Friday, November 21, 2008

Fans' Weekend Guide - Week Thirteen

The Conference Title is on the Line When…
BYU @ Utah (November 22, 6:00, The MTN):
The Utes enter the “Holy War” undefeated and 60 minutes away from a likely BCS bowl. Standing in their way is in-state rival BYU. How apropos! Utah, coached by BYU alum Kyle Whittingham, has their defense playing well – they have allowed just 11.4 points per game over the second half of the season. Since suffering their lone loss of the campaign, the Cougars are averaging 41.5 points per game. If state pride, a conference title and a BCS bid are not enough drama for you, tune in because of the quarterbacks. BYU’s Max Hall, a Davey O’Brien Semifinalist has thrown three game-winning touchdown passes in the final four minutes of games this season, while Johnny Unitas Finalist Brian Johnson of Utah has led three game-winning drives in the final minute. Hopefully you have the Mountain Network.

Don’t Call it an Upset When…
Michigan St. Visits Penn St. (November 22, 3:30, ABC):
The Nittany Lions have been out in front of the Big Ten pack. However, heading into the final week of the season, Penn St. is in a three-way tie with pre-season favorite Ohio St. and surprise contender Michigan St. The Spartans are led by Javon Ringer (1,548 yards, 20 touchdowns) on the offensive side of the ball, with a solid bend-but-don’t-break defense, which is the Big Ten’s best in the red zone.

The Team That Can’t Afford to Look Ahead is…
Oregon St. Visiting Arizona (November 22, 7:00, FSN):
The Beavers are two wins away from smelling the roses, with their hated rival Oregon waiting in the wings. However, before they think about the future, they should take a look at the past. Last season, it was Oregon who strolled into Tucson as the Pac-10 leaders, only to lose their quarterback Dennis Dixon and control of their own destiny in a 34-24 loss in the desert. That marked the fourth straight year the ‘Cats knocked off a ranked opponent in November. Can they do it again? With the number two scoring offense and number four scoring defense in the Pac-10, this wouldn’t even be an upset.

The Team on the Cusp is…
Cincinnati Hosting Pittsburgh (November 22, 7:00, ESPN2):
With a 4-1 conference mark and three straight wins heading into this contest, the Bearcats are in position to claim their first ever Big East Title and BCS birth. A win over the Panthers and the lone obstacle would be the Syracuse Orange – in other words…people of Cincinnati get out your BCS bowling shoes. What is most remarkable is that Brian Kelly has put his team in this position despite having to play four different quarterbacks. Cincinnati’s stellar run defense – they’ve allowed a Big East low eight rushing touchdowns – will be tested by the conference’s most talented back in LeSean McCoy (1,043 yards, 16 touchdowns).

Photo Credit: College Press Box (Utah)