If you like upsets, you absolutely loved last weekend’s college football action. The top two teams in the BCS Standings both went down, and the entire BCS rankings were shaken up in a way no one could have predicted. Oregon and Kansas State were the big losers of the week, and they are almost assuredly out of the title picture.
Who were the big winners from last week’s mayhem? Notre Dame is the only remaining unbeaten team eligible to play for the BCS Championship. One week after appearing to lose their chance at repeating as champions, the Alabama Crimson Tide are right back in the driver’s seat. Georgia and Florida are also back in the BCS Championship picture. Those predictions of the SEC getting shut out of the title game were definitely premature! Notre Dame, Alabama, and Georgia are the three teams that are in control of their own BCS destiny at this point.
The shakeup at the top of the BCS standings isn’t the only big news heading into this weekend in college football. It’s also rivalry weekend, and that means there are going to be some terrific matchups. What’s better than watching two teams that hate each other go hard for 60 minutes on the gridiron? A big Thanksgiving meal followed by a great weekend of college football is priceless.
This weekend marks the final regular season game for most teams. Here are some important numbers to consider when betting on college football this weekend.
1- USC may not have Matt Barkley under center this weekend, but they’ll still have one very confident quarterback leading the way. Freshman Max Wittek went on ESPN Radio Tuesday and said, “I’m going to go out there, I’m going to play within myself, within the system, and we’re going to win this ball game.”
1- The number of people bitten by the Sports Illustrated cover jinx last weekend. In last week’s by the numbers report I mentioned Klein’s appearance on the cover of the magazine, and he had his worst game of the season in the Wildcats blowout loss to Baylor last Saturday. Notre Dame fans should be on the lookout this weekend. The cover of this week’s Sports Illustrated is the legendary gold Fighting Irish helmet.
2- Two teams, Rutgers and Maryland, announced they will join the Big Ten Conference this week. Is this a good move for the conference? It certainly makes sense when you consider the demographics and money the conference stands to make, but Rutgers and Maryland haven’t been elite football programs of late. Will the conference change its name to the Big 14 or will they continue to be the numerically-challenged Big Ten?
11- The Utah State Aggies deserve some major credit for getting through their first eleven games of the season without losing against the number. Oddsmakers are extremely sharp, and managing to stay unbeaten against the spread through that period of time is an impressive feat. Utah State is a 38-point favorite at home against the hapless Idaho Vandals this weekend.
12- If Ohio State beats Michigan this weekend, they’ll be 12-0 on the year. Ohio State would have been in a great spot to reach the BCS Championship Game, but the team is ineligible after their “tattoo-gate” mess with Terrelle Pryor and Jim Tressel from a couple years ago. Many in Columbus wondered before the season why the program didn’t ban itself from a bowl last year. If the Buckeyes win this Saturday, Gene Smith and the rest of the bigwigs in the athletic department are likely to take even more heat.
65- An ESPN SportsNation poll earlier this week found that 65 percent of fans believe Alabama would win a four-team playoff. Notre Dame received 23 percent of the votes from fans, while Georgia and Florida both received less than 10 percent. Clearly, the public perception is that Alabama is the team to beat once again.
4,000- Minnesota’s leading receiver A.J. Barker quit the team this week. He didn’t want there to be any question about why left, so he wrote a 4,000 word blog post on Tumblr. The title is “My Letter to Jerry Kill, why I quit.” Barker wasn’t happy with the way Kill and the rest of the coaching staff treated him after a recent injury. The Golden Gophers aren’t talking about this publicly this week, but this can’t be something the program wanted to have pop up in an otherwise surprisingly good year for the team.
5,000- The Auburn Tigers are listed at +5,000 according to odds from 5Dimes to beat the Alabama Crimson Tide this weekend. Those who really want the BCS picture to get jacked up may want to put a few dollars on this one for fun, but I highly suggest you save your money. Gene Chizik’s team hasn’t showed any heart for weeks, and Alabama is going to be playing with a real sense of urgency now that they have an expected second chance at a title.