Last week of the regular season! As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.
11:00: Central Michigan vs. Miami (@Detroit; ESPN2): It’s MAC-tastic! Miami won’t make a bowl game if they lose, so they’re going to have to win this to go anywhere. That said, they probably won’t.
- Army vs. Navy (@Baltimore; CBS): My allegiance here, if it can be called that, is to the Black Knights. Unfortunately, I don’t really think they’ll have much of a chance against bowl-bound Navy.
- Tulsa @ Central Florida (ESPN): Both these teams have been the toast of Conference-USA this year, though UCF has one less conference loss, helped by the fact they won the first meeting between these two teams 44-23. Thought it may be closer this time around, it’s a home game for the Knights and I expect them to earn the trip to Memphis.
1:00: Boston College vs. Virginia Tech (@Jacksonville; ABC): And here we go again, a rematch of the rainy night in Blacksburg featuring a miracle come back for the Eagles that kept them in national title contention (at the time). No rain is expected tomorrow, for better or worse for these teams. Of course, since that night, VPI is 5-0 and won in convincing fashion, whereas BC is 2-2 with losses to moribund FSU and Maryland and an unconvincing margin over Miami (though the win at Clemson is good). That said, VPI seems to have found something of an offense and reversed their usual November swoon. I expect them to take the lead and hold it this time around, and get themselves some oranges in the process.
4:00: Louisiana State vs. Tennessee (@Atlanta; CBS): This game is of greatly diminished importance for all the obvious reasons. Tennessee has also been lucky (though not the luckiest team) since their loss to Alabama, beating Kentucky and Vanderbilt by a combined 3 points. LSU is also facing plenty of distractions, as not one but two of their coaches are rumored to be heading elsewhere. That said, Tennessee has no weapons like McFadden, and I still think LSU wins this one handily.
- California-Los Angeles @ Southern California (ABC): Last year, USC was on their way to another shot at the national title when all of a sudden they got, shall we say, Dorrell’d. The plucky coach of UCLA probably needs to do it again if he wants to save his job. I’d say there’s a pretty good chance he’s going to need some new work come Monday. That said, would it not spectacularly sum up this season if UCLA and Arizona win, thus sending the Bruins to the Rose Bowl? (Ugh. I hate quoting Bill Simmons-isms, but I think I just threw up in my mouth a little.)
- Oregon State @ Oregon (ESPN2): Alas, poor Oregon. If there was an award in college football for “a player that individually makes a huge impact in the performance of his team“, Dennis Dixon would have to win it (and maybe there is, I think there are two “best player” trophies). The Oregon offense was offensive last weekend and put up a mighty zero against noted non-juggernaut UCLA. They are just completely boned without Dixon, and I don’t see that changing here. Beavers win.
7:00: California @ Stanford (Versus): Not only is it on Versus, it’s on Versus HD. Aw yeah, you know we’ll all be up for some Big Game action. Okay, well, not really, Cal should roll here.
7:45: Pittsburgh @ West Virginia (ESPN): Backyard brawl time! Does Pitt stand a chance? Not really! Many couches will lose their lives in Morgantown tonight.
- Oklahoma vs. Missouri (@San Antonio, ABC): I feel conflicted about this. I want to like Missouri, I really do, but for whatever reason I still think Oklahoma is a better team. It also doesn’t help the Sooners won their previous meeting. Yet, in my bowl predictions, I took Mizzou because figuring out the Oklahoma winning scenario would be complicated. Of course, I’ll change the predictions after the games anyway before the bowls are announced in Sunday, but still. I’ll go with the #1 team in the country to pull off the upset here.
- Arizona @ Arizona State (ESPN2): ASU better not screw this one up, that’s all I can say. Sun Devils should win.
11:30: Washington @ Hawaii (ESPN2): You’d think this is an easy victory for the Warriors, but Washington played Boise State earlier this year and won, getting them one of their four victories. Of course, Hawaii took care of Boise pretty well, but still. That said, that was a long time ago, and I like Hawaii here, but it could be closer than many on the islands would like to think.