Friday, November 24, 2006

THE RIVALRY WEEKEND

Saturday is the day when the college state championships are on the line. Look at the games: Florida-Florida State; Virginia-Virginia Tech; South Carolina-Clemson; Oklahoma-Oklahoma State; BYU-Utah. And Ole Miss-Mississippi State and UNC-Duke, which must mean something to the teams involved.

Sure, there were some rivalry games last week. But this week has a lot more cross-state rivals. That makes it personal.

These are knock-down, drag-out, slobber-knocker matches between guys that have been playing each other since high school. Or earlier.

Florida at Florida State, 12 p.m.
Granted, FSU is out of just about everything that matters. At 6-5, this has been a lost season for the Seminoles. But they can pad their bowl resume and knock their hated rivals out of the national championship hunt in one fell swoop. And they could avenge the Zooker's win at FSU two years ago.

Virginia at Virginia Tech, 12 p.m.
This is possibly the bowl game for Virginia and a chance to become eligible for a real bowl. For Virginia Tech, a win could give them yet another 10-win season and a shot at a decent post-season berth.

South Carolina at Clemson, 12 p.m.
If you don't know about this one, you're probably reading the wrong blog. More later.

North Carolina at Duke, 12 p.m.
I don't know if you can call anything -- including a winless season -- a disappointment for Duke. But ask John Bunting how disappointed the Tarheel faithful are in his team's 2-9 (so far) showing. Somebody gets something to brag about in this one.

Mississippi State at Mississippi, 2 p.m.
How can you not get excited about the battle for an egg-shaped trophy and the right to be called the fifth-best team in the SEC West?

Oklahoma at Oklahoma State, 2:30 p.m.
An Oklahoma win could clinch them a spot in the Big XII championship game. Oklahoma State would like another win for their postseason resume. The showdown in Stillwater once again means something.

Georgia Tech at Georgia, 3:30 p.m.
This one is all about pride. Georgia has owned Georgia Tech in recent years, and Reggie Ball and (in all likelihood) Calvin Johnson have one last chance to take down the spelling-challenged Dawgs.

Brigham Young at Utah, 3:30 p.m.
There aren't a lot of sports games that get called The Holy War. This is the one. BYU has the Mountain West Conference crown in hand. Utah has a bowl berth clenched. So this game is all about beating the other guy.

Arizona State at Arizona, 6 p.m.
Both these teams have the same record, but the perception is different at the different schools. Arizona State was expected to be much better than 6-5 at this point; Arizona was expected to be much worse. In all likelihood, this one is for a bowl berth and could make or break somebody's season.

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