Five Intriguing Games This Weekend – From the Bird’s Nest
Actually, there are a lot more than five games that I find intriguing. I actually had to cut the list. So, you won’t hear me talk about the Probation Bowl between Ohio State and Penn State, , or the battle of the unbeatens in Tuscaloosa between Mississippi State and Alabama. Also not on the list is a potentially pretty good game in Manhattan between Kansas State and Texas Tech.
This week I’ve chosen a couple of games that could seriously decide bowl eligibility for a couple of teams in the SEC and Sun Belt, plus a B1G division showdown and big national games in Jacksonville and Norman….here we go.
NOTRE DAME (7-0) AT OKLAHOMA (5-1) -To me, this is the game of the week in college football. Notre Dame hasn’t played an elite team, but they haven’t played many dogs, either. In fact, I wonder how teams in conferences would respond to a schedule with both Michigans, Stanford, Purdue, Miami (FL), Navy and BYU. Now comes Oklahoma in Norman. Critics of the Sooners howled when they lost to Kansas State earlier in the year, but now that is very much a quality loss. A Notre Dame win won’t shut up their critics, because nothing can shut up their critics. An Oklahoma win could conceivably move them past LSU in the human polls.
FLORIDA ( 7-0, 6-0) VS. GEORGIA (6-1. 4-1) (JACKSONVILLE)
It’s no longer politically correct to refer to this game as the “World’s Largest Cocktail Party” which is just as well, because the cocktails could really be watered down this weekend. With Hurricane Sandy expected to hug the coastline, this could be a wet afternoon. You have to mind Florida’s resilience. This will be their seventh consecutive SEC game, including wins over LSU, Texas A&M, South Carolina and then #23 Tennessee. Now they’re playing one of their arch rivals back to back with South Carolina, and we saw what multiple weeks of playing ranked teams did to the Gamecocks. Only Missouri is left for the Gators in SEC play and UF wins the east with a win here.
MICHIGAN (5-2, 3-0) AT NEBRASKA (5-2, 2-1)-The winner of this one could well wind up in the Rose Bowl. Whoever wins this game as the inside track to the B1G championship game against Wisconsin. Michigan has lost to two teams that are still undefeated (Notre Dame and Alabama). Nebraska’s losses have come to undefeated Ohio State and a curious loss to UCLA. Memorial Stadium in Lincoln isn’t very kind to visiting teams. This one should really be interesting.
MISSISSIPPI (4-3. 1-2) AT ARKANSAS (3-4. 2-2)–If you had told the folks in Oxford that Ole Miss would have four wins prior to November and a chance at a bowl game, they’d have bought you a round of drinks, then suggested you get your sanity checked. Yet here the Rebels are, with a chance for win #5 against an Arkansas team that has won two straight, albeit against league doormats Kentucky and Auburn. Well, here’s news for the Rebel faithful: If you want a bowl game, you’d better win this game. Ole Miss has LSU, Georgia, Mississippi State and Vandy left after this one and right now, only the game against the Commodores looks winnable. They may need this one to get to six wins. Even a win probably won’t help the Razorbacks, who still have to play South Carolina, Mississippi State and LSU.
11:21 AM, SEC Network (KADN-FOX 15)
NORTH TEXAS (3-4, 2-1) AT MIDDLE TENNESSEE (4-3, 2-1)–Who would have thought the Blue Raiders would have a great chance at a bowl game after losing to McNeese State to start the season? Yet, here the Raiders stand, needing just two more wins to get to six. If they can get this one, all they’ll need is a win at South Alabama to accomplish the task. Lose, and it gets a little dicier as the Raiders still have to play at Western Kentucky and at Arkansas State, plus Troy at home. It would behoove them to get this one this week. It’s doubtful North Texas can get bowl eligible even with a win, since they still have to play the three league leaders (ULM, WKU and Arkansas State) in their last four games. But, stranger things have happened I suppose.