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Are You Ready for Rivalry week?

Five college football games to watch this weekend.

Are You Ready for Rivalry week?

Let the rivalries begin! Well, some of them at least. This weekend offers up some juicy and intriguing college football matchups. Teams fighting for bowl eligibility and teams looking to save catastrophic seasons is just a part of the story line for this weekend. Not to mention the traditional rivalries where both teams come to play no matter what the records.


1. Ole Miss at LSU: The Tigers almost lost in tragic fashion last weekend to Troy which automatically makes this game a good one to watch. Ole Miss has been tough all year long (see their win at Florida) and Houston Nutt will have his team ready to play as always. The Rebels are already bowl eligible again for the first time in a few years and have very close losses to good teams like South Carolina and Alabama. Look for this Rebels team to be on the upswing in the coming years. Then you have LSU who, as previously mentioned, somehow avoided a terrible loss against Troy last weekend.  Les Miles will have his team ready to play as well, however, this is not the same LSU team that we’ve seen in recent memory.
 
Players to Watch:
LSU – RB Charles Scott
Ole Miss – QB Jevan Snead

 2. Pittsburgh at Cincinnati: The Bearcats control their own destiny in the Big East, but looming right behind them breathing down their necks are the Pitt Panthers. Despite using a 5-man rotation at quarterback this season, coach Brian Kelly has somehow found a way to pull out 8 victories showing everyone in national circles why he’s such a hot commodity right now. It helps that Cincinnati also has probably the best receiving duo in the Big East with Marshwan Gilyard and Dominick Goodman. As far as Pitt goes, well, the bulk of their weight is carried by super sophomore running back LeSean McCoy. Just like the saying goes, as McCoy goes, the Panthers go. If quarterback Bill Stull can find a way to put some throws together and the Pitt defensive backfield stays solid against the pass, the Panthers could knock Cincy’s hopes for a BCS bowl berth right out the window.
 
Players to Watch:
Cincinnati – CB Mike Mickens
Pittsburgh – RB LeSean McCoy

3. Michigan at Ohio State: Do you think the Wolverines even remember the 41-35 victory over the Gators in last year’s Capital One Bowl? The Michigan season has gone horribly awry and they’ve lost eight games for the first time in program history. We thought that Rich Rodriguez’s first year might be bad, but WOW. Either way you slice it, however, this should be a fun game to watch and the intensity will come through on both sides of the ball as usual. The Buckeyes have enjoyed quite the opposite season from Michigan and still have a slim shot at the national title. However, they can’t let how badly Michigan has played this season get to their heads because this is a totally different animal. If Michigan somehow pulls out this win people had better watch out for the Wolverines next season.
 
Players to Watch:
Michigan – LB Obi Ezeh
Ohio State – QB Terrelle Pryor

4. Texas Tech at Oklahoma: So this is definitely the “game to watch” of the week if you watch ESPN at all. People all over Lubbock and Norman are hyping it up as the “game of the century”. Personally, I think it could end up being a one-sided affair. Don’t get me wrong, this will be a heck of a game. I’m just not sure it’s going to live up to the hype. My gut feeling is that A, Texas Tech will show just how far they’ve really come by playing not great, but solid defense and Graham Harrell will exploit Oklahoma’s depleted linebacking unit, thus throwing for an absurd number of touchdowns (most of which will go to the amazing Michael Crabtree) and Tech will win by a fairly large sum (52-34?). Or B, Sam Bradford will do just about the exact same thing to Tech, and the Oklahoma defense will use their depth to step up and pull out a fairly easy win (49-27?). Despite the fact that it sounds like you shouldn’t watch this game…..you definitely should.
 
Players to Watch:
Oklahoma – QB Sam Bradford
Texas Tech – WR Michael Crabtree 

5. BYU at Utah: Here it is, folks. The dynamite matchup of this weekend in college football….the Holy War. And you can bet that this one will be a war. Utah leads this all-time series 53-33-4, but the BYU Cougars have already had their BCS hopes dashed once this season and they won’t want to let that happen again. This year’s matchup pits two of the best quarterbacks in the conference up against each other…..actually, two of the best quarterbacks in the nation perhaps in Brian Johnson of Utah and Max Hall of BYU. All bets are off with this matchup as the winner will have bragging rights and a definite shot at a BCS bowl berth. So you can bet that both teams will be laying everything on the line in this one truly making it the matchup of the week. I guess somebody has to lose, right?
 
Players to Watch:
Utah – S DeShawn Richard, P/K Louie Sakoda
BYU – QB Max Hall, WR Austin Collie

Bonus Matchup to Watch:

West Virginia at Louisville – At 5-5, the Cardinals are just trying to salvage a .500 record and bowl eligibility at this point. A far cry from the Brian Brohm era, indeed. Whether it’s fair or not, Steve Kragthorpe will be on the hot seat if he loses this one at home. The Mountaineers season hasn’t gone quite as badly, but Pat White is not a Heisman contender as usual and the team has struggled to find any kind of an identity. Let’s not forget, however, that this game is a rivalry and just like Folgers coffee, it’s always “good to the last drop”.

Players to Watch:
Louisville – RB Victor Anderson
West Virginia – RB Noel Devine