gmw college football mid-week: week 9

Rolling into November, we’ll find out who knows how to finish well and who crumbles under the pressure. But, while teams are gearing up for the big challenges and rivalry matches toward the end of their schedules, will they overlook these late October games?

This week, the Week 9 G-Poll, upcoming on-field clashes, a special report on Baylor from Big 12 Senior Correspondent Tommy Williams, and Games I’m watching this Saturday. Let’s get to the poll.

Week 9 G-Poll Top 10

1. Ohio State (8-0)
2. Michigan (8-0)
3. West Virginia (7-0)
4. USC (6-0)
5. Louisville (7-0)
6. Tennessee (6-1)
7. California (7-1)
8. Texas (7-1)
9. Auburn (7-1)
10. Notre Dame (6-1)

Previous weeks: four, five, six, seven, eight

Moments of Truth on the Horizon

No changes this week in the g-poll top ten, which is a shame. But changes will come. If it doesn’t happen before, several of these teams will meet, thus providing us with moments of truth as to who the true top ten is. Ohio State/Michigan play Nov 18. West Virginia/Louisville meet on Nov 2. USC/California clash Nov 18 and USC/Notre Dame compete Nov 25 (those two are on back-to-back weekends. Tennessee and Auburn are not scheduled to meet, but they could conceivably meet in the SEC championship game. Texas is the only team in the top ten who won’t be facing another top ten school. Last weekend, Nebraska almost provided a moment of truth for the Longhorns, but Texas was able to pull out the win. They have an excellent shot, as a 1-loss team, at a BCS game, and even a national title game if things fell the right way (though that would be a lot of things).

That said, of the current g-poll top ten, we could end up with as many as three unbeatens by the end of the year. Assuming no losses by the time they meet each other, one of the unbeatens would be the winner of Ohio State/Michigan, one would be the winner of West Virginia/Louisville, and the third would be USC if they can remain unbeaten with the Cal and Notre Dame games yet to be played. But can they hold up that long? Obvious, USC plays two games against top ten competition back-to-back. If they survive that end of season schedule, they should play for another national title against the winner of Ohio State/Michigan. But USC will have to stop a decent UCLA crew in their last game of their regular season.

Baylor Belongs?
by Tommy Williams

Just 24 months ago the conversation among college sports fans and even conference officials was this: Does Baylor belong in the Big 12? Ever since the late Governor Ann Richards (Baylor alum) reportedly lobbied to have Baylor included in the Big 12 after the breakup of the Southwest Conference, people have argued that Baylor didn’t belong. The Bears didn’t help their case. The football team only recorded 3 conference wins in the first 6 years of Big 12 conference play. The men’s basketball program was engulfed in arguably the most sordid scandal in recent NCCA history. (Disclaimer: the Women’s Basketball team won the national championship in 2005)

Outside of sports, the school itself has almost nothing in common with the other schools in the Big 12. It is the only private school and has the smallest enrollment of all member schools. The University of Houston, however, a large state research university, was left to find a conference home on its own along with the likes of SMU, Rice, and TCU.

But, as of October 25, 2006, Baylor Bear football is at .500 with 3 conference wins, and knocking on the locker room door of a bowl hosting stadium. The Men’s Basketball team is now coached by Scott Drew (who made the famous buzzer beater shot to advance Cinderella Valpariaso in the NCAA’s). They had a decent year in 2005-2006 considering everything and this year they step on the court with a talented roster including the school’s first ever McDonald’s All-American signee.

Is all this proof that Baylor belongs in the Big 12? I’m not sure, but you could never sanely make that argument, until now.

Big 12 Senior Correspondent Tommy Williams lives in Woodville, Texas, where he made his live radio football broadcasting debut in September.

Games I’m Watching This Weekend

Tennessee at South Carolina – Can Fulmer get the Spurrior monkey off his back on the road? Tennessee is the stronger team, but this will be a very difficult game.

Georgia vs. Florida – Yes, Florida is the ranked team, but Georgia would love to have a statement game by beating the Gators.

Oklahoma at Missouri – What makes this game interesting is the need for Missouri to win to keep its Big 12 North title alive and Oklahoma’s need not to fall apart in the wake of Adrian Peterson’s injury.

Texas A&M at Baylor – My Aggies want to avenge last year’s loss to Baylor by seemingly any means necessary. It was an embarrassment. Should they win? Yes. But Baylor’s actually better this year and at home… Aggies can’t look past teh Bears to the OU-Nebraska-Texas line-up to finish the season. Likewise, Baylor is in need of two more wins in order to go bowling this weekend. You better believe those players will be hungry to notch one of those on Saturday with only four remaining chances.

Enjoy the weekend in college football!

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