This is what college fans wait for all year. Big games, all rivalries, all with some impact on conference titles, bowls, even the national championship. Needless to say, the biggest games are going on at the same time, and those without a satellite dish or access to a sports bar will miss either USC-Notre Dame or Florida-Florida St. This is the first really important game between the Trojans and the Irish since 1995, when undefeated USC got womped in South Bend, Lou Holtz' last win in the series. A huge effort tonight by Carson Palmer will make him this week's front-runner for the Heisman, and could put SC into a BCS game, regardless of how Wazzou does next week against UCLA. Florida State has not lost to the Gators in Tallahassee in a long time, and needs to win to avoid being the losingest BCS team ever.
Three other games have direct national title/BCS bowl implications. Number one Miami travels to Syracuse, where four years ago it suffered one of its most humiliating losses in the program's history. Oklahoma will attempt to avenge its devastating loss at the end of last season to cross-state rival Oklahoma State, and thereby keep its national title hopes alive. Georgia, which still has faint hopes for playing in Tempe, plays Georgia Tech in a tune-up for its SEC title game next week against Arkansas. I still stand by my earlier prediction that if Oklahoma loses either this week or next week against Colorado, Miami will go to the Fiesta Bowl if it only splits its final two games.