So, no podcast, but that’s fine. We’ll do something different in lieu of it. The last week of the regular season, meaning that it’s typically rivalry week. Not only that, it also means the playoff picture will be cemented by week’s end. That’s a big deal, so let’s discuss all of those.
1) SEC CROWNS….
So, speaking of rivalry week, Texas and Clemson play tomorrow night. They can’t stand each other. They’ve each got a top tier defense. And each offense can make plays, but are so different. Texas airs it out, can beat you deep as long as quarterback Ray Tatum isn’t throwing five picks. Clemson is going to run the ball, and air it out as needed, but they dare you to stop halfback Mike Chadwick. Neither team has lost in conference, and Clemson is one of two undefeated teams in the CFSL. Winner is crowned the SEC champion and gets the first round bye for the playoffs. Oh, and Ray Tatum needs major performances to hit 16,000 passing yards in a career – he’s still a little over 1,000 away – but he’s two touchdown passes away from 120 in a career. Did I mention Texas and Clemson hate each other? This might be the most must-watch regular season CFSL game we have this week. Don’t you dare miss it and Clemson’s fall from the undefeated ranks. Oops, gave a prediction…
2) THE BEST IN FLORIDA
Speaking of playoffs and rivalries, Miami and Florida square off later this week. The Hurricanes win and are into the playoffs. Lose? And Auburn will take Miami’s place. Florida has struggled to get things moving, able to sneak past TCU last week. It hasn’t been the season the Gators have hoped for, but they could set this Floridian rivalry off with a bang by ruining Miami’s playoff hopes. Kingston Fox and Jose Bueno face each other from the quarterback position. A matchup of two of the younger quarterbacks in the league where they know how to set off fireworks. You may want to sit down for this one, you might miss these teams combine for 100 points.
3) BIG TEN, WHO’S IN?
We know the story of Ohio State, and their path to the playoffs. They’ve booked their ticket. After that, this thing becomes a mess. If Michigan beats the Buckeyes, and Washington beats the Ducks, both Michigan and Washington is in. Likewise, Michigan does their part and an Oregon win, then they are the two teams who go to the playoffs with Ohio State. Then there’s Notre Dame and I’ll be honest with you, this is a mess. Notre Dame is 2-3 in conference, and one of their wins was over Washington. They lost to Michigan, Ohio State, and Oregon. If Michigan and Oregon loses, then all three teams have the same in-conference record and both have the head-to-head over Notre Dame. Oregon also has the head-to-head over Michigan. However, if Oregon wins, then they’re in. Then you have Michigan, Notre Dame, and Washington tied at 2-3 in-conference. Michigan beat Notre Dame, who beat Washington, who beat Michigan. That can be resolved by Notre Dame defeating Auburn, which gives Notre Dame the better overall record, otherwise, we have to look to point differential. Bottom line, Ohio State’s in, probably has the one seed locked down, and the winner of Washington vs. Oregon is in. That three seed though, that’s a mess.
4) OUT WITH A BANG
TCU and Penn State play each other this week, in a game that is not going to get the hype it should considering the lack of playoff stakes. However, both teams enter with a win. So which team will be going out with a bang? Who gets that last win between these two? After all, the games between TCU and Penn State have primarily been settled by seven points or less. The last meeting was by 14. These two play each other close. Also, this is receiver Jared Tetonis’ last CFSL game. This man is 10 catches and two receiving touchdowns away from a record and a milestone. Most receptions and receiving touchdowns in a career. 10 catches gives Tetonis 290, one more than Derrick Gray. Two receiving touchdowns puts Tetonis at 40 in a career. He’d like to go out with a bang, but that may not be easy. Also, Penn State wants to see quarterback Walker Mills and halfback Robert Davis maintain the momentum they had from a week ago. After all, they did throw a wrench into Oregon’s playoff path, and if Penn State were to get a win, they’d feel fantastic I’m sure.
5) LOOKING AHEAD
So, going off the above section, there is a point to be made here. That this is the end of the regular season, and for teams who don’t make the playoffs or who are eliminated from the playoffs, this week is still crucial. You have to look good, you can’t afford a bad showing due to the role that it could play in recruiting. It may seem a ways away, but teams are already looking ahead to next season, trying to figure out their scholarship limits, schemes, recruiting pitches, and so on. It’s a world not for the faint of heart, but it’s where we are. A world we love. And so many teams have to be looking ahead. Players graduating, including three guaranteed quarterback openings, and who knows how many more will be added to that. If a team hasn’t begun making some off-season preparations, they might actually already be at a disadvantage. Uh oh.
6) RIVALRY REMATCH
Clemson and Texas is a CFSL based rivalry, and while Ohio State and Michigan are natural rivals this week, with that game having Michigan’s playoff lives on the line, there is another game this week with intrigue. Auburn needs a bit of help from Miami to make the playoffs in the SEC. But, they face Notre Dame. Now why is this significant? It’s a rematch of the season one National Championship game. A game were there were first playoffs before the move to the bowl system, and now back to the playoffs. There were four teams then: Boise State, Notre Dame, Hawaii, and Auburn. Notre Dame found themselves in strong standing, but Auburn backed their way in, running the table to find their way to the title game. Notre Dame ultimately won, but it was fun to witness. Since that game, they have faced each other three more times, with Auburn winning the last two and a win puts them at .500 for the series, as Notre Dame won the first three meetings. Don’t miss this game either.
7) THE VICTORS VALIANTLY HAIL
Michigan, Ohio State, and The Game. A rivalry game as old as time, and one that the Buckeyes haven’t won since they pushed themselves into the Orange Bowl back in season two. It’s what stands between the Wolverines and the playoffs. The Buckeyes have never won a game in the Big House, located in Ann Arbor. And honestly, that’s all that stands between Ohio State and a perfect regular season and perfect conference record. Few teams have finished with a perfect conference record, fewer still have ever gone undefeated in the regular season. But Ohio State could do so (as could Clemson), but the rival stands between them. It’s so peculiar how similar this game is to the Clemson-Texas game, and yet so vastly different. Michigan’s playoff lives are at stake, not the one seed. But, they’re at stake because of quarterback Dewey Ainge connecting with Giorgio Pipino on a throw from Ainge’s own 40 yard line, where he nailed a diving Pipino in the endzone with two seconds on the clock. They get to face a fierce Buckeye defense, led by linebacker Martavis Marriott, corner Tom Pence, and safety Kevin Brackett. The defensive big three has helped quarterback Xavier Garcia-Allen to have a short field, to which halfback Frost Carlson kicks it into third gear. Again, playoff lives on the line means The Game, once again, is a must watch.
8) duck season or huskie season?
Washington and Oregon square off. Winner advances, loser likely goes home (see Big Ten, Who’s In?). Oregon just got the rug pulled out from under them, in a game where they could have nailed down their playoff berth with a win. Now, they face a Washington team who looked as though they didn’t stand a chance against a stout Ohio State defense. So here we go. It’s a win and in game. Oregon’s offense versus Washington’s, because honestly, Oregon’s offense is eerily similar to what Washington’s was a season or two ago. A strong dual-threat quarterback (Devonta Cribbs, Doug Ohle), a talented rusher who has speed and power (Jimmy Tickle, Ron Dayne Jr.), a top tier receiver (Dijon Swann, Matty Rose), and threat at tight end (Davonte Lawson, Derrick Gray). Meanwhile, Washington’s defense has been highlighted by the play of safety Digger Graves. The guy found himself in candidacy for player of the week recently, and he’s not the only stud. Richard Bradley at defensive end, Raekwon Dong at defensive tackle, the other safety Bubba Bullard. The list could go on, but the point is, you don’t want to miss this.
That’s the run down for the week. Brace yourselves folks. It’s week eight, and in the CFSL, anything can happen. Playoffs on the line, conference titles, bye weeks, pride, you name it. It’s all on the line for this week, and you don’t want to miss a second of it.