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Cal @ USC 11.08.08 Pregame Open Thread

Here are some CGB posts from this week: Cautious Optimism, B-Ball versus Seattle PacificInside The NumbersCal-Oregon highlights, Q+A with Conquest ChroniclesYouTube Thursday, Pac10 Roundtable, Cal B-Ball FanFestHating USC, Top25.

Not a lot of great matchups this weekend, but there are a couple of stellar games at the top of the ticket; for those dedicated couch potatoes amongst us, I'm sure there'll be something to keep you entertained for most of the day.  Moreover, this will be the first weekend (of just three) all year to feature five Pac-10 conference games.  Everyone's in action this weekend, and some teams make a play for the top of the conference, others try and position themselves for bowl eligibility, and the Washington schools provide some much-needed victories for the Arizona schools.

Broadcast TV:
#1 Alabama @ #16 LSU, 12:30PM - CBS
#3 Penn State @ Iowa, 12:30PM - ABC
#21 California @ #7 USC, 5:00PM - ABC

Well, obviously, for all of us the main course comes this evening on ABC, but CBS has got a mighty intriguing game on this afternoon as an appetizer.  Alabama takes its brand-new #1 ranking to Baton Rouge to face off against #16 LSU.  The Tigers don't have anything particularly impressive on their résumé, and their blowout loss at Florida suggests that they may be overrated at #16, but given the Tide's relatively soft SEC schedule, I'm not completely sold on them, either.  If Alabama gets by this game, I predict they will be undefeated heading into the SEC title game, most likely against Florida.

Basic Cable:
Michigan @ Minnesota, 9:00AM - ESPN
#11 Ohio State @ #24 Northwestern, 9:00AM - ESPN2
Baylor @ #4 Texas, 9:00AM - Comcast Sports Net Bay Area
Iowa State @ Colorado, 10:37PM - Versus
Clemson @ #22 Florida State, 12:30PM - ESPN
Stanford @ Oregon, 12:30PM - Comcast Sports Net Bay Area
Kansas State @ Missouri, 4:00PM - Comcast Sports Net Bay Area
Notre Dame @ Boston College, 5:00PM - ESPN
#5 Florida @ Vanderbilt, 5:00PM - ESPN2
#9 Oklahoma State @ #2 Texas Tech, 5:00PM - ABC

What amazes me most about the weekly mediocre Big 10 matchups on ESPN at 9:00AM is that fans in Big 10 country continually put up with 11:00AM (local time) start times.  I'm told farmers get up with the sun, but personally, there's no way that I'm fueled and ready to go for a football game before noon.  Just no way.

And the actual games on TV?  Nationally, nothing really seems to pose much significance.  Ohio State @ Northwestern is a meeting of ranked teams, but the Wildcats are one of those "I need some teams to fill out the end of my ballot and they've got a nice record" kind of ranked teams.  Buckeyes should roll.  Clemson at Florida State is a little bittersweet with the end of the Bowden Bowl; without that sideline intrigue, it's just another matchup of mediocre ACC teams fighting their way towards 7-6 and 8-5 records.

However, an important matchup in the Pac-10, as Oregon tries to bounce back from a tough loss against resurgent Stanford, who sits just one win short of bowl eligibility.  If the Cardinal can't win in Autzen, they'll need to either beat USC or Cal to play in a bowl game.

Premium Cable:
Purdue @ #18 Michigan State, 9:00AM - Big Ten Network
San Diego State @ #15 BYU, 11:00AM - The Mtn.
Marshall @ East Carolina, 12:30PM - CSTV
Colorado State @ Air Force, 3:00PM - The Mtn.
Cincinnati @ #25 West Virginia, 4:00PM - ESPNU

If you haven't been paying attention to Colorado State (and my guess is you haven't), they've been quietly having a pretty decent season.  The Mountain West has been surprisingly good this year, not only with Utah, BYU, and TCU all threatening to take a BCS bid, but Air Force has put up another 7-2 record as well.  Can the Rams somehow bust through into the top half of the conference?  I don't know that Cal still has a shot at having the type of season where the record of their non-conference foes could have impact on their postseason destination, but it sure couldn't hurt for bragging rights next year.

Pay-Per-View or No TV:
#20 Georgia Tech @ #19 North Carolina, 9:00AM
#13 Georgia @ Kentucky, 9:30AM
Utah State @ #10 Boise State, 11:00AM
Arizona @ Washington State, 2:00PM
Oregon State @ UCLA, 3:00PM
Arizona State @ Washington, 4:00PM

Arizona should get to 6 wins and bowl eligibility today, while Arizona State should snap its 6-game losing streak.  However, the most interesting games in the Pac-10 involve the Oregon schools.  OSU tries to maintain its tiebreaker advantage over USC, but they'll have to take down a UCLA squad that has lately been the bane of Mike Riley's existence.