Rivalry trophies, conference championships at stake in Week 13
Situation Room: November reign fills landscape
Rivalry games, title hopes on tap for Week 13By Rece Davis
The stakes are at their highest. The moments teams will remember for the rest of their lives are closing in. The pulse quickens. The plot thickens. The object of their affection is within reach if only they can grab it. If only the players can seize the opportunity. This is a quest for the ultimate trophy. The crystal ball given to the BCS champion? That's a mere trinket compared to Chief Caddo.
AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez
Will Stanford claim the axe for the second straight year or will Cal and its fans get it back?
Marc Piscotty/Icon SMI
BYU and Max Hall hope to claim a victory in the Holy War and end Utah's perfect run.
Enough Playoff Talk (for now)And now, a soapbox moment. Although this is the time of year when college football playoff cries reach a crescendo, let's give it a rest. I'm not anti-playoff. I've always said I favor an eight-team playoff with the first round played on campus. I'm considering abandoning that position in favor of either a seeded "plus-one" or the status quo. Why? A playoff is no panacea. It would just create different ills. The most common suggestion I hear is an eight-team playoff with six BCS conference champs and two at-large bids. I won't bore you with all of the matchups that would create this year. But if the aim of a playoff is to determine the most deserving champ, why would any team from the ACC be involved this season? The same could be said for the Big East. And would any conference support a system that didn't guarantee that its champ would be included? I doubt it. Then there's the money. If you shorten the season, you take money from home games out of the big schools' budgets. There's also the issue of who gets the money and how it's distributed. My guess is that there isn't a rush to let the NCAA control football playoff money and take the conferences' hands off the bowl money purse strings they now control. And even if you solved all of that, would the players finally get a share of the revenue they helped to create? Tough stuff. If a solution is devised that seeds the top four teams in bowls, then advances the winners into a championship game, great. Until then, coaches should knock off the whining. After all, their votes are a major part of the formula. If you take a look at the coaches' poll, some of the voting is more perplexing than quantum physics or Madonna's marriages. To me, being dismissive and condescending toward the system -- imperfect though it may be -- comes off as childish. It might not be as pure as the pursuit of Chief Caddo, but it's not all bad. At least we get the top two teams playing each other. If you want to be in that top two, your best bet: don't lose. Texas Tech has followed that formula precisely. The Red Raiders have never beaten Texas and Oklahoma in the same season. They'll get a chance to change that in Norman on Saturday night. This is a different Tech bunch. While Mike Leach's offense deserves all the credit it gets, Ruffin McNeil's defense has given Tech a swagger it has lacked in previous seasons. Oklahoma has historically severely slowed down the Red Raiders' offense in Norman. Under Leach, Tech has averaged about 22 points fewer in the Sooners' house than against all other opponents. There will be scoring and plenty of thrilling plays from the offenses. But I expect the defenses to be a little saltier than some might think in what will be a playoff-like atmosphere. Hey, playoff-like is better than nothing, right?
Rivalry Week MadnessWhat's at stake during rivalry week? From the big matchups to the coveted trophies and game-changing performances, ESPN.com's bloggers give you the inside scoop.
AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall
The Floyd of Rosedale trophy goes to the winner of the Big Ten clash between Iowa and Minnesota.
Viewer's Guide(All times ET) Saturday:
10 a.m.: College GameDay from Norman, Okla. (ESPN)
Noon: Michigan at Ohio State (ABC)
West Virginia at Louisville (ESPN)
Indiana at Purdue (ESPN2)
3:30 p.m.: Michigan State at Penn State (ABC)
Stanford at Cal (ABC)
Boston College at Wake Forest (ABC)
5:30 p.m.: Duke at Virginia Tech (ESPNU)
7 p.m.: Pitt at Cincinnati (ESPN2)
7:45 p.m.: Florida State at Maryland (ESPN)
8 p.m.: Texas Tech at Oklahoma (ABC)
• College football schedule | ESPN GamePlan
• Coverage maps: Week 13
Todd McShay's Week 13 Preview
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 13?
Edwards: Holy War PayoffNo. 14 BYU (10-1, 6-1) plays at No. 7 Utah (11-0, 7-0) on Saturday in a game with both conference and national implications. If they win, the Utes can claim the Mountain West championship outright, while BYU can share the title if it wins the game. But that's just the subplot of this year's "Holy War." What's also at stake is a BCS berth for Utah that would send about $9.5 million to the Mountain West Conference, more than $4 million of which would go directly to Utah. The rest of that revenue is shared between the conference office and the other eight member institutions, which is what adds further intrigue to this game. BYU stands to gain as much as half a million dollars by losing to Utah, but if the Cougars pull off the upset, they and everyone else in the conference will get none of that BCS money unless Boise State loses one of its final two games. If the WAC's Broncos stumble at Nevada or home against Fresno State, then BYU could conceivably finish as the highest-ranked team from a non-automatic-qualifying conference and end up with that $4-million-plus payday that would've gone to Utah. How's that for stakes in a rivalry game? Brad Edwards is a college football researcher at ESPN. His Road to the BCS appears weekly during the season.
Preview: Texas Tech at Oklahoma
Preview: Florida State at Maryland
By The Numbers
By ESPN Research