Let us recap Week 11, shall we?
No. 17 Nebraska (8-2,4-2 Big Ten) at No. 21 Penn State (8-2, 5-1 Big Ten)
Pregame rant: The game is almost an afterthought. Penn State no longer has its head coach – Joe Paterno – or its president. The school’s board of trustees fired Paterno following former defensive coordinator, Jerry Sandusky, being indicted on charges of sexually abusing eight boys over 15 years. The backlash of that helped lead to Paterno being shown the door in his 46th season as head coach. Now the Nittany Lions must go out and play their final home game in an emotional state against a team coming off an embarrassing home loss to Northwestern. Should be a wild one.
Postgame commentary: Just a sad, yet engaging scene. In the end, Nebraska hung on to win 17-14, but the continual fallout for Penn State is growing like wild bushes. How all this ends is anybody’s guess.
No. 19 TCU (8-2, 5-0 Mountain West) at No. 10 Boise State (8-1, 3-1 Mountain West)
Pregame rant: The top two teams in the Mountain West are playing for more than that. For TCU, it’s a chance to get back in the Top 25 after having a great 2010 season that ended with a Rose Bowl win against Wisconsin. For Boise State, it can’t fold here if it wants to stay contention for a spot in the national title game. Guy to watch? Senior quarterback Kellen Moore. He’s thrown 29 TDs, just five INTs, is completing 74.1 percent of his passes and has only been sacked three times.
Postgame commentary: TCU’s back in the Top 25 after its 36-35 upset win at Boise State. It was another case of special teams costing the Broncos.
Last season, they missed two field goals in a 34-31 loss at Nevada. Last week, freshman kicker Dan Goodale missed a 39-yard kick wide right that would have won it for Boise State at the horn.
No. 4 Oregon (9-1, 7-0 Pac-12) at No. 8 Stanford (9-1, 7-1 Pac-12)
Pregame rant: Too bad the two best teams in the Pac-12 are in the same division. If both offenses do what they do, 100 combined points will be scored. You’ve got Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, the Heisman Trophy favorite, on one side, but Oregon’s quarterback, Darron Thomas, has an element of improvisation that will give the Cardinal defense fits. If Thomas makes six plays in which he makes a big play out of nothing, the Ducks will quack Stanford.
Postgame commentary: Committing five turnovers proved costly for Stanford as Luck threw two interceptions in a 53-30 home loss to the Ducks. Oregon. Having tailback LaMichael James back makes Oregon’s offense one of the nation’s best, but when Thomas plays the way he did, the Ducks are scary. He was 11-of-17 for just 155 yards, but threw three touchdowns and no picks.
Western Kentucky (5-5, 5-1 Sun Belt) at No. 1 LSU (10-0, 6-0 SEC).
Pregame rant: The only thing saving this from being an utter destruction in LSU’s favor is the Tigers are coming off a grueling game at Alabama. They’ll likely come out sluggish, but eventually take care of WKU.
Postgame commentary: In its 42-9 win, the top-ranked Tigers were only up 14-7 at the half, but took command in the second half. Up next for LSU: Mississippi (2-8, 0-6) but the one we care about is the following week against No. 6 Arkansas (9-1, 5-1).
Here are three games worth watching in Week 12.
No. 17 Nebraska (8-2, 4-2) at No. 20 Michigan (8-2, 4-2), Saturday, noon, ESPN.
Nebraska and Michigan are both looking up at Michigan State (8-2, 5-1) in the Big Ten Legends division. Unless the Spartans just fold up shop, they should beat Indiana (1-9, 0-6) and Northwestern (5-5, 2-4) to earn a spot in the first Big Ten title game. If Michigan State falters once, Nebraska can capitalize because it beat the Spartans, but winning at the Big House won’t be easy Saturday.
No. 21 Penn State (8-2, 5-1 Big Ten) at Ohio State (6-4, 3-3 Big Ten),. Saturday, 3:30 p.m., ESPN/ABC.
The off-field turmoil surrounding the Nittany Lions continues to grow. The irony of all this is Ohio State was going through drama heading into the season with Jim Tressel being fired and the players tattoo-memorabilia exchange ring.
Now Ohio State’s trouble pale in comparison to Penn State’s. As far as the game goes, Penn State’s offense has been shaky all year. As good as their defense is, the Nittany Lions can’t beat Ohio State or Wisconsin next week if they continue to struggle offensively.
USC (8-2, 5-2 Pac-12) at No. 4 Oregon (9-1, 7-0 Pac-12), Saturday, 8 p.m., ABC
After putting up 53 at Stanford, Oregon returns home to take the Trojans. USC sophomore receiver Robert Woods, who has 92 catches for 1,126 yards and 11 touchdowns, will get his shots to make big plays, but Oregon has too many offensive weapons.
Snooze on these, though.
Citadel (4-6, 2-6 Southern Conference) at No. 14 South Carolina (8-2, 6-2 SEC). Saturday, noon, ESPN3
Nice practice game for the Gamecocks before playing their season finale against state rival Clemson. South Carolina should win with ease. Citadel will get a nice check and a few bruises from this one.
Miami, Fla. (5-5, 3-4 ACC) at South Florida (5-4, 1-4 Big East) Saturday, 3:30 p.m., ESPNU
These schools haven’t lived up to expectations. The winner will be bowl eligible, but at this point, everyone gets in a bowl. With all that talent in that area, these two teams shouldn’t be that mediocre. What a shame.
Boston College (3-7, 2-5 ACC) at No. 24 Notre Dame (7-3), Saturday, 4 p.m., NBC
The Irish are back in the Top 25 and should stay there by handing the Eagles. Tommy Rees isn’t a bad quarterback. Just a sophomore, Rees has thrown 19 touchdowns to 10 interceptions. He completed a season-high 78.9 percent of his passes in last week’s 38-30 win against Maryland.