With a chance at the SEC West championship still alive, and even more importantly, a shot at a spot in the college football playoff still up for grabs, Bulldog fans will be doing some major scoreboard watching this weekend, and while many good vibes will have to be sent to Oxford, some may need to be saved for other games going on this weekend.
So far, the Bulldogs have not had much help since Thursday, so here's hoping that trend bucks a bit today.
On Thursday, Mississippi State fans took an interest in the Lone Star State as No. 5 TCU, a team threatening to jump Mississippi State, took on the Texas Longhorns in a matchup that many called a potential upset. The only thing that finished the night upset was the collective stomach of Longhorn Nation as the Horned Frogs picked up a 48-10 win.
On Friday, the Bulldogs could have benefited from a win by Arkansas over Missouri. A win by the Razorbacks would have put everyone in the SEC West with at least seven wins, which would have been an amazing accomplishment. However, Missouri pulled off the last minute rally to win the game and the SEC East. Should the Bulldogs advance to Atlanta, Missouri would make for an easier opponent than the Georgia Bulldogs, so this might end up being of benefit later.
Also, Bulldog fans had their eyes turned to the Territorial Cup, where things tend to get crazy as they did Friday. In that matchup, Arizona picked up a win over Arizona State. That win coupled with UCLA's loss to Stanford sends the Wildcats to the Pac-12 championship game against Oregon, a team Arizona has beaten twice in a row. If they can make it three, the Bulldogs' prospects for the playoff look brighter. Can I say #BearDown?
Over in the Mid-Atlantic, Virginia Tech picked up a win over Virginia to move to 6-6. This may be of benefit to Ohio State. The Buckeyes lost to the Hokies by 14 in the Horseshoe. Surprisingly, this loss has not been talked about much, and that might be because Ohio State was breaking in J.T. Barrett at quarterback after Braxton Miller went down with an injury. However, if it becomes a game of who has the better loss, a loss to a 5-7 Virginia Tech team would look worse than a loss to a 6-6 Virginia Tech team.
With the previous two days under our belts, we turn our eyes to today's matchups. There are but a few rules. Root for Florida State and the one-loss teams to lose. The second rule is to root for SEC domination in non-conference games.
At 11:00, four games of note take place: No. 16 Georgia Tech takes on No. 9 Georgia, No. 21 Clemson hosts South Carolina, Kentucky looks to become bowl eligible against No. 22 Louisville, and Michigan travels to Columbus to face No. 8 Ohio State.
In the first two games listed, SEC wins bolster the strength of the SEC while making the ACC look weaker. This helps if Florida State becomes a one-loss conference champion over the next two weeks.
Kentucky travels to Louisville with hopes of bowl eligibility on the line. Should they win, they would become the 12th bowl eligible team in the SEC and just another team that the Bulldogs played that ended up at .500 or better. A win also hits the ACC just a little bit harder.
The game to have most of your attention on is in Columbus. If Michigan can hand a second loss to Ohio State, that takes the Big Ten champions out of the playoff picture. However, even more importantly, it could be enough to go ahead and kill what will be a hot rumor later, Dan Mullen to Michigan. If Brady Hoke can somehow pick up a win over the Buckeyes, it maaaaaaaaybe could save his job in Ann Arbor. This could be a double win for Mississippi State, and no, I am not saying Mullen to Michigan will happen either way, just that the rumors will.
At 2:30, obviously, you will be rooting for Mississippi State. Here are a few other games to keep an eye on as well. Break out your finest pair of jorts and get ready to pour one out for our boy Will Muschamp. Here's hoping he can go out on the shoulders of the Gators with a victory over Florida State. Such a win would all but eliminate Florida State from playoff contention.
Also at 2:30, an interesting conundrum exists for Bulldog fans as Texas Tech plays host to No. 7 Baylor. If Baylor wins out, they win the Big-12 on the field, but the conference has said both Baylor and TCU will be recognized as conference champions for bowls and playoff purposes. I call malarkey on this one. If TCU is the Big 12 champion, than Mississippi State is the SEC West Champion. I think Bulldog fans need to pull for a Baylor win because it does not seem like the Bears will jump the Bulldogs, and it might be tough to add TCU to the playoff and leave the Big-12 champions with the same record and a head-to-head win out.
Two games to watch in the Big Ten at 2:30 are Michigan State and Penn State and Minnesota at Wisconsin. The No. 10 Spartans will look to hoist the Land-Grant Trophy, but should Penn State take care of business, the best Ohio Stat win just gets a little bleaker (well, maybe...since ranking at the time the teams played matters). The winner of Minnesota vs. Wisconsin will meet Ohio State in Indianapolis next week. Wisconsin is the more likely of the two to beat Ohio State, so go Badgers.
In two night games to watch, No. 1 Alabama hosts No. 15 Auburn at 6:45. If the Bulldogs are victorious in the afternoon, a Tiger win gives the SEC West to Mississippi State. Here is how I see rooting in this one. If Mississippi State wins, Bulldog fans have to go all in on the Tigers. If, Heaven-forbid, the Bulldogs lose, everyone has to go all in for Alabama to get an SEC team in the playoff. If you are just for #TeamChaos, you hope for Bama to lose and then to lose again to Missouri in Atlanta.
At 7, it's the Civil War in Oregon as the Oregon Ducks travel to Corvallis to take on the Oregon State Beavers. Needless to say, we are all Beaver fans tonight.
If you are still awake/sober, Washington travels to Pullman for an Apple Cup matchup with Washington State. If for no other reason than we may see Mike Leach with a sword, let's go Cougars.