Week Twelve Preview
by Mike Mitchell and Dave Congrove
November 9, 2008
A 50-game schedule starts Tuesday and runs each day through Saturday. It's difficult to believe that it's that time of the year, but New Mexico becomes the first, and only, team to finish its' season this week when it visits Colorado State. The disappointing Lobos (4-7) were eliminated from the postseason with a 27-20 upset loss at UNLV this past Saturday.
As we head down the stretch, five teams are still undefeated - Alabama, Texas Tech, Boise State, Utah and Ball State. None are considered to be in jeopardy of losing this week, barring a sensational upset, as each is favored by no less than 15 points. The Tide hosts Mississippi State as a 20.23-point computer pick; the Red Raiders are idle, the Broncos are favored by 33.42 points when they visit Idaho, Utah is a 28.71-point selection at San Diego State, and Ball State gets the nod by 15.15 points on its' visit to Miami (Ohio).
Among other top-ranked teams, USC visits Stanford; Florida hosts South Carolina; Texas visits Kansas, Penn State hosts Indiana, Ohio State treks to Illinois, and Missouri heads to Iowa State. Oklahoma is idle.
The SEC championship game is already set with Florida taking on Alabama in Atlanta on December 6.
Missouri currently leads the Big 12 North by a game and can claim the division title with a win over Kansas on November 29 in Kansas City if it avoids the letdown this week at the Cyclones.
The Red Raiders are in sole custody of the lead in the Big 12 South with their 6-0 conference record. Oklahoma and Texas trail at 5-1. Texas Tech gets two weeks to prepare for a trip to Oklahoma, and then closes at home against Baylor. But a win over the Sooners is all the Red Raiders need to secure the title as they already own the heads-up tie-breaker with the Longhorns.
Before any of those games take place, there are some important games early in the week.
Friday night, Cincinnati can move one step closer to a Big East title when it visits Louisville. The Bearcats are in a three-way tie for first with Pitt and West Virginia, but control their own destiny as they just defeated the Mountaineers last Saturday and host Pitt next week.
The two leaders of the MAC East go at it on Thursday night when Buffalo visits Akron. Each is 5-4, 3-2. Bowling Green is still in the hunt, too. The Falcons already have a win over the Zips and host the Bulls next week (Fri., Nov. 21).
In the MAC West, Ball State and Central Michigan are both undefeated in conference play. The Cardinals visit Miami (Ohio) on Tuesday night, and the Chippewas go to Dekalb to tackle Northern Illinois on Wednesday night. If Ball State and Central Michigan falter down the stretch, 5-1 Western Michigan could sneak in the back door. The Broncos have already lost to Central Michigan, but they get a crack at Ball State when they visit the Cardinals in the season finale on Tuesday, November 25.
On Thursday night, Virginia Tech and Miami renew their ACC rivalry at Dolphin Stadium. Both teams are 6-3 overall, 3-2 in the ACC, and in the thick of the Coastal division race. The Hokies, however, control their own destiny and are a projected 2.20-point winner by the computer. Virginia Tech has won the last two meetings in Miami, and four of the last five meetings overall.
In the ACC Atlantic division, three teams top the chart with two conference losses - Florida State, Maryland and Wake Forest. The The Demon Deacons have already defeated the 'Noles and lost to the Terps. Florida State gets a crack at Maryland next weekend, but first hosts Boston College this Saturday. In fact, the Eagles control their own destiny even though they currently trail that trio by a game in the loss column. That's because B.C. faces all three in its' final three games.
Maryland hosts a North Carolina team that is currently tied with Miami and Virginia Tech in the Atlantic division. The Tar Heels have already lost to the Hokies and defeated the Hurricanes.
USC and Oregon State are the only PAC-10 teams with just one conference loss. The Trojans go to Stanford which shocked USC 24-23 last year in Los Angeles. The Beavers host California in a series that has seen the visitor win the last five games.
Four teams are still alive in the Mountain West, but undefeated Utah has the upper hand. Air Force, BYU and TCU each have just one conference loss while everyone else has at least four. The Falcons and Cougars go toe-to-toe, TCU is idle, and Utah heads to lowly San Diego State.
In CUSA, East Carolina leads the east division and Tulsa leads the west division. The Pirates have played three overtime games this season, including the last two, and head to Southern Miss as a mere 0.34-point favorite by the computer. The Golden Hurricane are a 6.53-point choice at surging Houston which has won four of its last five and is just a game behind Tulsa.
Louisiana-Lafayette is undefeated in Sun Belt play (4-0), but is a 8.16-point computer underdog at FAU (2-2) this week. Unbelievably, the Owls could still repeat as conference champions even though they already have two Sun Belt losses. That's because no one has played more than five conference games in a league where the round-robin schedule gives each team seven. FAU would need Troy to stumble, though, as it has already lost to the Trojans. Arkansas State (2-2) and FIU (3-2) are also still mathematically alive. Troy (4-1) is in the best shape to challenge for the league crown as it sits just a game behind the Ragin' Cajuns and hosts them next weekend. Troy also hosts the Red Wolves in the season finale.
Boise State has a two-game lead in the loss column of the WAC standings and can clinch at least a share of the title, and the conference's top bowl berth, with a win at Idaho this Saturday. Of course, the Broncos are also firmly in the hunt for an at-large BCS bowl bid.
Only 5 remain: Alabama, Ball State, Boise State, Texas Tech, and Utah.
Only Hawaii made it through the 2007 regular season unscathed, and the Warriors were blown out 41-10 by Georgia in the Sugar Bowl. It was the first season since 2002 that no team recorded a perfect record.
Boise State was the only team to finish the entire 2006 season undefeated, while Texas did it in 2005. Auburn, USC and Utah all had unblemished records in 2004.
Washington is the only remaining winless team.
Last season, FIU beat North Texas in its final regular season game to avoid being the only winless team. FIU was one of two schools to go winless in 2006 (Duke was the other).
WINLESS AGAINST FBS:
4 teams have yet to defeat a FBS school: SMU, Washington, Washington State and Western Kentucky.
FBS vs. FCS:
The divisions were renamed late in 2006. 1-A was given the new moniker of Football Bowl Subdivision
(FBS) while 1-AA was labeled the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS).
No games are scheduled this week that match FBS teams with FCS opponents.
FBS teams are 83-2 (.976) against FCS teams this season, and 373-37 (.910) since 2003.
Here are the losses by the FBS so far this season:
Cal Poly 29, San Diego State 27 (Week 1)
New Hampshire 28, Army 10 (Week 2)
This year, 82 different FBS teams will participate in a total of 87 games that will pit the FCS against the FBS. Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Texas Tech and Western Kentucky each play two such games.
ACC teams have more games versus FCS schools than any other conference. Here is the number of FCS games for each conference:
||Teams In Conf.
||Games vs. FCS
||Avg. Per Team
Texas Tech has won 12 straight games. The Red Raiders are idle.
Utah has won 11 straight games. The Utes visit San Diego State.
Alabama has won 11 straight games. The Tide hosts Mississippi State.
Ball State has won 9 straight games. The Cardinals visit Miami, Ohio on Tuesday.
Boise State has won 9 in-a-row overall, 18 consecutive home games, 48 straight regular season home games, and has never lost at home to a fellow WAC conference member (31-0). Overall, the Broncos have won 37 straight conference home games since losing to Idaho in the final game of the 1998 season in the Big West. Boise State visits Idaho.
Oklahoma has won 22 straight home games. The Sooners are idle.
BYU has won 18 consecutive home games. The Cougars visit Air Force.
Washington has the longest losing streak in the nation at 11 games, and has lost 7 consecutive home games. The Huskies host UCLA.
SMU has lost 8 overall, 15 straight conference games, 14 consecutive road games, and 19 straight to FBS teams. The Mustangs visit UTEP.
NEW COACHES: The 2007 season featured 24 new head coaches. Nine led their team
to a bowl game. This year, there were 18 coaching changes in the offseason, and one more took place when Tommy Bowden stepped down from Clemson on October 13.
Two teams with new coaches have yet to defeat an FBS school - SMU, and Washington State.
Colorado State, Hawaii, Houston, Northern Illinois, SMU, Southern Miss, and Washington State have yet to defeat a team from one of the "big 6" conferences (ACC, Big East, Big 10, Big 12, PAC-10 or SEC).
||11/22, at Mississippi State
||11/15, vs. Texas A&M
||11/15, vs. New Mexico
||11/15, at Clemson
||11/20, vs. Miami (Fla.)
||11/22, vs. Idaho
||11/15, vs. Tulsa
||11/15, vs. Northwestern
||11/15, vs. Louisiana-Monroe
||11/15, vs. Notre Dame (at Baltimore)
||11/15, at Kansas State
||11/12, vs. Central Michigan
||11/15, at UTEP
||11/15, vs. East Carolina
||11/15, at Baylor
||11/15, at Washington
||11/15, at Arizona State
||11/22, at Louisville
||11/15, vs. Duke
COACHES WHO WON'T BE BACK:The 2008 season wasn't close to being over when jobs started opening up for 2009. Here are the teams with vacancies heading into next season:
Clemson - It was announced on October 13 that Tommy Bowden had agreed to step aside, and left the reigns to Dabo Swinney on an interim basis.
Washington - Ty Willingham was told on October 27 that he was out at the end of the season.
Tennessee - It was revealed on November 3 that Phillip Fulmer had been forced out at Tennessee, effective the end of the season.
Toledo - It was announced on November 3 that Tom Amstutz will be replaced at the end of the year.
Kansas State - It was revealed on November 5 that Ron Prince isn't welcomed back at Kansas State next season, but he will finish the year.