Final Thoughts Before Week 12
Posted Nov 18, 2011

The Final Thoughts before Week 12. Can Ohio State come up with the big game it needs to have?

Final Thoughts 

Before The Week 12 Games

- Final Thoughts  2010 | Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5
- Week 6 | Week 7 | Week 8 | Week 9 | Week 10 | Week 11

- 2011 Fearless Predictions
- Final Thoughts, Week 12, Part 2

E-mail Pete Fiutak
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- Sleep well tonight knowing that no matter what you do with the rest of your week, the rest of your year, or the rest of your life, you will never, ever, come up with a worse answer to any question than, "Um … you know, I enjoy young people."

- According to the overnight numbers from the American Nooky Institute, the percentage of U.S. couples that made the donuts on Monday night, even if they saw just a snippet of the Bob Costas interview with Jerry Sandusky on the news, hit a record-setting low of absolute zero, beating out the previous mark of 1.3% on October 11, 1991 following the American release of Ernest Scared Stupid.

- By the way, the record-high remains 94.7%, set on December 11, 2001 following the release of Ocean's 11.

- Also this week, Otto and Mildred Sandusky of Fort Wayne, Indiana, couldn't quite figure out why the boys, Osama and Adolf, were even grouchier than normal.

- If you're a college player, coach, or administrator, you had better not so much as jaywalk for the foreseeable future. There's a backlash coming against college athletics as a whole, if it's not already here, and punishment is going to be swift and harsh for even the slightest of transgressions. Colleges are going to bend over backwards to try to show that they're in control of their athletic departments, and not the other way around.

- But Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel being suspended for a game after getting nailed for a DWI is more than appropriate.

- Or as Siri called him on my tweet from my new overrated, overpriced phone, Gary Pinko. 

- Have fun with this one, Syracuse basketball.

- Everyone is angry at Penn State and everyone outside of the greater State College metropolitan area seems to have an idea on how to best fry the athletic department, but this really isn't an NCAA matter … yet. The NCAA can slap the Lack of Institutional Control tag, and it can trump up some charges, but it's going to let things play out for now. However, the NCAA should create a new rule out of this situation allowing any player to be able to transfer penalty-free if there's a head coaching change. The transfer rules should be relaxed a bit for Penn State students, too, for any who wants to be disassociated from this mess.

- Even head coach Tom Bradley has a foot out the door, sending his résumé to a few NFL teams.

- And there are STILL people arguing that Joe Paterno shouldn't have been fired.

- The three biggest of the BCS big-wigs and three of the biggest air horns about how college athletics should be run: Miami's Donna Shalala, Penn State's Graham Spanier, and Ohio State's E. Gordon Gee. Nice work, kids.

- Mike McQueary, stop giving interviews while using your baby as a human shield. 

- Penn State vs. Ohio State passing-wise will make Tim Tebow's performance against the Jets look like Aaron Rodgers in the Super Bowl. The first team to complete a forward pass wins.

- Wisconsin's Montee Ball set the Big Ten single-season record this week for touchdowns in a season with 27, and it he keeps up his pace of 2.7 scores per game, and if Wisconsin plays in the Big Ten championship, he'll be in range Barry Sanders' NCAA record of 39 scores in one season. If Ball goes off against Illinois this weekend you'll start hearing more and more about the Sanders record, but there's one problem: it's not the real record.

The NCAA didn't start counting bowl stats until recently, meaning Sanders really finished up with 44 touchdowns after running for five scores in the 1988 Holiday Bowl win over Wyoming. Second, Sanders' NCAA-recognized mark of 39 came in 11 games, meaning Ball would need to score 12 times against the Illini to match it.

- A hearty handshake and a pat on the back if you can name the best running quarterback in college football this season.

- Nope.

- Kansas State's Collin Klein might be a touchdown machine, with 24 on the ground this season, but Northern Illinois senior Chandler Harnish has been incredible, with his 181 yards and a score – to go along with 338 passing yards and to touchdowns – to beat Ball State pushing him over the 1,200-yard mark for the year.

- It's the most interesting bad game matchup of the week: Georgia Southern at Alabama. The last thing any coach wants at this point of the season is anything quirky to deal with. Tide players don't care about this game and they're already hearing about Auburn, but GSU could make this fun with its triple option offense ranking second in the FCS in rushing yards. Bama should stop it cold, but former Georgia Tech quarterback Jaybo Shaw runs the attack to near perfection.

- Really? Do we have to start arguing about whether or not Houston really is a top ten team just because it's unbeaten? America, you finally got Boise State off your back, give it a week to breathe.

- But if the Cougars go 13-0, fine. Put them in the Fiesta Bowl against the Oklahoma-Oklahoma State loser so we can see what 900 combined passing yards looks like.

- Oh come on, Southern Miss. UAB? Conference USA, just when I'm trying to love you, one of your star teams pulls the equivalent of LSU losing to Kentucky.

- Houston isn't going to finish unbeaten. It'll either lose to Tulsa or in the Conference USA title game.

- In a crappy week for big games, three sagging teams I want to see finally rise up and play up to their capabilities to avoid possible blowouts: 1) Illinois at home against Wisconsin. 2) Miami on the road at South Florida. 3) Mississippi State trying to catch Arkansas looking ahead to LSU.

- Stop yelling at me that Andrew Luck and Kellen Moore shouldn't be out of the Heisman race because of a bad game. Yes, they should. If the quarterback is a be-all-end-all No. 1 draft pick, he's supposed to make everyone around him better, and if the quarterback is the winningest starter of all-time, and he's given a gift from the gods on a phantom pass interference call, he's supposed to get it done.

- If you were my close, personal friend and you were going off to Vegas to legally "invest" what little money you might have left, I'd suggest taking a look-see at Oklahoma -15.5 over Baylor, Michigan -3.5 over Nebraska, Army +13.5 over Temple, Stanford -10.5 over Cal, LSU -29 over Ole Miss, and my Five-Star, Master Lock Pick of the Millennium For This Week, Kansas State +9.5 over Texas.

- Be prepared. I'm chasing next week and I'll get it all back after going 21-40 against the spread with these picks over the first 11 weeks. You know what to do.

- LaMichael James has next to no chance of winning a second straight Doak Walker award, but he could finish second in the Heisman race.

- Ohio State, behave. Three words, failure to monitor. Penn State might be rubber by you're glue, and if it weren't for Captain Creepy taking down the Nittany Lion program, the spotlight last week would've been on you.

- By Richard Cirminiello 

If for no other reason, watch the MAC over the next two weeks for the wide receivers. Western Michigan's Jordan White, Miami's Nick Harwell, Bowling Green's Kamar Jorden, Toledo's Eric Page and Ohio's LaVon Brazill, in particular, deserve a much bigger stage.

Purdue head coach Danny Hope needs to beat Iowa in the worst way to improve his job security. Waiting until next week to play rival Indiana for the Old Oaken Bucket—and pick up win No. 6—would be a risky proposition.

Remember the name Munchie Legaux, as if you could forget it. Zach Collaros' replacement at quarterback in Cincinnati could hold the key to who wins the Big East title.

Bob Davie must REALLY want to coach to take the job at New Mexico. Mike Locksley left the Lobos the way Charlie Sheen leaves a hotel room.

Ditto Rich Rodriguez if he winds up getting and accepting an offer from Tulane.

Has it really been seven years for Ron Zook in Champaign? Wisconsin will do its part this weekend to make sure doesn't return for No. 8.

Alabama plays Georgia Southern. LSU travels to Ole Miss. Arkansas hosts Mississippi State. Auburn, Florida and South Carolina face Samford, Furman and The Citadel, respectively. Georgia welcomes Kentucky to Athens. It's going to feel like Week 1 all over again in the SEC.

Don't you get the feeling that Penn State is thrilled to be out of Happy Valley this week, even if it means a trip to Columbus? The Buckeyes faithful won't exactly be kind to their visitors, but a road trip might do the Lions good in light what's been going on over the last two weeks.

Clemson has absolutely nothing beyond the victory to gain this weekend in Raleigh. With rival South Carolina and the ACC title game upcoming, it'll be interesting to see how the Tigers approach an NC State team that needs the game for bowl eligibility.

Missouri QB James Franklin is going to be a worthy successor in the growing line of playmaking quarterbacks in Columbia that includes Brad Smith, Chase Daniel and Blaine Gabbert.

If Houston does indeed qualify for a BCS bowl game, will it be Hawaii or Boise State? The former seems like a more accurate fit.

Louisiana Tech at Nevada is a vastly underrated game that absolutely no one outside of Rustin and Reno will see this weekend. The Pack moves into the WAC driver's seat with a win, while the Bulldogs can take over first place with an upset.

Signs of the times: Vanderbilt is favored to beat Tennessee … in Knoxville.

USC is very young at linebacker, using freshmen Dion Bailey, Hayes Pullard and Lamar Dawson. Breaking the seal on so many first-year players on the second level is good news for the future, but a major concern this week against the Oregon offense.

Robert Griffin III probably won't lead Baylor to a program-first upset of Oklahoma, but you just know he'll do everything imaginable to carry his team on primetime.

It might take an improbable Pac-12 championship for Dennis Erickson to save his job at Arizona State. If he stumbles in the Duel in the Desert versus Arizona, he could be unemployed by Monday morning. 

- Final Thoughts, Week 12, Part 2