Conference Championship Saturday.
Yeah, I know. We could have been playing today.
Instead, Arizona State and Stanford will meet in Tempe for the Rose Bowl, and that's painful, because we could have beaten both this year. But we talked all year about how the Bruins needed to play a complete football game or it would come back to bite us at some point. We got away with it against the Nevadas and New Mexico States and Cals of the world, but it cost us 3 times against 3 good - but certainly beatable - teams this year. And even then we had a shot to win in the 4th quarter of all three of those. But in the same way we did have any dogs this year the way we did against Cal and Baylor and Stanford 1 last season, the Bruins will hopefully learn from that final complete game ass whooping of Southern Cal and carry that into 2014. Considering the events of this last week, next season is already shaping up to be a very promising year.
But before we get there, we have a bowl game to play, and this Saturday will help us find out just where that bowl game will be. Patroclus did a fantastic preview of the possible bowls for U.C.L.A. and the Pac-12, and today's games will help sort out the possibilities. Besides the Pac-12 Title game and the ACC Title game, both of which have implications for the Bruins, there is a great slate of games today. The entire schedule for the day ishere, and here's a quick BN preview of some of the big games on tap today.
Oklahoma (17) at Oklahoma State (6) 9am ABC - It's the Big-12, the conference with 10 teams and poor math skills, which is why there is no more Big 12 Championship game. Despite that, Oklahoma St is playing for its own share of the Big-12 conference title, and the Cowboys just don't lose in Stillwater. Oklahoma will never be satisfied with anything less than a conference title, but the best the Sooners can hope for is a tie for second in the conference if they get the win in Stillwater. But like I said, the Cowboys just don't lose in Stillwater.
Texas (25) at No. 9 Baylor (9) FOX 12:30 FOX - If Ok St wins, then the winner of this game will share the Big 12 title with them. However, is the Sooners can pull the upset, then the winner of this game will win the conference outright. Can you imagine Texas winning the Big-12 and going to a BCS bowl? After a 1-2 start, the Longhorns have gone a very quiet 7-1 in the Big 12, which is saying something when a Texas team is flying under the radar. But that might be what it takes to save Mack Brown's job in Austin. Baylor is still stinging from their blowout to OSU which cost them a BCS Championship shot, but they'll be more than motivated to use their high powered offense to bury their instate rival and former bully. If they do that, cue the Nick Saban to Texas rumors to go nuclear.
Missouri (5) vs. No. 3 Auburn (3) CBS 1pm CBS - The SEC Championship game features a newcomer to the conference and a team that won a mere three games last season (and you thought BN was demanding a quick turnaround!) Auburn had a miracle win 3 weeks ago with a tipped bomb in the closing minute at Georgia before trumping that last weekend with a finish for the ages against Alabama. But both teams have one loss this year: Mizzou with an OT loss against #21 South Carolina, and Auburn with a loss at #6 LSU. Those would normally be easy for
SEC honks pollsters to overlook and send an SEC champ to the BCS title game, but not so with two unbeatens ahead of them right now. The winner of this game will be rooting hard for tOSU or Florida State to stumble in their finales, and if that fails, to lobby like crazy for votes in the polls later tonight. And if Auburn pulls all that off, it'll be their biggest miracle yet. Missouri also has a basketball game today, by the way...
Stanford (7) at Arizona State (11) 4:45 ESPN - Sigh. This is the first Pac-12 title game without our Bruins, and hopefully it'll be the last one without our Bruins for a long while. Surprisingly, Stanford and Oregon played hot potato with the Pac-12 North title while ASU took advantage of an favorable schedule to secure the South. The Sun Devils won the right to host the game, and that gives them a great advantage. Stanford's 2 losses this year were on the road, and the Sun Devils were undefeated in Tempe, as long as you only read the Wisconsin score and know nothing else. ASU's will be without RB Marion Grice, but the Sun Devils managed 58 points without him last week. Stanford's coach David Shaw will have to do something, anything, daring to score enough points to keep up with ASU, but they do know how to win a Pac-12 Title game. Sigh. The winner will play in The Rose Bowl Pasadena on Jan 1. Yes. Sigh, again.
No. 20 Duke (20) vs. Florida State (1) 5pm ABC - Duke in the ACC title game? Sure. Wait, in football? In that case, I'm building an ark. The Blue Devils have won 8 in a row to findsh their best season ever and secure the ACC Coastal division title. Their reward is to get the meet the #1 team in the country and the Heisman frontrunner. Florida State is undefeated, its smallest margin of victory is 14 points, hasn't trailed at halftime all season, put up 80 points two weeks ago, and has never lost to Duke in football. It's very impressive, but I'll bet none of the Seminoles can spell Krzyzewski. Duke can be content having its first 10 win season ever and is a possible bowl opponent for the Bruins, depending how things play out. Duke has a basketball game in a week, by the way. And Florida State has a soccer game tomorrow, buy the way.
Ohio State (2) vs. No. 10 Michigan State (10) 5:15 FOX - It's the B1G Ten Conference Title game, the conference with 12 teams and with both poor math and creative writing skills. In their first year back from bowl ineligibility, Ohio State didn't bother getting gently reacclimatized to post season play. They aimed straight for the top. The Leaders division (lol) champ is the country's other undefeated team, though they escaped Michigan by a nose hair last week. They will look to run up another big score to keep the SEC from snagging thier spot. The Legends division (lol) winner Michigan State is no slouch though. They've won 8 in a row since getting homered by some Notre Dame refs for their only loss of the year and will go to the Rose Bowl with a win tonight. This could be a much closer game than many expect.
Utah State at No. 23 Fresno State 7pm CBS - Yes, the Mountain West plays a title game. No, I don't know why.
Here's our College Football Conference Championship Saturday open thread. Have at it.