Early games with bowl implications in the Big Ten include #17 Michigan State at Iowa and #19 Nebraska at #12 Penn State. The Spartans, who lead the division, haven’t won in Iowa City since 1989. If they lose tomorrow, they also turn control of the division race over to the Hawkeyes. Nebraska at Penn State would be a great game, and should be a great game. It’s overshadowed by things that are too emotional for me to even comment on. I hope that the student section that invented the white-out, and has some of the greatest coordinated cheers, has something to honor the victims of abuse.
In the SEC, #13 South Carolina hosts Florida. The Gators seem to be getting better, the Gamecocks need to win to keep their chances alive of playing in the SEC title game. Both Kentucky and Vanderbilt need to win in a game where the loser will likely not be going to a bowl game, and even the winner might not.
I’ll also be keeping an eye on #2 Oklahoma State at Texas Tech. The Red Raiders and Tommy Tuberville could conceivably corral the Cowboys, destroying dreams of a national championship.
Afternoon highlights include #20 Auburn visiting #15 Georgia. The winner makes a significant step-up in their bowl possibilities, the loser drops a notch. Wisconsin travels to Minnesota in the game for Paul Bunyan’s Axe, my favorite college football trophy.
The evening features games between Tennessee and #8 Arkansas, Maryland at Notre Dame, and the big one, #7 Oregon at #4 Stanford. I’ll be watching all three.
The Washington Huskies have a huge game at USC. Southern Cal is sitting at 7-2, and if the Trojans could be ranked, they would be in the top 15. Washington is at 6-3, and fighting for bowl position. A win against the Trojans would certainly help the Huskies who will be favored in their other remaining games. The Ducks have Stanford today, and still have to face the Trojans and have their rival, the Beavers. If the favorites win out, the Huskies and the Ducks will be at 9-3 at the end of the season. If Stanford somehow makes it to the BCS Championship, one will go to the Rose Bowl.