Week 13 Preview:
Titles, Bragging Rights and Bowl Bids On the Line
by Dave Congrove
November 24, 2009
If you love college football, you have to love this time of the year. Virtually every game means something. If it isn't a division or conference title, it's bragging rights in a rivalry. If it isn't a rivalry, it's jostling for bowl position. Maybe it's simply the last time you get to root for your team for roughly 9 months.
There are 49 games on the schedule this week which kicks off on Tuesday and includes 13 Friday contests. Before it's over, we should know the winners of a few more divisions and conferences.
The ACC is set with Clemson and Georgia Tech slated to meet next week in Tampa.
The Big East is still contested between Cincinnati and Pitt, and those two teams will meet next week at Heinz Field to determine the champion. Meanwhile, Pitt visits West Virginia for the annual Backyard Brawl rivalry game on Friday. And Cincinnati goes out-of-conference to host Illinois on Friday.
Ohio State won the Big Ten title outright. The Buckeyes await the BCS bowl selection show on December 6.
The Big 12 is set with Texas and Nebraska meeting next week in Arlington, Texas.
East Carolina and Southern Miss meet Saturday in what amounts to a East division championship game for CUSA. Houston can win the West division if it handles Rice at home on Saturday. Should the Cougars slip up, SMU can take the division if it beats Tulane at home.
Among the Independents, Navy and Notre Dame are already bowl eligible. Believe it or not, Army can become bowl eligible if it defeats Navy on December 12 in Philadelphia. The Midshipmen (8-3) visit Hawaii this week.
Central Michigan clinched the MAC's West division title last week. On Friday, Temple visits Ohio in a game that will determine the East division winner.
TCU clinched the Mountain West last week and will try to keep its undefeated season alive when it hosts a New Mexico team that finally earned its first victory of the season of last week.
We'll have to wait another week to learn the champion of the PAC-10. That conference will be decided when Oregon hosts Oregon State in the Civil War.
Florida and Alabama will meet in the SEC Championship game next week, but each hopes to defeat its fiercest rival to keep national championship aspirations alive. The Gators host Florida State while the Crimson Tide visits Auburn.
Troy claimed the Sun Belt title last week.
Boise State hosts Nevada in the de facto WAC Championship on Friday.
OTHER GAMES TO WATCH
Notre Dame will try to halt a 3-game losing streak when it visits Stanford on Saturday. The Irish are just 6-5 and apparently angered one so-called fan so much that he sucker punched QB Jimmy Clausen outside a restaurant after Saturday's loss to UConn. Stanford will try to regroup after last week's loss to Cal knocked it out of the PAC-10 title picture.
NOT DEAD YET
These teams must win this week to become bowl eligible: Duke (at Wake Forest); Kansas (vs. Missouri at Kansas City); Kent State (vs. Buffalo); Toledo (at Bowling Green); UAB (vs. UCF); Western Michigan (vs. Ball State).
Army can become eligible with a win vs. Navy on December 12 at Philadelphia.
Connecticut can qualify it wins either of its last two games, both of which are at home. The Huskies host Syracuse this week and USF next week.
Because it plays 13 games, Hawaii has to win 7 to qualify. Therefore, the Warriors must close with consecutive home wins over Navy and Wisconsin.
On Monday, Western Kentucky announced the successor to David Elson. Former standout Hilltopper QB and assistant coach Willie Taggart will take over the position after his current team is done with its season. Taggart is currently the running backs coach at Stanford.
6 teams still remain undefeated - Alabama, Boise State, Cincinnati, Florida, TCU, and Texas. Last year at this time, that list consisted of 4 teams - Alabama, Ball State, Boise State and Utah.
Only 2 teams are left on this list - Eastern Michigan and Western Kentucky. At this point last year, Washington was the only team with a goose egg in the win column.
FBS vs. FCS:
No such games remain on this season's schedule. FBS teams went 89-5 vs. FCS teams this year (.947), and are now 464-42 (.917) since 2003.
Here are the results of every FBS loss to the FCS this season:
9/19: Central Arkansas 28, Western Kentucky 7
9/12: New Hampshire 23, Ball State 16. New Hampshire also has wins at Army in 2008 (28-10), Marshall in 2007 (48-35), and Northwestern in 2006 (34-17)
9/5: Richmond 24, Duke 16; William & Mary 26, Virginia 14
9/3: Villanova 27, Temple 24
This year, 87 FBS teams played a total of 94 games against FCS foes. Duke, Kansas State, Mississippi, North Carolina, N.C. State, Rutgers and USF each played two FCS teams.
Florida has 21 straight victories. The Gators host Florida State.
Texas has 15 straight victories. The Longhorns visit Texas A&M on Thursday.
TCU has 13 straight victories. The Horned Frogs host New Mexico.
Alabama has 11 straight wins overall and 23 straight regular season wins. The Tide visits Auburn on Friday.
Cincinnati has 10 straight wins overall and 16 straight regular season wins. The Bearcats host Illinois on Friday.
Temple has 9 straight wins overall. The Owls visit Ohio on Friday.
Boise State has streaks of 11 straight wins overall, 23 consecutive regular season wins, 24 consecutive home wins, 54 consecutive regular season home wins, and 40 straight conference home victories. BSU has never lost at home to a fellow WAC member (34-0). 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 4-1 in their last five matches against BCS conference schools. The Broncos host Nevada on Friday.
Oklahoma has 28 straight home victories. The Sooners host Oklahoma State.
Utah has 17 straight home wins. The Utes visit BYU.
Western Kentucky has lost 18 straight overall and 23 straight to FBS teams. The Hilltoppers visit FAU.
Eastern Michigan has lost 11 straight overall. The Eagles visit Akron on Friday.
There are 22 new college football coaches in the FBS ranks this season. 21 have secured their first victory, and those same 21 have also defeated a FBS school. Only Eastern Michigan remains winless.
||12/12, vs. Navy (at Philadelphia)
||11/27, vs. Alabama
||11/24, at Western Michigan
||11/28, at Maryland
||11/27, vs. Toledo
||11/28, at South Carolina
||11/27, at Akron
||Regular Season Complete
||11/28, vs. Mississippi
||11/28, at TCU
|New Mexico State
||11/28, at San Jose State
|San Diego State
||11/28, at UNLV
||11/28, at Connecticut
||11/28, at Kentucky
||11/27, at Bowling Green
||11/28, at Idaho
||11/28, vs. Washington State
||11/27, at Colorado State
|*-Dabo Swinney took over halfway through last season when Tommy Bowden stepped down after a 3-3 start. Swinney was 4-3 over the last 7 games of the season.