Five Intriguing Games This Weekend – From the Bird’s Nest
This time of year, the intriguing games frequently have to do with teams trying to win league or division titles as well as teams trying to get bowl eligble. And, that's some of the things I'll be looking at this weekend.
TEXAS A&M (7-2, 4-2) AT ALABAMA (9-0, 6-0) 2:30 CBS
There are a couple of things I'm interested in here. First, how much of a hangover does Alabama have? Yes, I understand that Nick Saban had plenty to yell and scream about after the narrow win over LSU. But after getting out of a hostile environment with an emotional win, can Alabama play at the top of its game against the Aggies. And there's also an x and o part of the game that's interesting: Alabama was not able to generate a pass rush with its front four against LSU. If they have that same problem against Texas A&M, Johnny Manziel could have a big day...and THAT would make this game interesting.
PENN STATE (6-3, 4-1) AT NEBRASKA (7-2, 4-1) 2:30 ABC/ESPN 2
Nebraska gets one step closer to a berth in the Big Ten title game with a win against the Nittany Lions, who have quietly had a good season after the debacle the last year, combined with an 0-2 start. But that's not what makes this intriguing. Nebraska, at #16, is the lowest rated first place team in the BCS Standings. If they should lose, but still win the Big Ten title, they could be rated lower than 16. And that would mean a BCS bid for Louisiana Tech if they win out. Trust me, the folks in Ruston will be watching this one with interest.
WISCONSIN (6-3, 3-2) AT INDIANA (4-5, 2-3) ESPN2 11AM
So what makes this intriguing? Well, it's for the inside track in the Big 10 opposite division, where both Ohio State and Penn State are ineligible. So who controls its own destiny in that division? How about the Indiana Hoosiers, who, if they pull and upset and then win their final two, would play for a championship. That's right. Indiana. Football. Honest.
VANDERBILT (5-4, 3-3) AT OLE MISS (5-4, 2-3) ESPNU 6PM
The winner is headed to a bowl. The loser might be in some trouble. Vandy has an easier road with games against Tennessee and Wake Forest. There might be a little wiggle room if they lose. For Ole Miss, not so much as LSU and Mississippi State await. Don't know what will happen the rest of the way, but trust me, the winner of this game is really going to breathe a sigh of relief.
KANSAS STATE (9-0, 6-0) AT TCU (6-3, 3-3) 6PM FOX
It's just not easy in the Big 12. If you're not playing Kansas, you'd better go to work. Every week. And, that's what faces Kansas State down the stretch, beginning with this one. Pass the test and you get Baylor. Have success and you get Texas. That's what stands between the Wildcats and an unbeaten season. This trip to Waco won't be a walk in the park. It's November. Everyone is potentially vulnerable.