Ohio State is in the clubhouse in Week 14. Unlike previous years, the clubhouse in 2011 is more a purgatory where the Buckeyes await a bowl fate that does not sound the least bit appealing. In past years, Ohio State would watch teams with conference championship games knock each other around for its amusement. The best of it came in 2007, where a loss by Missouri in the Big XII Championship Game cemented Ohio State’s trip to the national title game. I think we won that. I’m pretty sure we won that. Yeah, we won that. We had to have, right?
Anyways, Ohio State fans are still licking their wounds from a 2011 season that will go down in history as one of mankind’s most awful crimes. With that in mind, maybe we’re all distracted because of the latest news tha-URBAN URBAN URBAN URBAN URBAN. Ohio State looks to the future, while watching some football on the side.
Here’s what’s on your moving pictures box this week.
- West Virginia @ South Florida (ESPN, 8:00pm ET). This game is on as I write this post. Maybe I’m just a petty person, but should the Big East really be playing games during what is essentially Championship Week for other, better conferences like the SEC and the Conference-USA? Here’s West Virginia’s deal: they need to win to secure at least a share of the Big East championship in Dana Holgorsen’s first year in Morgantown. Presently, that would put them in a three way tie with Cincitucky and Louisville, leading to intransitivity atop the conference (Louisville > West Virginia > Cincitucky > Louisville, et cetera). Louisville’s season is already concluded, so they already have a share of the Big East crown. As for who gets the BCS bid? Hell if I know. Actually, to hell with it, just give Alabama a second BCS game. #rowtadrow
- Ohio vs. Northern Illinois (ESPN2, 7:00pm ET). MAC Championship Game. If you bemoan the unnecessary bells and whistles of big time college football and still yearn for a time when college football was just the next logical extension of other versions of the sport at the amateur level, there’s a lot to like about the MAC. This is especially true for its version of the conference championship. Win your division in the SEC, go to metropolitan Atlanta. Win your division in the B1G, maybe go to Chicago (in the near future). Win your division in the MAC, go to Detroit. Ohio State fans may want to watch this one. The 6-6 Buckeyes may play the winner of this game in, yes… Detroit.1
- UCLA @ Oregon (FOX, 8:00pm ET). Pac-12 Championship Game. I’m disappointed the Pac-12 decided to do this like the Conference-USA. The Conference-USA started the concept of the first team to qualify for the Pac-12 Championship Game having the privilege of hosting it. So, unlike the SEC, the B1G TEN and the ACC, there is no “destination”. SEC fans drive to Atlanta, Pac-12 “fans” have to make a trek to Eugene, Oregon. Mmmm-yes. I’m disappointed because I guess I had thought this game was going to be played in Las Vegas, Nevada. That’d be kinda cool. Anyways, I can’t make sense of why even bother with this game. Because the Pac-12 even has a conference championship game, Stanford is basically shutout of the BCS Championship Game. If this were last year, they could use the quirks of this year to squeeze in on a one loss record and decent resume. In addition, the only reason 6-6 UCLA is in this game is because the USC team that beat the hell out it by 50 last week is still bowl ineligible. It doesn’t stop there. UCLA fired its head coach, effective Saturday morning. The team hoisted Rick Neuheisel on its shoulders after its final practice. In the (inevitable) event UCLA loses this game to Oregon (by a lot), UCLA got a bowl waiver to go to some bowl game with a 6-7 record. Plus, this game is on FOX. Dancing robots for everyone.
- Southern Miss @ Houston (ABC, 12:00pm ET). Conference-USA Championship Game. Houston is undefeated and Southern Miss, despite a considerably stupid loss to hopeless UAB, is 10-2 on the season and #24 team in the country. This might be the most underrated game of the day. It will likely be what I’m watching at this time slot because Big East games will be on ESPN and ESPN2. I wonder what this must be like for Houston. Houston met my preseason expectations to bust the BCS. If they win, they’re in the BCS as an at-large with almost no questions asked. Its 6th year quarterback Case Keenum has like a bazillion passing touchdowns on the season and has all of the NCAA passing records — all of them — in a mantle on his dorm room wall. Still, it seems almost a metaphysical certainty that Houston’s coach, Kevin Sumlin, will be somewhere else as early as January. Like Brian Kelly in the 2009 season, he might complete an improbable undefeated run and not even be around for the Sugar Bowl (likely destination, just like Cincitucky that year).
- Syracuse @ Pittsburgh (ESPN2, 12:00pm ET). Don’t even bother. If I find out you were watching this game, I’m unfollowing you on Twitter and de-friending you on Facebook. Actions have consequences, people. And you need to learn that.
- Connecticut @ Cincitucky (ESPN, 12:00pm ET). If you must watch this, watch to spite the Bearcats. If they lose, they’re out the Big East race.
- UNLV @ Texas Christian (Versus, 2:30pm ET). Texas Christian concludes its Mountain West obligations on Saturday with a big ol’ trollin’ smile on its face. In spite of getting jobbed by the Mountain West Conference out of hosting a Week 11 matchup against new acquisition Boise State, the Battletoads flew to Boise State and beat the Broncos and the Mountain West crew officiating that game. As such, Texas Christian already has a share of the conference crown regardless of what happens on Saturday. In addition, it denied the Broncos from a trip to New Orleans to play the SEC champion for the national championship. Keep on’ trolling, Battletoads.
- Texas @ Baylor (ABC, 3:30pm ET). Is this Mack Brown’s last game in Austin, Texas? He’s the highest paid coach in college football and, at his current salary, he’s being paid approximately a million dollars for every game he wins. It is thus disconcerting that Mack Brown has only 8 wins this season. His salary isn’t that large (obviously), but the wins to dollar ratio is not what Texas boosters want for Brown’s salary and the 60 year old Brown could be feeling the pinch. Meanwhile, Baylor is going for its second straight win over the Longhorns. Should they be successful, Robert Griffin III could very well bring a Heisman to Waco, Texas. Whodathunkit?
- Georgia vs. LSU (CBS, 3:30pm ET). SEC Championship Game. Right, got it. Buckeye fans should watch for Greg Studrawa, who I so dearly want to come to Columbus as an offensive coordinator, though I am unsure of the prospects. Question, if Georgia wins this game, by SEC rules, that means they play for the national championship, right? Does Georgia play LSU in New Orleans? Is it a three-way match pitting LSU v. Georgia v. Alabama? If so, make it a ladder match and I’m in!
- Brigham Young @ Hawaii (ESPN2, 7:30pm ET). Brigham Young, at Hawaii? Is this a football game or a mission?
- Oklahoma @ Oklahoma State (ABC, 8:00pm ET). Oklahoma State has not defeated Oklahoma in Bedlam since 2002. Then head coach: Les Miles, who did Ohio State a considerable solid by removing Oklahoma from national title conversations once and for all that year. If Oklahoma State reverses that trend on Saturday at home, it has the best chance at leapfrogging Alabama at #2 and preventing this whole stupid rematch thing from happening. But, with that in mind, you almost know that won’t happen. Oklahoma losing its second game on the season to Baylor almost guarantees that they win this game and fuck things up.
- Virginia Tech v. Clemson (ESPN, 8:00pm ET). ACC Championship Game and a rematch of Virginia Tech’s only loss on the season, a 23-3 drubbing at home in Week 5. Virginia Tech is a team to watch if you really don’t want a rematch to happen, also taking for granted Oklahoma State will wang Bedlam. Tech has the hotter hand as Clemson — losers of three of its last four games — has faltered down the stretch. If the Hokies win, and look impressive in doing it, that might convince enough voters to monkey with their 2/3rds of the BCS formula and send the Hokies to New Orleans. On Saturday night, we are all The Key Play.
- Michigan State v. Wisconsin (FOX, 8:17pm ET). B1G TEN Championship Game. Oh, inaugural B1G TEN Championship Game, for the Stagg
-PaternoTrophy. Didn’t see you there. But that’s probably because the B1G TEN was the first conference to remove itself from the BCS national championship picture completely, opting out of the national conversation in the middle of October. In fact, don’t be surprised if a game between a hockey school and a basketball school devolves into a discussion of Urban Meyer, with sporadic sideline appearances by that damn dancing robot. Seriously, FOX ruins everything.
- To be clear, the Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowl is not compelled to take the MAC #1 team, but it does have first pick of bowl eligible MAC teams. The #2 team in the MAC goes to Mobile, Alabama to play in the GoDaddy.com Bowl. I love how delightfully screwy the MAC is. [↩]