Five Intriguing Games This Weekend – From the Bird’s Nest
There have been times this weekend when it's been tough to find five intriguing games to talk about. This week it would have been easy to do ten...maybe more. But these are the five that are most intriguing to me. Next week are the title games and we'll have plenty to talk about then.
NAVY (9-1, 7-0) at HOUSTON (9-1 6-1)(-1) 11am, ABC.--The Cougars simply got caught looking ahead last week in a loss to a so-so Connecticut team at home and there's a good chance the price will be steep even with a win here. When we talk about the Access Bowl, remember it's about the highest rated CHAMPION in the Group of Five. Right now, it's Navy's to lose. But if Houston wins they are still breathing, although trust me, Toledo will be watching this one with a lot of interest. Interesting that Navy plays Army a week AFTER those bowls are decided. Not that it should matter...
MARSHALL (9-2, 6-1) at WESTERN KENTUCKY (9-2, 7-0) (-10.5) 11am, FS1--Last year it was one of the most entertaining games in all of college football as WKU scored nearly 50 points in the first half and still had to get a touchdown and two point conversion to pull an upset. Now the shoe is on the other foot as the two teams fight for the CUSA East title. WKU is the favorite as they'v rolled through CUSA play. Big stakes here. The winner gets to host the CUSA title game next week.
SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI (8-3, 6-1) at LOUISIANA TECH (8-3, 6-1) (-6) 11am, Fox Sports Network--We all thought Southern Miss would be better. I don' t know too many outside of Hattiesburg that thought the Golden Eagles would be playing for a division title. Two teams that have a long history with the Cajuns make this a must-see early game. Tech almost got caught napping last week against a very mediocre team. They will be ready this week. But will ready be good enough against some Eagles that are flying pretty high right now....winner heads to either Huntington or Bowling Green next week for a chance to win a championship.
NOTRE DAME (10-1) at STANFORD (9-2) (-3.5) 6:30, FOX--After being ranked in the top four, Notre Dame fans are squawking now. Wait! Oklahoma lost to Texas! We killed Texas! Wait! Our only loss is to Clemson! By two points! On the road! And, all of that is true. But Notre Dame's biggest wins are against Navy and Temple. Even if they beat Stanford, they'll probably need an Oklahoma loss or something unforeseen to happen in the Big Ten in order to get in the playoff? Why? Oklahoma has better wins (TCU, Baylor and, if they win this week, Oklahoma State.) Strength of schedule is going to bite the Irish. They need help. Even if their fans think they're being discriminated against.
OKLAHOMA (10-1, 7-1) at OKLAHOMA STATE (10-1, 7-1) (+6.5)--7pm ABC--The Big 12 says there will be no co-champions this year. The scenario is clear. OU will be declared the Big 12 champions with a win. And, with more strength of schedule points, they'll be able to sit back and let the other contenders fight it out in their conference title games next weekend. But if the Cowboys win, it becomes interesting. .An OSU win opens the door for Baylor who could claim the top spot in the league with wins over TCU and Texas. If OSU wins and Baylor stumbles, OSU wins the league outright. Their cannot be a three way tie at 7-1 and for the Big 12 brass, that's a good thing. The question becomes, if the Cowboys win, could the Big 12 get shut out of the playoff...again? Bedlam, indeed