Harrison's Final Thoughts: Surprises To Come

Posted Nov 16, 2012

Phil Harrison's Final Thoughts & Musings Before Week 12

By Phil Harrison
Follow me @PhilHarrisonCFN

-Remember that college football always surprises--even when you least expect it. Case in point, last week looked like a vanilla slate of games, and instead we got a Neapolitan delight with the upset of Alabama and Louisville, scares realized by Florida and Florida State, and OT games with Texas Tech vs. Kansas, and Northwestern vs. Michigan. The games look even more vanilla this week, but don't be surprised if Rocky Road is the flavor of the day.

-Ohio State at Wisconsin is a big game in the Big Ten, but it could be so much more. Ohio State has clinched the equivalent of a participation medal within the Leaders division, but Wisconsin would like that and more. It'll be raucous in Madison and one of those purist type of physical games.

-Staying in the Big Ten, Michigan can ill-afford to lay an egg against Iowa if it holds out hope of overtaking Nebraska for the Legends division title. Iowa has stunk worse than three-day old diapers on a warm day, but don't you get the feeling that the Hawks have something in them headed to the Big House? We'll see...

-We took a lot of flack from Michigan State fans by predicting five losses this year in our weekly B1G Uglies column. After two games, our in-boxes were flooded with "I told you so" e-mails from the green and white faithful. Five losses later, those emails have stopped. To get back in good graces, the Spartans will win their last two including against Northwestern this week. Sparty, finishing strong.

-Don't count Alabama out of the national title picture just yet. Oregon, Kansas State, and Notre Dame all have games they could easily lose coming down the stretch, while Alabama has a light schedule aside from the potential SEC Championship game. The road to redemption begins Saturday against an over-matched Western Carolina. It continues the following week against an over-matched Auburn team on what could be the Gene Chizik farewell tour.

-On that note, if Auburn versus Alabama is the Iron Bowl, then what is Auburn versus Alabama........A&M? I'll vote for the rusted aluminum bowl. Boy do the Tide and Tigers believe in two weeks to prepare or what?

-USC at UCLA could be a wildly entertaining game. The Trojans have already had a disappointing year when stacked up to expectations, but a loss in the Rose Bowl eliminates any chance of getting an opportunity to potentially play Oregon again to get back to the Rose Bowl. Game on.

-Notre Dame is one win away against Wake Forest from getting a shot to blast away at USC for the possibility of really big things. The Irish would be well-advised to not keep an eye affixed on the nice weather in southern California. They need to take care of business at less-than-postcard-perfect South Bend.

-Purdue will be playing at Illinois Saturday. For all of the troubles the Boilermakers have had this year, a win in Champaign in combination with a win versus Indiana next week makes Danny Hope's crew bowl eligible. Yes, yes, Purdue still has a shot to go bowling.

-What has happened to West Virginia? National title hopes have gone down in a blaze of "gory" in just five short weeks. The Mountaineers have one more shot to make a mark by taking down the historic flag-bearer of their new conference in the cloth of Oklahoma. WVU will need to suddenly find a defense to have a shot.

-Okay Oregon, it's time to get serious. A physical, hard-nosed Stanford team is coming to Nike U, and if any team in the league can stop the laser-light show Oregon attack, it's the Tree. The Ducks are going to earn everything they get over the next three games.

-Where will the drama come from THIS week?