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Here are 10 things I'm buzzing about at the outset of Week 13:
1. When it comes to Texas Tech, I have eaten a massive amount of crow. Over the past couple months, I overloaded this blog with Red Raiders skepticism (here, here, here, here and most recently here). One would think I'd learn the error of my ways ... But Bob Stoops' home record (59-2) is too daunting a statistic to overlook. Call me bullheaded, but I foresee Oklahoma jumping back into the national title picture thanks to a Heisman effort from Sam Bradford and another win in the turnover battle. (Tech faithful, commence name-cursing.)
2. Two words best describe the last two installments of the Holy War: Holy @#$%! One year ago, BYU trailed Utah 10-9 and faced a 4th-and-18 from its own 12-yard line with just over a minute remaining. Max Hall converted a 49-yard pass to Austin Collie and the Cougars scored the game-winning touchdown a few plays later. In 2006, BYU QB John Beck threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Jonny Harline with no time remaining to give the Cougars a 33-31 win. Will the Utes' BCS dreams be dashed by yet another BYU miracle? Find yourself a DirecTV-equipped boob tube -- this tantalizing bout is only available on The Mtn.
3. Is this really Joe Paterno's final game in Happy Valley? The Nittany Lions take on Michigan State for with a Rose Bowl berth on the line, but Paterno's uncertain future has been the biggest topic of conversation in State College this week. At the pep rally on Friday night, JoePa hinted that he will continue to coach in 2009, but here are three big reasons to believe he'll actually hang 'em up:
• His contract still hasn't been extended beyond this season.
• He's about to undergo hip-replacement surgery.
• He's older than nylon, Scotch tape, velcro and the jet engine.
4. John Beilein leaves West Virginia for Michigan. In Year 1, the Wolverines struggle mightily while adapting to Beilein's unique system. In Year 2, Michigan looks vastly improved and shocks the No. 4 team in the country.
Rich Rodriguez, you have a blueprint. In terms of Michigan's season finale today in Columbus, well, it's still Year 1 ...
5. Countless rivalries across the country falsely claim the moniker "The Big Game." There's only one Big Game, and it's played for an axe.
6. Last season, Boise State outlasted Nevada 69-67 in the highest-scoring game in FBS (formerly Division I-A) history. That'll be a difficult act to match today -- the Wolf Pack average 38.5 points per game and the Broncos 37.1 -- and I doubt Boise State will need four overtimes this time around. The Broncos' run to perfection rolls on. Unfortunately, barring a Utah loss, that run's finish line is a December bowl game.
7. With Oregon State just two wins away from the Rose Bowl, a large number of folks seem to believe the Beavs will be tripped up at Arizona. Yes, Mike Stoops' bunch is pretty tough, but when I gaze into my crystal ball, all I can see is 'Quizz Rodgers running wild yet again. So I won't rain on Oregon State's parade on this fine Saturday. That can wait till next week.
8. Purdue's Joe Tiller coaches his last game today against a fellow 3-8 team, Indiana. Tiller enjoyed unprecedented success in West Lafayette by employing a wide-open, passing spread in a run-heavy conference. While it's strange to think about a Boilermakers team without Tiller, it sounds like the coach is more than ready to call it quits. "You would have to be a masochist to want to continue this for another eight weeks," Tiller told the Journal and Courier. Send your coach out in style, Boilers -- take back that Old Oaken Bucket.
9. With Florida in the thick of the national title race, there's nothing more annoying than looking at today's schedule and seeing the Gators matched up against ... The Citadel. Get the nonconference cupcakes out of the way in September! SERIOUSLY!!!
I'm sorry I had to yell.
10. Washington and Washington State rank 117th and 118th in total offense and 110th and 112th in total defense. So the question is: Will the worst Apple Cup ever be a 3-2 stalemate or 45-44 shootout? How do you like your horrendousness served?