Let us recap Week 13, shall we?
No. 23 Penn State (9-3, 6-2 Big Ten) at No. 15 Wisconsin (10-2, 6-2 Big Ten)
Pregame rant: Now the NCAA is getting involved in the whole Penn State situation surrounding former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. Playing a game of football has been the best way for Penn State’s players to deal with what’s going on. The Nittany Lions will have to play one of their best games of the season to defeat Wisconsin. The question is can Penn State, which is ranked 106th in scoring offense (20.9 ppg.) score enough points to win?
Postgame commentary: The Nittany Lions couldn’t muster enough points nor stop Wisconsin in their 45-7 loss to the Badgers. Montee Ball ran for 156 yards and four touchdowns. The win puts Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game. As for the Nittany Lions, the focus will remain on the actions off the field. Sad story on a variety of levels.
No. 3 Arkansas (10-2, 6-2 SEC) at No. 1 LSU (12-0, 8-0 SEC)
Pregame rant: Don’t book a first-class trip to the BCS title game for LSU just yet. Arkansas won’t go down easily. The Razorbacks have an outstanding QB-WR combo in junior Tyler Wilson (21 TD passes, 5 INTs) and senior Jarius Wright (1,002, yards receiving, 10 TD catches). However, Wilson has been sacked 18 times and he may go down a few more times against an LSU defense that’s second in the nation in total defense. This has become one of the better SEC rivalries.
Postgame commentary: Arkansas made a game of it – for a half – before LSU ran away with a 41-17 win. To think the Razorbacks led 14-0 in the second quarter before being outscored 41-3 the remainder of the game. Now the Tigers have one more hurdle to overcome – Georgia in the SEC title game. A win there sets up a likely rematch with Alabama in the BCS title game.
No. 21 Clemson (9-3, 6-2 ACC) at No. 14 South Carolina (10-2, 6-2 SEC)
Pregame rant: With the Backyard Brawl (Pitt-WVU), Iron Bowl (Auburn-Alabama) and The Game (Michigan-Ohio State) being played on the same weekend, this Palmetto State rivalry tends to fly under the radar. Not this year. The two teams have a combined 18 wins, which is the most Clemson and South Carolina have had collectively going into a game against other. In Steve Spurrier’s six previous seasons at South Carolina, he’s never won 10 games in a season. Maybe seven will be a lucky number for the ‘ol ball coach.
Postgame commentary: Spurrier got that 10th win in a big way. The Gamecocks rolled past rival Clemson, 34-13, in Columbia. Now you got Clemson coach Dabo Swinney adding fuel to this rivalry. After Saturday’s win for the Gamecocks, South Carolina play-by-play radio commentator Todd Ellis, a former quarterback for the Gamecocks, said, “As Coach Spurrier says, we might not be LSU or Alabama, but we ain’t Clemson, folks.”
In reaction, Swinney fired back at the ‘ol ball coach.
“He is exactly right –- they ain’t Alabama, they ain’t LSU and they certainly are not Clemson. That is why (North) Carolina is in Chapel Hill, USC is in California and the university in this state always has been and always will be Clemson. It’s right here in Clemson, S.C. You can print that. Tweet that.”
Here are three games worth watching in Week 14.
SEC title game – No. 12 Georgia (10-2, 7-1) vs. No. 1 LSU (12-0, 8-0), Saturday, 4 p.m., CBS
Don’t sleep on the Bulldogs here. One, this is in essence a home game for Georgia because the game is in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Two, the Bulldogs have won 10 straight. Three, their two losses are to ranked opponents – No. 9 Boise State and No. 14 South Carolina. With all that being said, LSU is still the favorite, but if Georgia can be within striking distance late, the Tigers could start feeling that pressure to win to reach the BCS title game.
No. 13 Oklahoma (9-2, 6-2 Big 12) at No. 3 Oklahoma State (10-1, 7-1 Big 12,), Saturday, 8 p.m., ABC
If the Cowboys can win convincingly over the rival Sooners, that may be enough to push them past Alabama for that No. 2 spot in the BCS. Having Georgia beat LSU would help their cause, too, but the Cowboys must take care of their own business. Oklahoma State has a 4,000-yard passer – Brandon Weeden (4,111 yards, 34 TDs), a 1,000-yard rusher – Joseph Randle (1,042, 21 TDs) anda 1,000-yard receiver – Justin Blackmon (1,241 yards, 15 TDs). No wonder the Cowboys are second in the nation scoring at 49.8 points a game. Can the Sooners keep up?
Big Ten title game – No. 15 Wisconsin (10-2, 6-2) vs. No. 11 Michigan State (10-2, 7-1), Saturday, 8:17 p.m., FOX.
The first-ever Big Ten championship game is a rematch of arguably the best college football game of the 2011 season. Remember Michigan State stunned Wisconsin on a Hail Mary touchdown pass on the game’s final play that went under review before the ruling on the field was confirmed. Trust me, the Badgers haven’t forgotten. This should be a good one.
Snooze on these, though.
Pac-12 title game – UCLA (6-6, 5-4 Pac-12) at No. 8 Oregon (10-2, 8-1 Pac-12), Today, 8 p.m., FOX
If Oregon wins, USC will have even greater rights to the conference championship. Tthe Trojans are on a two-year ban from playing in bowl games so they couldn’t play in the Pac-12 title game, but they have beaten UCLA and Oregon this season. So instead the Bruins have to go to Eugene with a coach - Rick Neuheisel – who has already been fired and take a beatdown from a team who has no shame in running the score up. This will get ugly.
Syracuse (5-6, 1-5 Big East) at Pittsburgh (5-6, 3-3), Saturday, noon, ESPN2.
You’ve got two teams from the worst of the super six conferences with losing records going at it here. When do they play each other in men’s basketball? Jan. 16 at the Carrier Dome. That will be worth watching.
UNLV (2-9, 1-5 Mountain West) at No. 18 TCU (9-2, 6-0 Mountain West), Saturday, 2:30 p.m,. Versus
The Horned Frogs can win an outright Mountain West title with a win against the Rebels. When you see what Andy Dalton is doing as a rookie with the Cincinnati Bengals after having a great career at TCU, you wonder who’s the man at QB for the Horned Frogs now? It’s Casey Pachall. The sophomore has thrown for 2,530 yards, 24 touchdowns and six interceptions this year. If you’re going to watch this game, keep an eye on him.