Jerry runs the web sites CollegeRPI.com and CollegeBCS.com and a CSTV.com analyst. E-mail here!
With all the impact games on the calendar this week, college football fans have a lot to be thankful for.
Things start on Thanksgiving Day, when USC goes to Arizona State. This is a big game in both the Pac-10 race and the national title picture. The Sun Devils control their own destiny for the Rose Bowl, but with a little help, could also find themselves in the BCS title mix. ASU figures to be the top-rated 11-1 team in the computers, which means with a little help from the voters, they could vault over OhioState in the standings. Right now, the Sun Devils are only one spot behind the Buckeyes in the polls, but the point differential is much closer to two spots. If Arizona State can win impressively enough these last two weeks, while the Buckeyes are sitting on their couches eating leftovers, the Sun Devils have a chance to close that gap considerably, and that might be all it takes to make the jump.
Friday brings us No. 1 LSU vs. Arkansas. The Tigers are going to have to find a way to deal with the two-headed monster of Darren McFadden and Felix Jones. They also have to deal with the Les Miles-to-Michigan distractions, although Arkansas has coaching issues as well.
Also on Friday is the Lone Star Showdown between Texas and Texas A&M. The Longhorns are suddenly in the Big 12 title chase again. If they win and Oklahoma loses the next day against Oklahoma State, Texas will play for the conference championship. Texas is also a strong BCS at-large candidate, but they need to win to maintain that status.
The nightcap on Friday is the WAC title game between BoiseState and Hawai'i. Both are struggling to find respect among the voters because of especially bad schedules (historically bad in the Warriors' case) and a close game might not move either team very much. No matter how this turns out, the most interesting thing will be how the voters react to the result.
The big Saturday showdown is between Kansas and Missouri at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. If the Jayhawks had known what would be at stake in this game, they would have never moved it away from their home field. The highest rated team KU has faced this year so far is No. 38 Oklahoma State, so this will be a big step up in class for the Jayhawks. The winner has an inside track to the BCS title game.
West Virginia will be watching that one closely as well, but the Mountaineers have their own conference title matchup to worry about. Connecticut visits on Saturday and would clinch the Big East title if the Huskies can pull the upset. WVU is in the on-deck circle for the BCS championship game, so they cannot afford any letdown.
Two other conference division titles will be finalized on Saturday. Tennessee travels to Kentucky looking to sew up the SEC East. If they fall, Georgia wins the division, whether the Bulldogs beats Georgia Tech on Saturday or not.With all the chaos this season, the Bulldogs still can't be ruled out of the BCS title hunt, so their game is important, just not to the SEC race.
Also, Virginia hosts Virginia Tech in an ACC semifinal. The winner will move on to the ACC title game to face Boston College next week. The only realistic chance the ACC has of placing two teams into the BCS requires the Hokies to win this week.
Finally, Oregon looks to bounce back from its disappointing loss to Arizona last week when the Ducks travel to UCLA. The Ducks need to win out and have someone to beat ArizonaState to have a chance to win the Pac-10, but that's not really asking too much. Brady Leaf does need to step up for Oregon to make this happen. The Ducks are also the Pac-10's most attractive BCS at-large team. UCLA, believe it or not, has a chance to win the Pac-10 berth in the Rose Bowl if it can forge a four-way tie with USC, Oregon and ASU.