It certainly could not be said that last week delivered anything less than an outstanding Saturday of college football.
From Texas A&M's stunning upset of Alabama to Michigan's miraculous late win over Northwestern to that thoroughly entertaining Nebraska-Penn State game down in Lincoln, Week 11 brought us exactly what we want out of every day of college football: Really good action, from noon right on through midnight.
That being said ... well, I'm not exactly confident that this week will be anywhere near as good.
College football 2012's Week 12 looks, at first glance, like it will be a fairly pedestrian one. None of the nation's top-ranked teams outside of Oregon are facing tough tests, and even the matchups that we do have between ranked teams seem somewhat, well, boring. I mean, is anyone really that excited for Texas Tech-Oklahoma State?
Yeah, that's what I thought.
But hey, it's a college football Saturday. We'll make the most of it. Because let's face it: We don't really have a choice.
No. 18 USC at No. 17 UCLA (3:05 p.m., FOX): I assure you, folks, that there was indeed a day when this rivalry mattered. Like, really, really mattered. Now, I don't doubt that it still matters to USC folks, and especially to UCLA folks, but there's no denying the fact that, on a national scale, this once great series has fallen almost completely off the map. UCLA is showing new life these days, and that's certainly promising, but part of me wonders if USC-UCLA will ever regain the status it once had--I remember a great late 80's matchup that pitted No. 1 USC against No. 2 UCLA, with none other than Troy Aikman leading the Bruins--so long as Chip Kelly keeps doing what he's doing up at Oregon and so long as the SEC keeps on, you know, being the SEC. But I digress. As for this one, look for UCLA to come storming out early, then slowly but surely give way to the Trojans. Who, despite their various issues, still have more talent. USC 31, UCLA 21
Ohio State at Wisconsin (3:30 p.m., ABC/ESPN2): What a strange year to be a Buckeye fan. On one hand, you have the fact that your program is slowly but surely being transformed by one of the greatest coaches in modern college football history. One the other hand, you know that this entire season is essentially meaningless--that your Buckeyes are truly playing for nothing, that their achievements will not be rewarded, that Braxton Miller in any other year would getting much more Heisman pub that he has so far, and that, come bowl season, your team will be sitting at home, wondering what might have been. In a word, it is ... dreadful. But then again, there's always next year, and the year after that, and so long as Urban Meyer is the guy strolling the sidelines, I'm guessing those years will be great years indeed. Your time in purgatory is almost over, Buckeye fans. In the meantime, just enjoy watching your team beat up on the Big Ten scrubs. Wisconsin included. Ohio State 27, Wisconsin 17
No. 13 Stanford at No. 2 Oregon (8 p.m., ABC): Three weeks of football left. Three undefeated teams left: Oregon, Notre Dame, Kansas State. I will go on record here as saying that at least two of those three teams will lose before the season wraps up. Kansas State will lose to Texas. Notre Dame will lose to USC. And Oregon? Well, Oregon won't lose to anybody. The Ducks have come close--oh so close--over the past few years to winning that elusive first national title, and I have to believe that all of those close calls have taught this program a few important things about how national championships are won; most specifically, there is the simple truth that national title teams play at a national title level every single week. Let up just a bit and ... well, Texas A&M beats an Alabama team that by all rights should have won that game fairly easily. Oregon saw that. Oregon knows what's at stake. Oh, and there's this: Oregon is really, really good. The defense is flawed, yes, but not as flawed as it's been in years past. Look for the Ducks to cruise past the Cardinal en route to the national championship game--and perhaps their first national title. Oregon 42, Stanford 28