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Saturday's Slate: Symmetry Saturday

Posted: Oct 10, 2008

We've already been treated to upsets throughout the Tribal Fever landscape, but let's not forget that upsets require a precondition of disparity between teams, etiher real or imagined.

This Saturday's games are of a different sort.  It seems across the board that all the games represent matchups of equals.  In a way, these games are the best.  There is no clear favorite which allows the true nature of each team to be revealed.


Although we normally start with the SEC, the Big 12 can't be denied.  This week the conference features a classic rivalry with a few more games well worth watching.

Texas @ Oklahoma - The Red River Shootout,.. er Rivalry.  This game is one of our Footprint's biggest games each year.  The 2008 version is of particular interest.  Both teams are undefeated in the top 5.  Both teams appear to have shaken any of the recent past of disappointment off of their respective consciousness.

Oklahoma has the expectations to win, but rivalries games consistently are up for grabs.  A Texas win would make it 3 wins a piece over the last 6 years.

A win for either Mack Brown or Bob Stoops would significantly add to their already decorated coaching legacies.

Oklahoma St @ Mizzou - This game doesn't look like one of symmetry, but TF argues it is.  Both teams have great, if not spectacular offenses, but neither teams have defenses that have been tested.  Mizzou beat a good Illinois team, but they also gave up 42 points.

We think that Oklahoma State might be a lot closer to Mizzou than their current rankings show.  Oklahoma State has to play in the Big 12 South which is significantly tougher than the Big 12 North.

Both teams are indefeated.  Let's see who can pin the first loss on their opponent.

Nebraska @ Texas Tech - Every year, people want to ignore Texas Tech, probably because they play in the tough Big 12 South.  The college football world keeps waiting for Nebraska to regain its glory.

The symmetry here comes from allowing the hype (Nebraska) to be balanced by actual performance (Texas Tech).

Kansas St @ Texas A&M - Two teams with recent success in their past meet to see who might actually be closer to turning the corner.  A&M has been surprisingly bad, but the fans haven't asked for Mike Sherman's head yet. 

A loss at home to Kansas St would be tough to stomach.

Iowa St @ Baylor - Another symmetry battle as the two perennial doormats for their respective Big 12 divisions meet to decide who might actually have a chance to escape the cellar.

Both teams have had this game circled as their one solid chance at a conference win since the season started.  Who actually will get this booby prize?

LSU @ Florida - Both Florida and LSU were expected to be a close number two to other teams in their respective divisions.  Both also were considered to have enough talent to win the SEC outright.

Unfortunately, Florida stubbed its toe to Ole Miss two weeks ago taking a bit of the shine off of this game.

This game still plays a big role in the SEC championship hunt.  An LSU win means staying on par with Bama.  A Florida win puts them in the driver's seat for the SEC East assuming they can get revenge on Georgia in Jacksonville in a few weeks.

It's prime time!  Tune in and watch these two monsters duke it out in the Swamp.

South Carolina @ Kentucky - This game will tell the true tale of each of these teams in 2008.  South Carolina has two losses, but they have played a much tougher schedule.  Kentucky has one loss to the only really tough team they played (last week at Alabama).

Since both teams also play fine defense, it will be a battle of effectiveness for two very suspect offenses.

Tennessee @ Georgia - Speaking of suspect offenses, Tennessee and their post-Cutcliffe, ahem, attack are adding fuel to the fire that's heating up Phil Fulmer's hot seat at the moment.  Nothing like a showdown with the Bulldogs to cure what ails.

Chances are that the Dogs will make a feast of the Vols having had a week of to think about their blowout loss to Alabama. However, you can't count out Fulmer who has a way of coming up with wins when they are least expected.

Vanderbilt @ Miss St - Now that Vandy llies inside the top 15, the Dores have to be careful of this week's game - a classic trap.  Miss State and Vandy are probably a lot closer in talent than their respective records appear.

A win in Starkville for the Dores means that they control their destiny in the SEC East with 4 of their last 6 games being against division opponents.  A loss will have everyone biting nails awaiting their next chance to finally get bowl eligible in more than two decades.

Arkansas @ Auburn - Few teams in the SEC have less likeable coaches than Auburn's Tommy Tuberville and Arkansas' Bobby Petrino.  Although most of their respective criticism might be unfair, neither represents the idea of thinking of the other guy first.

Tuberville found his Vandy scapegoat in OC Tony Franklin even though this Kevin Scarbinsky column seems to show that Franklin was undercut by Tuberville's long time offensive staff that Franklin was forced to inherit.

How ironic would it be for Petrino to get his first SEC win against his former boss that he was accused of stabbing in the back?  It's hard to believe that the Franklin distraction hasn't allowed him to enjoy the idea of beating Petrino.

There's little upside for the rest of the season for Tuberville.  He can only go (further) down from here - unless he beats Alabama.

Rutgers @ Cincinnati - Cincy enters this game with their only loss coming at the hands of #1 Oklahoma in Norman.  Now that USF has stumbled for the second straight season, could it be the Bearcats year to represent the Big East in the BCS? 

This is their first Big East game.  Beating an underachieving Rutgers team is the way to get some momentum building.

Syracuse @ West Virginia - The Mountaineers have appeared to right their ship somewhat by winning two in a row and getting back over the .500 mark.  Syracuse should provide the fodder to get them to three in a row.


Tulsa @ SMU - Tulsa remains C-USA's one great hopes for a ranked team at season's end.  June Jones is still rebuilding at SMU.

Tulane @ UTEP - These two programs currently reside in the enigma file.  Tulane started the season strong but just lost to Army (Army?).  UTEP has strung together two straight wins after dropping their first three.

The trip out to El Paso is a long one.  The Green Wave better be ready.

LA Lafayette @ North Texas - Lafayette has been playing teams tough all season.  They even took Illinois to the brink.  North Texas remains winless.   It should be an easy win for the Ragin' Cajuns.

LA Monroe @ Arkansas St - Unlike their Lafayette counterpart, Monroe stinks.  Arkansas State has been making strides and looks to compete with Troy for the Sun Belt crown.  They need to keep racking up conference wins like this.

Middie Tennessee @ FIU - Both of these programs have shown a nice spark this year.  They can play with anyone.  It should be interesting to see who wins this one.


Memphis lead off a critical week for C-USA by losing to Louisville at home.  This game is yet another disappointment for this conference which is still is looking for an identity.  East Carolina looked good early and then faded.  Other teams had opportunities against bigger conferences, but they couldn't close the deal.  The Memphis loss was a microcosm as the Tigers dominated Louisville in every way, but they turned the ball over 3 times and gave up easy touchdowns on special teams.

Two games pit C-USA vs the ACC.  East Carolina was making the league look bad until they dropped their game against NC State in OT.

(The ACC played only one intra-conference game this week as Wake Forest continued Clemson's disappointing season beating them 12-7 last night.)

East Carolina @ Virginia - The Pirates are hoping that they can regain their ACC magic.  Virginia is coming off a surprising win against Maryland.  The Cavs don't have a lot of obvious wins left on their schedule.

UCF @ Miami -These are two struggling Florida-based programs.  Miami has lost two tough back to back home games to UNC and Florida State.  UCF is still looking for a significant in state win.

Both coaches are residing over restless fan bases.  Neither can afford a loss.  If Miami loses, Randy Shannon might be replaced.  Miami can't be fifth in the Florida pecking order.


Notre Dame @ UNC - The fortunes have turned around for the Tar Heels.  They thumped UConn and now can take some wind out of the Notre Dame sail.  Butch Davis was a great hire.  Only Nick Saban's year at Alabama has surpassed the job Davis has done in Chapel Hill.

A win against ND would really be meaningful for Davis in the UNC program, no matter what the state of Irish football.

Boise St @ Southern Miss - Allow us to dream... what an amazing win it would be for So Miss to beat a ranked Boise State team.

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