All right, Big Ten fans. All our October games are through, which means no more night games for the season unless they're indoors. And unless Syracuse joins the Big Ten in the next couple of weeks or Minnesota moves back into the Metrodome on some "because our fans don't deserve nice things" kick, that means no more night games at all until the Big Ten Championship in Indianapolis.
What that means for you, fans, is that your Saturday nights are free for doing any number of things, and let's be honest, "any number of things" really means "watching a different conference's football games."
This week, there are two stellar night games to choose from: Oregon at USC and Alabama at LSU. The two best teams in the Pac-12 this season or the two best teams in the SEC. No. 4 at No. 17 or No. 1 at No. 5. A rematch of this game from 2011 or a rematch of this game and this game last year?
LSU sure would like you to believe it's the tilt at Happy Valley. Check out this hype video and try not to find the nearest wall to run through.
You hear Tony Stark talking and you're like, "Wait, LSU wants to avenge the title, but those lines aren't from The Avengers." Nope, buddy, Iron Man 3. The SEC's movie references stay current with SEC speed!
Here's the deal, though. There was a total of 36 points scored in the two games LSU and Alabama played against each other last season. There'll probably be more than 18 points this time around, but that's no guarantee. Good defense can be fun to watch, but that just so happens to be all we watch in the Big Ten this year unless Indiana or Purdue (and in some cases Nebraska) is involved.
So for your own sanity, watch Oregon-USC. Watch one of the most insane offenses (Chip Kelly's spread-based nightmare engine) goes against the most talented passing game in the NCAA (Matt Barkley throwing to Marqise Lee and Robert Woods).
Will there be embarrassing lapses in defense? Sure, but less than you'd think. Oregon and USC are ranked 24th and 25th respectively in scoring defense nationally and both are also Top 50 in overall defense. There's talent on both sides of the ball. It's not Alabama or LSU talent, of course, but there's enough talent that it won't be a three-hour exercise in absurdity like Baylor-West Virginia.
Besides, this is a Big Ten fan's opportunity to see something he or she wouldn't see everyday: great offensive play. It's like visiting a foreign country. As soon as you leave the airport, you're not looking for the nearest McDonald's, are you? Please tell us you don't do that.
It's the same thing here. The SEC's good defense and mediocre offense will always be available in the Big Ten. Go on, enjoy something different. Get a little exotic. And if you need to tether yourself back to the conference for your own good, maybe imagine Denard Robinson running that Oregon offense.
That's the level of fun you can have with Oregon-USC. And at the end of the day, watching football's supposed to be just that—fun.