ACC Game: Clemson at Georgia Tech
No this game won't determine who plays in the innagural ACC Championship Game, but it is the most intriguing and likely the best ACC game of the weekend. The Yellow Jackets righted themselves after 2 straight losses with a blowout of Duke 2 weeks ago. Clemson has sandwiched a 3 game losing streak in between a pair of 2 game winning streaks. The Tigers appear to be rounding into typical late-season form, having won 2 games by comfortable margins (although one game was against Temple) after a heart-breaking loss to Wake Forest. Still, I have to go with the home team. Reggie Ball and Tech's tough defense will be the difference.
Winner: Georgia Tech
Big East Game: Navy at Rutgers
2 weeks in a row Rutgers gets game of the week honors. Surely the appocalypse is upon us. The Scarlet Knights need but one victory more to become bowl eligible. To accomplish that task this week, they must beat a Navy team that has gone to 2 straight bowls under coach Paul Johnson. The Midshipmen at 4-2 also have designs on a bowl game. They have won 4 straight since opening the season with close losses to Maryland and Stanford. Navy runs a an option offense and their success is thus predicated on the run. Incidentally, stopping the run is one thing Rutgers does very well (2nd in the Big East in rushing yardage allowed per game). Rutgers will stop Navy's running attack and become bowl eligible in the ealry evening hours on Saturday.
Big 10 Game: Michigan at Northwestern
Michigan has turned a potential losing season into a likely bowl trip to either San Antonio or El Paso (I'm sure that has the fan base excited) after narrowly beating Penn St. and Iowa in the last 2 weeks. The Wildcats have won 3 in a row and are in contention for the Big 10 title. Their spread offense has been working wonders on Big 10 defenses, while their defense has put up less of a fight than the French in World War II. Fresh off a beat down of plummetting Michigan St., I like the 'Cats to win a shootout at home.
PS: Northwestern's performance since 1995 has to be the most impressive run of a private academic school in a BCS conference ever. 4 bowl game, 3 shared conference titles, and a 10 win season! Imagine Vandy, Wake, Duke, or Baylor winning 10 games and playing in a BCS bowl game. Pretty hard to wrap your mid around eh?
Big 12 Game: Oklahoma at Nebraska
Just like old times, a battle for Big 12 supremacy. What's that? These teams have combined for 5 losses already. Deespite this fact, this is still a crucial game for both team's seasons. Oklahoma has 4 games remaining: this game, a home game with Texas A&M, a roadie at Texas Tech, and a gimme home finale against Oklahoma St. Assuming the Oklahoma St. game as a win, the Sooners need to take one of the other 3 to finish with a winning record. Nebraska, on the other hand, still has designs on a Big 12 North division title, but must win out and get a little help to make that happen. The Huskers have lost only once at home (to Texas Tech) while the Sooners have won but one game away from home. However, the 3 teams that have beaten the Sooners this season have a combined record of 21-1. I like the Sooners to win a close one in Lincoln.
Pac 10 Game: UCLA at Stanford
If I were a UCLA fan, the only thing that would scare me more than this trap game at Stanford would be breaking down in Southwest Texas and encountering this gentleman. Since losing to UC Davis, Stanford has quietly gone 3-1 with their only defeat coming at the hands of 7-1 Oregon. UCLA is 7-0 and has designs on playing in their own backyard for the BCS championship. Before last weeks shellacking of Oregon St., the Bruins had been playing opponents closer than Dave Cowens in the low-block, winning their first 3 conference games by a total of 14 points. This game will also be very close, but Stanford will upset UCLA at home and put an end to their national championship aspirations.
SEC Game: Georgia Vs. Florida in Jacksonville
The game of the week. Gameday is here. Coming to your ci-tay. Georgia and Florida meet in Jacksonville with a lot at stake. Georgia is hoping to finish undefeated and somehow find their way into the Rose Bowl. Florida needs a win in order to avoid a likely Ron Zook-like 7-4 regular season. Against the best 3 defenses they have faced, the Gators with their spread-option attack have scored 3 touchdowns and a total of 36 points. Georgia has been steadily plugging along since taking Boise St. behind the woodshed on labor day weekend. However, they will be without their starting quarterback for this game. That will make all the difference as Florida will win a defensive struggle.
Close but no Cigar:
Southern Miss at NC St.: The Golden Eagles travel to Raleigh to take on a humbled NC St. team. The Wolfpack sit at 2-4 and are in very real danger of posting their second consecutive losing season under Chuck Amato. Domo arigato Mister Amato? NC St. will get well at home this week, but Southern Miss will make it too close for comfort.
Arizona at Oregon St.: Arizona is seeking their first Pac 10 win while the Beavers are need just 2 more wins to become bowl eligible. They'll get half of what they need this week, but it will be very close.
UCLA at Stanford: See above.
Georgia Vs. Florida: Ditto.
Enjoy the weekend.