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Rivalry Weekend- Friday

Rivalry Weekend

Friday Edition

They just keep getting better, don’t they, these College Football Games? Now it’s Rivalry Weekend, one of the greatest weekends of the year. Regardless of the results of play up to this point this year, for a lot of teams success comes down to how they fare against their mortal foe. They may bask in the glow of a miraculous Kick Six or suffer from watching it happen. Most of the “We Hate You!” games take place on Saturday, but a few kick off Friday.

Nebraska vs. Iowa

I am not sure how much hate is involved with these two schools, but, heck, who doesn’t have some hate for Nebraska? (my editor says that 470“hate” should be reserved for the SEC, except for Ohio State and Michigan. Can you picture anyone from Oregon, or Washington, State or otherwise, hating anyone or anything like Bama hates Auburn, or Ole Miss hates Mississippi State?) Actually this game, Nebraska-Iowa, should be very interesting, both teams had their dream of making it to the Great White North Championship game crushed by Wisconsin. The Hawkeyes have not done well against top tier teams of the GWN. They have lost to Minnesota and Wisconsin, the two ranked teams that they’ve played. Losing to Maryland and Iowa State is a whole different horse of a whole different color. Doesn’t cause overwhelming confidence when Nebraska comes to town. In the last five games the Hawks are 2-3. They love the idea of running the ball, 3 yards and cloud of dust is okay with the Hawkeyes. But this year those three yards have been hard to come by. They are ranked 71st in the nation, averaging 157.6 yards per game. The passing game has produced far more for them, coming in at 52nd for 243 yards per game. The defense played well against Wisconsin. The problem was that they focused on one running back, Gordon, and forgot the Badgers had others. Now they play Nebraska who is in a late season slide.
NebraskaThe Cornhuskers have lost against every top level team they’ve played, Michigan State, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. The good news for Nebraska fans is, Iowa is not a ranked team. The bad news is that the Huskers have already lost three games and Bo Pelini always loses four games a season. Which, of course, is because of the way he wears his hat, The Curse Of The Hat. Nebraska has been stuck in mediocrity for so long they don’t know anything else. They can run the ball, okay, they’ve always run the ball, but they are one dimensional. I’m not sure if passing is considered a sin in the Blackwater State, or if the fans will take pitchforks and torches after the coaching staff should a passing game develop, but it might help. There is actually no telling who is going to win this game. But, because of the Curse of the Hat, and to equal four losses for the year, one has to pick Iowa.



In SEC match play the Arkansas Razorbacks visit the Missouri Tigers. All the Tigers have to do is win this game and they get to go to Missouri-TigersAtlanta to face either Alabama or Mississippi State. Lose, and the Georgia Bulldogs will take the Tigers’, Missouri variety, place. Speaking strictly as an Alabama fan, I’m pulling for Missouri, because I’m not sure Alabama can beat Georgia after what they did against Auburn. This will be the last home game for the seniors of Missouri, who started off their college career as members of the Big 12, which might have actually had 12 teams, and they are ending it as members of the SEC. It’s been a huge transformation but they have handled it well. Against Arkansas they are going to need more than they initially thought they would. The Hogs have turned in two rock-solid performances. They shut out LSU and Ole Miss. That’s not easy to do. But here’s how they did it;- Against LSU they stacked the Defensive line to shut down the run and dared the Tigers, Louisiana variety, to pass. Against Ole Miss they did the opposite, they made it extremely hard for Wallace to throw, and without Treadwell to bail him out of bad throws, it worked. Now they face a more balanced attacked. Mizzou can throw and run and if they are able to keep the Hogs on their hooves, they should win. To makes things a little easier, QB Brandon Allen for Arkansas might not play due to a hip pointer. If he can’t go, his brother takes over. Is this good or bad? Missouri is picked to win, but they will have to earn it. The Hogs, after a two-year apprenticeship, have figured out how to win. But I’m pulling for Mizzou. I am a Bama fan, after all.



601Arizona State and Arizona don’t like each other, they have a good rivalry, but this year it means much more. Not only will they play for the Territorial Cup, but they are tied for the PCA-12 South title with UCLA, who will be playing Stanford at the same time. Should Stanford upset the Bruins, and that is a distinct possibility, the winner of the Cup gets Oregon in the PAC-12 Championship game. Wonder if the Ducks are pulling for Arizona in hopes of getting revenge? This is also the first time the Arizona schools will play each other while both are ranked, since 1986, anyway. (That was a great year. Ronald Reagan was President, he was adhering to, and upholding, the Constitution, the Nation was prosperous and the music was Rocking!) There are a few subplots in this game as well. Like, both Rich Rod and Todd Graham were hired the same year. So far, Graham holds the edge in wins. QB Anu Solomon for the Wildcats has been walking around campus in a walking boot due to an ankle injury. Rich Rod has said that “it’ll be a game time decision where he plays of not.” The Sun Devils are not buying that. D-back Damarious Randall said, “Unless his leg is cut-off, I’m pretty sure he’ll be out there.” Smart. QB Kelly is looking to end his career at ASU by going 3-0 against his in-state rival. Since coming back from an injury, he has taken some time to get back in the groove. However, last week against Washington State, Kelly showed that he’s got it back. Arizona has never gone to the Rose Bowl as the PAC-12 champions. If they beat the Ducks again, it’ll be the first time they’ll hoist the banner as champions of the PAC-12.

Stanford will be trying to play the part of spoiler against UCLA. As stated, all the Bruins have to do is win and they win the P12 South. The033 Cardinal is playing for respect. They can’t win the P12 North, they won’t go to the playoffs, so they might as well end the regular season by (raining) on UCLA’s parade, and they just might do it. How is that possible? I’ll admit that, on the surface, it looks like a bit of fantasy. UCLA rocked USC’s world last week. But here’s the rub;- the Bruins do not play well against teams with a strong defense. It upsets their flow and causes confusion. Stanford doesn’t have a good offense, they struggle to score points and haven’t mounted a sustained drive since week two. What they do have is a defense. CSF is not saying that the Cardinal offense is going to suddenly show up and light up the score board, that would be silly, what I am saying is that this game is not going to be a walk in the park for the boys in the powder blue uniforms. UCLA has struggled all season long, they beat up on the Trojans, and Washington, but, looking at their entire body of work, they struggle to win. When they lose, it’s because the other teams, in this case, Oregon and Utah, had a credible defense. UCLA is picked to win by most, pundits praise their offense and the passing of Hundley, but very few mention Stanford’s defense. Watch for the Cardinal to pull the upset.



Virginia TechVirginia and Virginia Tech. Things for VaTech Coach Beamer have not gone well the last couple of years. The Hokies haven’t been to a major bowl, they are not even in the discussion of the ACC championship game, and they are looking at another losing season. Talk has already begun that maybe Beamer has lost his touch and needs to step down. Friday could go a long way in determining if he resigns or not. VA Tech was supposed to open up its offensive attack with Texas Tech transfer Brewer, but he has the second lowest Quarterback rating in the ACC. Only Wake Forest’s Wolford is ranked lower. Their wide open passing attack has not happened, the running game has struggled and the defense just hasn’t been up to ACC standards. The Cavaliers have shown they can pull an upset, but they’ve also shown they can lose to the underdog. Hard to decide how this game will go. Since UVA hasn’t won this game in eons, and since Coach London is coming back, we’re going to go against the grain and pick Virginia!

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