Five Intriguing Games This Weekend – From the Bird’s Nest
Traditional rivalries, bowl eligibility and conference titles at stake…..this should be a great weekend.
MISSISSIPPI STATE (8-3, 4-3) at MISSISSIPPI (5-6, 2-5)
Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, Oxford, MS
Saturday, 6pm, ESPNU
A game that has serious bowl ramifications, and a game that could directly affect the Sun Belt Conference. An Ole Miss win makes them bowl eligible and probably sends them to the Liberty Bowl in Memphis to play the CUSA champion. A Bulldogs win eliminates the Rebels and could open the door for Arkansas State or Middle Tennessee, if either one of them wins the league outright. The thought of two conference champions would probably be attractive to the folks at the Liberty. Louisiana Tech is a possiblity as well, but they hurt themselves with the loss last week to Utah State and a loss to San Jose this weekend probably would eliminate them. Did that inspired performance against LSU last week take everything out of the Rebels?
INDIANA (4-7. 2-5) AT PURDUE (5-6. 2-5)
Ross-Ade Stadium. W. Lafayette, IN
Saturday, 11am, Big Ten Network
It was speculated a good part of the season the Heart of Dallas Bowl on New Years’ Day might be open on both sides. But now it appears the Big 12 is going to place a team here (provided Baylor wins one more). And, a win by the Boilermakers would, in all likelihood, fill the other side as well. That would be a blow for an at-large candidate who would love to play in a New Year’s Day game.
STANFORD (9-2, 7-1) AT UCLA (9-2, 6-2)
Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA
Saturday, 5:30 FOX
Oregon’s slim hopes to get back in the National Championship picture could hinge on this game. If Stanford wins, the same two teams will play for a berth in the Rose Bowl next week. But if UCLA wins, it opens the door for Oregon to play for the title, provided they beat arch-rival Oregon State in the Civil War game.
RICE (5-6, 3-4) AT UTEP (3-8, 2-5)
Sun Bowl Stadium, El Paso, TX
Saturday, 6pm No Television
Rice was one of three CUSA teams that could qualify for a bowl this weekend. Marshall lost to East Carolina in 2ot and SMU will have its hands full at Tulsa. The third is Rice, who could wind up in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl if they can win this one. It got a little harder with the announcment that Miners’ coach Mike Price is retiring after the game. You know UTEP will want to send him out a winner.
NOTRE DAME (11-0) AT SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA (7-4)
Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, CA
Saturday, 7pm, ABC
A win puts Notre Dame in the BCS title game. USC has to play without quarterback Matt Barkley.
The Irish can’t screw this up.