By Todd Wills
Corsicana Daily Sun
— College Football Games to Watch
Game 1: No. 11 Oklahoma (9-2, 7-1 in Big 12) at TCU (7-4, 4-4), 11 a.m. (ESPN)
Todd’s take: The Sooners can still win another Big 12 title. They need to win in Fort Worth, and in the irony of ironies, they’ll be huge fans of the Burnt Orange on Saturday night. An OU win coupled with a Texas win at Kansas State will hand the Sooners the outright conference title and a BCS berth. Not sure I can forecast a Texas win, and I’m not exactly all that confident in an OU victory against the Horned Frogs. The Sooners have barely gotten by the last two weeks against West Virginia and Oklahoma State. But Landry Jones and Kenny Stills have found a way to save the day. TCU played a terrific game on Thanksgiving night in Austin. I feel an upset brewing ...
Game 2: No. 23 Oklahoma State (8-3, 6-2 in Big 12) at Baylor (6-5, 3-5), 11 a.m. (FX)
Todd’s take: First one to 70 points wins? I’m not into what Las Vegas thinks, but I hear this is the highest over/under total of the year at 87. The Bears and Cowboys are capable of getting there at halftime. Again, Mike Gundy has performed a miracle averaging 548 yards per game on offense playing three different quarterbacks. My buddy Chuck Williams could play quarterback for the Cowboys and hang a half a hundred on the scoreboard. Baylor has won three out of four as Art Briles closes out another strong season. Baylor is averaging a Big 12-best 575.5 yards per game. The problem is the Bears are giving up 100 yards more than the Cowboys. Baylor has been playing better on defense and has again turned into a takeaway machine.
Game 3: No. 2 Alabama (11-1, 7-1 in SEC) vs No. 13 Georgia (11-1, 7-1), 3 p.m. (Ch. 11)
Todd’s take: It’s the Coach with no consequences, Nick Saban, against the Coach who’s never won a big game, Mark Richt. Now who do you think will win this game? I have a hard time wrapping myself around Alabama playing in the national title game, even if the Crimson Tide is the defending champs. They’re 1-1 in the only two “Big games” they’ve played this season. The Aggies should be playing for the national title, not Bama. Meanwhile, the underachieving Bulldogs finally get their big chance. Experts will tell you Georgia has the most “NFL talent” on its roster. This is a team loaded with stars. And the Dawgs will get beat on Saturday in the Georgia Dome, setting up Notre Dame vs. Alabama for the BCS Title.
Game 4: No. 18 Texas (8-3, 5-3 in Big 12) at No. 6 Kansas State (10-1, 7-1), 7 p.m. (Ch. 8)
Todd’s take: Texas took a giant step back on Thanksgiving, watching a four-game winning streak end with a lethargic, embarrassing home loss to TCU. These are tough times in Austin. Texas A&M has the potential Heisman winner, a freshman QB, and the Longhorns don’t have one. The curse of Garrett Gilbert lives on. It’s actually mystifying because David Ash has played great in eight games and abysmal in three, two of them losses. And when he’s been bad, it’s been benchable bad. The good news is Kansas State is on the schedule — oh never mind, the Wildcats are the Longhorns’ Big 12 kryptonite. Texas hasn’t beaten K-State since 2003. The Wildcats try to finish off the Big 12 title and put the crushing Baylor loss behind them.
Game 5: No. 12 Nebraska (10-2, 7-1 in Big Ten) vs. Wisconsin (7-4, 4-4), 7:17 p.m. (Ch. 4)
Todd’s take: Lucas Oil Stadium will host the Big Ten Championship game. Nebraska is on a six-game winning streak since a 25-point loss at Ohio State and has earned the right to represent the Big Ten in the Rose Bowl. But the Cornhuskers have to beat a Wisconsin team they only beat 30-27 back in September. Nebraska does have a healthy Rex Burkhead which is a good thing. The Badgers play in this game despite a 4-4 conference record because Ohio State and Penn State are banned because of NCAA sanctions, so it’s not as if Wisconsin earned a spot in this game. Which means the Badgers will probably win it. And know this about Wisconsin. The Badgers have lost three games in overtime and they have a great running back in Montee Ball.
Other games of note:
Central Florida (9-3, 7-1 in C-USA) vs. Tulsa (9-3, 7-1), 11 a.m. (ESPN2) — Conference USA, the new Big East. What is it now, half of C-USA in the proud Big East conference? These two teams play pretty good football. Tulsa looks to bounce back from a stunning loss to SMU.
No. 20 Boise State (9-2, 6-1 in MWC) vs. Nevada (7-4, 4-3), 2:30 p.m., (Ch. 8) — It’s been a quiet but successful season for the Boise Broncos. They’ve won 12 out of 13 against the Wolf Pack, but you can bet the Broncos wish they had won the game they lost in 2010, one that cost them a BCS bowl.
No. 13 Florida State (10-2, 7-1 in ACC) vs. Georgia Tech (6-6, 5-4), 7 p.m. (ESPN) — Another riveting conference championship game. How are 6-6 teams getting into these games? Florida State has been a major disappointment this season.
NFL Games to Watch
Pittsburgh (6-5) at Baltimore (9-2), 3:25 p.m., Ch. 11 — It appears almost certain that the Steelers will be without quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, which should make this a near impossible upset for Pittsburgh to pull off Sunday afternoon. The Ravens aren’t really the Ravens on defense, but they’re good enough to stop Charlie Batch. Baltimore wins close games. That’s the Ravens deal. They have Ray Rice, a great offensive line and good special teams. Are the Ravens a Super Bowl team? The record says maybe. The eyeball test says not a chance with Joe Flacco running the offense.
Philadelphia (3-8) at Dallas (5-6), 7:20 p.m., Ch. 5 — No doubt NBC is excited about this barn burner pitting two teams going absolutely nowhere. But don’t feel bad for the Peacock — they had a chance “to flex” this game and pick another one and they didn’t. Philly and Dallas, despite their collective woes, will still draw a huge TV rating. The Eagles play out the string without Mike Vick, plus they have no LeSean McCoy or DeSean Jackson for this game. That’s a lot of offensive firepower out. And actually, not to get your hopes up, but the Cowboys still can make the playoffs. If they get their act together, which maybe they will, maybe they won’t. Man I hate this team!!
NY Giants (7-4) at Washington (5-6), 7:30, ESPN — Game of the season so far. The first NFL game I can honestly say I’m pumped up for this season. The Giants broke out of their funk with a hammering of the Green Bay Packers, reminding us all that the G-Men are still the team to beat for the Super Bowl (sorry Atlanta, San Francisco, Houston, Baltimore). Meanwhile, that guy RG3 reminded us all why he’s the biggest young star in the league — with apologies to Andrew Luck. Robert Griffin III’s destruction of the Cowboys was impressive. He was even better in the post-game press conference. The Redskins made a genius move trading up to get him. Will it pay off with a return to prominence? The guess is yes.