A rivalry that in recent years switched from the Big East to the ACC takes center stage on Thursday night, as Virginia Tech (6-3, 3-2 ACC Coastal) visits Miami (6-3, 3-2) at 7:30 PM on ESPN. The winner gets a leg up in the unpredictable Coastal Division race, while the loser would be in serious trouble. Although Miami has a 16-9 advantage in the series, the Hokies have the upper hand of late winning nine of the last thirteen meetings. A star was born last Thursday night for Virginia Tech, with redshirt freshman Darren Lewis rushing for 253 yards in their win over Maryland.
Another week another set of midweek games from the MAC, with the first featuring an undefeated Ball State team looking to work its way into the BCS. But with games remaining against Central Michigan and Western Michigan the Cardinals will have a hard enough time winning the MAC West let alone going undefeated. But tonight brings a trip to Oxford to take on the Redhawks of Miami (OH), who find themselves in the middle of a heated battle for the MAC East.
Well, that one roadblock between Penn State and an undefeated regular season turned their campaign towards a national title into a trainwreck, with Iowa making a field goal with one second left to win 24-23 in Iowa City. Daryll Clark had his worst game of the season under center and the Nittany Lions left points on the board in the first half, something that came back to bite them in the second stanza. Ricky Stanzi didn't make the lethal mistake for the Hawkeyes, and Shonn Greene eclipsed 100 yards on the ground for the tenth time this season.
While last week provided some answers in regards to the national and conference title races sweeping the nation, they didn't do a whole lot to provide clarity in some instances. Florida is in the driver's seat in the SEC East and Alabama can punch their ticket to Atlanta on Saturday, but that's a long ways away from the logjam in the ACC. After Thursday night all 12 teams have at least two conference losses, and a noon matinee in Chapel Hill could give us a frontrunner in the Coastal Division.
The weekend is here, and as we progress deeper into the month of November the national title race begins to take shape. But there are also conference (and divisional) championships to determine, and the three games that Billy and I have chosen will have a direct effect on who wins the Pac-10, SEC West and Big 12 South. But in the case of Alabama's trip to Baton Rouge, division bragging rights may take a backseat to some pure old-fashioned hatred as an old friend returns to the place he once called home.
For those of you with access to CBS College Sports (I'm not one of them), consider yourselves very lucky: you get to check out a game that could very well decide the Mountain West when TCU visits Utah tonight. Of course, the Utes still have BYU on the schedule, but a TCU win could essentially lock up the conference title for the Horned Frogs and set them up for a run at a BCS at-large berth. Also on the schedule before Saturday is another attempt by the ACC to provide some clarity to its race, and a pair of WAC teams treading water in regards to bowl eligibility.
I'm not going to even get into my opinion as to teams playing on Election Day (I sure hope the Miami (Ohio) and Buffalo players get to the polls), but there is football to be played on both Tuesday and Wednesday with all three games being MAC matchups. Could Ball State be a possible upset victim on Wednesday night? Who will take control of a muddled MAC East race after these two days? Here's a preview of the three games on the slate for Tuesday and Wednesday night.
Tuesday: Miami-Ohio (2-6, 1-3) @ Buffalo (4-4, 2-2) 7:30 PM EST on ESPN2
This much we do know after Saturday night: there will be a new number one when the BCS standings are released Sunday night. Texas Tech, in what was also the 500th win in the history of their program, picked up their first ever win over a top-ranked team with a 39-33 win over Texas. Michael Crabtree made the play that sealed it, reeling in a pass from Graham Harrell and running the rest of the way for the gamewinning score with one second remaining. But does that mean the end for the Longhorns? Absolutely not.
A good Saturday of college football for all those who celebrate Halloween with a little too much vigor, most notably rivalry games in the Big 12 and SEC that will go a long way in clarifying both division and national title aspirations for all teams involved. But there's also a noon matinee in the Big East that should determine the frontrunner for that BCS berth and upset alerts for the top two teams in the Mountain West. Here's the schedule for Saturday.
12:00 PM ET Northwestern at No. 17 Minnesota on ESPN2