's game-winning touchdown drive in the second overtime.
WHAT IOWA STATE WON. It's the first time Iowa State has beaten a team ranked #2 or higher in school history, and the victory gives the Cyclones its sixth victory of the season as well, making them bowl eligible. Still, this is nothing new for Paul Rhoads. Remember in 2007 when the high-scoring West Virginia offense was seemingly en route to the BCS title game only to be knocked off 13-9 by Pitt in the final game of the regular season? Well, Paul Rhoads was the defensive coordinator of that Pitt team. Seems stopping potent offenses on their way to a title game is becoming a Paul Rhoads specialty.
WHAT OKLAHOMA STATE LOST. Everything. This was a devastating loss to the Oklahoma State football team. No where near as important as the loss the school suffered on Thursday night, but this was an Oklahoma State team that was a few wins away from playing for a national title. Now that dream has been erased, and even though the Cowboys can still win the Big 12 and end up in the Fiesta Bowl, it won't feel like anything other than a disappointment now.
THAT WAS CRAZY. Coming into this game Iowa State was a four-touchdown underdog. When Texas Tech upset Oklahoma earlier this season, it was also a four-touchdown underdog.
Posted on: November 18, 2011 4:26 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
The Saturday Meal Plan is a helpful guide put together for you to maximize the results of your college football diet. Just enough to leave you feeling full, but not so much you spend your entire Sunday in the bathroom.
It's a bit of a low-carb diet this week thanks to most of the SEC deciding to take the week off and test itself against stalwarts like Georgia Southern and Furman, but that doesn't mean there aren't games out there worthy of your time. Besides, let's be honest with ourselves. We didn't really want to say anything to you about it, but you've been gorging on some great games the last few months and you're starting to get a bit pudgy around the edges.
You could use some lighter fare this weekend.
#18 Michigan vs. #16 Nebraska - ESPN 12pm ET
Michigan State may have the Legends division title all but sewn up, but if there's an at-large BCS bid to be had, it'll probably come from the winner of this game. As for reasons to watch instead of just care, come on. It's Denard Robinson. It's Rex Burkhead. There'll be some highlight plays in this one. - Adam Jacobi
Illinois vs. #17 Wisconsin - ESPN2 12pm ET
It's probably no exaggeration to say that Ron Zook's job at Illinois is on the line in this game; Zook, now the second-most tenured coach in the Big Ten, has seen his team drop four straight games and look listless in the process. Montee Ball would be happy to contribute a touchdown or five to Zook's going-away party, but can Illinois' stout defense save the day -- and the coach? - AJ
Rutgers vs. Cincinnati - ESPNU 12pm ET
After only winning one conference game in 2010 (Greg Schiano's worst conference record since 2004) and finishing dead last, the Scarlet Knights are in the hunt for BCS bowl bid. The Bearcats have lost starting quarterback Zach Collaros for the season to an ankle injury, and now sophomore Munchie Legaux will face a the best defense in the conference to try and bounce back from their first league loss. Cincinnati still holds one game on the rest of the conference, and can win the title outright if they win out. Rutgers needs to win out as well, but also get some help to win the tie-breaker. The Big East slate is thin this weekend, but there will be enough on the line to expect the best effort from both teams. - Chip Patterson
#14 Georgia vs. Kentucky - SEC Network 12:21pm ET
There's one reason to tune into this game and one reason alone: to see how the Bulldogs react to winning the SEC East for the first time since 2005. As a competitive contest, well, one of these teams defeated Auburn by 38 points last week, while the other lost by 30 to Vanderbilt. Still, it's not every day you get to see how Mark Richt reacts to a Gatorade shower. - Jerry Hinnen
#6 Arkansas vs. Mississippi State - CBS 3:30pm ET
Dan Mullen's Bulldogs gave Bobby Petrino's Razorbacks fits last season, taking the eventual Sugar Bowl representatives into overtime. Could they do the same this year, with a potential SEC West title still on the line for the Hogs and the game in Little Rock? A somnabulant offense says "probably not", but in corner Johnathan Banks and tackle Fletcher Cox, the Bulldogs do have the defensive weapons to at least slow down Tyler Wilson and Co. - JH
Ohio State vs. #21 Penn State - ABC/ESPN 3:30pm ET
For the multitudes of distractions facing Penn State, it still has two tough games to play, and it still has a division lead to protect. The Nittany Lions' first step is taking on an up-and-down Ohio State team that's going to try to wear down the PSU defense with its troika of tailbacks and dual-threat (if you can call his arm a threat) QB Braxton Miller. This'll be a classic Big Ten game, with pads a-popping, defenses a-stifling, and running backs a-barreling for four quarters. - AJ
N.C. State vs. #7 Clemson - ABC/ESPN 3:30pm ET
This all be the ultimate test of focus for Dabo Swinney's young squad. The Tigers set goals to win the division, state championship, and ACC Championship. With the division clinched and South Carolina waiting next week, Clemson could lose to the Wolfpack and still accomplish their goals. NC State needs to beat Clemson and Maryland in order to be bowl eligible for the second straight season. The Tigers have an outside shot to still make a BCS bowl game if they lose in the ACC Championship, but even those long odds would be erased with a loss on Saturday. Both teams are explosive and capable of scoring quickly, so expect the unexpected in this ACC battle. - CP
Missouri vs. Texas Tech - ABC 3:30pm ET
A bit of a last stand for Texas Tech, which has lost five of its last six games after starting the season 4-0. The Red Raiders still need one more win to become bowl eligible, and it won't be easy to get there. Missouri is a team that's proven it's capable of beating anybody in the Big 12 on any given Saturday, though you do have to wonder how this team will perform on its Senior Day without Gary Pinkel who is serving a suspension for a DWI arrest earlier this week. - Tom Fornelli
#25 Florida State vs. Virginia - ESPN2 7:30pm ET
The Seminoles are on a five-game game winning streak since EJ Manuel returned to the starting lineup, averaging over 35 points per game. But the "turnaround" from the early season setbacks has been not only the result of improved play from Florida State, but also the advantage of facing much more favorable competition. Four the teams in the streak have defenses ranked in the bottom half of the ACC, and other game was the 34-0 shutout of NC State at home. Virginia's defense ranks third in the ACC, and the Cavaliers are arguably just as hot winning five of their last six. Mike London's new power rushing attack has helped the team reach bowl eligibility in just his second year, but Saturday will be a true test of how "legit" this ACC Coastal contender is heading into the postseason. - CP
#4 Oregon vs. USC - ABC 8pm ET
Like offense? This game is for you. The Ducks are well on their way to another conference title and can clinch hosting the first ever Pac-12 Championship game with a win. The Trojans have designs on an upset however and it's not out of the realm of possibilities with Matt Barkley and Robert Woods on the field. - Bryan Fischer
#22 Baylor vs. #5 Oklahoma - ABC 8pm ET
So far this season Baylor has lived on beating the lower-tiered teams of the Big 12 and struggling against the conference's best. This is the Bears last chance at a marquee victory in 2011, and it's probably catching Oklahoma at the best possible time. The Sooners have lost Dominique Whaley and Ryan Broyles to knee injuries the last couple of weeks, and while there's never a good time to suffer such blows on offense, it hurts a bit more when you have to go head-to-head with Baylor's offense. There could be a big upset brewing in Waco. - TF
#23 Texas vs. #13 Kansas State - FX 8pm ET
Here's something you might not know: Kansas State has beaten Texas the last three times the schools have met, with Texas' last victory over the Wildcats coming in 2003. It's a losing streak that the Longhorns would really like to put an end to, though it won't be easy against a Kansas State offense built around Collin Klein. This should be a pretty interesting matchup boasting the Big 12's best run defense and its best running quarterback/battering ram. - TF
LATE NIGHT SNACK
#9 Stanford vs. Cal - ESPN 10:15pm ET
The band won't be on the field for this one (well, they will, but at halftime not on the final play) but the Big Game will still have plenty of memorable moments when you consider that Andrew Luck is playing and looking to make up for last week's loss. - BF
Tags: ACC, Adam Jacobi, Andrew Luck, Arkansas, Auburn, Baylor, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Bobby Petrino, Braxton Miller, Bryan Fischer, Cal, Chip Patterson, Cincinnati, Clemson, Collin Klein, Dabo Swinney, Dan Mullen, Denard Robinson, Dominique Whaley, E.J. Manuel, Fletcher Cox, Florida State, Gary Pinkel, Georgia, Greg Schiano, Illinois, Jerry Hinnen, Johnathan Banks, Kansas State, Kentucky, Mark Richt, Maryland, Matt Barkley, Michigan, Mike London, Mississippi State, Missouri, Montee Ball, Munchie Legaux, N.C. State, Nebraska, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pac-12, Penn State, Rex Burkhead, Robert Woods, Ron Zook, Rutgers, Ryan Broyles, Saturday Meal Plan, SEC, South Carolina, Stanford, Texas, Texas Tech, Tom Fornelli, Tyler Wilson, USC, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Wisconsin, Zach Collaros
Posted on: November 18, 2011 12:15 pm
Edited on: November 18, 2011 12:16 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
If bowl games actually followed their conference affiliations the way they're drawn up, then at the moment there isn't much question that Kansas State would be on its way to the Cotton Bowl since Oklahoma State is currently in position to play for the BCS title and Oklahoma is likely to end up at the Fiesta Bowl. Of course, bowl games don't actually work that way and look at a whole bunch of other factors besides where a team finished in the standings.
So while Kansas State is in position to end up in the Cotton Bowl, the bowl game has its eyes on other Big 12 schools as well. Including Texas. Though according to the Cotton Bowl's President Rick Baker, the Longhorns won't be going to Dallas if they lose to Kansas State again on Saturday.
"If Kansas State beats Texas, then Texas will most likely fall off our radar screen," Baker told GoPowercat.com. "I think they'll probably drop from the rankings, too.
"If Texas beat Kansas State, Kansas State could still end up 9-3 and Texas could lose their last two and end up 7-5. If Kansas State wins, it eliminates Texas, but if Texas wins, we'll still have to wait."
Last season the Cotton Bowl chose Texas A&M over Missouri even though the Tigers finished ahead of the Aggies in the Big 12. Baker said the selection was because A&M had won 6 in a row and it had the opportunity to match them up with rival LSU. This year Baker says the Cotton Bowl is looking at Kansas State, Texas and Baylor from the Big 12, and Arkansas, Georgia and South Carolina from the SEC.