Ohio State’s November to Not Remember, Or At Least Upon Which To Not Dwell Considerably ™ continues into Week 12′s matchup against the Nitts. The Nittany Lions faithful are also having their November to Not Remember, albeit for entirely different reasons that I will not belabor here. While programs around college football are putting the finishing touches on their various conference championship runs, Ohio State’s result in Week 11 took them almost completely out of the Legends (or Leaders?) Division race. If Ohio State won out in November, it would play in December against the champion of the Leaders (or Legends?) Division. Instead, Ohio State must win out and pray that Illinois does them a solid by beating Wisconsin, which will not happen.
And it’s with that in mind Ohio State fans are already thinking of the end of an era. Fickell has not had the best of help this season, but Buckeye fans are already thinking this is it for his interim run. Though Jim Heacock has reverted to his worst elements and Jim Bollman and Nick Siciliano no longer have Jim Tressel around to do their jobs for them, it seems like it’s Fickell’s cross to bear and the glory years of Tressel for Ohio State will give way to a new chapter in Ohio State’s lore.1 Meanwhile, it’s truly an end of an era for Penn Shtate, which is without Joe Paterno (in some form) for the first time since 1949.
Wistfulness and melancholy aside, here’s what’s on the moving pictures box.
- Ball State @ Northern Illinois (ESPNU, 8:00pm ET). You were not watching #MACtion. You were watching shooty hoops instead. Fun story from this game: Northern Illinois won by only three at home in a game where it tallied 710 total yards and whose quarterback accounted for 100 more yards total than the opponent’s entire offense. Such is the MAC.
- Ohio @ Bowling Green (ESPN, 8:00pm ET). Searching for a story line for this game… searching… not finding. Miami of Ohio’s loss last week to Temple took some of the intrigue off watching the Bobcats and the Redhawks (playing concurrently on Wednesday night) spiral toward the season finale. Therein, the winner of that game was the clear winner of MAC East. It could still maybe work out that way if Miami of Ohio beats Ohio in Week 14, but it would just create intransitivity in MAC East, for Ohio > Temple > Miami of Ohio > Ohio. I don’t know the tie-breakers under those circumstances, nor do I really care. UPDATE: Ohio won and Miami of Ohio thought it important to lose, so Ohio is your MAC East champion.
- Western State Up North @ Miami of Ohio (ESPN2, 8:00pm ET). Double-fisting the #MACtion tonight. Oh yeah.
- North Carolina @ Virginia Tech (ESPN, 8:00pm ET). Virginia Tech has to be considered in the driver’s seat to represent the ACC’s whatchamacallit division in the ACC Championship Game, where they would get a rematch with a Clemson team that pantsed them at home in Week 5. Since Va Tech is far removed from national championship consideration, this Senior Day game might be basically irrelevant for the Hokies (beyond Senior Day’s symbolic value). Next week’s game at Virginia will oddly determine the winner of the ACC’s whatchamacallit division.
- Southern Miss @ UAB (Regional, 8:00pm ET). Southern Miss is ranked (#20) and Ohio State is not. Go ahead. Drink it up.
- Oklahoma State @ Iowa State (ESPN, 8:00pm ET). Yes, that’s the #2 ranked team in the BCS playing on Friday night, otherwise known as the night you and I get drunk and watch WAC teams to celebrate the arrival of the weekend. It’d be tempting to not mail it in against a 5-4 Cyclones team that just barely put away friggin’ Kansas in Week 11. However, doing so in a victorious effort sets up the de facto Big XII Championship Game in Stillwater in Week 14 against the Oklahoma Sooners. That’s nice of the Big XII too to anticipate that and make sure it was on championship weekend.
- Toledo @ Central State Up North (ESPNU, 8:00pm ET). Go ahead, you know you want it.
- Indiana @ Michigan State (Big Ten Network, 12:00pm ET). No one has a clearer, or easier, road to the B1G TEN Championship Game than Sparty. All they need to do is beat Indiana at home and win at Nerdwestern to make it official. In fact, beating Indiana would be sufficient of the Wolvereenies can prevail over Nebrasky.
- Nebrasky @ That State Up North (ESPN, 12:00pm ET). Am I getting ahead of myself? It’s only nine days between us… and The Hate. It burns with the fury of a thousand blue stars. IT BURNS FOREVER.
- Wisconsin @ Illinois (ESPN2, 12:00pm ET). Say goodbye to Ron Zook, who is rumored to be near the end of his seven year coaching stint in Champaign. If it’s a rumor, it’s not very well kept. Recent questions about his status manifested in his weekly press conference, to hilarious results. Also hilarious: this. Anyways, if Zook wants to go out with a bang, beating Wisconsin would really help. It’s only our back door left into Indianapolis.
- Cincitucky @ Rutgers (ESPNU, 12:00pm ET). Believe it or not: two best teams in the Big East. Seriously. The Bearcats finally lost their first conference game last week at home against West Virginia, and actually lost senior quarterback Zach Collaros for the season therein. Still, it’s Cincitucky’s BCS bid to lose. Ohio’s BCS Team, indeed.
- Iowa @ Purdue (Big Ten Network, 12:00pm ET). It’s here. #THERIVALRY. The Rivalry to End All Rivalries. The Most Rivalrous Rivalry Ever Rivaled Among Rivals. The Greatest Rivalry on Earth. No doubt, the greatest thing to emerge from the B1G TEN’s otherwise glorified clusterfuck to fit Nebraska into the B1G TEN was this. The Rivalry. You will be witnesses. To history.
- Kentucky @ Georgia (“SEC Network”, 12:21pm ET). Georgia could grab the first spot in the SEC Championship Game by beating 4-6 Kentucky at home. All South Carolina can do is watch and pray, since it finished its SEC schedule in Week 11 against the Florida Gators. Georgia fans are probably torn between wanting that spot in the SEC Championship Game, and hoping Richt wangs it against Kentucky. Playing in Atlanta in two weeks would jeopardize Richt’s chances of being fired, something most Georgia fans really want.
- Mississippi State @ ArKansas (CBS, 3:30pm ET). I don’t know why this is on TV, since ArKansas is far and away the least interesting one-loss team in college football and has the smallest chance of making it to its own conference championship game. No matter, you’re not watching this game.
- Clemson @ North Carolina State (ABC/ESPN, 3:30pm ET). You’re not watching this either.
- Colorado State @ Texas Christian (Versus, 3:30pm ET). What’s a Colorado State? Whatever it is, you’re not watching it either.
- Penn Shtate @ Ohio State (ABC/ESPN, 3:30pm ET). This. This is what you’re watching. More on this later.
- Miami (FL) @ South Florida (ESPNU, 3:30pm ET), Texas Tech @ Missouri (ABC, 3:30pm ET). More stuff you’re not watching and would be irresponsible to watch.
- Boston College @ Notre Dame (NBC, 4:00pm ET). Last week, Notre Dame broke out the novelty helmets and green jerseys for a 2-7 ACC squad. It worked, as the Irish won 45-21. Does Notre Dame do the same this week against a 3-7 ACC squad? That’s one whole win greater than last week’s terrifying opponent!
- Vanderbilt @ Tennessee (ESPNU, 7:00pm ET). I guess I’ve been too busy making fun of 5-5 Florida inside the SEC to take notice of the Tennessee Volunteers. The Volunteers have yet to win in conference and, at 4-6 on the season, that’s quite frankly embarrassing. So embarrassing, in fact, that it’s led to the Vols to be underdogs at home… to VANDERBILT. So, if Derek Dooley beats Vanderbilt at home, it would be his best coaching win at Tennessee because he has never won as an underdog.
- Colorado @ UCLA (Versus, 7:30pm ET). Good for Colorado to actually win a conference game, having won last week against Arizona. If the Buffs are feeling frisky, they might go for their first road win since a win at Texas Tech in October 2007.
- USC @ Oregon (ABC, 8:00pm ET). With most of the SEC schools cycling off to play 1-AA teams before their respective season finales, the Pac-12′s presence on ESPN will be bigger this week. A win for Oregon sends the Ducks to the Pac-12 Championship Game, where no one will give a shit what they do there because Oregon can’t win out of conference. Meanwhile, a win for USC would be nice for USC’s 14 or 15 fans, but I think their bowl ban also includes the Pac-12 Championship Game as well. So, there you go.
- Oklahoma @ Baylor (ABC, 8:00pm ET). I guess stranger things have happened, but how badly does Oklahoma rip Baylor apart in this game? Baylor has potential, and they’ll host this game at night, but Texas A&M and Oklahoma State have already thrashed them this season. Though OU will be without Ryan Broyles, and all three Baylor losses this season have been on the road, it’s hard to imagine Oklahoma not winning this game. But, if the stranger thing does happen, it makes Bedlam in Week 14 less interesting. Oklahoma State gets the conference’s BCS bid, assuming it beats Iowa State on Friday night.
- Kansas State @ Texas (FX, 8:00pm ET). This could be Kansas State’s fourth straight win over Texas, which would be adorable.
- California @ Stanford (ESPN, 10:15pm ET). The Game won’t be as compelling for Stanford now that it holds none of the cards in the Pac-12. An at-large bid is very much on the table, but it needs Oregon to lose out in order to play in the Pac-12 Championship Game. That’s not happening. Alas, it’s a Stanford home game, which means: Stanford’s band. Rock.
- New Mexico State @ Brigham Young (ESPNU, 10:15pm ET). Is there enough money that the Church of Latter Day Saints and Brigham Young University would accept in order to get the crowd to sing “I Believe” en masse during halftime? I’ll raise those funds. Believe me. I will.
- Though, let us not mistake that Ohio State’s fans must never, ever accept failure or mediocrity as the norm for any period of time. Ever. [↩]