So it's finally here, the week of the big game. Is everybody excited for the huge Nevada-Boise State matchup?
Actually that could be a pretty good game between a couple of teams that haven't lost since September (or in Boise's case, since last December). They are two of the highest-scoring teams in America with Boise averaging 44 points a game and Nevada 41. Nevada leads the nation in rushing offense and is No. 2 in total offense, where Boise State ranks No. 9.
The Friday night matchup has all the makings of a 55-50 shootout. I'd take Nevada, but since it is being played on the blue turf in Boise, I'll go with the Broncos.
The real big game on Saturday features Utah at BYU. It marks the first time in history that the two schools have gone into a late-season game with identical overall (9-2) and conference (6-1) records.
It's always a big game for the rival schools and the fans, but it won't have the same expectations as last year when the two came into the game with a combined record of 21-1, the best ever in the long rivalry with a BCS bowl game on the line for Utah.
Could this be the year the Cougars lay a whipping on the Utes in Provo like they did on a regular basis in the 1970s and 1980s? They're overdue since the Utes have dominated in Provo recently, winning six of the last eight meetings with BYU's two victories both coming in the waning minutes, the 24-21 "Luke Staley" win in 2001 and the "4th-and-18" victory in 2007.
It looks like Utah and BYU are locked into the Las Vegas (Dec. 22) and Poinsettia (Dec. 23) bowls with TCU, barring the upset of the century against one-win New Mexico this week, headed to a BCS bowl bid. But which school will go to which bowl?
It makes sense for Utah to go to the Las Vegas Bowl and BYU to go to San Diego. Utah hasn't been to the Las Vegas Bowl in eight years, since it beat Carson Palmer and USC, while BYU has never been to the Poinsettia Bowl and has played in Las Vegas four years in a row. Whether they admit it or not, BYU players and coaches are sick of going to Las Vegas every year, as are the fans. A poll on KSL.com asked which bowl fans would prefer and nearly 70 percent chose San Diego.
However, if BYU beats Utah this week, would the Las Vegas Bowl be able to justify passing on BYU to get third-place Utah? Well, the bowl did that last year when it passed on higher-ranked TCU, allowing it to play Boise State in the Poinsettia Bowl, and took BYU. If Utah wins this week, it will make the Las Vegas Bowl's decision easy.
After seeing TCU crush BYU and Utah on its way to the Mountain West Conference title and a No. 4 ranking in the country, I think the Horned Frogs could play with any team in the country.
TCU's defense is as good as anyone's, ranking in the top 6 in the nation in all four defensive categories and its offense has come alive, scoring 41, 55, 55 and 45 points the past four weeks.
However, it looks like the Frogs are going to get locked out as the No. 4-ranked team in the BCS standings. The Florida-Alabama winner will get one of the berths, and TCU must hope for Texas to lose to Nebraska in the Big 12 final on Dec. 5.
However, that doesn't seem likely. In four-straight Big 12 victories to clinch the title in the weak North Division, the Cornhuskers have averaged just 19 points a game. That just isn't going to cut it against a Texas team that is second in the country in scoring at 43 points per game.
Congrats to the Weber State football team for making the FCS playoffs for the second-straight year.
All we heard all week was how it would be next to impossible for the Wildcats to get a playoff berth and that the Big Sky would only get one berth in the 16-team playoff.
However, thanks to a couple of upsets Saturday, the Big Sky ended up getting three teams in, with Montana getting the No. 1 seed in the entire tournament.
The good news for Ron McBride's team is that it was placed in the opposite side of the bracket from Montana, which beat the Wildcats in last year's second round. The bad news is, if the Wildcats keep winning they'll likely be playing their first three games east of the Mississippi River.
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