The Long Snapper – Ranked Games, Alabama, USC, Texas Tech, and More…


November makes me sad. Yes the holiday season is upon us and presents are always a good thing, but it also means we’re getting closer to the end of the college football season than I would like.


only has four regular season games left and

South Florida

is down to its final three. In only two short months, we will be in that horrible time of year when there is nothing to truly look forward to (my apologies to AFL fans).

On the positive side, this is when games really matter. Well, all games matter in college football, but teams can usually rebound from a loss earlier in the year better than they can from one later on. Here’s a look at some of the big games (read: games between ranked teams) of week 11:

#20 Georgia Tech @ #19 UNC

The ACC has been thought of as a joke for much of this season, but if you look deeper, the conference isn’t really as bad as people think. True, they don’t have a national title contender, but they are the only conference among the big six that have only one team under .500. Whether that means they are all equally good or all equally bad is up for interpretation.

Anyway, this game should be a fairly hard-fought contest in which Georgia Tech can take control of the Coastal division with a win. Surprisingly, despite being ranked 19th nationally, UNC is in 5th place in the division and would pretty much fall out of contention with a loss. These teams got to where they are at the moment through eerily similar situations. Both have only two losses and both lost to Virginia and Virginia Tech. Even weirder, both lost to VT 20-17 on back-to-back weekends in September. I’ll go with UNC on this one because I feel they have a few more impressive wins so far this year.

#11 Ohio State @ #24 Northwestern

Ohio State

has an outside shot at the Big Ten crown if

Penn State

loses two of its last three, but that’s not happening. What the Buckeyes can do is get a BCS bowl bid if Penn State makes it into the national championship game. So as much as Buckeye fans want the Nittany Lions to lose a couple of times, it’s probably more realistic to hope they win out and get a chance to play for the title. That way Ohio State can get into the Rose Bowl.

I want Northwestern to win this game. Not because I have some connection to or like the Wildcats, but because I always want Ohio State to lose. Most Gator fans are with me on that one. But it ain’t happening. The Buckeyes are too strong and have only lost to two of the top seven teams in the nation. Northwestern on the other hand lost to a good Michigan State team, but also gave Indiana their only conference win of the year.

Speaking of teams with only one Big Ten win, how many of us thought Michigan and Wisconsin would be part of that not-so-elite fraternity? We all knew the Wolverines would be rebuilding, but the Badgers have to have been one of the most overrated teams in recent memory.

#1 Alabama @ #16 LSU

Florida fans want and need Alabama to win this game. Beating a #1 Crimson Tide squad in the SEC title game could give Florida the boost they might need to get into the national title game. With three undefeated teams left, the Gators may only have a small chance to get in, but it all starts with Alabama winning the rest of its regular season games.

The Crimson Tide should take this one for a few reasons. They are the more talented team and the Tigers’ defense collapsed against its two best opponents – Florida and Georgia. However, Alabama hasn’t played the toughest of competition so far this year. Clemson turned out to be overrated, Tennessee is a joke, and Florida may have just exposed Georgia as not being the team everyone thought it was. Then again, you can look at it this way. Georgia beat LSU fairly easily and Alabama beat Georgia fairly easily. So why shouldn’t Alabama be able to take care of LSU? I don’t know, but it’s the SEC, so you can never count on what’s supposed to happen.

#21 Cal @ #7 USC

Since its loss to

Oregon State



has won five straight by a total score of 214-20 – an average of about 43-4. That gets a big, giant “GOO!!!” But before you get too excited about the Trojans’ otherworldly combination of offensive and defensive domination, consider this: four of those opponents are in the bottom half of the Pac-10 standings. USC is a very good team – they are every year – but Oregon State proved they are beatable.

Can Cal be the team to beat them? Yes. And this is why. Cal is among three teams – USC and Oregon State being the other two – that are tied with one conference loss. The Golden Bears also happen to play those other two teams over the course of the next two weeks. Cal will play up for this game and has a chance to surprise a USC team that seems destined to stumble eventually. I say that because the Trojans (and the Gators…gasp) are playing so hot right now that one of the thoughts is “can they keep it up?” It’s hard to keep a hot streak like that going forever.

In the did you know department: Oregon State actually sits in the driver’s seat in the Pac-10. Everyone is concerned about what Big 12 teams will be left out of the BCS bowls at the end of year, but it could get even worse if USC and Oregon State win out because the Beavers will have to go and how is anyone going to turn down an 11-1 Trojan team? The Pac-10 could actually bump out one of the Big 12 teams.

Speaking of Oregon State, the Beavers are a pedestrian 5-3, but actually have a pretty good resume. Since losing their season-opener to Stanford, Oregon State has lost only two other games. Their opponents in those games: Penn State and Utah, who are currently a combined 19-0.

#9 Oklahoma State @ #2 Texas Tech

You might think we’re in the Twilight Zone looking at a game between #9

Oklahoma State

and #2

Texas Tech

. But it’s no joke. These are two high-octane teams who can play with anyone in the nation. But I’ll throw a giant wrench in the discussion. This game doesn’t matter. Why? Both teams will lose to


As for this game, I’ll go with Texas Tech. The Cowboys are a talented team, but the Red Raiders have more fire power. Both teams could end up scoring in the 50s, but this game will go to Texas Tech in the end. Unfortunately for Oklahoma State, they are having a great season when three teams in their own division are playing as good as anyone in the nation.

Two ranked teams already played each other this week as Utah remained undefeated by beating TCU. The Utes look like they have a chance to be the first mid-major conference team to make two BCS bowls. I think most Florida fans have a soft spot for Utah and like to see them do well, but at the same time we could see a 1-loss Big 12 team on the outside looking in if the Utes remain undefeated. Just one of the many issues with the current college football postseason situation. But that’s another argument for another day (or in the case of me and my friends, yesterday).