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College Football Week 13:
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25 November 2010

USC Tailback

This week is Rivalry Week.  Most of the games played will be historic rivalries and the games have names and many have unique trophies that the winners get to take home. 

Hands-Down Best Game of the Week:  Iron Bowl: #2 Auburn at #9 Alabama (CBS, 2:30 ET on Friday)

#2 Auburn carries a ton of pressure and drama about 100 miles north to take on in-state rival Alabama, last year’s National champ.  Win or lose, Auburn is going to play in the SEC Championship next week.  Auburn’s stud quarterback, Cam Newton, has been playing amid rumors of recruiting violations that could end his career and render Auburn’s season imaginary.  (If Newton was deemed ineligible, the NCAA would rule that none of the games that Auburn won ever actually happened.) 

Alabama has a great chance to knock off Auburn.  This goes beyond a simple in-state rivalry.  These two hate each other.  Alabama, ranked #9 in the country, would like nothing more than to exploit Auburn’s numerous weaknesses and ruin the Tigers’ championship run. 

One liner: "Alabama will never enjoy beating Auburn more than knocking Auburn off their course for the BCS National Championship Game."

Best Game on Thursday: #17 Texas A&M vs Texas (8 PM ET, ESPN)

This game is usually the other way around.  Texas has dominated the rivalry recently.  The last time Texas wasn’t ranked in the Top 25 was in 1998.  That year Texas defeated Texas A&M on a last second field goal.  Undoubtedly, A&M has not forgotten that.  This year, A&M is ranked #17 and Texas is fighting for the right to play in a bowl game.  Texas started out the season ranked #5 in the country.  Now they might not make a bowl game. 

This is another game where fans obsess over the other team.  Trust me, I lived in Texas for two football seasons.  Both teams include remarks about the other team in their fight song.  All year long, Texas vs. Texas A&M is talked about and focused upon.  With the traditional rivalry flipped and A&M having the upper hand this year, one could argue that this is the biggest occurrence in recent history.  A&M has the chance, and is favored, to end Texas’ season on Thanksgiving.

One liner:  "The entire state will be watching this one and it will be hard to look away as Texas limps off the field with a losing record at the end."

National Title Implications:
#21 Arizona at #1 Oregon (Friday, 7 ET ESPN).

One Liner: "If anyone can shutdown Oregon’s fast-paced offense it’ll be Arizona."

Prediction:  If Oregon wins, they play in the national championship game.   The Oregon Ducks are too good to overlook Arizona’s defense and will prevail. 

#4 Boise St at #19 Nevada (Friday, 10 ET ESPN). 
One Liner: "How many points will Boise State score this week?"

Prediction: Boise has beaten every team that they have been asked to beat.  They will not miss a beat against Nevada. 

Other Rivalries:
Colorado at Nebraska (Friday, 3:30 ET, ABC).  One Liner: Last year in the Big 12 for Nebraska and it looks like they will go out with a win.

 LSU at Arkansas (Saturday, 3:30 ET, CBS). 
One Liner: "Will LSU’s luck run out this week against their rival?"  (Referring to the fact that LSU has won a ton of games this year in the last minute.)

Michigan at Ohio State (Saturday, 12 PM ET, ABC).

One liner: "Rich Rodriguez (Michigan coach) will have to wait another win for his first win over Ohio State."

#13 Oklahoma at #9 Oklahoma State (“Bedlam”, Saturday, 8 PM ET, ABC). 

One liner: "Too close to call, but OSU knows that if they win then they get to play in the Big 12 Championship, so bet on them." 

And countless others…

Kansas at Missouri, Virginia at Virginia Tech, South Carolina vs. Clemson, Florida vs. Florida State, BYU vs. Utah, Ole Miss vs. Mississippi, West Virginia vs. Pittsburgh, Kentucky vs. Tennessee, North Carolina vs. Duke, Georgia Tech vs. Georgia.

And…. Most important to me:  

Notre Dame at USC (8 PM ET, ABC).  This game is Notre Dame’s best chance to beat this ancient rival in years.  Notre Dame came up just short against other rivals Michigan and Michigan State.  The boosters are not excited about the mediocre season and they need to beat upon the USC team that is crippled by NCAA sanctions.

One liner: Go Irish!  No one likes USC, anyway!

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The Basics

College Football is absolutely American.  It is essentially a combination of rugby and soccer that was conceived by several universities in the 1870’s.  More...

BCS: Bowl Championship Series, the post season system developed to pit the #1 and #2 teams in the nation against each other in a national championship game.  It determines this through a ranking system that is a combination of two polls where individuals vote on the rankings and a third set of rankings comprised of a number of computer generated polls.  The BCS as a system for college football has been very controversial. 
FBS: Football Bowl Subdivision – a subset of Division I football where the largest football colleges are grouped.  These are the ones you traditionally see on TV.  It is named the Bowl Subdivision because the post season for these teams are the bowl games.
FCS: Football Championship Subdivision – the next level down from FBS where the teams play a play-off to determine their national champion

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