Games of the Week: Thanksgiving Edition
This is it. The winner of this game represents the Coastal division in the ACC Championship. Virginia's last ACC title was in 1995 but they've never appeared in an ACC Championship game. This week the Cavaliers made an appearance in the Top 25 (AP) for the first time since 2007.
Is Virginia really that good? We'll find out when the Virginia Tech Hokies have to go on the road and play at Virginia. The Hokies are favored by only four points and part of the reason why may be due to the Cavaliers' stingy defense—it's one of the top 25 defenses in the country. Then again, the Hokies' defense is a top 25 defense as well. If Mike London's Cavaliers can snap Virginia's seven-game losing streak to Virginia Tech, he'll be a serious Coach of the Year candidate.
Big Ten: Ohio State at Michigan
The last time Michigan beat Ohio State was seven years ago. Both Buckeye and Wolverine fans keep track of this streak but this year it may finally end. Always one of college football's best rivalries, this year's game has some fascinating storylines.
Is Urban Meyer going to be the new coach at Ohio State? Numerous reports say this is a done deal but so far, Meyer has denied everything. In a year filled with numerous distractions, add this coaching carousel rumor to the list. Michigan (9-2) can keep itself in the BCS bowl picture with a win while the Buckeyes could possibly lose a third consecutive game.
Will the favored Wolverines win? Will the Buckeyes make it eight straight? Both Ohio State and Michigan have dual threat quarterbacks in Braxton Miller and Denard Robinson so there will be fireworks. Lots of them.
Honorable mention: Penn State at Wisconsin. Winner goes to the Big Ten Championship representing the Leaders division and plays Legends champion Michigan State.
SEC: Arkansas at LSU
We've been waiting for this game, haven't we? If LSU wins, the Tigers play Georgia in the SEC Championship. But if they lose, there will be a three-way tie in the West—assuming Alabama beats Auburn—and the West's representative may be determined by the winner of the head-to-head competition between the two highest-ranked BCS teams.
Will we have chaos if LSU loses? Possibly, because it's hard to imagine LSU dropping behind both Alabama and Arkansas when LSU already beat Alabama. Of course, LSU can avoid this giant mess by taking care of business and beating Arkansas but the Razorbacks will be a formidable opponent. This game should be on everyone's upset alert watch.
Big 12: Texas Tech v Baylor at Arlington, Texas
Texas Tech (5-6) has already beaten Oklahoma but still isn't bowl eligible—they need one more win. Baylor is bowl eligible but this game isn't just about getting a higher-tiered bowl, it's about getting quarterback Robert Griffin III to New York City for the Heisman ceremony.
Texas Tech's defense isn't scaring anyone—the Red Raiders are ranked No. 115 in total defense yielding an average 473.6 yards per game. And Baylor's defense? They're ranked No. 114 in total defense giving up an average 472.9 yards per game. What we'll have here is a shoot-out. If Griffin passes for over 400 yards, he can start making plans for a trip to New York in a few weeks.
Pac-12: UCLA at USC
There a lot of different scenarios for how the South division can be won, but if UCLA beats USC, the Bruins will be playing for the Pac-12 Championship—if they lose, Utah and Arizona State may be able to play their way in. If the Bruins do pull the upset, it will be a remarkable finish to a remarkable season—just a few weeks ago, Rick Neuheisel was on the hottest of hot seats. Can he continue the magic for one more week?
The Bruins will have their hands full with the No. 10 Trojans and their potent offense—nothing would make USC happier than to derail UCLA's post-season plans. Both USC and UCLA have one thing in common—brothers TJ McDonald and Tevin McDonald play for USC and UCLA respectively—their father Tim played at USC.
USC fans have a special chant for when they play a spoiler role to another conference team's potential Rose Bowl plans: "The Rose Bowl... we ain't going...neither are you." Will that chant come to life this Saturday?
Big East: Pittsburgh at West Virginia
The best game of the week appaears to be Pittsburgh v West Virginia because a loss by either team will probably knock them out of the conference race with three conference losses. But you never know what will happen in this conference because not one team can control its own destiny.
At this point in the season, we have no idea who is the clear-cut leader of the conference—there are so many different scenarios on how the Big East can be won it boggles the mind, but there are five teams still in the hunt. Rutgers has a good shot since they only have UConn this week- a win would get them to a 9-3 record with two conference losses to West Virginia and Louisville. Louisville only has one game left on its schedule as well (South Florida) while Cincinnati has two games left against Syracuse and UConn.
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