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Established October 31, 1996
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Last updated: 11/17/2011 1:29 AM
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Tony's Tip Sheet
By Tony Gerdeman

With Ohio State's loss at Purdue last week the Buckeyes are officially out of any type of legitimate scenario worth paying attention to. I'm not saying The Tip Sheet no longer has a reason for being, but right now it's about as meaningful as a passing diagram on an Ohio State chalkboard.

Elsewhere, it's not a great week of games, but we're reaching the calm before the storm. Some of the lesser rivalry games (I'm looking at you, Pac 12) are taking place this week so as not to interfere with real rivalry games next week. Think of them as an undercard.

There is still a ton of important things that can happen this weekend. Championship hopes can definitely be dashed, or certainly advanced. Oklahoma is fighting to remain alive in the national championship picture, as is Oregon. Actually, now that I think about it, there isn't much else of national interest beyond those two games.

Oh well, at least it's not the NBA.

Thursday November 17

Teams: North Carolina (6-4) at #8 Virginia Tech (9-1)
Time (TV): 8:00 pm (ESPN)
Interest: 2.5
Cheer For: Virginia Tech

The Hokies are trying to keep their slim national championship hopes alive. That will also require Frank Beamer cutting the brake lines on about six other teams out there—but I wouldn't put it past him. Running back David Wilson has rushed for at least 123 yards in seven straight games, and has actually only been held under that number once this season (85 yards against Arkansas State). He will run his way to about 140 yards in this one, and Virginia Tech will move on to the showdown next week at Virginia. I'm not kidding. It's actually going to be a showdown next week. Virginia Tech 26 – North Carolina 10

Friday November 18

Teams: #2 Oklahoma State (10-0) at Iowa State (5-4)
Time (TV): 8:00 pm (ESPN)
Interest: 3
Cheer For: Oklahoma State

So help me if Iowa State ruins Bedlam in two weeks, I will never forgive them. When I pass them on the street, all they will get from me is an icy stare, and maybe a slight head shake. If we're the last two people in a diner one night, and I've got change on the counter, and Iowa State goes to make a phone call on the payphone and they ask me for a quarter, I'll slowly put my hand over top of my change and tell them, “Sorry, ain't got none.” They'll get the picture. Oklahoma State has scored less than 50 points in just four games this season. They've scored 61 or more three times. You really don't need to look any further than the Cowboys for proof that if you want an offense, you can have one. (Hint, hint Ohio State.) Oklahoma State 56 – Iowa State 27

Saturday November 19

Teams: #16 Nebraska (8-2) at #18 Michigan (8-2)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (ESPN)
Interest: 5
Cheer For: Nebraska

I know you're going to complain, but I'm voting that we root for Nebraska on account of our desire to not go against nature. One Dr. Moreau was enough, don't you think? As I have mentioned the last few weeks here, I have yet to get a Michigan pick wrong this season, and I don't plan on starting this week. (I'll probably wait until next week to get it wrong.) This is going to be a very difficult game for Michigan to win because Nebraska has two very capable runners, which they haven't faced yet this season. One of Illinois' touchdowns last week against the Wolverines came on an option read by quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase that found him running wide open into the endzone. Michigan is going to be seeing that same type of play about 25 times on Saturday. This will be the best test their defense has faced this season, and as Buckeye fans can attest, defenses can stop Nebraska's offense for long periods of time before finally giving in and getting run over. The Wolverine offense is a bit of a mess right now. Denard Robinson has a sprained wrist, but will still play. They'll need running back Fitz Toussaint to be a 150-yard tailback, and not a 60-yard tailback in this one. If he rushes for 100 yards on Saturday, Michigan will win. If he doesn't, somebody else better. It's amazing how much I talk myself out of picking Michigan as I break the game down on my keyboard, but I'm still going with my first instinct. The Wolverines will force enough turnovers to get the win. Michigan 28 – Nebraska 23

Teams: #17 Wisconsin (8-2) at Illinois (6-4)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (ESPN2)
Interest: 4.5
Cheer For: Illinois

Look, I'm not going to address Ron Zook's future in this preview. That's not what the Tip Sheet is about. It's about these kids, and it's about the play on the field. If Ron Zook's future continues to be the topic of this preview, I will end it and won't give you a prediction. I mean it. But while we're on the subject, I wonder if Luke Fickell will get an interview with Illinois if he isn't retained by Ohio State once Zook is let go. I think he's definitely earned a look from other BCS schools, especially ones that have employed Ron Freaking Zook. I like Wisconsin in this game because what Illinois does best is quit, and they will knock their quitting out of the ballpark in this one. Montee Ball won't get any Heisman love, but he'll prove again this weekend that Trent Richardson is 30% hype. Wisconsin 34 – Illinois 10

Teams: Cincinnati (7-2) at Rutgers (7-3)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (ESPNU)
Interest: 1.5
Cheer For: Cincinnati

We're cheering for Cincinnati so that we can appear to be the bigger man, but don't worry, the cheering will likely be unrewarded. Bearcats quarterback Zach Collaros broke his ankle in last week's loss to West Virginia—UC's first conference loss of the season—and is out for the season. The conference race is a complete mess right now. Cincinnati is the only one-loss team in conference play, while five other teams have two conference losses. Munchie Legaux, yes “Munchie Legaux”, is Collaros' replacement, and he's a whirling dervish with wide eyes and a scatter arm. They're still good enough to beat Rutgers though. Cincinnati 27 – Rutgers 21

Teams: Indiana (1-9) at #15 Michigan State (8-2)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (BTN)
Interest: 1
Cheer For: Michigan State

Michigan State will move one giant step closer to clinching the Legends Division with a win over Indiana. In fact, Michigan could even help the Spartans clinch it completely by beating Nebraska. If both Michigan State and the Wolverines win, then Sparty goes to Indianapolis. Clearly, the Spartans will take care of their business. Not even Sparty could sparty this one. Michigan State 38 – Indiana 17

Teams: Minnesota (2-8) at Northwestern (5-5)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (BTN)
Interest: 1
Cheer For: Minnesota

We're cheering for Minnesota because we don't want any Big Ten teams reaching seven wins before the Buckeyes do. Because if the Buckeyes don't make it to seven wins, and eight other conference teams do, the Buckeyes won't get one of the eight Big Ten bowl slots. Now whether that would actually be a good thing or not can be debated, but for now let's just roll with the idea that we want the Buckeyes in a bowl game. The Gophers could certainly defeat Northwestern, depending on which Minnesota team takes the field. If it's the Gophers team that almost beats other teams, then we should have a game in this one. Don't be surprised if Minnesota shocks everybody and almost wins. Northwestern 38 – Minnesota 33

Teams: Iowa (6-4) at Purdue (5-5)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (BTN)
Interest: 2.5
Cheer For: Purdue

The thinking on this game follows that of the game above. Don't root for any team to get their seventh win before Ohio State does. Iowa is coming off of a blowout loss at home to Michigan State, and Purdue is coming off of a huge win over the Buckeyes. Of course this means that Iowa is going to go into West Lafayette and win comfortably. Iowa 24 – Purdue 15

Teams: Kentucky (4-6) at #14 Georgia (8-2)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (SECN)
Interest: 1
Cheer For: Georgia

If Georgia wins this game—which would be their ninth-straight victory—they will win the SEC East and secure a spot in the conference championship game. They are really the only opponent with a chance to beat LSU, so that's why we're rooting for Georgia. Though I'm not sure why we're rooting for LSU to lose, other than the fact that we just don't care for them. A Georgia win in the SEC Championship Game would also eliminate the talk of a 'Bama – LSU rematch, so that'd be cool. Georgia 37 – Kentucky 7

Teams: South Dakota (6-4) at North Dakota (7-3)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (FCSC)
Interest: 1
Cheer For: North Dakota

“The Battle of the Badlands”. Or at least that's what I would call it if I was a college football promoter. Also, if I was a promoter, I would make sure that every halftime show consisted of at least one wolf boy. Obviously the performances would vary by game. I picture having wolf boys doing trampoline dunks, or quick changes. It would be amazing. As far as the game is concerned, we are cheering for North Dakota in this one because we are Northerners. We ain't cheerin' for no Southerners. Johnny Reb can suck it. North Dakota 27 – South Dakota 23

Teams: #21 Penn State (8-2) at Ohio State (6-4)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (ABC/ESPN)
Interest: 5
Cheer For: Ohio State

There will be nothing pretty about this game. The only thing missing will be terrible footing and mud. Ohio State gets Devier Posey back, which is like finding the keys to your Lamborghini, but not knowing the code to open the garage door. Penn State is still going through their emotional distress, and they'll run into an emotionally charged Buckeye team on Senior Day. Usually, it takes the home team a quarter to adjust themselves on Senior Day, and this game will probably be no different simply because the Ohio State offense is powerless to explode on anybody. Penn State has a solid running game, and the Buckeye secondary has shown some weaknesses of late. Ohio State has needed pick sixes to beat the Nittany Lions in the past. What happens if they don't get any on Saturday?

Teams: SMU (6-4) at #11 Houston (10-0)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (FSN)
Interest: 2.5
Cheer For: Houston

ESPN Gameday is actually going to be at this game. That should tell you all you need to know about the games this week. By the way, I love how there's no national clamoring for Houston like there always is for Boise State. Maybe that changes this week with ESPN involved, but I doubt it. Houston 58 – SMU 28

Teams: #1 LSU (10-0) at Ole Miss (2-8)
Time (TV): 7:00 pm (ESPN)
Interest: 1
Cheer For: Ole Miss

LSU may have more points than Ole Miss has yards. LSU 34 – Ole Miss 3

Teams: Virginia (7-3) at #25 Florida State (7-3)
Time (TV): 7:30 pm (ESPN2)
Interest: 2.5
Cheer For: Virginia

If Virginia wins this game, then they'll be hosting Virginia Tech next week to decide who wins their division—whichever one it is they're in. That's why we're pulling for Virginia. Plus, we like the way people in that state talk. It's funny. Florida State 30 – Virginia 20

Teams: USC (8-2) at #4 Oregon (9-1)
Time (TV): 8:00 pm (ABC)
Interest: 4
Cheer For: Oregon

I don't really understand why we're cheering for Oregon, other than to make Alabama's life harder to get a rematch. This should be a fun game to watch, provided USC can tackle—which isn't a sure thing. Oregon has scored a total of 100 points in their last two games against the Trojans, both blowout victories. I think USC will be able to score and stay close for a while, but Oregon's pace and constant scoring will make this yet another three-touchdown game once the game is over. Oregon 47 – USC 24

Teams: #5 Oklahoma (8-1) at #22 Baylor (6-3)
Time (TV): 8:00 pm (ABC)
Interest: 4.5
Cheer For: Oklahoma

Oklahoma needs to win this game and the game against Iowa State next week to set up the greatest Bedlam of all time. In fact, the winner should be granted a slot in the BCS National Championship Game. I don't know if that's how it will work, but as long as LSU goes undefeated, the Big XII champ will have the best wins of the other championship game candidates. Certainly better than anything Alabama did. Baylor has won two in a row after getting blown out in consecutive games, but those wins have come against Missouri and Kansas. They're not ready for the Sooners, who have an incredible amount to play for. There's no way Bob Stoops can get caught looking ahead. None at all. Even with Ryan Broyles out for the season. This is a lock. Oklahoma 35 – Baylor 31

Teams: #13 Kansas State (8-2) at #23 Texas (6-3)
Time (TV): 8:00 pm (FX)
Interest: 4
Cheer For: Texas

We're cheering for Texas for selfish reasons—I'm playing against Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein in the first round of my fantasy league playoffs. You wanna know the worst part? I had to pick up Nevada's quarterback as a free agent, and I'm gonna have to start him this week. Unbelievable. But I'm not the 27-time league champ for nothing. Another reason for you to root for Texas: you don't want Mack Brown to get fired, which would then free up Texas to hire Urban Meyer. Are you with me now? Kansas State is actually an 8.5-pt underdog in this game for some reason. Texas lost at Missouri 17-5 last week, and now suddenly they're supposed to win by nine points against a better team than Missouri? First they would actually need to score 8.5 points in order to win by 8.5 points. Fortunately for the Longhorns, the game is at home, and they're a much different offensive team at home. But for some reason, I just like Kansas State's toughness in this game. The Longhorns are rhinestone cowboys, while the Wildcats are more like grizzled horsemen. I'm taking Kansas State in this one in hopes of jinxing my fantasy opponent. Kansas State 27 – Texas 24

Teams: #10 Boise State (8-1) at San Diego State (6-3)
Time (TV): 8:00 pm (CBSCS)
Interest: 2.5
Cheer For: San Diego State

Oh, I forgot, we don't have to care about Boise State the rest of the year. Please disregard. Boise State 41 – San Diego State 30

Teams: Arizona (2-8) at Arizona State (6-4)
Time (TV): 9:30 pm (FCSC)
Interest: 1
Cheer For: Arizona

We're cheering for Arizona because if we were ever forced to eat one of these mascots, we would have to choose Wildcats. You know what, I think that's how I'm gonna pick my March Madness bracket. I just hope the Buckeyes don't get matched up with the delicious Maine Black Bears in the first round. bears. Arizona State 30 – Arizona 14

Teams: California (6-4) at #9 Stanford (9-1)
Time (TV): 10:15 pm (ESPN)
Interest: 1
Cheer For: Stanford

I understand that this is one of college football's storied rivalries, but would anybody really care about it if not for “The band is out on the field!” game? It's northern Californian football, which is about as paid-attention-to as southern Californian football. The only reason I'm talking about it here is because I need to get my picks correct down the stretch. Stanford 37 – California 17

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