It’s dark and cold now, without our early week MAC Attack. Fortunately, Dallas is at Minnesota this evening, being worthless and sloppy AS I TYPE. So there’s a glimmer of light and warmth somewhere. (Cowboys did pull it out, 17-15. They behaved stupidly.)
But the pigskin offerings have dwindled decisively at this point. It’s week 14. Melancholy and nostalgia are starting to set in. We need a jolt from our Inner Circle to perk us up.
And, boy, do we have some doozies.
The University of Tulsa Golden Hurricane, which beat Notre Dame 28-27 on 30 October 2010, finished the season 9-3 with a very, very last-second OT win over Cincinnati. Woo-woo! On – wing and a prayer – to the Booger Bowls.
We’ll get an argument from the PAC-12 and the Big 10 on this, but around these parts, the game of the week is #9 Oklahoma hosting #10 Oklahoma State on Saturday for the infamous Bedlam rivalry. Just take it on faith: it’s infamous. It’s insane. It’s awesome. It’s the fate of the Big 12, writ large. It’s BEDLAM!!!!! The Sooners are laying 11, which shows somebody nipped a bit too much from the flask before placing his bet. We figure on the Pokes to cover.
Navy, new #19, hosts Temple on Saturday, in a bid to surge to 10-2 before The Game next week. Temple is 9-3 and second in the AAC East behind South Florida. The Owls are no pushover. Navy, still hacking its path to the Cotton Bowl with a machete, gives 2.5.
Army (6-5) is off until The Game on 10 December.
Air Force finished 9-3 like a boss, with an unplanned win over Boise State. The Falcons are likely to head for the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl, from what we hear.
Our dudes, new #23 Virginia Tech, meet #3 Clemson in Orlando in the marquee slot on Saturday, to compete for the ACC championship. We could only be prouder if they go ahead and win. It’s been a roller coaster season, but finishing 9-3 and going to the conference playoff is an accomplishment any new head coach can be pleased with. Clemson gives 10. Just say no to the killer turnovers, Hokies.
Nevada did us proud taking the Cannon back from pus-oozing UNLV last week. The Wolf Pack retires honorably at 5-7, with the thrilling prospect of looking for a new head coach in the off-season.
We’ve been waiting all season for the Big 12 Purple Bowl, played between two of our LU faves, and it’s finally here. TCU, 6-5 after a thumping win over Texas, will play host on Saturday morning to Kansas State (7-4), which settled the matter of Kansas bragging rights pretty decisively last week. TCU is laying 3.5, but as our correspondent NaCly Dog likes to remind us, never count out the KSU defense. Give it all you got, gents.
Toledo finished 9-3 after the tough season-ender at Western Michigan. The Rockets are likely to go to the Miami Beach Bowl, and may even end up facing Tulsa in that one. That will depend on how things shake out in the AAC.
We just can’t stand it that Wyoming (8-4) gets to host San Diego State (9-3) for the Mountain West championship. Beating Boise State buys a feller a lot. Always do it when you get the chance.
The Aztecs didn’t fare so well the last time they were in Laramie, and it should be even colder on Saturday. Who cares if SDSU is favored by 6.5? We believe in magic. Go Pokes!
Other championships and miscellaneous action
#1 Alabama (-24) meets #15 Florida in the Georgia Dome for the SEC championship, and surely will not doing anything extraordinarily ill-timed like lose.
PAC-12 nation, like its Big 10 counterpart, will watch with a vacant stare as its championship game is played between teams no one would have predicted at the beginning of the season. #4 Washington (-7.5) and #8 Colorado (motto: “We take a pounding!”) face off Friday night in the Tiny Stadium (aka Levi’s Stadium) in Santa Clara, CA, seating capacity nowhere near what the LA Coliseum’s is. Colorado could throw a monkey wrench into the CFP back-room racket by winning.
Meanwhile, #6 Wisconsin keeps Paul Bunyan’s Axe for another year, and collides with #7 Penn State in Indianapolis Saturday night for the Big 10 title. Too much good stuff going around in the Big 10 these days, with all the heavyweights staggering around knocking each other out. Badgers give 3.
MAC action balances our Friday night, with #17 Western Michigan taking on Ohio in Detroit for the conference title. It’s doubtful even their own mothers think the Bobcats have much of a chance. Broncos are laying 16.5.
In Bowling Green on Saturday, Western Kentucky (-9) will meet Louisiana Tech (motto: “Seriously, can we put that WAC nightmare behind us already?”) to duke it out for the Conference USA (The Remnant) championship.
In Sunbelt action, Troy (9-2) could surge past Appalachian State – which Troy beat in November – to snag the conference title with a win over Georgia Southern (4-7) on Saturday. Trojans give 7. All kinds of Sunbelt teams are still playing this weekend, but Troy is the only one that can make something big happen.
The Big 12, for its part, has one more juicy match-up to round out the season for us, as Baylor heads to Morgantown on Saturday to take on #16 West Virginia (-17), pride of the Big 12.
Sadly, Massachusetts is done for the season, retiring 2-10 from its excellent adventure among the FBS Independents.
We note that the FCS championship will be on 7 January. The Round 2 meets are this Saturday. Of note, Sam Houston State, from McNeese’s Southland Conference, is in the hunt, ranked #5 and facing Chattanooga.
In Div II, PSAC’s Cal. (PA), which made such a zestful comeback over IUP last week, takes on Shepherd U. (WV) on Saturday. Cal. PA is ranked #6 in the Coaches Poll; Shepherd is #3.
Our conference tie-ins are extinguished in Div III; NJAC’s Wesley bowed out last week with a 20-17 loss to John Carroll. Best of luck to all the remaining competitors.
Sunday’s early slot will bring us Detroit at New Orleans, Saints giving a very interesting 6 to the 7-4 Lions.
Denver will be at Jacksonville giving 3.5.
Pittsburgh (-6.5) hosts the Giants in the late afternoon slot. Watch your 6.5, Steelers.
Sunday Night Football offers Carolina at Seattle (-7), a game that on this Sunday could hardly mean less to the overall scheme of things. So, you know, have some profound reflections with your popcorn.
And Colts (-2) at Jets will enliven Monday night.
Some of us will have to endure Los Angeles at New England early on Sunday.