So hard to believe that we're past the halfway point in the regular season. Seems like just yesterday that we were lining up against Kent State. Halfway through, we're starting to see the wheat separated from the chaff and so far, there are still a ton of undefeated teams. In the SEC, it's looking to be a two horse race in the West with both Alabama and LSU having ambitions of national glory as well as conference glory. In the East, you've got a bunch of teams punching it out to be cannon fodder for the winner of the West...and oddly enough, it's looking more and more like Georgia may rise to the top. Florida's QBs are all broken, South Carolina finally booted Garcia for good this week, Tyler Bray is hurt at Tennessee and Kentucky and Vanderbilt are Kentucky and Vanderbilt (though that's a slap in the face to Vanderbilt this year to group them with Kentucky.) As always, all times listed are central and the rankings are from the USA Today poll until the BCS poll comes out next week.
BAYLOR (24) at TEXAS A&M (23) - 11:00 a.m. - FX
Who would've ever dreamed this would be a Top 25 match-up a few years ago? It's bottom of the barrel Top 25, but there it sits nonetheless. Amazing how a team joining your conference ups your interest in them when the chances of me watching this game a year ago would've stood at exactly less than zero. A&M has narrowly fallen to the only two ranked teams they've played (Oklahoma State and Arkansas), but they did it in less than impressive fashion. These weren't valiant comebacks thwarted at the last minute by superior teams, they were epic collapses after building up big leads. Baylor's only loss was to now #17 ranked Kansas State. Baylor's opening win over TCU has lost its shine a bit with the Horned Frogs also having dropped a game to SMU. Look for Robert Griffin III to torch the porous A&M secondary (his season low in passing is 212 yards.) Hopefully A&M can find a way to win because it makes me less than excited to think we're inviting a team to the SEC that's going to lose to Baylor on its farewell tour.
MICHIGAN (10) at MICHIGAN STATE (19) - 11:00 a.m. - ESPN / ESPN3
Is it the 1960s? Michigan and Michigan State are both ranked when squaring off against each other? I'm sure it's happened more recently than that (and believe me, I can't be bothered to check), but it feels like forever since anybody had anything positive to say about Michigan football. Michigan State has won the last three despite historically being owned by the Wolverines. The Wolverines winning this one would certainly be a big step in a return to normalcy for the program that has rapidly fallen from grace.
LSU (2) at TENNESSEE - 2:30 p.m. - CBS
Sweet mercy. This game doesn't even kickoff for another two days and I've already changed the channel it's become such a bloodbath. This game is no more 2:30 material than I can fly (especially with the Tyler Bray injury), but the network execs had pretty slim pickings this week on the conference slate. This way, you at least get to see the next two teams we play on TV and as Bama fans we can enjoy the further public humiliation of one of our most hated rivals. That's about all I've got to say on this one.
OKLAHOMA STATE (7) at TEXAS (21) - 2:30 p.m. - ABC / ESPN / ESPN3
Texas was absolutely gutted by Oklahoma and the Cowboys certainly have the offensive firepower to do so as well. Okie State's marquee win so far was a narrow comeback victory over Texas A&M. Everybody else they've played has been eviscerated by three TDs or more. It might be fun to watch this game with Shaggy Bevo open on your computer and enjoy a meltdown in real time. The Cowboys are likely to bring forth new and creative ways of swearing that even Texas fans didn't know existed yet seeing as getting smashed two weeks in a row after a 4-0 start and a #11 ranking will likely have the entire city of Austin on a collective suicide watch.
ARIZONA STATE (20) at OREGON (9) - 9:15 p.m. - ESPN
Finally, there's a little bit of punch back in the late night game. Instead of watching a bunch of WAC or Mountain West also-rans, you can see a game between two ranked and fairly talented Pac-12 teams. Arizona State's only loss came at the hands of Illinois and Oregon dropped their season opener against LSU. At least both losses came to ranked teams. Despite the early season loss, Oregon is still in a position to make some noise and can still win the Pac-12. If they keep winning, their clash with Stanford on November 12th should be a fun one to watch. Arizona State is atop the leader board in the much weaker Pac-12 South. This could be a preview of the inaugural Pac-12 title game, though it's probably too early to make that call.