Thursday, August 23, 2007

THE SEASON AHEAD: WEEK 10 BEGS YOU NOT TO THROW THE CHAIRS


Ah, the chill of November sets in as Week 10 rolls around. Or, if you live in the South, the slightly cool but in no way shiver-worthy drop in temperatures. If you ever wondered what it tastes like to grill your Thanksgiving turkey on the sidewalk, an average T-Day in Columbia should do the trick.

And have no doubt, it will be frosty in Tuscaloosa, because No. 2 LSU is coming to town to play the Crimson Tide. And you know what that means...


It's crazy time!

Admit it: This is appointment television. (Though we don't know the time or place of the appointment yet.) It's like The Jerry Springer Show with an audience of 92,000 and a football game thrown in for free.

Oh, the plot lines. Will Les Miles drop the F-bomb? Will he berate some hapless fan? Will Nick Saban literally rip Miles' arm off after the post-game handshake? Will there be a post-game handshake?

Sure, Alabama probably won't be a factor in the SEC West race at this point, but they'll be a good team. And C&F will already unveil his prediction: Nick Saban will beat Les Miles in their first game. He's tired of listening to the guy's diatribes, mostly because he doesn't have time for that ----.

There are also some games that are interesting because of -- wait for it -- the football being played on the field. Novel, ain't it?

First, on Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. ET, No. 8 Virginia Tech travels to Atlanta to face Georgia Tech. You might remember the Jackets humbling the Hokies in Blacksburg last year, and Beamer and crew would like nothing better than to make it a long night for the Wreck faithful.

On Saturday, No. 22 South Carolina visits No. 20 Arkansas in a clash that could have major implications for both. At any rate, this rivarly -- manufactured as it is, I am developing something of a hard spot in my heart for the Hogs -- is marked mostly by close games. The teams have, from time to time, traded humiliating blowouts with one team running up the score, usually saying it was only retaliation for the other guy's transgressions. It's scheduled for 2 p.m., though that could change if TV gets involved.

The only other scheduled game is the 8 p.m. tilt between Oregon State and No. 1 Southern Cal. The game is in L.A. this year, and the Trojans have some unfinished business against the Beavers, who improbably won last year to take the first chunk out of the other USC's NC dreams. Likely destined for ABC Saturday Night Football, though ESPN or ESPN2 are also possible locales.

Three other conference match-ups that could shake things up: No. 9 Wisconsin goes to No. 11 Ohio State, one of the Badgers' most severe road tests; No. 25 Texas A&M heads to No. 6 Oklahoma; and No. 18 Florida State goes to Boston College in what could be a showdown between the ACC Atlantic's top two teams.

Throw in an in-state grudge match between No. 3 Michigan and Michigan State, and it's about all you can ask for.

Even if you're still trying to figure out why Les Miles kicked Nick Saban in the shins.

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