SI.com college football writer Stewart Mandel shares his commentary, analysis and random tidbits on the latest developments around the country.
11/10/2007 12:23:00 PM
It's Saturday: Let the Craziness Begin
Can Rashard Mendenhall guide the Illini to a huge upset over Ohio State?
Chuck Rydlewski/Icon SMI
I regret to inform you that this weekend’s Blog could be considerably less eventful than previous weekends. No reports from the tailgate lot at Autzen Stadium. No reports about the skimpy Halloween outfits in State College. Today, it’s just me, my couch -- and a whole lot of Kleenex and cold medicine.
Yep, unfortunately, I caught the cold this week, but if there was any weekend I had to be laid up, this would be it. You know there’s no truly big games when GameDay decides to broadcast from somewhere like Amherst-Williams. They do that about once a year, and while I think it’s extremely cool to get a taste of college football outside the usual suspects (did you like how you could see right on to the field from behind their set?), it’s safe to say they wouldn’t have been there if today was, say, Ohio State-Michigan week.
All that said, I’m extremely confident in predicting this Blog will have no shortage of material to work with over the next 12 hours. Why do I say that? Because it’s inevitably weekends like these -- the ones that look drab on paper -- where the most craziness happiness.
I was on the couch the day Appalachian State beat Michigan (Sept. 1), the day five of the top 10 lost (Sept. 29) and the day both No. 1 LSU and No. 2 Cal lost on the same day (Oct. 13). I took a stab at guessing a couple “upsets” in the Weekend Pickoff -- Auburn over Georgia and Arizona State over UCLA -- but something tells me there’s going to be at least one even bigger shocker by the time all is said and done.
What will it be? Illinois over Ohio State? Oklahoma State over Kansas? (I realize most of you would not find that to be much of a shocker, but it’s still 5-4 over 9-0.) How about Fresno State over Hawaii? Or maybe something completely out of left field, like, say, Temple over Penn State? (No chance.)
Whatever the case, you guys need to get in the right mindset. Because judging by my e-mails this week, some of you seem to be under the impression that the final month of the season is going to play out completely to form. Why do I say that? Because a whole bunch of you wrote yesterday befuddled how I could pick Arizona State and Georgia to lose just days after projecting them to earn BCS at-large berths. The idea being, apparently, they would eliminate themselves from consideration by suffering their second and third losses, respectively.
I don’t know whether those exact predictions will come true, but I do know this: A 10-2 Pac-10 team will have no trouble finishing in the BCS top 14, and there will be at least one three-loss BCS at-large team. Look at the rankings. We’ve still got four weeks of games left, and we’re already down to 18 BCS-conference teams with two losses or less. Trust me -- by December 2, that number will be cut in half, and the carnage will likely start today.
Look for Wisconsin to not only knock Michigan out of BCS contention (they have no chance against OSU) but possibly out of contention for the Capital One Bowl as a 9 and 3 Penn State team is better draw than an 8 and 4 Michigan team. Indiana will lock up a bowl birth by getting their seventh. Iowa will be knocked down by the Golden Gophers to join Northwestern by way of their loss to the Hoosiers in the Big Ten's heap of teams staying home for the holidays as no .500 team from the Big Ten will go bowling this year.
The athletes of the Fighting Illini scare me today, but if the Buckeyes can't pull off the win (at home), then that's all for the better. I'd rather they be exposed now than in the BCS title game, a long, long way from home. And it is a great opportunity for the Bucks to square up against a great spread offense that can fire on all cylinders. Should be a great big 10 matchup.
Quite frankly in your previous blog, you hit a great idea but didn't take it far enough:
And you thought I was crazy when I brought up the subject!!
The question here is if all 4 teams win out does the Feista Bowl want ASU?
Imagine the series OSU or Cal Vs Texas or Mizzou(Sun), USC vs Mizzou or Texas (Holiday) ASU vs Kansas(Feista) and Oregon vs Oklahoma (Rose) - so what conference officials get to come to officiate as neutral Officials?
Most Oregon fans are tired of the complaining about the officiating of the game. It was bad both ways throughout the game. Oklahoma's defense had the chance to make plays at the end to win the game and didn't! Oklahoma had a shot of a winning feild Goal and missed it! Things happen, bad calls happen, and poor decisions are made. It is all part of the game.
If Oregon and Oklahoma do not meet in a Bowl, ABC and ESPN need to step in and set up another 2 game series as Oklahoma has already anounced a boycott of the Pac 10, what a poor additude of a school that wants a winner's reputation.
Isn't there a Coaches preseason Bowl game looking for a great game on a neutral field. Heck OKlahoma will play you next year with our Rookie QB, that should give you some advantage or does Senior J. Steward scare you too much! How about we meet at the Rose Bowl - Thursday August 22, 2008!! Come on Sooners take the challenge, come on ESPN/ABC make it happen!!
Duck fans will be there with the Lightning Yellows on!!