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2011 NCAA Football – Week 12 Best Games

WHOA! The shock waves of Oklahoma St.’s loss last night are far reaching & powerful. Week 12 was shaping up to be a below-average week in the college football season, but now all of a sudden some games have a lot more juice than they would have if Oklahoma St. would have beaten Iowa St. like they should have. What’s sort of interesting is that the Oklahoma St. loss will now make it second fiddle to LSU/Arkansas next week! That’s pretty amazing when you consider how much juice Oklahoma St./Oklahoma had until last night. As Jimmy Johnson & Les Miles knew before Mike Gundy took the reigns in Stillwater, the perception is that you can’t win a championship at Oklahoma St. That will still hold true this year as the loss pretty come eliminates Oklahoma St. from any BCS hopes & will almost certainly eliminate them if they lose to Oklahoma next week. Let’s see this week’s important games & get an idea of how the Oklahoma St. affects everything.

ROAD ANALYSIS HOME
With Iowa St.’s win over Oklahoma St., this game just got a WHOLE LOT more interesting. The thought was that if Oklahoma wins out the 11-1 Sooners would play the probable 13-0 LSU Tigers for the national championship, but now that win over an unbeaten Oklahoma St. team wouldn’t look so good in retrospect because the win over Oklahoma St. would make the Cowboys a 2-loss team. That means Oklahoma has lost to Texas Tech and their good win is over a 2-loss Oklahoma St. squad. Oregon on the other hand is making a gigantic run. If they win today they are going to finish the season off with wins over Washington, Stanford, USC & the Pac-12 South Champion. They’ll be 12-1 on a 12-game winning streak with their only loss coming in week one to LSU on a neutral field. Alabama has a tremendous case for the BCS Championship as well, but how do you keep the Ducks out of the BCS at this point? You’d rather see LSU/Oklahoma? Really? OREGON (-14.5)
I’d love to believe that Michigan finally turned a corner last week with their win over Illinois, but maybe the Illini were never really that good. This is an important game in the Big 10 for a myriad of reasons. For Nebraska the 8-2 season is somewhat of a disappointment, but finishing strong at 10-2 would be a big plus although they’d need a big gaffe from Michigan St. to get to the Big 10 championship. For Michigan, it’s all about revival under new HC Brady Hoke. At 7-2, I think most people can be pretty happy with the Wolverines. They aren’t getting to the Big 10 championship game, but they can ensure Nebraska definitely doesn’t get there with a win today. Remember that Michigan St.’s last game is a road battle against Northwestern & Nebraska fully knows that Northwestern can win. Both teams have A LOT to play for! MICHIGAN (-3.5)
The Rose Bowl has come out and said they’d take Penn St. if the Nittany Lions earned their berth from the Big 10. For the most part this game isn’t as meaningful on the hoof as it would seem. Yes, Penn St. could potentially win out, finish 10-2 (7-1) and get to the Big 10 Championship where they could play for a Rose Bowl berth, but really the Lions are likely to fold up with a loss here and then a loss to Wisconsin to end the season 8-4 which is probably where they belong. Ohio St. can’t get to the Big 10 championship without a clusterjob by Wisconsin to end the season, but HC Luke Fickell still might be coaching for his life. The Purdue loss pretty much sealed his fate in my opinion, but ending the season with wins over Penn St. & Michigan wouldn’t be bad. If the Buckeyes do that they’ll finish the season 8-4. That’s pretty good because I didn’t even think Ohio St. would be bowl eligible this year. OHIO ST. (-6.5)
This game gets a lot hotter with the Oklahoma St. loss. Now Houston & LSU are the only unbeaten teams in college football. It won’t matter too much for the Cougars as they aren’t a threat to get into the BCS Championship game but they definitely are playing for a BCS bowl as the Cougars are #11 in the latest BCS rankings. They are still a spot behind Boise St., but I think if Houston runs the table to go 13-0, they’ll find themselves ahead of Boise St. Remember that Houston’s last 3 games are against SMU, Tulsa & probably Southern Mississippi if they beat Tulsa & USM doesn’t make any more blunders like they did earlier this week at UAB. Don’t count the Mustangs out though. This is the same team that went into TCU & beat the Horned Frogs on their own turf. HOUSTON (-20.5)
Not much respect for Kansas St. in this game. The Wildcats started the week as 6-point underdogs to the Longhorns & has since become 2 points worse! The game is in Austin, but I think KSU would have garnered a little more respect seeing how Kansas St. is coming off a win over Texas A&M while Texas is coming off a loss to Missouri. With the loss to Mizzou, Texas can’t get to a 10-win season unless they win out & win a bowl game to finish 10-3. Kansas St. at 8-2 could be in for a very special season with a win here which would put them at 9-2 with a home game against Iowa St.. That could mean 10-2 with a shot at 11-2 with a bowl win. Those are little things to play for, but Kansas St. finishing 10-2 would make them the 3rd best team in the Big XII this year. Nobody saw that coming. TEXAS (-8)
Once again the Big East is a giant mess. Cincinnati lead the division at 3-1, but Rutgers, Pittsburgh, West Virginia & Louisville are all 3-2. Also don’t forget that Connecticut is 2-2 so they are still only one loss back from being in the Big East lead! Obviously this is an important game for both teams. A Cincinnati win here puts the Bearcats that much closer to a Big East championship & a return to a BCS bowl. A Rutgers win puts the Scarlet Knights in position to win the conference. However, another underlying storyline to this game is Butch Jones & Greg Schiano. There are probably going to be some high profile jobs opening up this off-season & some intelligent AD is going to take a look at these two coaches & know he can build a program with them. CINCINNATI (-3)
Virginia at +17.5? Seriously? On the surface this doesn’t seem like a big game, but remember that Mike London is doing some amazing things down in Charlottesville. Let’s take a look at the records. Virginia is 7-3 (4-2) while Florida St. is 7-3 (5-2). Pretty even. Where it gets interesting is this. Virginia has shown it can win some big games. It beat an undefeated Georgia Tech team earlier in the season & then won back-to-back road games against Miami-FL & Maryland. Those aren’t amazing wins certainly, but beating the Yellow Jackets counts for something. The Seminoles had the one hiccup against Wake Forest in Winston-Salem, but has since won 5 straight games. They can’t win the ACC Atlantic because of Clemson, but if Virginia wins here, it would set up a season finale in Charlottesville that would determine the ACC Coastal champion! Definitely a lot to play for here. FLORIDA ST. (-17.5)
THE HOLY WAR! Oddly enough Boston College comes into this year’s game 3-7 while the Irish are 7-3. BC’s season is down the toilet but Notre Dame is still playing for a little something. It’s pretty amazing to see that Notre Dame still isn’t ranked in the BCS Standings despite being 7-3 & other teams such as Baylor & Texas that are ranked. The Irish are pretty much living off their blow out win over Michigan St., but the game against Sparty showed just how dominant the Irish can be when they are playing at 100% efficiency. They should beat BC especially in South Bend, but the week after in Stanford, the Irish will have to beat the Cardinal to turn some heads. Remember though that ND was 8-5 last season. Even if they lose to Stanford & win this week, they’ll have a shot to finish the season 9-4 with a bowl win. NOTRE DAME (-24.5)
Michigan St.’s two losses have come on the road against Nebraska (8-2) & Notre Dame (7-3). You can hardly bang them for losses like that especially when they have wins against Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio St. & Iowa. The Spartans have had a great year. Still, if you are a Spartans fan, one of those losses has to kill you a little inside. Michigan St. should be able to beat Indiana & Northwestern to end the season which would put them at 10-2. They win one of their losses & this is an 11-1 Spartan team that is a Big 10 Championship game away from 12-1 & a legitimate case for a BCS Championship slot now that Oklahoma St. has went down. I hope MSU keeps winning. I love this team & I’d love to see them finish 11-2 with a shot to win the Rose Bowl to finish 12-2. Michigan St. has been a great team to follow this year. MICHIGAN ST. (-28)
I almost forgot about LSU! If Les Miles had any doubts about this team’s complacency this week, or if he thought his team might be looking ahead to Arkansas, he doesn’t have to worry now that Iowa St. beat Oklahoma St. The Cowboys were almost favored by the exact same amount as LSU & were playing a conference road game just like LSU is. I’m guessing the Tigers are going to come in a lot more jacked up against the Rebels than they otherwise would have if Oklahoma St. had pounded on Iowa St. last night. LSU also finds themselves in an interesting place now that Oklahoma St. has lost. As long as OSU won games, LSU had a pretty good idea of who their opponent would be in the BCS Championship, but now they have no idea. It’s pretty clear it’s going to be either Alabama, Oregon & Oklahoma/Oklahoma St. at this point, but you never know now. LSU (-30.5)
Another aftershock of the Oklahoma St. loss last night is how it affects Arkansas. Remember that the 9-1 Hogs are ranked #6 in the BCS. What has to happen is Arkansas has to beat LSU next week & hope it’s enough to leap both LSU & Alabama in the BCS rankings. If it is, then Arkansas would be the de facto SEC West champs. If they won the SEC Championship game then with no undefeated teams in the nation, Arkansas would be a downright LOCK to play for the national championship at 12-1 & SEC Champions. Like LSU, I’m guessing Arkansas will be a new focus this week because of the doors Oklahoma St.’s loss opened. They’ll need it against Mississippi St. who I still believe is a decent football team even if their record reflects them to be average. ARKANSAS (-13)
Normally I wouldn’t but an FCS/FBS matchup but this one is sort of interesting. Georgia Southern is actually 9-1 & ranked #3 in the FCS. Alabama is 9-1 & ranked #3 in the FBS! Obviously that’s a tremendous difference, but I think the Oklahoma St. also will revive a focus among Alabama & Nick Saban they might have lacked after the loss to LSU. Remember that now Alabama is #3 in the BCS. Both Oregon & Alabama are pretty close in that #3/#4 slot so Alabama has to keep winning & keep winning BIG in order to keep the pollsters from jumping on Oregon’s bandwagon. Alabama gets Georgia Southern this week while Oregon gets USC. The computers are likely to jump Oregon over Alabama, but the pollsters might move Alabama up to #2 with Oregon slotting in at #3. That should keep Alabama alive, but Alabama won’t have an SEC Championship game to play in if LSU wins out while Oregon will play in the Pac 12 Championship……UNLESS Arkansas beats LSU but can’t jump Alabama in the BCS meaning the 11-1 Tide will go to the SEC Championship game! NUTTY! The Tide get Georgia Southern today & Auburn next week. Let’s see if Alabama goes bananas on both squads to make their case for either a rematch with LSU in the BCS Championship game or potentially the nod to win the SEC West outright. NO LINE
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November 19, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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