I want to go to there.
Even though Hate Bowl doesn't begin until 6PM Saturday night and your entire Saturday will probably be spent consuming alcohol in the bright sun, trying to forget the 10,000 red and blue clad you'll be forced to spend your evening with, it's entirely possible you do not care about any other games this weekend. Truth be told, this is a pretty great weekend for the Hate Bowl because the matchups around the NCAA are pretty lackluster. Let's dig in.
Game of the Week, Direct Importance - Lurker: #18 Oregon State @ Arizona. Despite only playing two games through 4 weeks, Oregon State has made quite the impression, taking down a then-ranked, Big Ten favorite Wisconsin Badgers team in week 2, and doing the same against then-ranked, Pac 12 dark horse UCLA last weekend. Arizona, once a dark horse division candidate themselves, just had their football season murdered in Eugene by a score of 49-0. At only 2 spots behind TCU and Obama's brother in law on the staff, a win here could very possibly move the Beavers ahead of the Frogs should TCU have another lackluster performance. Let's pull for the Wildcats to be safe. Also see: #16 Clemson @ Boston College.
Game of the Week, Direct Importance - Jumper: #20 Michigan State @ #14 Ohio State. Ohio State enters the game 4-0, yet ineligible to compete for the Big Ten title or play in a bowl. Michigan State enters the game 3-1, but only scored 3 points against Notre Dame two weeks ago, and then last week were held to 2 Field goals by a BAD Eastern Michigan team until late in the third quarter. Big Ten Football, catch the excitement! They are the new Big East.
Game of the Week, Conference Importance - #25 Baylor @ #9 West Virginia. True, UT/OSU deserves just as much attention, but we're saving them for later, and this one could go a long way in determining the Big 12 champ. And by that I mean West Virginia, not Baylor. NEVER Baylor. After two barn storming performances against Marshall and James Madison, the Eers came back to earth a little bit last weekend, pulling out a 10 point win over a terrible Maryland team. But while, on the surface, this brief glimpse of WVU being human might make you feel better about going to Morgantown, let me remind you that QB Geno Smith is still decidedly UN-human. His season totals are as follows: 96 completions on 118 attempts - 81% - for 1072 yards and 12 TDs against 0 picks. That's how Heisman's happen. Baylor is getting a lot more attention than normal because no one expected them to be 3-0 without Griffin, so it's probably warranted. QB Nick Florence is currently running the 5th ranked passing offense in the country, which good for him because his defense is all around TERRIBLE, giving up 492 yards through 3 games. Keep in mind Baylor has played SMU, Sam Houston and Louisiana Monroe. For their part, WVU isn't tons better, letting opponents rack up 400 week-to-week, although Baylor gives up an extra TD on average compared to WVU. Probably going to be some points scored here, but Geno Smith should have a field day. Take the "over."
Game of the Week, National Importance - N/A. Seriously, check the schedule. Your prime time games are Texas @ Oklahoma State, Wisconsin @ Nebraska, and Ole Miss @ Alabama. Only two games match ranked teams - Baylor/West Virginia and Ohio State/Michigan State. I'd rather watch the scab refs.
Game of the Week, Plain 'Ol Hate - #15 TCU @ SMU. Well, duh. That hate supercedes any competing hate.
Game of the Week - Oops, I Crapped My Pants (Placeholder for UT Chokejob when applicable): #12 Texas @ Oklahoma State. We finally have one! It may have taken four weeks, but we finally have our first UT Chokejob special for the year. Hopefully there will be more to come. Texas comes into the game having had 2 weeks to prepare for the Pokes after Wyoming, New Mexico and Ole Miss of the Mountain West Conference (not a typo). Oklahoma State has been up and down, destroying Savannah State and Louisiana Lafayette, sandwiched around a bad loss to Arizona. In that last game the Cowboys lost starting QB Wes Lunt, but backup JW Walsh - both of those names are real and not from the cutting room floor of Friday Night Lights, I promise - stepped in and kept the 2nd ranked passing offense in the nation rolling. Lunt should be back this weekend, but should he not be up to speed, it appears Walsh can carry the load. As for Texas, they've been using their JV-SEC offense to win games, grinding out yards on the ground and keeping points off the board... well, except for at Ole Miss, but when you score 66 points, defense is optional. Still, UT is only giving up 16 points per game on average and 180 yards through the air. But, they haven't faced an offense like OSU's which features pretty great balance - 6th in passing, 2nd in rushing, 1st in scoring - so Saturday should be a pretty good test. The only problem for OSU, though, is going to be keeping points off the board as they give up 4 TDs on average... not good against a UT offense averaging 50 a game. A bit of a revenge game for UT after losing the last couple against OSU, but OSU always seems to play Texas tough - remember those couple of years where OSU would jump out to 5 TD leads then lose by the same margin? That was fun - so I wouldn't expect it to be a cakewalk. If UT is really "back" we'll find out Saturday night.
Game of the Week - Culture War: N/A. Because it's CLEARLY Baylor in Morgantown, but we've already hit on that game. A potential aggy @ Cal game had the Pac-12/Big 12 merger situation gone through would've been the creme-de-la-creme, but this game is a pretty good close second. The antics of these mountain folk will set back the Baptist religion's faith in humanity to pre-enlightenment levels. Godspeed, Bears.