Ohio State’s season concludes on Saturday when it hosts That Team Up North. If not for the Tatgate scandal and, perhaps, some myopic decision making by Gene Smith, Ohio State would be in the thick of a national title hunt and would certainly be playing the week after this game in Indianapolis against whoever wins the other division (Legends, right? Or Leaders?). However, this bowl ban is the last of it that fans will notice. Ohio State still has two more years of scholarship reductions, but Tatgate is basically behind us. And with it, we have Urban Meyer. We should be “thankful” for that.
We should also be thankful for the slate of games we have. With the exception of the Big East and the Big XII, the two remaining power conferences without conference championship games (and for which membership is very much in flux), everyone is at the season finale with an eye toward conference championship games next week. As such, it’s not just a TV Guide this week, it’s a Hate Guide. While you’re stuffing your face with turkey and watching NFL football as well, here are the list of games you can be watching at the college level. Here is also a recommendation of which teams you should hate while you watch.
- Akron @ Toledo (ESPN, 7:00pm ET). This game matters not for the MAC standings. Akron, at 1-10 on the season and with zero conference wins, is terrible as usual. Toledo would otherwise be thinking of clinching the MAC East. It lost its first game of the season in overtime (at Arizona, oddly enough), but rattled off eight straight wins before losing the last two games to Ball State and Northern Illinois. So, #MACtion tonight is just for show. HATE: Toledo. Though it did give us this great moment, it looks awfully “_ichigan-y” for my tastes…
- Texas Christian @ Texas (ESPN, 7:30pm ET). If you’re curious, here are the NFL games. Houston plays Detroit on CBS at 12:30pm ET (HATE: Detroit, obviously). Washington plays Dallas on FOX at 4:15pm ET (HATE: Dallas, because obvious thing is obvious). The finale is New England at the New York Jets on NBC at 8:20pm ET (HATE: everyone). As for this game, Texas found a new Thanksgiving opponent with Texas A&M leaving the Big XII for the Southeastern Conference. Really, Texas A&M left Texas for the Southeastern Conference, frustrated with the weight and clout that Texas was throwing around. Texas A&M’s replacement, both in the conference and for a yearly series, is Texas Christian. The Battletoads were doing fine this season until it lost its starting quarterback, Casey Pachall, to a season-ending drug rehab. After Pachall left, the Battletoads have won just two of four games. Meanwhile, Texas seems to have weathered the storm that West Virginia and Oklahoma rained on the Longhorns program, turning the Longhorns defense into a dumpster fire. In this two game stretch in October, the Longhorns conceded 111 points to West Virginia and Oklahoma in two losses. The Longhorns have won out since. It visits Kansas State next week. HATE: Texas. I’m just curious to see how much more money Texas can burn in order to be mediocre at football.
- Ohio @ Kent State (ESPNU, 11:00am ET). Oh what could’ve been here. Ohio was momentarily the darlings of the MAC after beating Penn State in Happy Valley to begin the season. There was premature talk of the Bobcats busting the BCS while the in-state powerhouse Buckeyes would be forced to sit out. There was some swagger even coming from Athens, with a few of the fans and players wishing it had a shot at the Buckeyes. However, Ohio has three of its last four games after beginning the season undefeated. Meanwhile, it’s Kent State that’s the new big thing in MAC football. Under second year head coach, and former Ohio State wide receiver coach, Darrell Hazell, Kent State is 10-1 this season and perfect in the MAC. It even beat Rutgers a few weeks ago, though that loss to Kentucky looks all the more curious now. If not for Ohio’s follies of late, this could’ve been must see television. HATE: Ohio. We are all Darrell Hazell fans.
- Syracuse @ Temple (ESPN2, 11:00am ET). It’s a Big East game. That’s about all I know right now. HATE: Whichever one of those two teams Jim Delany eventually invites to the B1G TEN. Or B1G TW3NTY. Whatever.
- Nebrasky @ Iowa (ABC, 12:00pm ET). I think I mentioned this last year, but I’m very happy that this is the end of the season rival for Nebrasky. It needed to be, and it’s a perfect fit. The Cornhuskies can clinch its spot in the B1G TEN Championship Game with a win here, where it will, again, play the Wisconsin Badgers. Should Iowa, which is already bowl-ineligible, pull off the upset at home, it gives life to the Wolvereenies. That Team Up North needs both an Iowa win and an upset of their own in Columbus in order to advance to the B1G TEN Championship Game. HATE: Iowa. You’ll get nothing and like it _ichigan.
- Louisiana State @ ArKansas (CBS, 2:30pm ET). Here’s the picture in the SEC Championship Game. Georgia is already in. The SEC East gets conference play done early in order for schools like Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina to play their respective ACC rivals. Here is the deal in the west. An Alabama win sends the Crimson Tide to Atlanta regardless of what happens. It will be the first time Alabama plays in the SEC Championship Game without Florida also advancing to Atlanta. Louisiana State needs an Alabama loss and a Texas A&M win. If Alabama loses (for some reason) and A&M also loses to Missouri (for some reason), the head-to-head tiebreaker between the Crimson Tide and the Tigers sends Alabama through. So, with that in mind, and because seriously fuck Alabama, HATE: ArKansas. It wasn’t an easy decision, but the exigences of college football make for such fleeting alliances.
- Utah @ Colorado (FX, 3:00pm ET). The two new kids play their season finale against each other. Remember the game last year? Colorado, which was awful last year and is again awful this year, somehow pulled off the upset in Salt Lake City, which sent a comparably terrible 6-6 UCLA team into the first Pac-12 Championship Game. This year, UCLA is already in, and with no help from these two, which are both bowl ineligible and sitting at the bottom of the Pac-12 South. HATE: ummm, Colorado? I don’t know. Hate something.
- Washington @ Washington State (FOX, 3:30pm ET). Two Schools, One Apple Cup. This game won’t be as God awful as it was in 2008. In that game, Washington State, which had just win that season (over a FCS team) was actually favored over the Huskies because the Huskies had zero wins. So of course that game went to overtime, which Wazzu indeed won. As for this game, Washington could really use the 8th win and Wazzu is done after this season no matter what happens here. HATE: Washington. Arrrrrgh.
- West Virginia @ Iowa State (ABC, 3:30pm ET). So how bad of a fit is West Virginia in the Big XII? This is their new end of the season rivalry. No, it’s totally better than the Backyard Brawl. HATE: West Virginia. Nothing blue and yellow for me this week, thank you.
- South Florida @ Cincitucky (ESPN, 7:00pm ET). This should be a bit of a transition game for both programs. Both may lose their coaches after this season. At 4-7 this season, I have to imagine Skip Holtz is gone. Does anyone remember he was being floated as a possible replacement for Luke Fickell last year? Whew. Anyways, Cincitucky is 7-3 this season, including a few games where it was clear its quarterback was hurting them rather than helping them. Still, I have to imagine Butch Jones gets a look somewhere, at a program like Tennessee or Purdue (should that come open). This game is immaterial to the Big East standings. Louisville and Rutgers will decided everything in this conference. HATE: Cincitucky. As a rule, I don’t root for Kentucky schools.
- Arizona State @ Arizona (ESPN, 10:00pm ET). Oh man, how’s this for a coaching matchup in the Territorial Cup: Todd Graham v. Rich Rodriguez. Two real Okies, with one having legitimate HATE credentials for having previously coached the Wolverines, and the other for being a total flake. Still, choice here is rather simple. HATE: Arizona State. Why hate Rich Rodriguez anymore? He was very good to us.
- Georgia Tech @ Georgia (ESPN, 12:00pm ET). You’re not watching this, and Georgia is probably favored by a billion. But, if Ohio State is going to have a chance at an AP national title, it needs a lot of chaos, and now. HATE: Georgia.
- Rutgers @ Pittsburgh (ESPN2, 12:00pm ET). You’re not watching this either. HATE: Pittsburgh. One of us! One of us! Gooble-gobble, gooble-gobble!
- That Team Up North @ Ohio State (ABC, 12:00pm ET). HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE
- Virginia @ Virginia Tech (ESPNU, 12:00pm ET). You’re not watching this either. Still, I think it’d be interesting to see Virginia Tech faceplant so hard this season that it becomes bowl ineligible. The Hokies, who were assumed to heir apparents to the ACC Championship Game this season, are 5-6 right now. HATE: Virginia Tech. Unless Jim Delany invites Virginia into the B1G TEN in the next few days, because, seriously, the boner that man has for his fellow ACC schools…
- Indiana @ Purdue (Big Ten Network, 12:00pm ET). IU-Purdue? You call this a “rivalry”? I know rivalries. I watched Iowa-Purdue. This. This is no rivalry. HATE: Purdue. Not only is Purdue probably a figment of our collective imagination and the school we always forget when forced to rattle off the 12 schools of the B1G TEN, but another loss for Purdue makes them bowl ineligible. Thus, half the conference would be bowl ineligible. B1G Life. B1G Stage. B1G TEN.
- Auburn @ Alabama (CBS, 3:30pm ET). Oh man. HATE: Alabama. If you know me and are paying attention, I shouldn’t have to tell you why. Seriously.
- Florida @ Florida State (ABC, 3:30pm ET). Florida right now is #4 in the BCS. Meaning, there is a possible scenario right now where Alabama plays Florida in the BCS Championship Game because, right now, Florida is not playing for the SEC Championship. Can’t have that. HATE: Florida. Florida State can (and hopefully will) mess up the ACC Championship Game. For all the chaos!
- Oklahoma State @ Oklahoma (ESPN, 3:30pm ET). Bedlam is now, weirdly, not the final game of the season for both programs. Oklahoma State plays Baylor next and Oklahoma has Texas Christian. Remember last year’s game? Oklahoma State beat Oklahoma for the first time since 2002, when Les Miles was Oklahoma State’s head coach. It obviously mattered not, because every game counts in the BCS (except for the ones that Alabama lose). This year, Oklahoma needs the win to keep pace with Kansas State in the Big XII Championship picture. It got help last week from Baylor. It needs another Kansas State loss next week. HATE: Oklahoma.
- Michigan State @ Minnesota (Big Ten Network, 3:30pm ET). Michigan State isn’t bowl ineligible yet. How weird is that? The problem, though, is that I’m in full damn-not-giving mode right now for its particular state. Because I’m from Ohio. HATE: Michigan State. Better luck next year.
- Wisconsin @ Penn State (ESPN2, 3:30pm ET). How bad is the B1G TEN Championship Game going to be this year? Well, the Legends representative will likely be a team that got lit up by both UCLA and Ohio State, the former to the tune of 600 yards of offense and the latter to the tune of 63 points. The Leaders “representative” could have five losses on the season. And wouldn’t that be dandy? HATE: Wisconsin. For all the Bertface.
- Stanford @ UCLA (FOX, 6:30pm ET). Does UCLA have some perverse incentives here? UCLA is already in the Pac 12 Championship Game next week. If Stanford beats UCLA, Stanford advances to the Pac 12 Championship Game from the Pac 12 North. If UCLA beats Stanford on Senior Day, Oregon represents the Pac 12 North. Yeah, that Oregon. Does UCLA have an incentive to take a dive here just to piss off Oregon? Well, maybe. HATE: UCLA’s band, for not being Stanford’s band.
- Missouri @ Texas A&M (ESPN2, 7:00pm ET). At 5-6 this season, Missouri is teetering on the brink of ineligibility this season. A&M, however, is looking at a ten win season. Who saw that coming in June? For that matter, who saw Johnny Manziel coming either? Then again, I’m officially tired of hearing about “Johnny Football”, and that Heisman belongs to Braxton Miller (mostly because I want him to have it). HATE: Texas A&M.
- South Carolina @ Clemson (ESPN, 7:00pm ET). How badly do the computers hate the ACC? Both Florida State and Clemson have one loss on the season (Clemson to Florida State, Florida State to NC State). In each week since that loss, Clemson’s already great offense just keeps improving. Clemson has crushed its competition weekly, and Florida State has handled its business as well. As a result, they don’t budge in the polls. Odd, really. HATE: South Carolina. Obviously. Hold ‘em Tigers. *wink wink*
- Notre Dame @ USC (ABC, 8:00pm ET). Oh man, I don’t even. HATE: the world. This isn’t fair. This isn’t right.