16 Teams To Play Final Game
by Mike Mitchell
November 13, 2007
Over so quickly? It's hard to believe that we're already headed into the final turn of the 2007 college football season with 16 teams playing their final regular season game this weekend. All eleven teams in the inaccurately titled Big 10 wrap up their campaigns on Saturday, along with Air Force, Baylor, Eastern Michigan, Iowa State, and Texas Tech.
Air Force can finish its season at 9-3 with a home win over San Diego State on Saturday. That would be a remarkable feat for head coach Troy Calhoun's first season at the Academy. Calhoun took the reigns from the legendary Fisher DeBerry who was 169-109-1 in 23 seasons with Air Force. Calhoun is the first AFA graduate to coach the Falcons, and just the sixth head coach in the program's history.
The college football week begins Tuesday night when Ball State hosts Toledo. The focus stays on the MAC on Wednesday as Miami (Ohio) entertains Akron. There is a pair of games Thursday when Oregon goes to Arizona, and North Texas visits Arkansas State. On Friday, Hawaii visits Nevada in a crucial WAC matchup, and Central Michigan hosts Eastern Michigan.
After those seven early-week games, there are only 45 games left for Saturday.
In all, this week's 52-game schedule involves 103 teams from the FBS (formerly known as I-A). Colorado State hosts FCS member (formerly 1-AA) Georgia Southern, while 16 teams are idle - Arizona State, Auburn, Colorado, East Carolina, Fresno State, Middle Tennessee, Nebraska, Ohio, South Carolina, Stanford, Texas, Texas A&M, Troy, UCLA, USC, and Virginia.
Many of this week's games have conference title implications.
The ACC Atlantic division title will be determined this week when Boston College visits Clemson. The computer favors the Tigers by 7.68 points which, if that happens, would be a third straight setback for the Eagles who were ranked second in the BCS on October 21 and October 28.
The Coastal division title will be decided next week when Virginia Tech goes to Virginia. The Hokies are currently a 5.64-point computer favorite (Congrove Computer Rankings) in that game, but must first take care of Miami at home this week. After last week's 48-0 loss in their final game at the Orange Bowl, the Hurricanes will be looking to redeem themselves when they visit Blacksburg as 18.85-point underdogs.
West Virginia visits Cincinnati with both teams still alive in the conference title chase. UConn sits atop the conference standings, even after last week's loss at Cincinnati, and hosts last place Syracuse. Did the scheduling gurus foresee a reason to have UConn play at West Virginia at the end of the season? The teams will meet in Morgantown next week for the Huskies' final game. The Mountaineers conclude their campaign at home the following weekend against Pitt in the annual Backyard Brawl.
The Big 10 title will be decided when Ohio State visits Michigan this Saturday. Over the years, the Wolverines have claimed 42 conference championships while the Buckeyes have captured 31. Michigan leads the series 57-40-6, but Jim Tressel is 5-1 against the Wolverines since taking the reigns at Ohio State in 2001. Tressel's predecessor, John Cooper, was 2-10-1 from 1988-2000.
In the Big 12, the scheduling gods got this one right when Kansas and Missouri were slated to meet on the final weekend. The two schools will face-off in Kansas City on November 24th to determine the North division title. No one else can catch them. This week, Kansas hosts division cellar-dweller Iowa State, while Missouri visits a Kansas State team that's licking big wounds after last Saturday's 73-31 debacle at Nebraska. Kansas can clinch the division this week if it wins and the Tigers lose.
Oklahoma clinches the South division this week if it wins at Texas Tech. The computer favors the Sooners by 8.93 points.
Central Florida controls its destiny in CUSA's East division title chase while Tulsa has the inside track to the west title, but neither can clinch this weekend. The Golden Hurricane play out-of-conference this week at Army, while the Golden Knights are favored by 4.78 points at SMU. Tulsa beat UCF 44-27 in the first CUSA Championship game played two years ago in Orlando.
Navy accepted a Poinsettia Bowl bid after last week's 74-62 shootout at North Texas. The Midshipmen (6-4) could wind up with 8 wins as they finish the year with games against Northern Illinois (home) and Army (at Baltimore).
We already know one-half of the MAC Championship game equation as Central Michigan clinched the West division last week. Miami controls its destiny in the MAC East and could clinch this week if it beats Akron at home on Wednesday, and Bowling Green wins at Buffalo on Saturday.
BYU will likely win the Mountain West. The Cougars are unbeaten in conference play while everyone else has at least two losses. Brigham Young can clinch the crown with a win at home next week over rival Utah, if the Cougars take care of business this week at Wyoming. The Cowboys lost 50-0 at home to Utah this past Saturday.
Oregon has the inside track to the PAC-10 title, thanks to its win over Arizona State. The Ducks play at Arizona on Thursday, then take a road trip to UCLA next week. They finish the season at home against Oregon State in the Civil War. The Sun Devils are idle this week, before hosting USC and rival Arizona in its final two games.
LSU locked-up the SEC West this past weekend when Auburn and Alabama each lost. Tennessee controls its destiny in the East by virtue of its win over Georgia. If the Bulldogs lose this week to Kentucky, Tennessee can clinch the division with a home win this week over Vanderbilt. For Georgia to claim the East division title, the Bulldogs mustbeat Kentucky and hope the Vols lose to either Vanderbilt or Kentucky.
Florida is mathematically still in the hunt, but requires multiple teams to finish 5-3 for tie-breaking procedures to favor the Gators. Florida went 4-1 against East division foes, losing only to Georgia.
The Sun Belt race won't end this week, and may not be over until December 1 when Troy hosts FAU. The Trojans are the only Sun Belt team with a perfect conference record, and the Owls are the only team with just one league loss. That game becomes a championship match if Troy notches a home win over Middle Tennessee next Tuesday, and FAU wins next Saturday at rival FIU. Troy is idle this week while FAU plays at Florida.
The WAC champion will be determined next Friday when Boise State goes to Hawaii. But the Warriors certainly can not look past this week's opponent as they travel to Reno to face Nevada. The Broncos are home against Idaho.
Hawaii and Kansas are all that remain undefeated.
FIU and Utah State are the only two remaining winless teams.
Idaho has yet to beat a team from the bowl subdivision.
FBS vs. FCS
1-A is now classified by the NCAA as the "Football Bowl Subdivision", or "FBS", for short.
1-AA has been re-classified as the "Football Championship Subdivision", or "FCS", for short.
Only 1 FBS team plays an FCS school this week when Colorado State hosts Georgia Southern, bringing the total number to 78 for the year. In such games, the FBS schools are 67-10 this season, and 287-35 (.891) since 2003.
Hawaii has won 10 straight games. The Warriors visit Nevada on Friday.
Kansas has won 10 in-a-row, and 13 consecutive regular season games. The Jayhawks host Iowa State.
Boise State has won 9 straight games, 43 consecutive regular season home games, and 16 consecutive WAC games. The Broncos also have a perfect home record against their fellow WAC conference members (28-0). Boise State hosts Idaho.
FIU owns the nation's longest current losing streak at 21 games. The Golden Panthers host Louisiana-Lafayette.
Utah State has lost 16 straight. The Aggies visit New Mexico State.
The 2006 season featured 11 new head coaches. Five led their team to a bowl game.
This year, there are 24 coaching changes for the highest number since 2001 when there were 25. We'll track their progress throughout the season.
This week, there are two games where new coaches face each other - Tulsa visits Army, and Rice hosts Tulane.
FIU is the only team that has yet to snag a win with its new head coach. Idaho has yet to defeat an FBS team.
Here is how each of the new coaches are faring, in order, by won-loss record:
Arizona State, 9-1 under Dennis Erickson, is idle.
Boston College, 8-2 under Jeff Jagodzinski, visits Clemson.
Cincinnati, 8-2 under Brian Kelly, hosts West Virginia.
Air Force, 8-3 under Troy Calhoun, hosts San Diego State.
Tulsa, 7-3 under Todd Graham, visits Army.
Alabama, 6-4 under Nick Saban, hosts Louisiana-Monroe.
Central Michigan, 6-4 under Butch Jones, hosts Eastern Michigan on Friday.
Indiana, 6-5 under Bill Lynch, hosts Purdue.
Michigan State, 6-5 under Mark Dantonio, hosts Penn State.
Louisville, 5-5 under Steve Kragthorpe, visits USF.
Miami (Fla.), 5-5 under Randy Shannon, visits Virginia Tech.
N.C. State, 5-5 under Tom O'Brien, visits Wake Forest.
Louisiana Tech, 4-6 under Derek Dooley, hosts San Jose State.
Army, 3-7 under Stan Brock, hosts Tulsa.
North Carolina, 3-7 under Butch Davis, visits Georgia Tech.
Rice, 3-7 under David Bailiff, hosts Tulane.
Stanford, 3-7 under Jim Harbaugh, is idle.
Tulane, 3-7 under Bob Toledo, visits Rice.
Iowa State, 3-8 under Gene Chizik, visits Kansas.
UAB, 2-8 under Neil Callaway, visits Memphis.
North Texas, 1-8 under Todd Dodge, visits Arkansas State on Thursday.
Idaho, 1-9 under Robb Akey, visits Boise State.
Minnesota, 1-10 under Tim Brewster, hosts Wisconsin.
FIU, 0-9 under Mario Cristobal, hosts Louisiana-Lafayette.