College Bowl games take shape
December 01, 2011 5:10 PM
by Micah Roberts
Six college football teams remain unbeaten. After this weekend, there will be at least five with the possibility of four remaining going into the Bowl season. It’s very possible that at season’s end we could be looking at the most unbeaten teams since 1951 when four teams all ran the table.
Bowl invitations will begin to be officially announced following this week’s games, but the matchups for most of them appear to be nearly set with a few variations on what happens Saturday.
There are a lot of mediocre teams going bowling this season, but there is also the possibility of having some very intriguing match-ups, pairing both opposites and similar squads.
How does Nevada vs. Houston sound in the Hawaii Bowl, or BYU-Oregon State in the Las Vegas Bowl, or USC-Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl? Those all look like outstanding match-ups.
Here’s a look at this season’s possible BCS Bowl pairings:
Fiesta Bowl: Boise State appears to be set for a BCS Bowl invitation against Penn State or Iowa.
Sugar Bowl will feature the SEC title game loser, Alabama or Florida, against Cincinnati.
Orange Bowl will get the ACC title game winner, likely Georgia Tech, against TCU.
Rose Bowl: Ohio State is set to play the PAC-10 winner, either Oregon or Oregon State.
BCS Championship Game: Should Texas get by Nebraska this week, they’ll face the winner of the SEC title game, either Florida or Alabama.
A few upsets this week could drastically change the landscape. Should Texas lose, would that mean that TCU, a non-BCS conference team and highest ranked, would get the call to play either Florida or Alabama for the title?
Cincinnati has one last week to impress against a tough opponent in Pittsburgh while TCU is finished for the year. We’ve seen teams hop over ones that are idle following impressive wins and somehow that seems like the scenario that could occur this week.
But Texas can’t lose, can they?
Classless Pete Carroll
With 50 seconds remaining in Saturday’s UCLA-USC game, and the Trojans leading 21-7, USC Coach Pete Carroll said the game wasn’t over. Rather than kneeling down and running the clock, Carroll called for a deep post play running the score up to 28-7. In what had been a defensive struggle all night for both teams, the pass was the best thrown ball of the night for either side.
The move to run it up oddly comes one week after Carroll was irritated with Stanford’s Jim Harbaugh for doing something similar to USC the week before.
The crowds in the sports books loved it. While the sharps had bet UCLA +14 down to 12, most of the small money parlays had USC.
College Basketball Notes
Usually we have to wait until March to see great stories unfold with small-school squads taking down the powerhouses, but we’re already getting a preview of what’s to come with Portland who now has taken down Oregon, UCLA and Minnesota, bumping their record to 5-0 prior to their Sunday night game against No. 8 West Virginia.
The Las Vegas home crowd hasn’t been as deafening as it was Saturday against No. 16 Louisville since the 1980’s. Louisville came in as 2-point favorites and were beaten soundly for most of the game until making a late rally. The Rebels appear to have serious potential to be a major player in the scheme of things this year.
How about the week North Carolina has coming up. On Tuesday they welcome Michigan State and then fly to Lexington to play an equally tough foe in Kentucky. Both games rank as the top must-see battles of the week.
The Miami Hurricanes were expected to finish 10th in the ACC but are off to a 7-0 start despite the low expectations. They’ll be tested this week with a visit by Minnesota and a road game at Boston College.
Look out for Purdue in Big-10 play this season. They are a very sound fundamental team that should make some noise this season. They’ll be tested by Wake Forest on Tuesday.
What’s going on in Westwood? UCLA finds itself at the bottom of the Pac-10 in early season play with losses to Fullerton, Butler and Portland. However, they can right the ship quickly this week. After a long week of rest, the Bruins will welcome top-ranked Kansas on Sunday.
Washington State’s guard Klay Thompson is leading the nation in scoring at 28.3 ppg and has led the Cougars to a 7-0 start, albeit against marginal opponents. He’ll be tested this week with tough road games at Gonzaga and Kansas State.
Watch every Tuesday for a brand new College Notebook article.
Question? Comment? E-mail me at: Micah Roberts