Our active ranks are depleted now by the maturing of the season and the sidelining of a number of our Inner Circle stalwarts.
But for a few in the nosebleed section of the CFB, it’s do-or-die time.
Sadly, the period of Tuesday- and Thursday-night FBS ball is now behind us for another season.
We note as this Week 14 adventure begins for the NCAA that the Packers are in Detroit getting themselves stomped by the Lions. Huh. (As we go to post — O. M. G. A one-play grace period for the Packers, on a Detroit penalty, allows them to pull out the unbelievable with no time on the clock. HAIL Mary!)
The University of Tulsa Golden Hurricane (6-6), which beat Notre Dame 28-27 on 30 October 2010, also came from behind to beat Tulane last week and end with a non-losing season. Roar…Hurricane, ROAR!
#3 Oklahoma (11-1), after the decisive win in Bedlam, is set to participate in the playoffs. There isn’t really a scenario in which the Sooners would be excluded. They’ve come a long way since the debacle in Dallas in October. (We’re wary of Alabama, but we’d back the Sooners for points over Clemson or Iowa.)
#17 Oklahoma State, now 10-2, will await its quality bowl opportunity as second-place finisher in the Big 12.
We pause here for a Great Truth of the Universe: the Big 12 should go back to having a title game already.
Navy, #23, won’t be competing for the American Conference title in its first year in the AAC, but finishes strong at 9-2 and still has The Big One left to play, on 12 December. The Mids should get a fine bowl bid out of it all.
Army (2-9) will be preparing for The Game in Philly on the 12th. Air Force (8-4) dropped its last game to New Mexico, and will thus meet San Diego State in San Diego on Saturday to decide the Mountain West title. The Aztecs give 7. The weather will be quite nice in Colorado Springs on Saturday, but still about 30 degrees kindler and gentler in San Diego.
Virginia Tech (6-6) finishes with a non-losing record and bowl eligibility – better than many Hokie fans expected in the dark days of the mid-season. As discussed at length amongst our intelligent correspondents, VT will also be getting Memphis head coach Justin Fuente (a Tulsa boy) to replace the retiring Frank Beamer.
Nevada finishes 6-6 and second in the MWC-West behind SDSU. A bowl bid doesn’t seem out of the question. Keep it up, post-Fajardo Pack – you’re going places.
TCU requited the snot out of flagging fans by downing Baylor, finishing 10-2, getting back up to #11, and placing number three in the Big 12. The Toads are assured of a bowl bid.
#21 LSU finished 8-3 with its win over Texas A&M, third in the SEC-West and assured of a bowl appearance, although not one of the quality to which the Tigers are accustomed.
Kansas State (5-6) concludes the season on Saturday hosting West Virginia, pride of the Big 12. The Wildcats can still get to 6-6 after the win over Kansas, and there are still concessions to be profited from. The Mountaineers give 5 in the line; we’ll count it a strategic victory if the lights can be turned on for the Constitution Bee in 2016.
2-10 Wyoming encouraged us by slapping lice-ridden UNLV all over the field on Saturday. What they lack in football quality they more than make up for in majesty of venue. All teams should be so lucky.
Toledo finishes 9-2, dropping out of the top 25, we are sorry to say. We’re even sorrier to say that the Rockets aren’t playing for the MAC title game. More on that low-class dance-hall below. The Rockets could get a bowl bid, however. We’ll have Toledo to kick around again.
#1 Clemson meets Sudden #10 North Carolina for the ACC title match in the marquee slot on Saturday evening. The Tigers give a meager 4.5, which is due in part to the “neutral” venue being Charlotte, NC, but may also be a reflection of the overall silliness of the situation. I mean, we’ve seen North Carolina play.
#2 Alabama and #18 Florida hit the Georgia Dome for the SEC championship at 1 PM on Saturday afternoon. The Tide gives 18, and if they play like they’ve been playing, they’ll cover.
#4 Iowa and #5 Michigan State face off in Indianapolis, also in the marquee time slot, for the Big X title. Assuming Clemson and Alabama both win, the winner of this game will round out the Final Four. If either Clemson or Alabama should somehow lose, the CFB will have to turn on the spit for a while like the burnt turkey stuffed with infected medical sponges that it is. The Spartans give 3.5, suggestive of the lingering sense of fans that Iowa, like Clemson, amassed a perfect record by not really playing anybody.
#6 Ohio State is out of it, possibly with a way-outside shot if Clemson and Alabama both lose, and Iowa beats MSU. Not realistic, any more than the prospect of #7 Stanford somehow leveraging up a win over #20 USC for the PAC-12 championship. The kickoff in Santa Clara, 15 minutes shy of the marquee-slot witching hour, will see Trojan fans trying to squeeze themselves into tiny Levi’s Stadium, with a capacity of only 68,500. The Zesty Zouave gives 4.5.
#8 Notre Dame and #9 Florida State await their bowl fates.
In other games of interest, Bowling Green and Northern Illinois own Friday night, meeting in Detroit to settle the MAC between them. BGSU gives 12.
#22 Temple and #19 Houston launch the Saturday action in their shootout for the American title in Houston. The Cougars are 5.5-point favorites. We of the American are proud that both contenders for the conference title are ranked.
In Conference USA, Southern Mississippi – a member of the noble Remnant – will be at Western Kentucky (-8) to play for the title.
And the many fresh-faced teams in the Sun Belt will be out in force, playing their final conference games of the season in Week 14. There’s a bunch of them; we give pride of place to Troy at LA-Lafayette and New Mexico State at LA-Monroe, just because they’re middle-aged types who’ve been in the FBS for a while now.
Besides KSU and WVU, the Big 12 has a little more mopping up to do, with Texas at #12 Baylor (-20.5).
In FCS, it’s round 2 week, and McNeese State prepares to host Sam Houston State, the winner of a round 1 faceoff with Southern Utah. McNeese beat SHSU a month ago to cement the Cowboys’ bid for the Southland Conference title.
We’re counting on zero jinxes here. The weather should be very nice for the Saturday 6 PM kickoff in Lake Charles, with low 60s and clear skies.
We also note that the Superbad Citadel, scourge of South Carolina (motto: The Other USC), won its round 1 bout with Coastal Carolina (home of the Catamounts) and advances to round 2 against Charleston Southern on Saturday.
Green Bay has finally scored some points as we near posting time here. Detroit has to hang on for another 5 minutes.
On Sunday afternoon, the Bad Bad Broncos (Indian name: Slaps Patriots Around) will be at Chargers giving 3.5.
Saints will host Panthers for an NFC South showdown. The oddsquad doesn’t think much of the 4-7 Saints; the unbeaten Panthers give 7.5.
Sunday night sees Colts at Steelers for a game 6-5 Pittsburgh really wants to win as it dogs Cincinnati’s heels in the AFC North, and continues the hunt for a playoff berth.
Monday night will be another round of Cirque de NFC East, with Redskins Redskins Redskins hosting the pathetic, rapidly crumbling, Romo-less Cowboys. When the ignorant buzz about your team is all “Johnny Manziel: Pro or Con?” you know you’re in trouble.
No clashes of titans this week; other than the Panthers game, the 10-1 Patriots are hosting the Iggles.