College Football Wordplay: From A to Z (Week 12)

Eric ThomasonCorrespondent INovember 20, 2008

College Football week of 11/15/08


Apple Cup

This year’s edition of Washington-Washington State will most likely draw the worst TV ratings of the 2008 college football season, as both teams come into the game with a combined 0-15 record in conference play.

The pillow fight will be the last chance for the Huskies to avoid a winless season and will be the last game of Tyrone Willingham’s career in Washington.

Kickoff is set for 3:00 p.m. ET, so be prepared to have your tube turned off in time, as to avoid any possibility of corneal damage.   


Bowl Eligible

(* teams who didn’t go to a bowl game last year that are already bowl eligible)

New additions this week: Boston College, *Buffalo, Fresno State, Houston, *Louisiana Tech, *Mississippi, *Notre Dame, *Vanderbilt, and Wisconsin.

Teams who lost bowl eligibility this week: Kansas State, Mississippi State, New Mexico State, Temple, Texas A&M, UCF, and Wyoming.

Teams already bowl eligible: Air Force, Alabama, *Arizona, Ball State, Boise State, BYU, California, Central Michigan, Cincinnati, Connecticut, East Carolina, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, *Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, LSU, Maryland, *Miami, Michigan State, *Minnesota, Missouri, Navy, *Nebraska, *North Carolina, *Northwestern, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Oregon State, Penn State, *Pittsburgh, *Rice, *San Jose State, *South Carolina, Texas, Texas Christian, Texas Tech, Tulsa, Troy, USC, USF, Utah, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest , West Virginia, and *Western Michigan.


Circling the Wagons

The line for the Florida bandwagon now stretches across the Mason-Dixon Line—it’s the hottest ticket in all of sports.

Ahem, no cutting Steve Spurrier.

For South Carolina, it didn’t matter who was throwing the ball or what packages they tried to run on defense, because the Gators are just too fast and athletic on both ends of the ball.

It’s going to take a really high-powered offense to beat or even compete with the balance Florida possesses.

Hmmm, I wonder if the Big 12 South has any of those.


Dreaming of a championship

Scenarios teams in the Top 10 would need to happen in order to play for the national title in Miami

Texas Tech, Alabama, Florida, and possibly Oklahoma just have to win their remaining games.

Texas would need the winner of the Oklahoma-Texas Tech game to lose to Missouri in the Big 12 championship game.

Southern Cal and Penn State would need Texas’ scenario plus Florida to lose to Florida State and then have the Gators beat Alabama in the SEC championship game, but even then would have only an outside shot at the national title.

Utah and Boise State both need each team listed above to lose once to even enter the championship discussion.

Ohio State—well, they need a miracle to make it to their third straight title game.


Extra points                                                  

Matt Stafford connected with freshman A.J. Green late in the fourth quarter to beat Auburn in Tommy Tuberville’s final game at Jordan-Hare Stadium. It was the second straight week Green has pulled in the game-winning score.



Missouri clinched the Big 12 North Division with a dominating 52-20 win over Iowa State. Once ranked in the Top Five, the Tigers have fallen off the college football map.

Remember, this is a team with many offensive weapons, led by an experienced quarterback—but then again, who in the conference isn't?

Very quietly the Mizzou defense has steadily improved, forcing four turnovers in their last two games.

The Tigers will get a shot to play spoiler on Dec. 6 in Kansas City, where strange things have been know to happen.


Got Mail?

Dear Wal-Mart,

Thank you for keeping your laser pointer sales a top priority.


Zac Robinson


Hoops hysteria

This is no doubt the best time of the year for college sports.

College basketball preseason tournaments have just begun, and the bowl season is just around the corner.

Look for my college basketball edition of Wordplay coming in mid-December, and thanks again to everyone who currently reads the article regularly. 

I really appreciate the support.


Impact Freshmen

Freshmen putting up big numbers this week

1. WR DeAndre Brown, Southern Miss: Eight receptions, 124 yards, TD

2. RB Jacquizz Rodgers, Oregon State: 27 carries, 144 yards, TD

3. WR A.J. Green, Georgia: Five receptions, 81 yards, TD

4. QB Terrelle Pryor, Ohio State: 6 of 10, 49 yards, TD, and 13 carries, 110 yards, TD 

5. WR Tyron Carrier, Houston: six receptions, 127 yards, two TDs


Jumping to Conclusions

(Predictions for next week)

Upset Special: Ole Miss 42, LSU 30   

Could be in trouble: Utah 28, BYU 27

Closer than you think: Boise State 35, Nevada 31

No way Jose: Ohio State 42, Michigan 17                            



Troy blew a 31-3 lead in Death Valley, as LSU scored 30 points in the fourth quarter to avoid an embarrassing loss.  

Les Miles needs someone/anyone to step up and be a hero at quarterback.

Next week game against Ole Miss should go a long way in determining SEC bowl positioning.


Looking Forward

Oklahoma vs. Texas Tech

Texas Tech has won the two out of the last three meetings with the Sooners.

Well, maybe one out of three if the referees make the right call at the goal line two years ago. 

Oklahoma has improved each week running the ball, which will keep the defensive front of Texas Tech from blitzing and allow Sam Bradford to pick apart this Red Raider defense.

But so will Graham Harrell on what is probably the worst Oklahoma defense of the Bob Stoops era.

It most likely will come down to has the ball last and who can take advantage of a, let’s say, “tipped pass.”

Prediction: At the end of the day, I think this Texas Tech story seems too good to be true. I believe Oklahoma will be able to score enough points to hold off the Red Raiders in Norman.

Oklahoma 45, Texas Tech 42



Notre Dame controlled the game for almost 55 minutes until Navy successfully recovered two onside kicks.

If you turned off your TV too early, or even had it tuned to the game at all, shame on you.

Weis can continue to call plays, but with the loss of stud freshman Michael Floyd, the offense is going to continue to struggle the rest of the season.


No you're not...

Florida Gators: Really playing the Citadel this weekend?

Todd Reesing: comfortable in the pocket. I mean seriously, how nervous did he look back there?

Navy: allowed to have four timeouts.



BYU, Michigan State, and Utah.



Using this week’s BCS standings, here is how an eight-team “Obama playoff” would look if the season were to end today.

1) Alabama vs. 8) Penn State

4) Florida vs. 5) Oklahoma

3) Texas vs. 6) Southern Cal

2) Texas Tech vs. 7) Utah


Question of the Week

Is it time for Notre Dame to join a conference, and if so, where and how would it happen?

South Bend is home to arguably the most prestigious football program in the country. Notre Dame is so special that the Irish are the only team in college football with a TV contract and their own adopted BCS rule.

But with the mediocrity surrounding Notre Dame in this decade, is it time for the Irish to quit their social outcast persona and join the rest of the football population?

Of course, the most reasonable place for ND to relocate would be the Big Ten.

Currently the Big Ten is the only conference where not every team has to play each other, or even has the opportunity to play every team (i.e. conference title game).

For example, Penn State did not have to play two of the conference’s ranked teams (Minnesota and Northwestern) this year.

The Irish would be the 12th member, splitting the conference into two divisions (like the Big 12, ACC, and SEC) and, most importantly, giving the conference a title game.

So what would the relocating look like?

Well, keeping rivalries would be most important, so Michigan, Ohio State, Michigan State and Penn State would be kept together, as would Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa.

The Big Ten would also want to keep the Illinois and Indiana schools paired together (Indiana with Purdue and Illinois with Northwestern).

Since Notre Dame is also in Indiana, the Irish would most likely be paired with this group.

Therefore, the divisions would look like this.

East: Illinois, Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern, Ohio State, and Penn State.

West: Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Notre Dame, Purdue, and Wisconsin.

That leaves the Big Ten East to stack up to the West a lot like the Big 12 South does to the North.


Reader’s Response

This is where you the reader get a chance to respond to the question of the week.  Post a comment and make your case. 


Star Performance of the Week

Jeremiah Masoli completed 21-of-26 passes for 298 yards and had five touchdowns in Oregon’s 55-45 victory over Arizona.

The Ducks may be out of the Pac-10 title hunt, but with Masoli improving each week, Oregon might have a chance to play spoiler when they visit Oregon State on Dec. 6 for the Civil War. 


Top Five                                                     

Florida: The hottest team in the nation took it to Spurrier, embarrassing the Gamecocks 56-6 in the Swamp.

Oklahoma: Had the week off to prepare for Crabtree, Harrell, and the rest of the Texas Tech offense.

Texas Tech: The Red Raiders have actually played better on the road, winning by an average of 26.5 ppg away from Lubbock.

Texas: Easily handled the Jayhawks 35-7 in Texas’ final conference road game.

Alabama: Avenged two previous losses to the Bulldogs and are now two wins away from a national title berth.



Five things to watch for next week.

Texas Tech vs. Oklahoma: Winner will most likely represent the South in the Big 12 title game and have the inside track to the national title.

Michigan State vs. Penn State: Penn State tries to wrap up the Big Ten title and a trip to the Rose Bowl.

BYU vs. Utah: It’s simple—beat BYU at home on Saturday, and Utah goes to the BCS.

Pittsburgh vs. Cincinnati: First place in the Big East is up for grabs.

Oregon State vs. Arizona: So far, so good for the Beavers. Up next for OSU is a trip to the desert to face the off-and-on Wildcats.


Video of the Week

During Kansas’ 35-7 loss on senior day in Lawrence, wide receiver Dezmon Briscoe made a spectacular one-handed catch to set up the Jayhawks' only score of the game.

In case you missed it, watch Briscoe go all David Tyree on the Longhorns.


What we’re sure of...

The Big 12 will not be able to fill all of their eight bowl game ties. Currently seven teams are bowl eligible, with Colorado (5-6) being the only team in the conference with a shot to reach a bowl game.

The Buffs finish the season at Nebraska, which will most likely leave the Big 12 with only seven bowl eligible teams.



Guys that probably aren’t a household name, but will be come April for the NFL draft.

CB Darius Butler (Connecticut), DE Geno Atkins (Texas), WR Darrius Heyward-Bey (Maryland), CB Alphonso Smith (Wake Forest)


Your BCS bowl matchups right now

Rose Bowl: Penn State vs. Southern Cal

Orange Bowl: Miami vs. Cincinnati

Sugar Bowl: Alabama vs. Utah

Fiesta Bowl:  Texas Tech vs. Ohio State

National Championship Game: Florida vs. Oklahoma


Zzzzzzz: (Teams the country shouldn’t sleep on)

Programs on the rise: Ball State, Cincinnati, Oregon State, Ohio State, Missouri


    Baylor Suspends 2 After Sexual Assault Allegations

    College Football logo
    College Football

    Baylor Suspends 2 After Sexual Assault Allegations

    Tim Daniels
    via Bleacher Report

    Predicting Who Will Win CFB's Biggest QB Battles

    College Football logo
    College Football

    Predicting Who Will Win CFB's Biggest QB Battles

    Brad Shepard
    via Bleacher Report

    Baker Skips Athletic Testing, Does On-Field Work at Pro Day

    College Football logo
    College Football

    Baker Skips Athletic Testing, Does On-Field Work at Pro Day

    Tim Daniels
    via Bleacher Report

    Baker's Cockiness Isn't What Worries Teams

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    College Football

    Baker's Cockiness Isn't What Worries Teams

    Mike Freeman
    via Bleacher Report