Five Intriguing Games this Weekend – From the Bird’s Nest
And, as you may know, the intriguing games for me don't necessarily have anything to do with big names.
Here are the games I'm going to be following this weekend.
OLE MISS (5-3, 2-2) AT GEORGIA (7-1, 5-1)
Samford Stadium, Athens, GA
2:30 pm CBS
Bulldogs, I'm putting you on upset alert.
Now, I'm not predicting an Ole Miss win here, but this has all the makings of a trap game, with exception of the venue. Georgia was victorious over Florida last week and they now control the East. I don't know if the Bulldogs' hangover is as big as that of the fans who were at the World's Largest Cocktail Party, but there still has to be a bit of euphoria. Now, enter Ole Miss, a team that will undoubtedly be playing with a sense of urgency. The Rebels are 5-3 and they still have LSU, Mississippi State and Vandy to play. They'll be underdogs against the first two and the third is no sure thing. They understand how important getting to a bowl would be in their first year under Hugh Freeze. Georgia had better come ready to play.
OKLAHOMA STATE (5-2, 3-1) AT KANSAS STATE (8-0, 5-0)
Bill Snyder Family Stadium, Manhattan, KS
The thing about playing in the Big 12 is, first off, you play everybody in your league, which means one less non-conference game. The other is, with exception of Kansas, this league is balanced with good, solid football teams. That's the task facing K-State the rest of the season. They've navigated West Virginia, Oklahoma and Texas Tech. Yet, they still have TCU, Baylor and Texas. This week, it's the final ranked team on the schedule as Mike Gundy's high powered offense invades the Little Apple. OSU has flown under the radar this year. They had a loss at Arizona which doesn't look nearly as bad since the Wildcats knocked off USC last week. The other loss was a close one against Texas. OSU is capable, but the reason K-State is where they are is because they actually play defense. This might be the most complete team in the country not named Alabama.
OREGON (8-0, 5-0) AT USC (6-2, 4-2)
Los Angeles Coliseum, Los Angeles, California
The Ducks have passed Louisiana Tech to take over as the highest scoring team in college football. But Oregon is just now getting into the meat of its schedule. They still must play Stanford and travel to Corvallis for the Civil War. Then they might have to face USC again. The Trojans might have been looking past Arizona last week in anticipation of this one. There's a part of me that, playing at home, USC might be ready to pull this one off. The rest of me remembers they upset the Ducks last year, and Oregon hasn't forgotten.
UAB (1-7, 0-4) at SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI (0-8, 0-4)
M. M. Roberts Stadium, Hattiesburg, MS
Is there a more curious story in college football than Southern Miss? Last year they won twelve games and were the C-USA champion after their stunning upset of unbeaten Houston. Larry Fedora headed for North Carolina and the Eagles turned to Ellis Johnson, a pretty unpopular choice from the outset. Now the Eagles are 0-8 and, while they still have a chance to get into the win column (they still have to play Memphis), time is running out. Enter a UAB team that is winless against FBS competition (they have a win over Southeastern La.). And, oh, in case you've forgotten, it was UAB that knocked off the boys from Hattiesburg a year ago and ruined their chance at a BCS bowl game.
HOUSTON (4-4, 3-1) AT EAST CAROLINA (5-4, 4-1)
Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, Greenville, NC
11 am Fox Sports Net
The Pirates are bowl eligible if they win, and things don't necessarily get dicey if they lose (still to play Tulane in New Orleans and Marshall at home.) But the Greenies are improving, especially in New Orleans, and Marshall is the Pirates' biggest C-USA rival. Houston, meanwhile, has been tough to figure out. The Cougars lost three straight to start the season, then won three straight. They followed that with a nine turnover performance at SMU before evening their record against UTEP. Not much margin for error since Houston has to play league-leading Tulsa next week. They'll be a favorite against Tulane, but Marshall is never easy to beat in Huntington. Houston would sure be breathing a little more easily if they can get this one.