We're now past the half way point in the season (I'll give you all a moment to pause and weep at that thought....) and things are weird. We already have a three loss Oklahoma and a two loss Ohio State among other oddities. I imagine you'd have to go back quite a way to find that happening at the same time this early in the season. There's also a lot of one loss teams that are ranked, but that have looked really vulnerable at times: Penn State, LSU, BYU, Georgia Tech, etc. With that in mind, this isn't a super stellar week for games. I've kind of been scratching my head over which games to pick all week and honestly considered scrapping the whole thing for the week. There are several games that probably looked really interesting when they were scheduled for TV or that look good historically, but aren't particularly compelling with the way things are shaking out (Florida State at North Carolina for example.) Now that the BCS rankings are out,I'm using those rankings instead of the AP. As always, all times listed are Central. Here's
your Top 5 my Top 5 non-Bama games of Week 8 of the 2009 college football season:
UAB at MARSHALL
Saturday, October 24th - 11:00 a.m. - CSS
This pick is for Todd & I and the reason I put a strike through "Your Top 5" in the paragraph above. There's simply not a lot on this week that's going to get a consensus from the masses. I was trying to be as objective as possible, but it's just a bunch of dreck this week. What was I going to choose instead, Minnesota at Ohio State? UCONN at West Virginia? Oklahoma State at Baylor? Louisville at Cincinnati? Oklahoma at Kansas? All those games feature ranked teams and I have zero interest in them so I'm getting selfish this week.
UAB and Marshall are tied for 2nd in the CUSA East right now (along with Southern Miss) despite vastly different overall records: Marshall is at 4-3 (2-1) and UAB is at 2-4 (2-1). A win here keeps the Blazers in the hunt for winning the East. Now that they've gotten their first win over Southern Miss, the sky's the limit despite taking several bad out of conference beatings. Their one conference loss (to SMU) was a close won and they've won their other two conference games convincingly. UAB won last year's game in Birmingham and a road win here would do wonders for their division title hopes.
TCU (8) at BYU (16)
Saturday, October 24th - 6:30 p.m. - Versus
The only game of Week 8 between two ranked teams is on a channel that a lot of people probably don't even get. I haven't seen TCU play yet and have only seen parts of two BYU games (Oklahoma and Florida State.) After getting shanked by FSU, BYU's BCS-busting hopes are washed up, but TCU's are still alive and kicking (if Boise loses that is.)
FLORIDA (1) at MISSISSIPPI STATE
Saturday, October 24th - 6:30 p.m. - ESPN
I haven't seen Mississippi State play yet except for bits and pieces of their game against Auburn. Since they're coming up on the schedule, I figured I'd have a look. Another thing worth noting, this certainly shows the power of the SEC contract with ESPN. I know Florida's #1 and all, but they're playing a 3-4 team in prime time?
AUBURN at LSU (9)
Saturday, October 24th - 6:30 p.m. - ESPN2
Not too many years ago, this was THE game in the SEC West. The winner of this one could pretty much book their ticket to Atlanta. That's not the case anymore, but it's still a game that stirs interest from us as they're two of our main rivals. Though highly unlikely and hanging by a thread, Auburn's hopes for Atlanta are still technically alive. If they could win here, then win out and have Alabama lose another conference game, they'd be in a good position. With losses to Arkansas and Kentucky under their belts already though, that probably isn't happening. LSU haven't exactly looked like world beaters though despite their Top 10 ranking, so who knows...maybe the Barn's faint hopes will be kept alive.
OREGON STATE at USC (7)
Saturday, October 24th - 7:00 p.m. - ABC/ESPN Gameplan
I imagine this game will be on Gameplan for those of us in Alabama (it's up against Texas at Missouri), but I'm including it because USC has struggled against teams with "Oregon" in their name over the last three seasons. Those struggles typically only occur when playing in the state of Oregon, where they haven't won a game since 2005 (which is good new for the Ducks later this year.)
So...yeah...not exactly a weekend of must see games. After the Bama game on Saturday, this is as good of a time as there will probably be this season to help strengthen the relationships you strain every year during football season by skipping out on the rest of the day and showing them that you can, in fact, get up off of the couch on Saturdays.