I was on campus in the corner near Lane/315 to watch The Game at a tailgate. It was the next best thing to actually being inside Ohio Stadium. Sure it was cold, but we had a fire going (which it seems like I'm still trying to wash the smoke smell from the fire out of my clothes) to try and keep us warm. The only thing that was a loser Saturday was my phone, which judging by the destruction of the screen I'm guessing I spiked like a football. Do I wish the Buckeyes still had a couple games to play? Of course. But this was still an undefeated season in what many were predicting going into the year could be a 4-loss season. It was great to watch this team grow over the season and I'm already pumped to watch Urban Meyer start his Ohio State career 26-0.
Last week ATS: 6-6
Season ATS: 42-34 (15-22 National, 27-12 B1G)
Here are your matchup for the last regular season weekend of college football :( (all games Saturday unless noted):
Louisville vs. Rutgers (-3) - 7:30 PM EST Thursday - ESPN
This game has lost some of its luster after Louisville has lost their last 2 games and Rutgers lost to Pitt last weekend, but it will still be a huge game in deciding the Big East championship/BCS bid. If Rutgers wins they clinch their first BCS bowl bid. If Louisville wins they need Cincinnati to beat UConn on Saturday, which would create a 4-way tie for the Big East crown. As long as Louisville has a higher BCS ranking than Rutgers they would get the BCS bid in that case. Louisville has some injury questions as Teddy Bridgewater broke his wrist on his non-throwing hand last week and lost RB Senorise Perry the week before. Bridgewater is expected to play, but there are obvious questions about how effective he'll be able to be. The Rutgers D has been stingy all season, only allowing 71 points in conference play. Tough game to call here but I'll go with the future B1G conference member in a show of solidarity.
Rutgers 20 Louisville 10
MAC Championship: #19 Northern Illinois (-6.5) vs. #18 Kent State - 7:00 PM EST Friday - ESPN2
Kent State has already secured a postseason bowl berth for the first time since 1972 but former Buckeye assistant Darrell Hazell has his eyes on a bigger prize. Kent State sits 17th in the BCS rankings, and a MAC championship victory combined with being ranked in the BCS top 16 would give the Golden Flashes an automatic BCS bowl bid. To do so Kent State will have to defeat Northern Illinois, who has won 11 straight after their season opening 1-point loss to Iowa. Northern Illinois is more balanced on both offense and defense than Kent State. What has propelled the Golden Flashes to this 6-win improvement so far this year is a +20 turnover margin. Darrell Hazell has done wonders with Kent State this year, but as much as it pains me to say it I just think Jordan Lynch and Northern Illinois are a little too much.
Northern Illinois 41 Kent State 28
Pac-12 Championship: #17 UCLA vs. #8 Stanford (-8.5) - 8:00 PM EST Friday - Fox
For the 2nd time in 6 days UCLA and Stanford will play. This time we should see a little more fight out of UCLA, as you have to imagine that going into Saturday's game they would have rather played Stanford over Oregon in the Pac-12 title game. I can see UCLA unleashing some wrinkles in their offense that Stanford didn't see in the first matchup. While on the other side, I think the Stanford that UCLA saw on Saturday is the Stanford that UCLA will get Friday. With the forecast for Friday calling for a lot of rain, it sounds as if it could be a muddy track in Palo Alto. I took Stanford last week but I really like UCLA to cover this game.
Stanford 27 UCLA 24
#12 Oklahoma (-6.5) vs. TCU - 12:00 PM EST - ESPN
Oklahoma still has a chance at the Big 12 title as long as they beat TCU and Texas beats Kansas State. Even if Kansas State wins, the Sooners still have a shot at a BCS at-large bid, but it hinges on if Kent State can win and slide into the BCS top 16. Basically this weekend the Sooners hate all of the KSUs. TCU has lost their last 3 games at home while Oklahoma has won all of their road games this year, so I don't see much of a home field advantage. The Horned Frogs' defense shut down Texas in Austin on Thanksgiving night but now they have to deal with the Big 12's career passing leader. I can see Oklahoma starting off the game slow after their overtime victory in Bedlam, but I think Oklahoma has just too much offense for the Horned Frogs.
Oklahoma 35 TCU 23
SEC Championship: #2 Alabama (-7) vs. #3 Georgia - 4:00 PM EST - CBS
It all comes down to this. The winner of this game will likely play Notre Dame in the BCSNCG while the loser might not even get a BCS at-large bid. While this is the 8th appearance in the SEC title game for Alabama, it is the first against a team other than Florida. Alabama's pass D was suspect against LSU and Texas A&M and I think they might have a problem containing Aaron Murray. Sanders Commings didn't do the Georgia offense any favors by claiming they were the best defense in the country, which is sure to ruffle the feathers of the Alabama defense. Alabama suffered a big loss when WR Kenny Bell broke his leg against Auburn. Bell was averaging 25.4 YPC and Saban might be forced to remove freshman Chris Black's redshirt. I think this will be a tight game and Georgia covers, but I just can't trust Mark Richt to actually win a big game. At least not until he starts doing it on a consistent basis like Saban does.
Alabama 24 Georgia 21
#23 Texas vs. #7 Kansas State (-11.5) - 8:00 PM EST - ABC
After Baylor ended their national championship hopes 2 weeks ago, Kansas State had a week off to turn their focus to winning the Big 12 crown. Kansas State must be excited to have the 101st ranked Texas run D coming into Manhattan. Collin Klein and John Hubert were both held to under 50 yards rushing by Baylor, but they might get that in the 1st quarter against the Longhorns. Kansas State's D, leading the country in turnover margin at +21, must have been licking their chops watching Texas turn the ball over against TCU last week. The Wildcats have won 6 of the last 8 against the Longhorns and I see Kansas State getting back to the way they were playing before the Baylor game.
Kansas State 44 Texas 24
ACC Championship: #13 Florida State (-14) vs. Georgia Tech - 8:00 PM EST - ESPN
If Georgia Tech doesn't win the ACC title game on Saturday they won't be eligible to head to any bowl game. Seems like the most #GoACC thing ever until you realize that if they win a 7-6 team will be heading to the Orange Bowl. Georgia Tech is only playing in this game because Miami self-imposed a bowl ban this year. Seeing as they shouldn't even be in this game, the Yellow Jackets might as well let it all hang out. Both teams lost to their in-state rivals last week, but the Seminoles also lost DE Tank Carradine in the loss to Florida. The Seminoles gave up 244 yards rushing to Florida and now have to face triple option without one of their best defenders. I'm rooting for the Seminoles just so we don't have the shenanigans of a 7-6 team in the Orange Bowl but I think Georgia Tech at least makes a game of it.
Florida State 38 Georgia Tech 34
B1G Championship: #14 Nebraska (-3) vs. Wisconsin - 8:00 PM EST - Fox
Just like last year, the Badgers head into Indianapolis trying to avenge a close early season loss. Wisconsin will have to rebound from losing 3 of their last 4 in OT to clinch a 3rd straight trip to Pasadena. Earlier in the season the Badgers jumped out to a 27-10 lead in Lincoln before allowing the Cornhuskers to score 20 unanswered points to come back and win. Nebraska got a boost last week with the return of Rex Burkhead to team with Ameer Abdullah. Wisconsin should get linebacker Chris Borland back to try and slow down Burkhead, Abdullah, and Taylor Martinez. Nebraska was the only team this year to score more than 27 points on the Badgers D this year. I actually think that Wisconsin wins this game just so everybody can make fun of the B1G sending a 8-5 team to the Rose Bowl.
Wisconsin 30 Nebraska 24