So who says Division I-A doesn't have a playoff? The Big 12 South has been holding a tournament of its own for more than a month now. The elimination heats continue tonight in Norman, where No. 5 Oklahoma (9-1) hosts No. 2 Texas Tech (10-0). The winner can continue thinking about a trip to the national title game. So it sure has the feel of a one-and-done. Both teams are coming off a bye. The Sooners lost to Texas on Oct. 11 in Dallas by 10. The Red Raiders beat Texas, at home, on the last play on Nov. 1. After tonight, Oklahoma still has to go to No. 11 Oklahoma State (9-2), where it won by six in 2006 and three in 2004. Tech closes at home against Baylor. Oklahoma is averaging 52 points, Tech 49. The Red Raiders haven't won in Norman since 1996. But they have won the past two meetings in Lubbock. Last season, it was 34-27, which cost Oklahoma a spot in the national title game. If the Big 12 South ends in a three-way tie, the team ranked highest in the BCS standings on Nov. 30 would go to the conference finale to face No. 12 Missouri (at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo). Right now, it appears No. 4 Texas (10-1), which closes with Texas A&M at home Thursday, would be that survivor.
Even though a Michigan win over Ohio State today helps Michigan State's chances of going to the Rose Bowl, players say they aren't going to become Wolverine fans — not even for a few hours.
"Um," star running back Javon Ringer, right, sighed when asked if he could root for the Wolverines.
After a 10-second pause, he continued: "Honestly, I don't know. I know the whole thing — if we beat Penn State, we need Ohio State to lose to Michigan — but, man … I don't know, man. I don't even know if I can get that out of my mouth. I'll just try not to pay attention to them and try to focus in on our game and whatever happens with that game happens."
Not exactly shocking from an Ohioan who almost went to Ohio State.
"I'm not rooting for Michigan," Spartans coach Mark Dantonio said. "I have too many good friends and too many people that would not let me back into their house if I did that. So, uh, you know … go Bucks."
If Michigan State and Ohio State win, the Buckeyes go to the Rose Bowl because Michigan State and Ohio State would have one Big Ten loss and Ohio State beat Michigan State 45-7 on Oct. 18. If Penn State and Ohio State win, the Nittany Lions go by virtue of their 13-6 win over the Buckeyes on Oct. 25.
Information from the Associated Press, Detroit Free Press and Philadelphia Daily News was used in this report. Greg Auman, Times staff writer
Maryland 4-2 7-3
Wake Forest 4-3 6-4
Florida State 4-3 7-3
Boston College 3-3 7-3
Clemson 3-4 5-5
N.C. State 2-4 4-6
Georgia Tech 5-3 8-3
Miami 4-3 7-4
Virginia Tech 3-3 6-4
Virginia 3-3 5-5
North Carolina 3-3 7-3
Duke 1-5 4-6
N.C. State at N. Carolina, noon
Clemson at Virginia, noon
Boston College at Wake, 3:30
Duke at Virginia Tech, 5:30
Florida State at Maryland, 7:45
nov. 29 *
Maryland at Boston College
Miami at N.C. State
North Carolina at Duke
Virginia at Virginia Tech
* All game times undetermined
Leavitt must go?
At least one USF fan is ready to cut USF coach Jim Leavitt loose. We tracked down the founder of JimLeavittMustGo.com, Adam Goldman, a 33-year-old USF alumnus who lives in Coral Springs.
"The site just came out of weekly conversations with my buddies, of our frustration seeing the team start out well then having things falling apart," Goldman said. "When I looked up USF's conference record (8-8 in Conference USA, 13-13 in Big East), that's what put me over the edge.
"To see a .500 record, the wins against Kansas and Auburn don't mean anything if you're losing to Cincinnati and Rutgers. You should own those schools."
The likelihood of Leavitt getting fired is very low, especially because his contract calls for USF to pay 75 percent of his remaining salary if fired without cause, which would work out to about $8.3-million after this season.
Goldman, who graduated from USF in 1998 with a degree in communications, stressed that he appreciates what Leavitt has done in bringing USF to national rankings and prominence in a BCS conference.
"It's nothing against Coach Leavitt," he said. "I'm thankful for where he's taken the program. I'm just not sure he can take it to the next level."
Spurrier likes President-elect Obama's tourney
The new president has a supporter in Steve Spurrier when it comes to a playoff.
South Carolina's coach strongly backs President-elect Barack Obama's belief in an eight-team playoff to decide a national title.
"A lot of people don't think it's going to happen, but I sort of believe it will happen if President-elect Obama pushes it hard enough," Spurrier said. "It would be very interesting, but I think there's a chance it could happen. Maybe it'll take four years or so, but I think there's a chance."
Currently, the BCS matches two teams in a title game.
Obama has said more than once he plans to push for an eight-team tournament. Spurrier has been an advocate for a playoff for quite some time.
Obama said during an interview on CBS's 60 Minutes on Sunday that the regular season could be trimmed back with three weeks devoted to the tournament.
"I don't know any serious fan of college football who has disagreed with me on this" Obama said. "So I'm going to throw my weight around a little bit. I think it's the right thing to do."
Spurrier said Obama's public pressure can get the football rolling on a playoff.
"We have playoffs in every sport in the world, I think, except (I-A) college football," Spurrier said. "I used to say, 'How can we be right and everybody else be wrong?' "
By the numbers
1962 The last year Michigan did not win consecutive games in a season.
201/2 Amount Ohio State is favored by against Michigan today, topping the largest spread in the rivalry; the Buckeyes were favored by 19 in 1962 and won 28-0.