College Football Continues to be Overshadowed by Change
The 2011 college football season will go down as one that has been overshadowed by change. And, not change that has taken place on the gridiron.
Just this past week, TCU canceled its plans to join the Big East Conference, two weeks after a pair of BE members, Syracuse and Pittsburgh, announced plans to leave for the Atlantic Coast Conference. Texas A&M will be joining the SEC and Missouri may exit the Big 12 for the SEC. Louisville, Cincinnati and West Virginia are rumored to be replacement teams for the Big 12 if and only if the Big East doesn’t close the gas and fast.
The Big East may replace Syracuse and Pittsburgh with Temple and Central Florida or Memphis for all sports, and invite Army, Air Force, Navy and East Carolina as football only schools. Villanova, a current BE member which has been playing at 1-AA level, may follow through with moving up to 1-A ,making itself eligible for Big East Conference play.
It is unfortunate that such instability has impacted football this year, but give it a few more weeks and fans won’t care all that much about the latest rumors. Instead, their eyes will be focused on a number of key match ups that will decide who will rise to the top this season and will most likely gain a top bowl appearance.
This weekend, there are several key contests worth following including:
Michigan at Michigan State — The Wolverines are 6-0 and ranked #11, looking very much like the team they’ve wanted to be for the past several years, but have fallen short. This weekend, it’ll be a trip to Lansing against the #23 Spartans, a game that could put the Wolverines in the Big Ten driver’s seat or raise the MSU’s visibility with an upset. Don’t expect either team to be looking ahead as this game is all about bragging rights in the Great Lakes State.
Baylor at Texas A&M — The #20 Bears meet up with the #21 Aggies in a game that is a must win for both if either one is to have a chance at winning the Big 12 Conference. For the Aggies, a third loss this early in the season would send them out of the Top 25 and off of everyone’s major bowl list.
Oklahoma State at Texas — The #6 Cowboys are #2 in the state of Oklahoma, but they have the chance to show #22 Texas which state plays the better ball on Saturday. Last week, the Longhorns welcomed the Sooners to the Lone Star State and got walloped, 55-17. Worse for Texas is that the Cowboys are putting up more than 50 points per game and have the highest point average of all teams. Senior Brandon Weeden has thrown for 10 touchdowns and almost 1,600 yards so far this season for the Cowboys.
Arizona State at Oregon — After opening with a loss to LSU, the #9 Ducks have shown that they’re ready to win out the rest of their games this season. Of course, two huge match ups remain including Saturday’s game against the #18 Sun Devils. This game is at home and the Ducks, with the #2 highest scoring offense in the country, are aiming to outscore ASU and its 35 point per game offense. Expect a lot of fireworks, but Oregon should win and face off at Stanford on November 12 for the Pac 12 conference (North) honors.
For those teams which didn’t hit the half way mark of the season last weekend, most will do so this weekend. Some teams are performing beyond expectations including Rutgers and Cincinnati of the Big East. Both schools are 4-1. Wake Forest is tied with Clemson atop the ACC Atlantic standings, Kansas State is 5-0 and Notre Dame has won four straight games and looks hot.