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GBH WATCHLIST: Week 12

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baby it's cold outside (but not this cold, c'mon...)
baby it's cold outside (but not this cold, c'mon...)
Mark Kolbe

Howdy, folks. We're getting down to it. A huge upset last week plus a Real Life TAILGATE redux edition has everyone buzzed for Aggie Football again, but we're not neglecting the rest of college football. Here's what's on our plate for this weekend:

James Gardner

GAME 1

East Carolina at Cincinnati | Thursday 6 PM | ESPN2

WHY

What league are these teams in? What planet is this? Where are my pantaloons? Ruffin, Lincoln, Tuberville! Texas Tech expats all over the place. It’s a sad story when a directional school in a Carolina and a city best known for race riots are an upgrade in career and life from Lubbock. Apropos of nothing – Kliff has to be just a tinge regretful that he went nostalgic and wound up back in Lubbock, right? He could have done much better.

Anyway – Pirates and Bearcats on a Thursday. What the hell is not to love?

THE ESSENTIALS

ecu


GAME 2

Mississippi State at Alabama | Saturday 2:30 PM | CBS

WHY

There is a big fat NUMERO UNO next to State. Weird as all hell to see. Has the No. 1 team in the land ever been a seven point dog? The Bulldogs are off to Tuscaloosa. Shit is about to get really real for them. This is a playoff game. Sure, State can lose and still find their way into the Final Four, but a win here – on the road – sets up something truly special.

THE ESSENTIALS

I’ll be at the GBH TAILGATE probably badgering Keegan for gambling tips and peeping babes with Fletcher. Suffice it to say, this game will be on, jokes will be had, and maybe some tears and/or a fight. College football – the pageantry of it all.

Dr. Norris Camacho

GAME 1

South Carolina at Florida | Saturday 11:00 AM | SECN

WHY

One of these teams can still technically win the SEC East. Can you guess which one? (HINT: their coach is probably more concerned about his team PUMPIN ARN than he is his FIVE ARN swing RIGHT?)

THE ESSENTIALS

The best South Carolina-Florida preview ever written.



GAME 2

Arizona State at Oregon State | Saturday 9:45 PM | ESPN

WHY

It's gonna be cold, it's gonna be dank, and it's gonna be foggy. Just like November PAC-12 night games not played in California or the desert should be. Sean Mannion is the conference's all-time leading passer and Arizona State thrives on forcing turnovers, having scored 8 defensive touchdowns against Notre Dame last week*. Should be a good nightcap.

*may not be 100% accurate

THE ESSENTIALS

HOLY HELL WHAT'S THAT NOISE, I THINK THE HEATER JUST KICKED ON IN THE HOUSE FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE LAST FEBRUARY. The only thing better than watching cold and rainy games is watching cold and rainy games when it's also cold and rainy where you are. Or something.

oscarwildecat

GAME 1

California @ USC | Thursday 8:00 PM | ESPN

After the flaming wreckage that was the 2013 season, Sonny Dykes quietly has the Bears at 5-3 with incredibly close losses to Arizona and UCLA.  Meanwhile, Steve Sarkisian and his 92nd-ranked pass-defense continue to play schizophrenic football from week to week; surely nothing weird will happen in a Friday late-night Pac 12 contest.

THE ESSENTIALS

Preferably friends who find an abundance of Trojan jokes uproarious comedy.  Also, something with caffeine.  This thing ain't ending until well past midnight.

GAME 2

Clemson @ Georgia Tech | Saturday 11:00 PM | ESPN

Allowing for the fact that all pregame coach chats are nothing more than staged awkwardness on the part of ESPN, perhaps no two people in America have less to say to one another than Dabo Swinney and Paul Johnson. Tune in for the Ramblin' Wreck's disgust for modernity, but stay for Brent Venables' sideline histrionics. Bonus points to anyone who can flip over to ESPN2 and watch more than 5 minutes of Penn St. - Temple without gouging their own eyes out.

THE ESSENTIALS

Hot chocolate. Fire. Blankets. Flask. A&M doesn't kick off until 6:30 and it's going to be 37 Saturday morning, prepare accordingly people.

GAME 3

OU @ Tech | Saturday 2:30 PM | ESPN

Philosophical conundrum: if Trevor Knight misses a read against a Tech defense that can't cover, does the universe cease to exist? And if Cody Thomas was unable to beat out Knight, can he still throw for over 500 yards on the Red Raiders? Will the Tech uniforms finally reach such a level of horror that the NCAA steps in and does something about it? WHY IS IT NOT 6:30 YET?

THE ESSENTIALS

Wide-eyed befuddlement at whatever the hell Mike Stoops is trying to do on defense. A classy rye bourbon befitting the first cold snap of the season. And a date that can't keep her eyes off Kliff, but you know in your heart of hearts she's there for you, and would absolutely never demand to be put in your phone as 'Mrs. Coach Bro', and no, I absolutely will not change over to Bama - MSU again, apologies. Sigh.

doug.keegan

GAME 1

Virginia Tech @ Duke | Saturday 11:00 AM | ESPNU

WHY

A seemingly hapless program hoping for an upset takes on a 1-loss division power. But see what I did there? Flipped the script. Cause Duke is good now and Virginia Tech fans are the ones counting down the days until the start of basketball season, see? WOOOO BUZZ WILLIAMS WOOO! In addition to being Peyton Manning's personal Mr. Miyagi, David Cutcliffe is second only to Bill Snyder when it comes to an ability to fashion things he found in the attic into a frighteningly competent NCAA FBS football team.

THE ESSENTIALS

Waffles. Breakfast - or "brunch" if ya wanna make "Waffle House and beer" sound waaaay fancier than it is - with Good Bull Hunting. RSVP if you haven't already Yours truly will be manning the irons. #WafflesForAgs

GAME 2

Nebraska @ Wisconsin | Saturday 2:30 PM | ABC

WHY

Ok, let's be honest. We're all really going to be watching State at Bama, but this makes for a delightful undercard. It'll be like watching the same game at 3/4 speed. Also, it's for the Freedom Trophy. No, seriously. Check it. And you don't hate Freedom and Apple Pie and College Football and winning World Wars, do you? In any case, Ameer Abdullah and Melvin Gordon will entertain those of you who enjoy power running games with talented tailbacks.

THE ESSENTIALS

Chips and queso. Corn and cheese. Get it?! Theming.

GAME 3

Auburn @ Georgia | Saturday 6:15 PM | ESPN

WHY

Can the mighty SEC East get its second win of the year over the SEC West? And first over a team not named Arkansas? Gus brings his suddenly mortal band of magicians and a very suspect defense between the hedges. Yes, we're rooting for Auburn here. Because in 2014, division pride is a bizarre new mutation of conference pride. Start the chant. S-E-C-West! S-E-C-West! S-E-C-West!

THE ESSENTIALS

Semaphore. Morse code. Smoke signals. Anything to get timely updates in the cell signal abyss that is Kyle Field. The atrocious in-stadium "score ticker" doesn't cut it, and whoever is selling that "service" to A&M should be convicted of fraud.

Hypno-Toad

GAME 1

#8 OHIO STATE @ #25 MINNESOTA  |  11 AM Saturday  |  abc

WHY

You wrote off the B1G at the beginning of the season because they were terrible. Well they are still terrible, but somewhere in that smoking heap of rusted steel Jerry Kill has quietly put together a wacky and entertaining football team. Minnesota is capable of beating Ohio State. They are also capable of spending the day building team skills by putting together an IKEA bookshelf only to remember that they were supposed to play football today. Aw, dangit!

Also, there is a subtext to this game that apparently involves whether or not OSU's players have to endure the Dr. Zhivago winter of Minnesota or instead be treated to heaters, potato and beet soup, and frostbite treatment. Those midwesterners start out all hot-cocoa-and-cheese-curds, but turn your back for a second and you're left alone to fend off wolves with a flaming tree branch.

THE ESSENTIALS

GAME 2

TEXAS @ OKLAHOMA STATE  |  6:30 PM Saturday  |  FOX

WHY

OK, actually I'll be watching the Aggies, but this will be good to flip to during Progressive commercials. After a big win against West Virginia last week Charlie Strong seems to have the remaining 27 Longhorn football players headed in the right direction. Meanwhile, a preseason-ranked OSU squad that took Florida State to the wire to open the season is trying to pull out of a 3 loss tailspin. It's late in the season and both of these teams need one more win for bowl eligibility. Texas has only TCU left on its dance card, and OSU is staring at Baylor and Bedlam to close out the season, so both teams consider this game their best chance to make the post-season. That will make for some good football.

THE ESSENTIALS

The forecast in Stillwater on Saturday night is a 99% chance of Ugg boots, so I recommend a thermos filled with 1 part coffee, 1 part cocoa, 1 part Kahlua, 1 part Bailey's, and 2 parts Jameson. Heat to a boil and then pour directly onto any exposed flesh before it freezes solid.