The College Football Preview, Week Nine: What Do Pushing Daisies, The Office and Chuck Have to Do with Football? Good Question.

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It’s time for another big weekend of college football, and the questions will all center on which teams will be upset. Four of the top ten teams were defeated last weekend, and it seems that no one is safe.

So, let’s get on with the preview of the weekend games to come. And while it’s been fun dedicating the games to Charlize and Ashley and Sandra and Emily and Scarlett and so on, I’m going a different way this week. I figure with most of this season’s new TV programs already having premiered, and some already being cancelled, I’d celebrate this TV season along with the weekend’s game.

The Pushing Daisies Best Game of the Week Award:

This game honors Pushing Daisies, the program I consider to be the best of the new season. It’s the only show that can meld drama and whimsy and humor and terror and mystery and leave you with a smile without feeling sicky sweet at the end.

Our game of the week is (9) USC (6-1) at (5) Oregon (6-1). Oregon has been on a roll since its Duck beat up on Shasta. Oregon’s averaging 46.6 points per game and 550.0 yards per game on offense. It set a school record with 465 rushing yards last week. Southern Cal, even though it’s 6-1, is one of the more disappointing teams of the season. Sure, it stomped Notre Dame, but it also lost a game to Stanford, a game in which the Trojans were favored by 41 points. The USC defense ranks third nationally, surrendering only 252.1 yards in offense a game. So, this should make for a good match-up. The interesting trivia note for this game is that this is the first time in the history of Oregon’s 41-year-old stadium that two Top 10 ranked teams have faced off.

And for a little sex appeal, just click on this shot of the USC Song Girls.

The Chuck Runner-up For Best Game of the Week Award:

Chuck is my second-favorite new show of the TV season, especially when Yvonne Strahovksi is kicking someone’s ass. And the game in this slot involves (6) West Virginia (6-1) traveling to (25) Rutgers (5-2). There are two Heisman candidates facing off in this game. West Virginia RB Steve Slaton has gained 778 yards and scored 10 TDs on only 135 rushes. Rutgers counters with RB Ray Rice, who is fourth in the nation by averaging 142.7 rushing yards per game. West Virginia has 12 straight wins over Rutgers, and is 28-4-2 all-time against Rutgers. And South Florida, which was ranked number two last week, was the highest ranked team ever defeated by Rutgers.

This should be a fun game.

The Office Gratuitous I Love Pam Beasley Award:

This game honors The Office which, though it’s been a little disappointing this season, still offers us the chance to look at Jenna Fischer each week. And the game involves (18) California (5-2) traveling to Arizona to take on (7) Arizona State (7-0). Cal was on the verge of being the number-one ranked team in the country, then choked the game away and was just beat up on by UCLA last week. Arizona State has yet to play ranked opponent this season, and this is its highest ranking in 11 years. And Arizona State is a little like the US version of The Office in that it’s seeking to prove it’s more than just a pale copy of better schools, or of the UK version of The Office.

The Invasion Best Game Already Played Award:

Just as Invasion was one of the best shows of season’s past that wasn’t renewed because no one watched, it’s kind of curious to wonder how many people actually watched (2) Boston College, now 8-0, score 14 points in the last 2:11 of the game to defeat (8) Virginia Tech, now 7-2, by a score of 14-10.

Boston College QB Matt Ryan might have wrapped up the Heisman Trophy during that last 2:11 when he drove B.C. to two TDs. Virginia Tech had allowed an ACC-low of 112 points coming into the game, and they shut down Boston College last night. Until it mattered. So, for the first time in several weeks, the number two team in the country was not upset.

The Viva Laughlin Thank God There’s No Game Award:

In honor of Viva Laughlin which was barely able to last one week, this honors Notre Dame which, thankfully, isn’t playing this week.

The Bionic Woman Most Disappointing Game of the Week Award:

This game honors Bionic Woman, perhaps the most disappointing new TV show of the year. Maybe they should’ve cast Starbuck Jamie Sommers, then the show might have kicked ass.

The winner of this award is (1) Ohio State (8-0) going up against (24) Penn State (6-2). This should be a good game. But Penn State hasn’t really looked good when playing good teams, and Ohio State hasn’t really played any good teams. As it is, Ohio State hasn’t lost a regular season game in more than two years, though it had to struggle with Michigan State last week. And Penn State is only 4-9 all-time against a team ranked number one. I just don’t think this game is going to be that good.

The 30 Rock Best Games No One Will Watch Award:

This in honor of 30 Rock, the funniest show on television, yet which gets worse ratings than According to Jim.

First we have (4-3) University of Houston traveling to El Paso to take on UTEP, also at 4-3. The Cougars have been on a roll and won last week 49-10 while putting together their first complete game of the season. The Cougars have lost two games to Oregon and Alabama, two teams ranked in the Top 25, and the other defeat came when UH missed a field goal with time running out on the clock. For what it matters, the Cougars were within a touchdown of Alabama and were driving when time ran out. The Cougars are currently the number one team in C-USA West, a half-game up on UTEP and 1 game up on Tulsa. If the Cougars want to go back to a bowl game, they’ll have to win this game.

The second game is (4-4) Colorado going to (6-2) Texas Tech. Tech has one of the best, more entertaining offenses in the country, except for last week when Tech was held to 10 points by Missouri. Tech receiver, freshman Michael Crabtree, holds the NCAA record for receiving yards in a season. Colorado did upset Oklahoma earlier this year, but can’t seem to put its game together on a consistent basis. If the Tech offense clicks, this will be a fun game.

Speaking of According to Jim

The According to Jim Games Which Will Be Played But Shouldn’t Be Watched Award:

SMU is playing Tulsa, and Rice is playing Marshall. The word on the vine is that these teams are looking to schedule Notre Dame next season so they can get the easy victory.

The 24 This Game Has Jumped The Shark Award:

In honor of 24 which, according to the commercials I saw last night, is bringing Tony Almeida back from the dead as a villain.

(9) Florida is taking on (20) Georgia. Both teams have five wins. Both have two losses. They’ve made a habit of teasing fans and losing games that should be won. These teams really aren’t going to matter for the rest of the season.

The Heroes I Thought This Was A Good Show Award:

In honor of Heroes, which really sucks this year and I can’t remember why I liked it in the first place.

Nebraska (4-4) is visiting (17) UT (6-2). UT is like the hot chick Ali Larter. She doesn’t really fit in with the rest of the show, yet I keep hoping she’ll pop up. And the chaos which is Nebraska best reflects the sloppiness which is Heroes story structure this season.

The CSI/Law & Order Procedural Game of the Week Award:

In honor of those shows that are always on TV and you watch because you’re just really desperate for something to watch. (3-5) Baylor at (4-3) Kansas State. Does anyone really care? Probably not, but if it’s on TV, someone will watch.

The Bones Pleasant Diversion Game of the Week Award:

This is in honor of Emily Deschanel, who I’ll watch no matter what she’s on. (7-0) Kansas at Texas A&M (6-2). This is Kansas’s highest ranking since 1995, and Kansas has lost eight straight to A&M. Kansas has not started 8-0 since 1909. This is the first ranked team that the Aggies have faced this season.

The Journeyman Not Great/Not Bad Games of the Week Award:

(15) South Carolina (6-2) is taking on Tennessee (4-3). South Carolina gained only 195 yards in upset loss to Vanderbilt last week. And it has scored only 2 field goals in its last 6 quarters. Tennessee is 20-3-2 all-time against South Carolina, but Steve Spurrier coached teams are 10-6 against Tennessee. Spurrier is the only coach to win against Tennessee while coaching three different teams (Duke, Florida, and South Carolina).

And Mississippi State (4-4) at (14) Kentucky (6-2). Mississippi State is trying not to lose three straight games, and Kentucky is trying not to go on a losing streak after last week’s upset loss to Florida.

The Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip Train Wreck Award:

In honor of the train wreck that was last year’s most hyped TV show, TSU at Grambling State. The word on the street is that Notre Dame wants to schedule TSU next season so as to get the easy win.

The My Name Is Earl Honorary Game of the Week Award:

In honor of Alyssa Milano guest-starring on last night’s My Name Is Earl, don’t forget that the Red Sox are journeying to Denver to take on the Red Sox Saturday night. Maybe the Rockies can win one.

The Lost Game We’re All Looking Forward To Award:

In honor of Lost, which doesn’t return until next year, this award to go to the BCS Title Game to be played in New Orleans on January 7. Right now, it looks like it will be Ohio State against Boston College. But who really knows how long that match-up is going to stay together. It could end up being LSU versus Oregon. Or Oregon versus West Virginia.

So much time to go. So many games still to play.

Enjoy the weekend. -- John Royal

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