Thursday, September 25, 2003

College Football Weekend Preview

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
Robert Lee Frost

"Whose woods these are I think I know
His house is in the village though.
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near.
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness' bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep
But I have promises to keep.
And miles to go before I sleep.
And miles to go before I sleep..."
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, Robert Lee Frost

The MAC Conference has been lurking in the woods a while now, but after last weekend, it's safe to say that everyone in the House knows they are there. Hell, it's like the MAC threw a goddamn block party in their backyard, waking the resident's from their BCS dreams.

Yet as much as the MAC likes hanging in those lovely dark and deep woods, they too have miles to go before they sleep. Each of their teams that are still in contention for Eisenberg's College Football title (Northern Illinois, Miami-OH, and Panther-killer Toledo) have yet another game against an opponent from a BCS conference. All will not be lost if the MAC comes up empty this time - they've proven their point - but some serious mileage can be tacked on to their collective journey with a clean sweep this weekend.

There's lots of other things going on as well, even though everyone else writing about college football will tell you that it is a quiet weekend. There are no battles between Top Ten teams, and no classic rivalries. But it's a very important slate of games tonight through Saturday if you follow the ECF Race. With only 58 teams still in contention for the ECF Championship, we still have eight playoff games, and seven games between teams that are still Championship-eligible. So we're bound to see a winnowing of teams, even if all of the major players stay intact.

All of the rankings are from College Football News. These are this weekend's Playoff Games:

# 23 South Carolina at # 9 Tennessee - The Vols are 16-point favorites. Covering will be hard after the big win in the Swamp, but Tennessee has to win this game.

# 30 Pittsburgh at # 21 Texas A &M - The Panthers are 1-point favorites on the road. Just what has this Pitt team proven exactly? Dennis Franchione gets his first significant win.

# 24 Wake Forest at # 35 Virginia - The Cavaliers are a 6-point favorite.

# 71 Iowa St at # 22 N. Illinois - The Huskies are 6.5-point favorites. Can the MAC keep it up? Huskies in OT.

# 76 UConn at # 4 Va Tech - Say goodbye to these Huskies. VT are 21-point favorites, and will show no mercy here.

# 42 ASU at #44 Oregon St - The Beavers are minus 6.

# 39 Texas Tech at # 72 Mississippi - Ole Miss is minus 3.

# 106 Navy at #93 Rutgers - My favorite. The Midshipmen are favored by 1. One of these two is going to be alive in October.

Here are all the games between teams that are both still in the ECF Championship hunt:

# 17 Nebraska at # 62 S. Miss. - Cornhuskers by 10.5. When was the last time Nebraska started 3-0 and was ranked this low? Any good will that Frank Solich has built up this year will be quickly erased with a loss here.

# 31 Wash St at # 10 Oregon - The Ducks are favored by 4. If Oregon wins here and Utah wins at CSU, it sets up a chance for the Utes against a Top Ten team at home, a Toledo-like situation.

# 45 Stanford at # 38 Washington - More Huskies! These are favored by 12.5. Can you believe that this only Stanford's third game? And they have next week off, too. I like Washington to smoke'em.

# 29 Toledo at # 74 Syracuse - Orangemen by 3.5. Go Rockets!

# 52 Cincinnati at # 28 Miami,OH - Redhawks by 7. The MAC has miles to go before it sleeps.

# 19 Missouri at # 59 Kansas - Tigers by 10. Who would have thought that Kansas would be alive after KSU?

# 14 Iowa at # 56 Michigan St - Hawkeyes by 7. Is Iowa any good? We'll know soon. After this one they have Michigan at home and then go to Columbus.

And there's still more games where ECF teams are in for tough battles:

# 16 Minnesota at # 69 Penn St - The Gophers are two-point favorites on the road.

# 63 Utah at # 51 CSU - The Utes are 6.5-point underdogs, but need a win here to be alive for a shot at #10 Oregon the following weekend.

# 7 Arkansas at # 26 Alabama - The Razorbacks are favored by one. We'll learn a lot about them in this one.

Tune in Monday (taking the holiday off) for the Weekend Wrapup.

Dave's Email


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