Tide, Trojans, Irish looking for payback in Week 12
Situation Room: Sweet revenge is on their mind
Can Miss. State, Stanford, Navy provide encores?By Rece Davis, ESPN.com
Revenge has been described by Homer as "sweeter far than flowing honey." Another writer called it "the weak pleasure of a little and narrow mind." Ultimately, living well is the best revenge, but couldn't an occasional perk of living be a taste of that "flowing honey"? At least the revenge motif gives us something to talk about on what appears superficially to be a pedestrian week of college football.
Crystal LoGiudice-US Presswire
John Parker Wilson has a personal score to settle with Miss. State.
USC, Cal among Pac-10 revenge-seekersYou could also ask USC. The Trojans face-planted as a 4,000-point favorite against Stanford last year. Officially, it was 40-something, but who's counting? It's payback time. Our research team came up with this gem: In the eight previous "payback" Pac-10 games USC has had under Pete Carroll, the Trojans have won by an average of 21 points. USC has also never lost a November game under Carroll (25-0). This Cardinal team is much better than last year's, but they'll need a healthy Toby Gerhart and a dose of good fortune to avoid the wrath of the Trojans. USC is scary good on defense. But quietly, Jim Harbaugh's team is 17th in the nation in rushing offense, rolling up 207 ypg. That's roughly triple what the Trojans usually allow (78 ypg). Harbaugh hasn't popped off about Carroll going to the NFL this year. Comments from USC's players have been tame. I'm guessing their defense won't be.
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If Cal is to get revenge on Oregon State, it needs to contain Jacquizz Rodgers.
Navy goes for two vs. IrishIt took Navy 43 tries to feast on revenge against Notre Dame, but a year of basking in that glory comes to an end Saturday. Navy goes for the two-game streak without last year's leader Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada, who has been plagued by a hamstring injury most of the season. Where is the Irish psyche? How bruised are they after the quadruple-overtime loss to Pitt and the washout at BC? For the Irish, tasting the flowing honey of revenge against Navy is a distant second to breathing a sigh of relief. This game is to salvage what's left of their season. There's no way that this season can reasonably be viewed as improvement if it includes another loss to Navy. That's no disrespect to the Midshipmen, but if the Irish truly are progressing, they have to beat somebody with a winning record. If it's not Navy, then it certainly won't be USC. The record is going to look better than it did last year. The question is, are the Irish really making progress? I agree with my buddy Chris Fowler. It would be stupid to fire Charlie Weis this season. It's too soon and too expensive. But Notre Dame needs to turn the corner, or at least look as if it can see the corner soon. Otherwise, the time will come when it's too expensive to keep Weis no matter what the buyout is. That time just shouldn't come this year -- regardless of how the Irish finish or whether they avenge last year's loss to Navy.
More nuggetsOhio State is mad at Illinois for spoiling its senior day last year. The Buckeyes can return the favor Saturday. Auburn is mad at Georgia for dancing to Soulja Boy during the Dogs' win last year. The Tigers can dance their way to bowl eligibility by beating their longtime rival. The truth is, once the game starts, most of this revenge stuff gets lost in the heat of the battle. Fitting, since it's best served cold anyway.
Hunt: HBCU's all-time team"College GameDay" hits Tallahassee on Saturday for the Hampton-Florida A&M game. In honor of "GameDay's" visit, Donald Hunt takes a look at the HBCU all-time football team.
Doug Williams' Grambling State career was one to remember.
Viewer's Guide(All times ET) Saturday:
10 a.m.: College GameDay from Tallahassee, Fla. (ESPN)
Noon: Ohio State at Illinois (ESPN)
Northwestern at Michigan (ESPN2)
3:30 p.m.: North Carolina at Maryland (ABC)
Wake Forest at North Carolina State (ESPNU)
Cal at Oregon State (ABC)
Minnesota at Wisconsin (ABC)
7 p.m.: Connecticut at Syracuse (ESPNU)
7:45 p.m.: Mississippi State at Alabama (ESPN)
8 p.m.: Oklahoma State at Colorado (ABC)
Boston College at Florida State (ABC)
Vanderbilt at Kentucky (ESPN2)
• College football schedule | ESPN GamePlan
• Coverage maps: Week 12
Week 12 Debate
Blog Network: What to WatchEach week our bloggers will take a closer look at the story lines you should watch. What's on tap for Week 12?
Preview: Mississippi State at Alabama
By The Numbers
By ESPN Research