Four weeks into the 2012 college football season, I've noticed a few notable and not-so-happy trends.
Among those trends are the following:
♦ The sport of college football is, without question, being regionalized. Which is to say, the SEC keeps getting better and everyone else keeps getting worse.
♦ The sport of college football is being corrupted and losing its soul in the pursuit of money. For the latest evidence, I give you Notre Dame's ridiculous decision to join the ACC--and its attendant decision to drop Michigan from its schedule going forward.
♦ The sport of college football is back-loading its Saturday schedules, moving all of the "best" games to the 8 p.m. window and in the process robbing the daylight hours of good football. This is a travesty.
♦ With the exception of Week 3, the Saturday lineups this season have been, for the most part, fairly uninspiring.
These are not good trends, folks. But they are real trends nonetheless. But rather than dwell on the negatives, why don't we go ahead and start looking ahead--to another college football Saturday.
Who knows? Maybe the game will surprise us, and maybe those aforementioned trends will be nipped in the bud (though I don't have much faith in that happening).
Here are your Games Worth Watching for Week 5.
No. 25 Baylor at No. 9 West Virginia (Noon, FX): It will be a momentous occasion down in Morgantown, as the Mountaineers play their first-ever Big 12 conference game (something tells me those fans don't exactly pine for the days of the Big East, folks). The high-flying 'Eeers have been outstanding so far this year, putting up an astounding 47 points per game and averaging 370 yards passing per game. The Bears haven't been too shabby either, averaging 51.3 points and 362 passing yards per game. Look for a lot of points to be scored in this one, look for both defenses to look pretty awful and look for the 'Eers to come out on top. West Virginia 38, Baylor 35
No. 14 Ohio State at No. 20 Michigan State (3:30, ABC): So in the historically bad Big Ten of 2012, this counts as a "big game," I suppose--a showdown between a talented and rebuilding Ohio State team that can't play in a bowl game and a shamed Sparty team that laid an egg--at home, and at night--against Notre Dame. I don't doubt that coach Mark Dantonio will have his team ready to play in this one (they certainly weren't ready to take on the Irish), and I have no delusions about the Buckeyes being an "elite" bunch (at least not yet; give Urban Meyer another year or two and we'll get there). But the bottom line is that Braxton Miller will be the best player on the field. And that always helps. Ohio State 23, Michigan State 20
Wisconsin at No. 22 Nebraska (8 p.m., ABC): A few weeks back, this was a really, really big game. Now it's merely symbolic of how far the Big Ten has fallen. The Badgers have been downright awful so far this year--so awful that it's difficult to remember why so many folks held them in such high regard back in the preseason. They'll try to right the ship and save the season down in Lincoln, where they'll take on a so-so Nebraska bunch that isn't exactly setting the world on fire, either (that performance out in Pasadena against UCLA stands out as one of the Big Ten's lowlights this season). Forced to choose between two average squads, you might as well take the home team; and after all, for all of their flaws, the 'Huskers have at least shown the ability to move the ball. They're putting up nearly 49 points per game (and, yes, I know that average has been helped out greatly by the 73 they hung on Idaho State last week). Nebraska 31, Wisconsin 17