It is the final regular-season college football game for many teams -- certainly the ones not playing in conference title games next week. Most notably, it could be the final game of the regular season for Oklahoma, if they lose at Oklahoma State.
But if Oklahoma wins, we set up a clusterfrack to end all clusterfracks. (h/t: BSG) The expectation is that the strength of that kind of win would vault OU over Texas and to the Big 12 title game repping the South. The 8 p.m. game means that the politicking will be condensed -- but no less brutal. Again, if Oklahoma loses at OSU, the entire debate is moot and both Oklahoma and Texas go home miserable.
Meanwhile, at 3:30, Alabama and Florida have to take care of business against their in-state rivals, to set up next week's playoff/play-in showdown in the SEC CG. If either loses, all bets are off. This is the under-the-radar BCS-obliterating scenario.
Finally, at 7 tonight, Oregon and Oregon State play their most meaningful Civil War game ever. If Oregon State wins, they go to the Rose Bowl -- relegating USC to a BCS at-large bid (not necessarily a bad thing, if you like great match-ups in your BCS bowls, although the Rose takes a massive hit... imagine USC in the Sugar against the Bama-Florida runner-up). Also, it removes any remaining BCS title-game legitimacy from USC; if they can't win their own conference title, how can they deserve the national-title game? If Oregon State loses, USC goes to the Rose Bowl for a (cliche-alert) "classic" match-up with Penn State. It also gives USC that "we're a conference champ" legitimacy.
Meanwhile, tip your cap to Boise State, which finished an unbeaten 12-0 season by destroying WAC rival Fresno State. This ain't Ball State: Boise State is a BCS Top 10 team and, as such, have earned a BCS at-large bid. I'm not holding my breath that they will be selected ahead of USC (if Oregon beats Oregon St); the Alabama-Florida runner-up or the Texas-Oklahoma runner-up. (Utah is already a lock and Ohio State is next in line.)
This is going to be a travesty: Any team that finishes in the BCS Top 10 should get an automatic at-large bid, even if another non-BCS team is ahead of it, as is the case this season. Personally, I think that if an ACC or Big East champ (or both) isn't in the Top 12, they should forfeit their spot -- if not their BCS payout. Think Boise State would play in a BCS bowl for free, giving its money to the ACC champ? Absolutely.
Lane Kiffin is going to Tennessee, ramping up the coaching star power in the SEC even more. I think he will find that the recruiting is more brutally competitive than anywhere he has ever been; this is no gift-wrapped USC recruiting situation. Also, it's not like Phil Fulmer is leaving the cupboard stocked.
Blake Griffin is the best player in college basketball -- no offense to my preseason POY Stephen Curry. Griffin had 18 and 21 under a very bright spotlight -- the NIT championship game against a very very good Purdue team (probably the best team in the Big Ten.)
Meanwhile, Tennessee over Georgetown in a Sweet 16-quality match-up of teams. (Meanwhile, Gonzaga totally routed tournaments spoiler Maryland, as you kind of expected would happen as soon as the Terps knocked off tourney favorite Michigan St.)
NBA Last Night: 43 for Dwyane Wade in a Heat win over the Suns. Wade is SO back this season... Kobe scored a season-high 35 and the Lakers romped... again. At 13-1, is it too early to be talking about 72 wins? At this pace, they would finish with 76... AI: Team-high 17 off the bench in a Pistons W.
LeBron on Barkley: "He's stupid" to criticize LeBron for stringing along Cleveland fans by talking about 2010. Of the things that Sir Charles is, stupid isn't one of them. To the LeBron-slurpers out there, note the overly defensive reaction to even the slightest bit of public criticism.