Well, my rivalry predictions weren’t quite as bad as I thought they’d be. I was actually 4-0 going into Thanksgiving with confidence to spare. When Texas A&M pulled off the upset in Austin, I switched to the LSU/Arkansas game on CBS with hopes of an undefeated weekend. Then, the following words came back to haunt me:
“McFadden, Jones, and Monk will destroy the Tiger defense and prepare for a showdown with the Gators in Atlanta.” Well, McFadden and Jones certainly showed up. The Razorbacks actually lost due to the inefficiency of quarterback Casey Dick. I’m still trying to figure out why Arkansas tried four consecutive pass plays. I guess that’s why it pays to have a balanced offense.
“I think the Yellow Jackets have a little more incentive, don’t you?” Tech turned in a performance against Georgia that was just as uninspired as Auburn’s. As a result, they lost.
“The luck of the Irish will overcome USC’s 31-game home win streak, and it will be beautiful.” None of my predictions were more off than this one. USC dominated Notre Dame with the arms of John David Booty, Steve Smith, and Dwayne Jarrett. The Irish secondary looked awful, and Brady Quinn’s response to the Trojan offense, while impressive, was not enough.
Now that those are out of the way, it’s time for me to make some more ridiculous predictions (all times Eastern):
The ACC Championship, Wake Forest vs. Georgia Tech (ABC, 1 PM): Calvin Johnson has been shut down all year, and Reggie Ball hasn’t done too well without him. Wake Forest hasn’t put up many points either this year. I’m expecting a close defensive struggle. Neither team will score more than thirty points, but it’s impossible to pick the winner. No one seems to want the ACC title this year.
The Army/Navy game (CBS, 2:30 PM): Looking at their records and common opponents, I’d put money on Navy. Will these two teams will ever matter again nationally? Nope. I’m predicting the announcers will use the word “tradition” at least thrice during the broadcast.
USC at UCLA (ABC, 4:30 PM): USC returns to the Rose Bowl nearly eleven months after Vince Young denied them a second straight national championship. UCLA almost upset Notre Dame at home, but USC just smashed Notre Dame, so that doesn’t mean much. The Trojans will win, but I will get my hopes up anyway and spend the entire game yelling at the television.
The SEC Championship, Florida vs. Arkansas (CBS, 6 PM): Will Arkansas rebound from a close loss to LSU? Will Florida rebound from a string of flat offensive performances? Both will probably happen, making this matchup the best game of the day. I’m pulling for Florida for the sake of BCS controversy, but the Razorbacks will probably be so upset about last week that they’ll win.
Rutgers at West Virginia (ESPN, 7:45 PM): Both of these teams lost to lackluster opponents last week. If Rutgers wins, they get a BCS bid. If Rutgers loses, Louisville gets it. Thankfully, the nation is disinterested in the Big East again. I can now refocus my slander efforts on the Pac-10.
The Big 12 Championship, Oklahoma vs. Nebraska (ABC, 8 PM): Texas gave away the Big 12 South, so now Oklahoma gets to play the Cornhuskers in what may be the most interesting Big 12 Championship this decade. I’m predicting Oklahoma to win, but that’s only because I’m feeling too lazy to look into the statistics.
Finally, why doesn’t the Big Ten pick up Notre Dame and split into divisions? (Sure, the Pac-10 and Big East don’t have them, but they both play a full round-robin schedule. You don’t need a championship to decide who’s the best when everyone plays everyone else.) The Irish already play four Big Ten teams a year. They’d have to give up their service academy/bottom of the Pac-10 schedule, but they could still play USC every year.
Oh man, it’s the last week of the regular season. I wish it hadn’t come so soon. Soak it up while you can!