Tuesday, November 2, 2010

What to Watch, Week 11


Not much here. With some help on Saturday, Virginia Tech could earn a share of the ACC Coastal crown vs. Georgia Tech (Thursday 7:30pm, ESPN). And UCF at Houston (Friday 8pm, ESPN2) will be a matchup between the leaders of both divisions (co-leader in Houston's case) in Conference USA. This game could carry extra significance if these two teams happen to meet again in C-USA's championship game as the winner here would host the game.


For Maryland at Miami (FL) (12pm, ESPNU), both teams need a win to stay in touch of the division leader. Maryland is one game back in the win column from NC State, while Miami (FL) is two back and needs help from Georgia Tech to get back in the race. Miami QB Jacory Harris's status is unknown due to a concussion he suffered in the loss at Virginia.

Air Force at Army (12pm, CBS College) is the 2nd leg of the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy and it can be won here by Air Force as the Falcons already dispatched Navy earlier this year in Colorado Springs. Army is 5-3 with three chances remaining to get bowl eligible (Air Force, at Kent St., vs. Notre Dame in NYC). As I understand it, Army must be bowl eligible before the Navy game. Sounds like bowl committees were not thrilled with holding a conditional bowl invite for the Black Knights due to the decision to move the Army-Navy game a week past Championship Saturday.

Louisville at Syracuse (12pm, Big East/GamePlan) holds some significance as both teams were at the bottom of the Big East last year, and now both are trending upward. Syracuse can clinch bowl eligibility for the 1st time since 2004, Paul Pasqualoni's final year. The Orange have been lucky and good at times this year and the right mix of both has helped them in their wins, particularly when turning over the opposition. The offense does just enough and capitalizes on opportunities. I see a lot of the UConn squads from prior seasons in this SU team, with far less talent getting the job done.

Baylor at Oklahoma St. (12:30pm, FSN) is for the lead in the Big 12 South. And no, Oklahoma St. isn't the leader. Baylor is assured of a Big 12 bowl tie in for the 1st time since the conference was formed (last bowl bid for the Bears was as a SWC member). Defenses need not apply here, and I don't expect this to be some 10-7 snoozefest. Justin Blackmon will return to the Cowboy lineup after serving a one-game suspension for a DUI. Robert Griffin's season has been excellent (20 TDs through the air, another seven on the ground) and he looks like exactly what Baylor needed to get over the hump. If Baylor can pull out this one with Griffin playing well, does he start to get some Heisman pub?

Alabama at LSU (3:30pm, CBS) is actually the undercard game of the mid-afternoon. Hard to say that when both teams reside in the top 10 of the BCS standings but its true. The Tide are the darling of the one loss teams and most media pundits believe they'll slide their way into the SEC Championship and national championship game by winning out. And you'll get no argument from me. LSU, in my opinion, did step it up vs. Auburn and play better than I expected. Or maybe Auburn played down to LSU's level. But LSU should be a great test for the Tide due to their stout defense (7th in the nation). LSU needs to just keep themselves in the game to have a shot. No turnovers, no dumb timeouts or headscratchers with clock management. And this game is the undercard because....

...TCU at Utah is your game of the day (3:30pm, CBS College). Already heard one national writer (Matt Hayes, Sporting News) completely not understand the MWC's TV deal on Dan Patrick's radio show, so according to him, you'll need a tinfoil hat to tune in the game. Seriously, CBS College is on free preview this week, check your local listings and cable/satellite co. to find the channel. Now that the plug is out of the way, Utah comes into this game very underrated and this one, statistically, is an even bigger defensive battle (TCU #1, Utah #6). Last year, it wasn't pretty and the Frogs jumped on the Utes early and often. Jordan Wynn will need to find a way to be efficient through the air as neither team is giving an inch, and the Frogs are one of three teams to have the opponent's completion percentage under 50% on the season.

Another game to watch at 3:30pm is Hawai'i at Boise St (3:30pm, ESPNU/ESPN 3D). Boise gets nothing for style points and we know that. Hawai'i, Fresno St. and Nevada are three of the next four games, so as long as those schools keep winning, the Broncos might have a shot to gain a small amount of strength-of-schedule. Note that I said small, because this isn't like playing LSU, Mississippi St. and Auburn in three of the final four games. Hawai'i had a great game plan for defeating Nevada earlier this year: a plain ride to Hawai'i. Sadly, for the Warriors, they'll be the one flying the friendly skies to the mainland.

And since its November, games in the FCS take importance. You know, the part of Division I that actually settles a championship with a playoff. Novel concept. A single matchup this week at the bottom of the top 25 between CAA members Richmond & James Madison (3:30pm, Comcast Sports). I then looked at the records and realized that both teams are 4-4. A 4-4 team wouldn't even sniff the rankings in the FBS, but the CAA is the FCS version of the SEC. Maybe the FCS folks have crappy pollsters too...

Last one to stay glued to is Arizona visiting Stanford (8pm, ABC/GamePlan). Arizona can make a serious jump in the BCS over the next few weeks provided that they keep winning as Stanford, USC and Oregon are all on the schedule. Can't look ahead though and the Cardinal have Andrew Luck and he gives the Cardinal an edge at the QB position regardless of who starts for Arizona, though Nick Foles is closer to returning as the starter. Either way, to slow down Stanford is to slow down the running game. Arizona needs to be above average in this phase of the game to have a shot.

1 comment:

Julian said...

The CAA is even starting to schedule like the SEC, too, with its later-season non-conference games. Last weekend, William & Mary almost took care of North Carolina. A couple of weeks ago, UMass and UNH had their version of Georgia vs. Florida, with a game in Foxborough. I'd say that nearly 33k for a game in FCS is a great crowd.