Friday, November 6, 2009

NCAA '09 Football: Week 10

Hot conference rivalry battles mark Week 10's increasingly important games as SEC matches Alabama versus LSU and the Big Ten features Ohio State versus Penn State.

Week 10 of the 2009 college football season features some classic match-ups, some based on conference championships and major bowl considerations. Some are just interesting combinations for more creative reasons. All of them are the kinds of games that generate a lot of good discussion and good television. So let’s look at where things stand as teams are heading down the home stretch in November.

Ohio State #15 at Penn State #11 (-4)
Here’s the game that was supposed to determine Big 10 supremacy but nobody told the Iowa Hawkeyes who are undefeated, ranked 6th who handed Penn State their only loss. Ohio State has two losses and faces Iowa next week. The path for Penn State is clear, take each game as it comes and by beating Ohio State, they’ll be positioned to duel Iowa for the conference championship. For Ohio State, they must win and hope to beat Iowa next week. Playing at home, Penn State should win. It’s a tough year for the Buckeyes.

Wake Forest at Georgia Tech #10 (-15)
Two teams notorious for upsetting other teams’ dreams meet in Atlanta. Having only lost to Miami and beating the rest of their ACC opponents including front-running, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech leads the ACC. They’re looking like ACC champs given they’ll face a lesser Clemson or Boston College in the ACC championship game if they maintain their lead. Wake Forest has found 2009 tougher than their recent successes and they won’t stand a chance against the Yellow Jacket’s run. This looks like Georgia Tech’s year in the ACC.

Maryland at NC State (-6 ½)
Here’s a game of a thud versus a dud. For whatever hopes Maryland had, they have but one ACC win this year, 2-6 overall. NC State has no ACC wins but stands at 3-5. NC State could have their first win entertaining Maryland. After this one, neither team is likely to win again unless NC State upsets UNC for their final game.

Duke at North Carolina (-10)
How is North Carolina so widely favored when Duke is 3-1 in the ACC and UNC is 1-3? Two great basketball rivals play the pigskins this time, and why shouldn’t Duke pull the upset? This is their best year in football for ages. Carolina is hot off their upset over Virginia Tech destroying any illusions the Hokies had of grandeur for this season. If Carolina is finally finding itself, they will win over the Blue Devils, but Duke’s pride will show them putting up one hell of a fight.

Navy at Notre Dame (-11)
Some would argue that Navy is only down by eleven in the spread is a sign of respect, that Notre Dame in its first show time season in several years will win by a wider margin. Still, the 2009 Goats are one of the best balanced, resourceful teams Navy has fielded in a long time. Notre Dame should win this tradition-laden game. Here’s hoping Navy puts up one hell of a fight.

LSU #9 at Alabama #3 (-7)
Here’s a hot SEC rivalry at its hottest. LSU is just outside looking in as for possible national champs. The current wisdom is the team that wins the SEC finals projected to be Alabama or Florida will play Texas for the big reward. Alabama should win this game but LSU won’t make it easy.

Army at Air Force (-17)
Pity poor Air Force, no matter how good they are, their football program never gets the recognition that Army or Navy receive. Okay, they’re the new kids on the block and don’t play in a historic East Coast location, but shouldn’t they have the bragging rights to all the rest of the country? They’ll beat Army convincingly, but this game will only be a whisper when Army plays Navy in December one of the greatest pageants in sports.

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