Previewing college football's weekend of rivalries

Previewing college football's weekend of rivalries

Previewing college football's weekend of rivalries

The most exciting part of a potential LSU-Oregon national championship game is seeing whether the media will find something better than the "This isn't the Pac-10 team we all thought would be playing LSU for the title" angle. But that's probably expecting too much.

Game of the Week

Ohio State at Michigan in the Lloyd Carr Farewell Bowl. Despite both teams losing last weekend, there's still a great deal at stake: The winner can clinch the Big Ten title and gets to represent the conference by getting exposed and thrashed in a BCS bowl.

Pick: Buckeyes by 3

Game of the Weak

Louisiana-Lafayette at Florida International. The Ragin' Cajuns took some of the luster off this showdown by knocking off Middle Tennessee last week, but a matchup of teams with a combined record of 2-17 is nothing to laugh at. Or everything to laugh at, depending on your perspective.
Pick: Mildly Irritated Cajuns by 7

Tracking the fortunes of college football's greatest corporation, Notre Dame, we find the stock to be ... mixed. Sure, they lost to Air Force, but losing to service academies is quickly becoming a tradition in South Bend. Fortunately for the Irish, they don't have Army (or even the Salvation Army) on the schedule. But they do have Duke, which is also known as the Army of the ACC. Charlie Weis continues to take heat for this worst season in school history, but maybe his defense deserves some praise: Navy scored 74 on North Texas, but the Irish held them to 46.
Pick: Team that uses 'high academic standards' as an excuse, by 6

Jim Harbaugh Prediction Watch

USC's quest to fulfill Jim Harbaugh's Nostradamus-like prophecy as the greatest team ever (to have its quarterback bobble five snaps in one game), takes a brief hiatus after knocking off Cal in Berkeley. It was yet another sluggish performance from a team that hasn't broken 30 in six straight conference games. Who knew that the Hollywood writers' strike also affected USC's offensive playbook?
Bye week scrimmage pick: Trojan defense over Trojan offense by 20
Les Miles Juggernaut Schedule Award

As the SEC continues to back up Les Miles' claim that USC has an easier road than if it played in Dixie, Florida steps out of the SEC to host in-state rival Florida Atlantic. Urban Meyer knows he needs a win to escape the large shadow of his now-legendary Swamp predecessor ... Ron Zook.
Pick: Gators by 34

Cops: Collegetown

This week's law enforcement roundup takes us to Bozeman, Mont., home of the 10-0 Montana Grizzlies. Heading into their rivalry game with Montana State, it seems that only the law can stop this team. In a season that has already seen Grizzlies players accused of assault by beer bottle, pointing a gun at a woman's head and, oh yeah, murder, three more football players are facing burglary and kidnapping charges after a house break-in last week. The Grizzlies may not play in the Bowl subdivision, but murder and kidnapping are big time. No I-A program can boast a rap sheet like that this season. Not even Texas or Florida.
Pick: Montana by 20 to life

Stiff-Armed

This week's Heisman candidate who played himself right out of the frontrunner position is Darren McFadden, who was stymied by Tennessee. Yes, the same Tennessee team that gave up 45 to Cal, 59 to Florida and 41 to Alabama. In a turn of events worthy of this wacky season, Dennis Dixon (and his team) benefited the most this week by staying as far away from the field as possible. The current standings, in order of worthiness:

1. Empty
2. Dixon
3. Tim Tebow
4. McFadden
5. Any offensive player involved in that Navy-North Texas game
Odds and Ends

After his team lost to Texas 59-43, Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach called the Big 12's review system "a sham." The same could be said for the Red Raider defense ... Kentucky fans lit couches on fire in Lexington to celebrate their huge upset of LSU a few weeks back. Now the slumping Wildcats are doing their part to make sure no more innocent furniture goes unharmed ... Thanks to loyal reader Tom from Orlando, who points out that Navy rang up those 74 points on what was basically a junior high team. That's now two weeks in a row Navy has done that ... Tulane battles Rice in a heated "We're too smart for our football-crazed states" contest ... Here's some daisy-chain fun: Utah beat Wyoming by 50, Wyoming beat Virginia by 20 and Virginia beat Miami by 48. So does that mean Utah would beat Miami by 118? Sounds far-fetched until you recall that that's pretty much what they did to UCLA ... Speaking of UCLA, Arizona fans stormed the field after beating the now 5-5 Bruins. What will they do if they beat No. 2 Oregon? Are there enough couches in Tucson for such a celebration?

And finally, in honor of the Orange Bowl closing its doors forever, Weekend Primer will leave you with...

"It was what it was. The queen of any country can be beautiful or ugly. She's still the queen. She was the queen. She was the best. Everybody wanted to go to the Orange Bowl."
-- Former Oklahoma coach Barry Switzer, who won six Orange Bowls

www.sportsillustrated.cnn.com

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