By Ben Shapiro, 11/20/02
Each week this season, I will be posting a column previewing the
upcoming weekend's Big East and Top-25 match-ups. All rankings are from
ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll. I don't pick winners (that's too easy),
I pick against
Television information comes from
here. All picks are for entertainment purposes only.
Last Week: ...was barely there. No Hokie game, and I barely
watched any football at all. It was kind of weird. I didn't even know
Texas lost until Sunday!
This Week: Hey now, back in action! Wednesday is a funny night
for football, but it's just that much sooner that I get to watch my
Hokies. Meanwhile, things are winding down in the Big Ten, and a whole
lot will be decided out West.
Not in Action: #4 Iowa, #6 Georgia, #11 Texas, #13 Florida,
7:00 pm EST
7-3 (Away: 3-1)
Virginia Tech (#12)
8-2 (Home: 5-1)
Wednesday. Hmm ... tastes
So now we can't stop the Mountaineers?
Is that what I'm supposed to believe? Hardly. Look, I'm happy
that West Virginia is playing better than most expected. It's
great. Good for them, and good for the Big East. But I'm not
prepared to mail in the rest of the season because of a handful
of bad quarters of football. Hell no! There's only one team
left on our schedule that could be better on paper, and that's
Miami. West Virginia doesn't have it, and France is flat out
We've got KJ back, and Vegas
also. It'd be nice to have Hall, but I don't think WVU really
has the passing game to exploit that. Nope, it comes down to
our rush defense, and what we can do to stop Cobourne. It's really
that simple. Suggs is going to have a field day because all
of a sudden the Eers have to start paying attention to our vertical
passing game. Man, I loved writing that!
For the record I like night games.
I do. Even Thursday nights, though I do prefer Saturdays for
obvious reasons. I don't know about Wednesday night football
though. We'll see. Wish I could make it...
Rock on proud Hokies, we've got
three more to go.
Thursday, November 21
7:30 pm EST
8-2 (Away: 3-1)
9-0 (Home: 4-0)
It's a Big East Extravaganza!
You know with Pitt, Syracuse,
and we Hokies still to go, the Big East title is hardly a foregone
conclusion for Miami. Florida State and Tennessee are both flawed
this year. Pittsburgh is just as good, or better, than anyone
the Canes have faced so far.
Of course this is a national
stage, and Miami's fighting for some media respect. I expect
them to turn on the jets. Pitt will stay close for a while,
but in the end I don't think anything is going to stand between
Miami and Tempe.
12:00 pm EST
9-2 (Away: 3-1)
Ohio State (#2)
12-0 (Home: 7-0)
If this game were in Michigan
I'd call it Wolverines all the way. No question. But it isn't,
now is it? But boy the Bucks have been living some kind of a
charmed life this season. Yeah I know, an ugly win is still
a win. Yeah, I know Alabama did it the same way in 1992 ...
against Miami to boot. Still, I just don't get that champion
vibe from Ohio State. They're cutting it too close and I think
it bites them today.
I like Michigan here, home or
not. It's going to totally screw up the BCS, and that's A-OK
with this Hokie. Hail to the Victors!
6:30 pm EST
Fox Sports Net
6-5 (Away: 1-3)
Washington State (#3)
9-1 (Home: 6-0)
Apple Cup. Now what's the statistic? Washington State has lost
something like 7 of the past 8 in this series. Of course this
year Wazzou is by far the better team. And they're
at home. And they've still got MNC dreams.
7:00 pm EST
Texas Tech (#23)
8-4 (Away: 3-3)
9-1 (Home: 6-0)
Do we have a late season contender to the throne? If Texas
Tech pulls this one off, they will win the Big Twelve South.
But like fellow also-ran Iowa State, Texas Tech finds themselves
victims of the scheduling computer. Road games against
five (then) top-25 ranked opponents is just brutal.
Still, a shot at a conference title
is some serious motivation. And Red Raider QB Kliff Kingsbury
stands to make a lot of money if he can carve up Okie's
defense like he did to Texas last week.
Not to discount Oklahoma.
They're still one of the nation's top teams, and are within shouting
distance of a MNC chance. They need help, but are not
out of it, not by a long shot. When all is said and done,
I think Oklahoma takes this one, but they're going to get a
3:30 pm EST
Southern California (#7)
8-2 (Away: 3-2)
7-3 (Home: 2-2)
And holding pace right behind
Washington State is USC. They're good. Very good. In fact, they're
going to win today, and beat Notre Dame next week. Shortly thereafter
they're going to get the shaft for a BCS at-large bid at Notre
Dame's expense. So what if they play in one of the biggest media
markets in the entire country?
As for UCLA. I don't know a thing
about them. They've been cruising along and evidently had a
pretty decent season. Hey, good for them. But with USC this
week and Washington State still to come, it's Silicon Valley
Bowl all the way.
1:00 pm EST
1-9 (Away: 0-4)
Notre Dame (#8)
9-1 (Home: 4-1)
this will be a true test of Tyrone Willingham's good sportsmanship.
I'm not sure that it is possible to maintain respect from the
pollsters without blowing out Rutgers. That's right, I
think the Scarlet Knights cover against a top-10 team this week.
3:30 pm EST
Kansas State (#10)
9-2 (Away: 2-1)
5-6 (Home: 3-2)
be missing something. Kansas State doesn't beat mediocre
teams by only two touchdowns. Heck, they RUTSed Nebraska
for 21 fourth quarter points!
Money in the bank.
3:30 pm EST
Florida State (#14)
9-3 (Away: 5-2)
State will win the ACC outright if they can knock off the sliding
Wolfpack this Saturday. In fact, unless the ACC has some
weird tiebreaker that I'm not aware of, they've got it already.
I suppose it's possible that a loss here and next week to Florida
could knock them out of technical BCS consideration, but I don't
Not bad for a down year.
x:xx pm EST
Colorado State (#15)
9-2 (Home: 3-0)
So here's the deal. Colorado
State is the runaway dominant team in the Mountain West, right?
Well not so much. New Mexico is 4-1 in conference, and if they
win here the Lobos will likely take the MWC crown.
Yeah, but Colorado State
is the runaway dominant team in the MWC. All
they'll do today is prove it.
3:30 pm EST
4-7 (Away: 0-0)
Penn State (#16)
8-3 (Home: 6-1)
Disney makes films about inspirational seasons, then surely
the horror that has been Michigan State's 2002 campaign has
been licensed to Troma Studios (note: link is for
18 and older).
Pick: Penn State
5:30 pm EST
9-2 (Away: 4-0)
7-4 (Home: 5-1)
Maryland is a team on a mission.
They're about to lay the wood to the Frenchies, and it ain't
gonna be pretty.
You've got to hand it to them
though. Picked seventh in the preseason, France has managed
no worse than a tie for third in the ACC, second if they should
*lol* win here. I see that more as a negative reflection on
the ACC however, as 7-6 should never place as high as third.
8:30 pm EST
5-5 (Away: 0-4)
7-3 (Home: 5-1)
The best thing about this game
is that one of these teams gets to halt their slide. Mississippi
has lost four straight since making a brief appearance in the
top-25, and LSU has stumbled three straight weeks (Hail Marys
notwithstanding) since being decimated by injuries and defections.
So at least someone
Pick: Ole Miss
3:00 pm EST
Boise State (#21)
10-1 (Away: 4-1)
5-6 (Home: 4-1)
can not stop The Broncos. You can only hope to contain
x:xx pm EST
8-1 (Away: 3-1)
3-6 (Home: 2-1)
TCU by as much or as little as they want. Frankly, I have no
idea what has happened to East Carolina, but it sure isn't pretty.
11:00 pm EST
5-5 (Away: 2-2)
8-2 (Home: 5-0)
WAC teams in the top-25? I'm as shocked as you are.
Now Hawaii's a peculiar case.
Being bowl eligible, they have already accepted a berth in the
inspiringly named Hawaii Bowl where they will get to face a
CUSA also ran. So it's bowl money, which is nice, but
there's no nifty holiday trip. Also there's no groovy
national opponent. On the other hand, Alabama comes calling
next week with what passes as their bowl game.
So that's something too.
As owners of perhaps the most underrated home field advantage in major college football (jet
lag and hula dancers, how do you concentrate through that?)
Hawaii should take this without too much trouble.
12:00 pm EST
6-4 (Away: 1-3)
4-7 (Home: 2-4)
Hey, well BC finally won a Big
East game last week. Pulls them out of that last place tie with
Rutgers, and only one game back of Temple!
14-7 (YTD: 134-125-4)
TV Game of the Week: Michigan @ Ohio State
Upset Special: Michigan over Ohio State (YTD: 6-8)