It must be tough to be a travel agency in either Manhattan, Kansas or Eugene, Oregon this week. After Baylor and Stanford all but ruined the Wildcats and Ducks chances of playing in the BCS Championship game, it’s anyone’s guess who will play for all the marbles in January. The SEC is big-time back in the national championship picture, and the winner of their conference championship is all set to play in the title game. Barring an unforeseen upset by Auburn or Georgia Tech this weekend, Alabama and Georgia will be one of the most anticipated conference championship games in the history of college football.
Notre Dame is #1. This would’ve been unthinkable at the start of the season, and they were dead to rights against Pitt earlier this year. Somehow they’ve pulled through and with a couple of lucky breaks, the Irish are on top of the college football world for the first time since 1994, and if they beat USC, they’ll be playing for their first national championship since 1988. All credit has to go to Coach Brian Kelley, who will look to join the ranks of Rockne, Lehey, Parseghian and Holtz as national championship winning Notre Dame coaches (I’d include Dan Devine’s 1977 year, but he wanted to bench Rudy, so he’s off the list). Of course, there’s the little matter of Notre Dame having to travel to play USC this week. Trojan Coach Lane Kiffin will be coaching for his job Saturday, but will not have Matt Barkley as his starting QB due to injury. It’s been a wild last couple of weeks on the college football landscape, and this past weekend proved that you should never book your tickets to a bowl game before the season is over.
BMOC: Kevin Hogan, QB Stanford
It’s not only in the NFL that we’ve seen first year signal-callers like Andrew Luck and RG3 succeed. Stanford QB Kevin Hogan, a redshirt freshman making his second start at one of the most hostile environments in college football and leading the Cardinal to a upset win over the Ducks. Hogan ran for a score and had a controversial TD pass to tie the game at 14 with 1:35 left in the ballgame. It was sweet revenge for Stanford, as Oregon ruined their national championship dreams last year. Oregon has it’s civil war coming up this weekend at Oregon State, while Stanford travels to upstart UCLA this Saturday and looks to continue it’s winning ways.
They gave HIM a contract? Lane Kiffin, Head Coach, USC
At the start of this college football season USC was ranked #1 and looked to run the table with it’s stud starting quarterback. Somewhere, things went horribly wrong. The blame has to be put at the feet of the Trojans head coach, Lane Kiffin. After leaving Tennessee in the middle of the night, Kiffin arrived in LA with tons of baggage and a not so great reputation as a coach or a person. This year, the train has gone off the rails for the Trojans, and Kiffin has left his footprint on a lot of the petty incidents that have given the program bad press. He refused to let visiting teams have walk through practices at the LA Coliseum, and blamed it on stadium management. Kiffin changed jersey numbers of players mid-game, and then claimed it was so other teams couldn’t scout the team. The last straw could’ve been when it was discovered that a USC student manager was intentionally deflating footballs against UCLA and Oregon State. It’s hard to believe a student manager was doing this on his own free will, and the school was fined $25,000 for the incident. Kiffin even ducked out of the post-game news conference after his team was shelled by crosstown rival UCLA. This should be his last season at USC, and his failure to play by the rules and lead by example might doom his coaching future. The football world won’t miss Lane Kiffin, who has not made any friends in the coaching ranks with his poor sportsmanship. After Pete Carroll and Lane Kiffin, it might make a lot of sense for USC to look at Tony Dungy or David Shaw as head coaching possibilities. The program has lacked moral fiber, and could use someone of that ilk in order to change the culture of the Trojan program. Of course a USC win over Notre Dame this Saturday could save Kiffin’s job, at least for the time being.
Project Runway NCAA: Virginia Tech Hokies
Did you ever wonder if the NCAA turned into NASCAR what the uniforms and helmets would look like? Would the Florida Gators have a giant Tropicana ad on it’s uniform, or would Georgia have a Coca-Cola polar bear on the side of it’s helmet? Well, Virginia Tech kind of crossed into that territory this past weekend against Boston College. While one side of their helmet had a generic player number on it, the other side featured a cartoon chicken that had more than a passing resemblance to Foghorn Leghorn. It looked like a local poultry company in Blacksburg decided to rent out half a helmet for advertising purposes. Seriously, it’s that bad. Here’s hoping the Hokies go back to traditional uniforms when they play in-state rival Virginia this weekend.
Small School, Big Time Numbers: Wagner College, Staten Island, NY
It hasn’t been much good news coming out of Staten Island lately. There has been no area that was affected more by the storm surge caused by Hurricane Sandy than the Staten Island area, and thousands lost their homes and all their property in the storm’s aftermath. While in the grand scheme of things it may not mean much, the Wagner College Seahawks, who are out of the NorthEastern Conference and call Staten Island home, have made the FCS playoffs with it’s first league championship. They will be hosting Colgate this Saturday, and will be taking contributions at the game for Hurricane Sandy victims.
Thursday Night Social: TCU at #16 Texas, 7:30 pm, ESPN
As we all stuff our faces with turkey, we have a halfway decent Big 12 game to look forward to passing out in front of. Mack Brown might be spending his final Thanksgiving in Austin. The Longhorns have shown a lot of heart this year, and will look to put away another disappointing team in the Big 12, TCU. Both teams are bowl bound, and it should be a better than average Thanksgiving game. They are two very meat & potatoes type teams, and will relish the opportunity to beat the stuffing out of each other. Happy Thanksgiving everybody!