If you had to come up with a catchy name for what happened last weekend, what would it be? BSPN loves to come up with these catchy slogans like 'Separation Saturday' to try and sell us on any particular slate of games they're selling. And, if you have been following along, you know the big news doesn't always come out of games that were predicted to be big games. Last weekend, however . . . .
The Big 12 delivered the biggest fireworks show when Oklahoma shocked #6 Baylor. This came of course on the heels of Oklahoma State upsetting TCU in week 10. This is important because it now vaults OK State into the Big 12's best hope for a playoff spot. Here in the Pac 12, Oregon's upset of Stanford, and UofA's upset of Utah killed our already shakey shot at a playoff birth. Beyond that, it turned the remainder of the Pac 12 race into a War of Attrition for that championship game berth.
That's it!! (Cue Talent) This weekend! The War of Attrition continues, as 6 games today will feature ranked teams battling it out for conference supremacy!! (Cue music, fly the graphics aaaaand, play generic CFB broll) aaaaaand cut back to the sound stage:
#12 Michigan at Penn State - 9am, ABC
~ Alright, let's be honest, I really only listed this game to get a 9:00am game in the list. And, wouldn't you really rather watch this match up of traditional BIG powers than say, Florida v Florida Atlantic? The bonus of course is watching Jim Harbaugh do his thing on the sidelines.
#20 Northwestern at #25 Wisconsin - 12:30pm, BTN
~ Ok, honestly, you don't have to or want to watch this game. Both teams are looking up at Iowa with no chance of catching them since they have both played and lost to Iowa. So, why is it on the list? Because it's a match up of two ranked teams! Wisconsin has the best resume, with their only other loss going to Playoff bound Bama. Both teams are jockeying for bowl invites and the lucrative payoffs they afford their teams. The other reason it's on the list? Because for some reason the Big Ten Network continues to be available in the LA area, while the Pac 12 Network is only available on sorry @$$ Time Warner. Figure that one out.
UCLA at #13 Utah - 12:30pm, FOX
~ Because, duh. This promises to be a bloody affair since the loser is officially out of the Pac 12 South running, and they can cross that date in Santa Clara off the 'To Do list.' Both teams are coming off disappointing losses and looking to make someone pay for it. Can UCLA get a favorable call? Can Mazzone get the ball in from the 2 yard line?
#9 Michigan State at #3 Ohio State - 12:30pm, ABC
~ This promises to be a brutal combat of determined . . . combatants. Ohio State is undefeated sitting in the top 4 playoff stops, while Sparty trails them by only one loss in the B1G East Division standings. They want what the Buckeyes have, and know they have to kill the king if they want to be the king.
#15 LSU at #22 Mississippi - 12:30pm, CBS
~ LSU's pratfall last weekend to unheralded Arkansas took a lot of luster out of this match up. But, Ole Miss did hand Bama it's lone loss. If the Rebels can hold court and beat LSU, they would have a tie breaker over Bama should Auburn rise to the occasion in the Iron Bowl.
#24 USC at #23 Oregon - 12:30pm, ESPN
~ You might wonder what this match up is doing on this list. But, the not so mighty Trogans struggled last week against Colorado, while Oregon stepped up to the plate and chopped down some trees for kindling. It was a huge blow for the Pac 12 as a whole, but one that was worth taking. Before last weeks game I wrote that the Stanford/Oregon match up has been a bitter one in recent years. Well, so has Oregon/USC. This one looks to be a knock down, kick em in the groin battle for bragging rights and recruits.
#10 Baylor at #6 Oklahoma State - 4:30pm, FOX
~ The Baylor Bears took the beating of the week, and the feeling of egg on your face has to feel particularly embarrassing when you are undefeated and on the precipice of joining the big 4 on the playoff stage. Oklahoma State meanwhile was the unwanted stepchild of the Big 12 until they stepped up and crushed TCU two weeks ago. Both teams have a lot on the line, albeit, Oklahoma State has the most to lose.
#18 TCU at #7 Oklahoma - 5pm, ABC
~ This is the other star crossed match up the Big 12 is providing us this weekend. Was it just 3 weeks ago, that there were 3 undefeated teams and one 1 loss Oklahoma at the top of their standings? While TCU and Baylor lost the most, and Oklahoma State gained the most, Oklahoma is the one that actually sneaked into the driver's seat. With a win here and a win next week against the Cowboys, don't be surprised if the Sooners come out as Big 12 champions. But, first they have to fight an angry Horned Frog team with a lot of weapons left in their arsenal.
Keep all this in mind as you pick out the day's slate of gladiatorial contests masked as academic endeavors.
You can also check in on any of the SBN sister sites and see what other respective fan bases have to say about their particular match ups.