We've reached the part of the season where there are clear-cut favorites to reach the title game ('Bama, FSU) and a second tier of teams trying to wedge their way into the picture. In week 12, we see the cream of that second group in matchups that could bolster their BCS hopes. All times listed are Central.
(4)Stanford @ USC: 7 p.m., ABC
Six short weeks ago, Southern Cal was a 3-2, in danger of a complete program meltdown and putting its trust in a human cartoon character as interim coach. Since that time, Ed Orgeron(!) has gone 4-1 at the helm with only a four-point loss at Notre Dame blemishing his tenure. It's unclear as to whether the Trojans are benefiting from a lull in the schedule or from DA COACH O dabbling in Cajun Voodoo, but we will find out this weekend when they take on the surging Stanford squad. The Cardinal have won three straight games against ranked competition, including last week's massive upset of Oregon. Stanford should win this game comfortably, but never ever discount the power of Cajun sideline Voodoo.
Texas Tech @ (5) Baylor: 6 p.m., Fox
Oh, Kilff. What happened to us? A month ago, we were flying high amid your undefeated dream season. We all knew it wouldn't last, but we allowed ourselves to dream. A one-possession loss to Oklahoma? Understandable. Getting worked over by Oklahoma State? Come on ... Getting stomped by a Kansas State team that lost to North Dakota State? Yikes. Texas Tech has one shot to keep this season special, and that's by upsetting Baylor in prime time. Problem is, Baylor is actually good. Really good. Baylor ends its season with five straight games against decent competition, which means Baylor could make BCS noise, and a series of good performances can result in some Bryce Petty Heisman love. This game is going to be fun. You should watch it.
(12) Oklahoma State @ (24) Texas: 2:30 p.m., Fox
I don't know how it's possible that every good Big 12 team has a back-loaded schedule, but it seems to be the case. Oklahoma State has only suffered the one loss at West Virginia this season and appears to be the forgotten one-loss team. Texas' story is similar to the USC situation. Mack Brown is still employed (for now), but the Longhorns seem to be finding new life after early-season struggles. A win over the Cowboys would go a long way toward convincing the fan base that Brown is still a coach capable of turning a team around. There's a lot on the line for both teams in this one.
(16) Michigan State @ Nebraska: 2:30 p.m., ABC/ESPN2
This is totally not just an excuse to post this video. Nebraska might be a pretty good team. It's hard to tell, because the Cornhuskers' conference schedule has left so much to be desired. Michigan State has been a trendy pick to upset Ohio State in a Big Ten title game, but one should remember that losing to Nebraska would probably mean missing out on the "Legends Division" title. If Michigan State looks ahead, a team like Bo (the clean) Pelini could definitely trip the Spartans up.
Don't forget to check back on Friday for our SEC preview
More from College and Magnolia:
- Auburn basketball: November thoughts
- Auburn vs. Georgia: TV schedule, key players and more
- Auburn in the NFL: Week 10
- Undercover Barner: Georgia on my mind
- SEC review: THE GAME OF THE CENTURY that wasn't