Cirminiello Final Thoughts: The New Rivalry
Posted Nov 22, 2012

Rich Cirminiello Final Thoughts: The New Big Rivalry

The holidays are all about tradition. Yeah, Texas-Texas A&M will be sorely missed, but Texas-TCU, old Southwest Conference rivals, on Thanksgiving night could grow on us before too long.

If the season began today, Syracuse, not Rutgers or Louisville, might go on to win the Big East Conference. The Orange is playing that well for Doug Marrone as the regular season comes to an end.

Kent State has won nine consecutive games. Is there any way on the planet that this perennial second-tier MAC team can keep rising star Darrell Hazell from taking a promotion at a much larger program?

Every game that Utah rookie QB Travis Wilson plays today benefits the program for tomorrow. The 6-6, 220-pounder has only Colorado left in 2012, which should provide a nice confidence boost heading into the offseason.

It's almost hard to fathom that a team with Geno Smith, Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey is not yet bowl-eligible on Nov. 22. Some heads on Dana Holgorsen's defensive staff will probably roll once the regular season ends.

Austin of the Mountaineers, by the way, is going to be freakishly good at the next level.

The Washington defense is littered with underclassmen, and getting better every week. The Huskies have allowed just 48 points over the last month, exciting news for a unit that's only going to keep getting better.

The first chapter of Rich Rodriguez vs. Todd Graham in the Duel in the Desert promises to be a doozy on Friday night. There's always a lot of passion in this game, which has ended on the final play in each of the last three years.

It's going to be extremely interesting to see how Denard Robinson is utilized now that his health is improving. If he plays a factor as a running back, go ahead and add it directly into the enormous lore of the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry.

It's a little late in the season now, but I remain shocked at the infrequency with which Oregon's De'Anthony Thomas has been used. No, he's not a workhorse, like Kenjon Barner, but an average of 10 touches a game on offense is underutilizing one of the game's most dynamic weapons.

3-8. A looming NCAA investigation. One-loss Alabama in Tuscaloosa up next. This might be the worst lead-up to the Iron Bowl in the history of Auburn football. Pretty darn good for ‘Bama backers, though.

If you're a young and talented high school quarterback, you ought to be considering Oklahoma State. Mike Gundy and his staff consistently do a bang-up job developing players at the position.

It's cliché, but Penn State and its fans are sure to treat this week's visit from Wisconsin like a bowl game. If the Nits get to 8-4 in light of what's taken place away from the field, Bill O'Brien deserves every bouquet he gets when recaps are done.

Having a very difficult time seeing Florida beat Florida State in Tallahassee after the way the Gators have stumbled to the finish line over the last month.

No game of rivalry week will be more exciting than the Palmetto State Showdown between South Carolina and Clemson. The word "hatred" gets thrown around a lot at this time of year, but it genuinely applies in this annual meeting.

USC redshirt freshman Max Wittek has been outspoken in his belief that Notre Dame will go down for the first time in the Coliseum this Saturday night. I like that kind of moxie and confidence in a quarterback. A lot.