Including Alabama's game with South Carolina, there are five games between ranked teams this weekend. That's about all you could ask for midway through the season. We've got a little bit of everything for you this week: two rivalry games, a Big East showdown, an ACC battle and the requisite SEC clash. All times listed are central and the rankings are those of the AP. With that, I bring you the Top 5 non-Bama games of week 7 of the 2009 college football season:
CINCINNATI (8) at USF (21)
Thursday, October 15th - 6:30 p.m. - ESPN
I went to USF for all of one semester of graduate school before transferring to Alabama. Even though I was only there a short time, it was during football season and I went to some games (assuming they didn't conflict with Alabama games of course.) Oddly enough, I developed a mild interest in USF football and now consider them "my Big East team." None of that is reason enough for any of you to watch this game though. The reason to watch this game is that it features two Top 25 teams that are both undefeated. Considering there's a mere 9 undefeated FBS schools left out of 120, this type of game is a rarity at this point in the season. Just off the top of my head, there's only a few more possibilities of such a game left for the entire year: Texas and Kansas play in the regular season and Alabama and Florida could both be undefeated and meet in the SEC Championship game and then two undefeateds could meet in the BCS title game. We know this much though, the list will be down to eight at the most by the end of the weekend. Both teams have played some serious cupcakes: USF has played Western Kentucky, Wofford, and Charleston Southern and Cincinnati has taken on Southeast Missouri State and Miami (OH). USF's best win is at Florida State, though that's obviously lost its shine as the 'Noles now sit at 2-4. Cincinnati's resume wins so far have come against a 4-1 Rutgers team (whose resume win is Maryland or FIU) and a 4-2 Oregon State. Not sure who will win, but somebody will get catapulted back into obscurity with a loss on Thursday.
OKLAHOMA (20) vs. TEXAS (3)
Saturday, October 17th - 11:00 a.m. - ABC
This is a game I look forward to every year. Not only does it have divisional and conference title implications, it often has national title implications. Despite Oklahoma sitting at 3-2 and being out of the national title picture, they're still very much in the Big XII title picture. They're tied for second in the division with Oklahoma State and with a win over Texas on Saturday could control their own destiny on the way to the Big XII title game. And let's face it, whoever wins this game is (probably) going to the Big XII Championship game. In the 13 previous years, only twice has a team not called Texas or Oklahoma represented the South (and that hasn't happened since 1998.) A Big XII North team has only won the league title four times since they went to a title game (and only twice since 2000.) So, according to history, this one's likely for all the conference marbles. Now that Sam Bradford's back and has a full game under his belt, this should be a fun one.
USC (6) at NOTRE DAME (25)
Saturday, October 17th - 2:30 p.m. - NBC
I know some of you will be rolling your eyes over this one, but hey, it features two ranked teams that are traditional powerhouses. Yeah, the Irish haven't won since 2001 and the game hasn't been even remotely competitive since the epic "Bush push" game of 2005, but I'll defend this game being on the list. First of all, what self-respecting Alabama fan doesn't enjoy a little schadenfreude over an Irish loss? Secondly, USC is still in the hunt to make the BCS title game. Despite losing to Washington and taking quite a tumble in the polls because of it, the amount of upsets this year has allowed them to quietly climb back to #6 (#5 in the USA Today) and if they win out, combined with a Texas loss and another Virginia Tech loss, they'll be playing on January 7th as there's no way an undefeated Boise State goes to the title game over an 11-1 USC.
ARKANSAS at FLORIDA (1)
Saturday, October 17th - 2:30 p.m. - CBS
I don't really expect this one to be terribly competitive, but there's a pretty steep drop off after the other four "top non-Bama games of the week" in my opinion. Arkansas comes in at #32 if you extend out the "others receiving votes" category and this'll be a chance to see how the #1 ranked team in the country stacks up against a team we handily beat. Plus, it'll give you a chance to hear Verne and Gary talk a bunch more about Tebow's concussion on every snap with Florida on offense and about how awesome and tall Brian Hammer...err...Ryan Mallett is.
VIRGINIA TECH (4) at GEORGIA TECH (19)
Saturday, October 17th - 5:00 p.m. - ESPN2
Virginia Tech will have played four ranked teams after this weekend. If they manage to knock off the Yellowjackets in Atlanta, then that just adds even more value to our win over the Hokies on opening weekend. Despite their 5-1 record, Georgia Tech has been a bit schizophrenic at times and you don't really know which team will show up: the one that found itself in a shootout with 2-4 Florida State or the one that handily defeated North Carolina by 17 points