Games that Matter: Rooting Guide for Week 9

Our Boys in Blue took care of business last week and learned a valuable lesson in the process: Never take the option for granted. More importantly, Mr. Badger says he’s glad the boys were given a challenge. Blowouts do not reveal a team’s true weaknesses. Plus, they can lead to complacency and overconfidence. With TCU and San Diego State on the horizon, this is no time to relax. Mr. Badger is already starting to practice his cheers.


While our Broncos have the week off, there are still plenty of reasons to watch college football this weekend, with three of our opponents getting prime national coverage (TCU, Georgia, Toledo). Here’s hoping each of these teams dominates, thus boosting our Strength of Schedule and "Poll Cred".

Mr. Badger and I will run through these and other games to watch after the jump…

There are a few categories of games to watch:

1) Opponents

The better our opponents fare, the better we look.

2) Unbeatens

While it is a long shot… playing in the National Championship Game is a definite possibility. In actuality, we should be the #1 ranked team in college football and other teams should be debating their odds of making the NCG. But I’ll save that argument for a different day. Mr. Badger is in an unusually mellow mood, and I don’t want to do anything to disrupt it.

3) Other Guys

For one reason or another, Boise State has a rooting interest in these games.

Methodology: The games are put in order of Time, with the best games first within each time slot.

Friday - 6PM

***** 4 Stars *****

TCU (5-2) vs BYU (6-2)


Root for: TCU

The Horned Frogs have a chance to break back into the Top 25 before we play them in 2 weeks. We need all the help we can get. Go Frogs!


Ribbit. What's that? Yeah, I'm a Broncos fan.

Saturday - 10AM

** 2 Stars **

(11) Michigan State (6-1) at (14) Nebraska (6-1)


Root for: Michigan State

Our Broncos open the 2012 season at Michigan State. Go Spartans!


Mr. Badger has a new fascination with Spartan Headgear

Saturday - 1 / 1:30PM

***** 5 Stars *****

(22) Georgia at Florida


Root for: Georgia

The Dawgs – like all teams – have had plenty of time to improve since the season began. Their first real test to see just how far they’ve come is this weekend against the Gators. If the Bulldogs can’t pull off a victory here, consider their season done – and Richt’s job gone. This game will likely determine the Bulldogs’ chances of securing the SEC East title, and that means a LOT for Bronco Fans.

The extra week off has given each team time to heal. Coach Richt says his team is "very healthy". Georgia LB Alec Ogletree is finally well enough to play again (broken foot) and will get action against the Gators. Georgia Safety Bacarri Rambo will also be playing after injuring his toe.

The Dawgs’ leading receiver Malcolm Mitchell has a leg injury and may not play on Saturday. On the flip side, the Gators’ QB John Brantley is in the same situation (injured leg) and is listed only as "probable". Looks like a game-time decision for both.

The Gators come into the game having lost three in a row, while the Bulldogs are riding a five-game winning streak. However, considering who the Gators just played (LSU, Alabama, Auburn), it’s not quite the mismatch it appears. In fact, the line is less than 3 points. Plus, anytime these two teams play, you can throw the line out the window. And the Gators have owned this series lately. The Dawgs have only won 3 of the last 21 meetings. Hopefully that stat changes to 4 of 22 when this game is over.

There are several "must-watch" games this weekend, but this one tops the list. Miss this game, and Mr. Badger says he may have to revoke your "No. 1 Bronco Fan" membership.


This is a club you don't want to miss out on.

**** 4 Stars ****

Tulsa (4-3) vs SMU (5-2)

TV: Fox Sports Network

Root for: Tulsa

The Golden Hurricane may be undefeated in their conference thus far (3-0 C-USA), but they haven’t played anyone in-conference to speak of yet. This weekend, that changes as SMU rolls into town with a 5-2 record (3-1 C-USA). This is the same SMU that took down then-#20 TCU.

Since becoming conference foes in 2005, these two schools have played each other close, with an average margin of 7.7 points. The series is tied 3-3, with the Mustangs having won the last two. Last season’s loss kept Tulsa out of the C-USA championship game, so revenge is the name of the day on Saturday for the Golden Hurricane.


I'll Huff and I'll Puff and I'll Blow Your Team Down

*** 3 Stars ***

(3) Oklahoma State (7-0) vs. Baylor (4-2)


Root for: Baylor

Okie State would be a shoe-in for the Championship game if they run the table. Baylor has a chance to take ‘em down this year. Go Bears!


The Baylor Bears Hope for an Upset

*** 3 Stars ***

(7) Oregon (6-1) vs. Washington State (3-4)

TV: Fox Sports Network

Root for: Washington State

Oregon still has a chance to sneak past us. Plus, San Diego State beat the Cougars. Go Cougs!


The Cougars' Secret Weapon

** 2 Stars **

(8) Kansas State (7-0) vs. (9) Oklahoma (6-1)


Root for: Pick ‘em (leaning towards rooting for Kansas State)


Should Oklahoma finish the rest of the season undefeated, they have a good chance of leaping our Broncos. If Kansas State beats Oklahoma, the Sooners’ championship chances are completely gone. Because K-State has such a brutal back end to their schedule, I’d bet on a loss somewhere. For that reason, Mr. Badger and I will be cheering for the Wildcats.

Saturday - 5 / 6PM

***** 5 Stars *****

(5) Clemson (8-0) at Georgia Tech (6-2)


Root for: Georgia Tech

What looked like a clash of the Titans just two weeks ago has become a clash of a Titan. Tech comes into the game on a 2-game losing streak after starting the season 6-0.


The Yellow Jackets hope to get back on track by taking down the powerful Tigers. Not only would a loss by Clemson improve Boise’s odds of getting into the NCG, but it would boost Kellen’s Heisman chances as well. Go Jackets!

***** 5 Stars *****

(6) Stanford (7-0) at (20) USC (6-1)


Root for: USC

The Trojans are one of the fiercest tests remaining on the Cardinal’s schedule. If Boise State wants to knock down one more NCG obstacle and enhance Kellen’s Heisman chances, the Trojans will need to take down the Cardinal on Saturday. As much as Mr. Badger dislikes Coach Kiffin… Go Trojans!


*** 3 Stars ***

(15) Wisconsin (6-1) at Ohio State (4-3)


Root for: Ohio State

Wisky’s loss was as close as they get. I don’t feel comfortable with them on our heels. A second loss would knock them out of the NCG running. Go Buckeyes!


*** 3 Stars ***

(13) South Carolina (6-1) at Tennessee (4-3)


Root for: Tennessee

The Gamecocks present the biggest challenge for the Dawgs’ SEC East title hopes. A second SEC loss is needed by South Carolina for Georgia to have a chance to take home the title. If UGA couldn't catch that Rooster, maybe Smokey can! Go Vols!


** 2 Stars **

Nevada (4-3) at New Mexico State (3-4)

TV: ESPN3 / WAC Sports Network

Root for: Nevada

Whodathunk the Aggies would have a chance to be .500 after 8 games played? Sure not Mr. Badger. If the Pack isn’t careful, their record after Saturday’s game could be .500 too. Certainly New Mexico State is better this year than they have been in years.

But the Wolfpack are holding their own as well. Despite losing Kaeper-legs, they are now the favorite to win the WAC crown after beating Fresno State last weekend.



Nevada is 10th in the nation offensively. With such a balanced attack (251 rushing avg; 250 passing avg), look for Nevada to score some points on the Aggies. Hopefully the Pack’s defense can keep pace and move them to 3-0 in conference play, setting up a big showdown with Hawaii two weeks later for what will probably determine the WAC champion.

Tuesday - 5PM

**** 4 Stars ****

Toledo (5-3) vs. Northern Illinois (5-3)


Root for: Toledo

Since this game comes before the usual Thursday edition of the "Rooting Guide", it’s being included this week. Who plays football on Tuesdays anyhow? Oh yeah, we used to.

Toledo is the only MAC team with an undefeated in-conference record (4-0 MAC). If they want to win the MAC-West title (not to mention the MAC Championship), they’ll have to get through Northern Illinois first.


The Huskies (3-1 MAC) present a huge hurdle for the Rockets. From day one, the MAC champion was expected to come down to this game. Northern Illinois holds four of the 11 MAC pre-season 1st team offensive players (including Quarterback Chandler Harnish), and two of the 11 MAC pre-season 1st team defensive players. In a 13-team conference, that’s not too bad. Harnish has not disappointed this year, averaging 89 yards on the ground and 212 yards in the air. If the Rockets can shut him down, expect a victory.

Luckily, Toledo Running Back Adonis Thomas (a MAC preseason 1st-team selection of his own) is back in the lineup after a broken arm forced him out of action for four weeks. Thomas seemed to have no problem getting back into the swing of things in his first game back, earning 80 of his team’s 230 rushing yards last week against Miami (OH).

This is most definitely a game to watch. Luckily it will be presented in all its high-def glory on ESPN2.

Happy Watching!


This content was not created by OBNUG and therefore may not meet our standards. On the contrary, it probably exceeds them.

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