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Week 12 Preview

Regular season closes for 7 teams

by Dave Congrove
November 16, 2010

Say it ain't so. Seven teams - Air Force, Ball State, Baylor, Colorado State, Iowa State, UTEP and Wyoming - play their final regular season game this weekend. That's the bad news. The good news is that a wealth of great football is about to take place as teams battle to claim division and conference titles.

The top three teams in the BCS Standings - Oregon, Auburn and TCU - are all among this week's 11 idle teams. No. 22 Arizona is also on the sidelines.

Still, this week's 56-game slate includes 4 games between teams in the Top 25: No. 7 Nebraska at No. 19 Texas A&M; No. 9 Ohio State at No. 20 Iowa; No. 16 Virginia Tech at No. 24 Miami; No. 13 Arkansas at No. 21 Mississippi State.

Seven games will be played before Saturday even arrives, the most meaningful of which are Tuesday's night's MAC East matchup of Ohio and Temple and Friday's Fresno State-Boise State contest.

The Bobcats and Owls are tied for their division's lead, along with Miami (Ohio). The RedHawks have already lost to Ohio, but get Temple at home next week. Boise State needs to avoid an unlikely home slip-up before heading to Reno next week to face Nevada. Barring unforeseen events this week, the winner of that game will capture the WAC crown.

UPDATE to above: (I think I have this right). Ohio eliminated Temple from contention for the East division title of the MAC with its 31-23 win in Philly on Tuesday night. The Bobcats now have more than one life to claim the East division. They can do it the simplest way with a win at Kent State next week. A Temple win over Miami also gets the job done for Ohio. And they can still advance to the MAC title game if all three teams should finish 6-2 due to their victories over each of the other two. Miami (Ohio) can only win the division if Ohio loses at Kent State AND Miami beats Akron this week on Wednesday night, and wins again when it hosts Temple next Tuesday night. The latter scenarios would leave the RedHawks at 7-1 in the MAC, Ohio at 6-2 and Temple at no better than 6-2. By the way, this is the second straight year that Ohio has knocked Temple out of the title game. Last year, Ohio beat Temple 35-17 in the final regular season game, then lost to Central Michigan in the MAC Championship contest, and to Marshall in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl.

Nebraska, because of its earlier win over Missouri, can clinch the Big 12 North with a win this week at Texas A&M. The Aggies would still be alive in the Big 12 South hunt if they can upset the 'Huskers. Oklahoma State leads the Sooners by a game, and essentially hold a 2-game advantage on the Aggies due to their heads-up victory earlier in the year.

Ohio State must win at Iowa to stay in the Big Ten title hunt. The Buckeyes are tied with Wisconsin and Michigan State at 5-1 in the conference and 9-1 overall, but have already lost to the Badgers and don't play the Spartans. Michigan State owns the tiebreaker with Wisconsin. The Spartans host Purdue this week while the Badgers visit Michigan.

Virginia Tech can clinch the ACC Coastal with a win at Miami. The 'Canes can only win the division if they defeat the Hokies and the Hokies then lose to Virginia next week.

The ACC Atlantic has a 3-way tie with Florida, Maryland and N.C. State. The Terps get both teams at home, beginning with the 'Noles this week and the Wolfpack in the regular season finale. N.C. State faces a tough state rivalry game at North Carolina this week.

UCF and East Carolina are both 5-1 in CUSA's east division, but the Knights control their destiny by virtue of their home win over the Pirates. UCF closes with road visits to two of the conference's weaker teams, Tulane and Memphis.

Northern Illinois can claim the MAC West with a victory at Ball State on Saturday. Toledo trails the Huskies by just a game, but the loss was a 65-30 blowout at Northern Illinois last week.

Idle Oregon can have the PAC-10 fall in its lap this week if Stanford is upset at Cal, a very real possibility considering that the Golden Bears also upset the Ducks at home this past Saturday.

FIU has the inside track to the Sun Belt title after its surprising 52-35 win at Troy last week. The Golden Panthers visit Louisiana-Lafayette this week before closing the season with consecutive home dates with Arkansas State and a disappointing Middle Tennessee team.

TCU has clinched the Mountain West, while Auburn and South Carolina have already secured berths in the SEC Championship game.

BCS TOP 5
Here are top five teams in the BCS and the Congrove Computer Rankings line on their respective games: No. 1 Oregon idle
No. 2 Auburn idle
No. 3 TCU idle
Fresno State at No. 4 Boise State (-32.71)
Mississippi at No. 5 LSU (-17.66)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL GOES MAJOR LEAGUE
College football takes its game to the major league diamonds this Saturday as Notre Dame faces Army at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, and Northwestern tackles state rival Illinois at Chicago's famed Wrigley Field.

Meanwhile, FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland will host Penn State and Indiana.

STILL UNBEATEN:
Four teams remain perfect on the season - Auburn (SEC), Boise State (WAC), Oregon (PAC-10) and TCU (Mountain West).

STILL WINLESS:
Akron is the nation's only remaining winless team. The Zips host Miami, Ohio on Wednesday.

FBS vs. FCS:
Three games are scheduled this week between Football Bowl Subdivisions (FBS) schools and Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) teams. FBS teams are 80-7 (.920) this season in such games and 544-49 (.917) since 2003.

Alabama hosts Georgia State and former Tide coach Bill Curry. The FCS member Panthers are 6-4 in their inaugural football season.
Florida entertains Appalachian State.
Texas Tech hosts Weber State.

Here are the results of every FBS loss to the FCS this season:
9/4: Jacksonville State 49, Mississippi 48 (2 OT's)
9/4: North Dakota State 6, Kansas 3
9/11: Gardner-Webb 38, Akron 37
9/11: Liberty 27, Ball State 23
9/11: South Dakota 41, Minnesota 38
9/11: James Madison 21, Virginia Tech 16
10/2: Cal-Davis 14, San Jose State 13

This year, 85 FBS teams play a total of 90 games against FCS foes. Five schools play two such games - Arizona State, Ball State, San Jose State, Syracuse and Virginia.

STREAKS:
Boise State has streaks of 23 overall wins, 34 regular season wins, 30 home wins, 60 regular season home wins, and 44 straight conference home victories. BSU has never lost at home to a fellow WAC member (38-0). The Broncos' last home loss to a conference foe occurred in 1998 when they were a member of the Big West and fell to Idaho in the final regular season game. The Broncos are 6-1 in their last seven matches against BCS conference schools. (Next: vs. Fresno State on Friday).

Auburn has 12 straight wins overall. (Next: at Alabama on Nov. 26).

TCU has 11 straight overall wins, 24 straight regular season wins and 20 straight home wins. (Next: at New Mexico on Nov. 27).

Oregon has 10 straight overall wins. (Next: vs. Arizona on Nov. 16).

Virginia Tech has 8 overall wins. (Next: at Miami on Saturday).

Oklahoma has 36 straight home victories. (Next: at Baylor on Saturday).

Akron has lost 10 straight overall. (Next: vs. Akron on Wednesday).

Wake Forest has lost 8 straight overall. (Next: vs. Clemson on Saturday).

New Mexico has 15 straight road losses. (Next: at BYU on Saturday).

COACHING CHANGES:
Dan Hawkins (Colorado), Tim Brewster (Minnesota) and Todd Dodge (North Texas) have already been fired.

Hawkins' interim replacement, Brian Cabral, is 1-0

Brewster's interim replacement, Jeff Horton, is 1-3

Dodge's interim replacement, Mike Canales, is 2-1.