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It's Week 13, a moment late in the college football season when nearly all the big-time programs bake in a Directional Creampuff before taking the plunge into the final game or two of the regular season and conference championships.
The SEC is especially notorious for scheduling pushovers: Alabama plays Western Carolina, Auburn faces Samford, Florida vs. Eastern Kentucky, and so on.
The rest of the country bemoans the SEC strategy of mapping out the season, but to us it just seems like smart football.
Why put your season at risk the week before a huge rivalry game like the Iron Bowl ('Bama-Auburn) or Egg Bowl (Mississippi-Mississippi State) when you can slot in the likes of Charleston Southern and avoid a classic "trap game" scenario?
Speaking of which, #8 Ole Miss squares off against an improved Arkansas squad at Razorback Stadium on Saturday.
(Kudos to Arkansas for such a straightforward stadium name. No sponsor, no alum, nothing. Where do the Razorbacks play? At Razorbacks Stadium, of course. Contrast this to the University of Kentucky, which plays on C.M. Newton Field in Commonwealth Stadium. No double-dipping, UK!)
Arkansas lured head coach Brett Bielema away from Wisconsin in 2012, and the former Wisconsin coach brought Big Ten football with him. The offense rumbles for over 230 yards per game (good for 22nd in the country) behind a gargantuan offensive line averaging 328 pounds. Tack on a tight end and a fullback, and you've got over a ton of well-fed mammals barreling down the field on running plays. The Razorbacks played five ranked teams close (losing by only a combined total of 46 points, including a 45-21 L to Auburn in Week One) but shut out #17 LSU, 17-0 last week for the first conference win in 2014.
#8 Ole Miss vs. Arkansas (+3.5), 2:30 p.m.
Our pick: Call the Hogs! We like getting a field goal and the hook at home.
Related: The United States Trademark and Patent Office granted Arkansas a trademark to the sound "Woooooooo, Pig! Sooie! Woooooooo, Pig! Sooie! Woooooooo, Pig! Sooie! Razorbacks!" earlier this year. Not the words, the sound. Yep. Now the Pigs can sue you if you try to commercialize sounding like a drunken yokel.
That said, you could print the words to the school chant on t-shirts all you like. Fitting the entire call across the front of a T might look challenging, but you probably wouldn't need to stock anything smaller than XL in Fayetteville, so you should be fine.
Elsewhere among the College Football Playoff Committee ranks:
Rutgers vs. #11 Michigan State (-22), 11 a.m.
Our pick: We still can't get used to Rutgers playing in the Big Ten. In the Big Ten commercials, the camera swoops through a Legoland-like landscape, starting in the Midwest, careening up to Pennsylvania and alighting on the East Coast to spotlight Rutgers and Maryland, covering an enormous swath of the Eastern United States. Apparently the Scarlet Knights can't get used to it either. Maybe the Big Ten can put a rule in place mandating that Rutgers, Northwestern, Maryland and Indiana play a round-robin schedule every season and skip the rest of the conference.
Indiana vs. #6 Ohio State (-35), 11 a.m.
Our pick: See? Might as well schedule Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI, pronounced ooh-ee-poo-ee) here. We think the Jaguars should file for a patent on a new war chant: Ooh-eeee-pooo-eee, sick 'em Jaguars! But only if jaguars is said with a soft J, otherwise it just doesn't work.
#25 Minnesota vs. #23 Nebraska (-10), 11 a.m.
Our pick: We fear the Gophers' dreams of a conference championship may come to end this weekend. It was a good run.
#16 Wisconsin vs. Iowa (+10), 2:30 p.m.
Our pick: The Hawkeyes never lived up to our preseason predictions of renewed success, but that's a healthy margin to catch at home.
#19 USC (+4) vs. #9 UCLA, 7 p.m.
Our pick: Despite the national broadcast on ABC, no one outside the Los Angeles area or at best Pac-12 country will give this game much attention. Too bad. Coach Sark - a CFR favorite for you newbies - leads Southern Cal in what has been a see-saw rivalry. The Bruins won eight straight from '91-98 but had dropped 12 of 13 before new head coach Jim Mora took the reins in 2012. UCLA is coming off back-to-back wins against the Trojans but we think the Bruins are ripe for the pickin'. Let's all give our Tribute to Troy.
Mike Luce is our man on campus - every Friday and Monday. He welcomes your comments.
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Posted on Jun 24, 2017