With the college football season winding down, we start to look around and notice that there are other teams besides Iowa State who could have an impact on where the Cyclones end up in the post-season. Here's a quick rundown of who Cyclone fans should be rooting for this weekend.
(And you thought there was no reason to watch Toledo v. Northern Illinois this week.)
Around the Big XII:
#21 Baylor at #17 Oklahoma State, 11:30 CST
As the Big XII season winds down, this becomes one of the three games that will decide who represents the south division in the last Big XII championship game. Both Baylor and OSU have never played in the Conference Championship Game, but both control their own destiny in this case. The winner of this game is a win over #9 Oklahoma away from heading to Jerry-World.
Baylor hasn't been to a bowl game since O.J. Simpson took a cruise down an LA freeway in a white Ford Bronco, while OSU's football department is bankrolled by one of the richest men in America. Unless you absolutely hate scrappy underdogs, root for Baylor.
Colorado at Kansas, 1:00 CST
The game for last place in the Big XII, and for once it doesn't involve Iowa State. Awesome. It's likely that ISU will need a win at Colorado to become bowl eligible, so a completely demoralized Colorado team would be nice, just in case the Cyclones don't show up until the 3rd quarter again. (See: KU game.) Plus, as much as I hate the JayHawks, they are sticking around. Losing the worst team in the division to the Pac-10 doesn't seem so bad, does it? Pull for Kansas and bet that Dan Hawkins will be fired after this weekend.
More MS Paint goodness here:
#8 Oklahoma at Texas A&M, 6:00 CST
As you may or may not know, the Big XII has eight bowl game slots guaranteed. Five of these teams are already bowl eligible, and none have been mathematically eliminated. Texas A&M, at 5-3, needs one win to secure eligibility. They won't get it here. With OSU, Baylor, and Texas left on the schedule, they may not get it at all. With the beatdown that Stoops & Co. laid on the Cyclones, the more dominant the Sooners look, the better. May as well root for Oklahoma here and against A&M for the rest of the season.
Texas at Kansas State, 7:00 EST
It what can only be described as a must-win game for Texas, the Longhorns head to Bill Snyder Stadium to try and salvage a season filled with historic lows. Kansas State can secure a bowl game with a home win here, against North Texas, or against Colorado. Texas has to win two of their last four. With OSU still on their schedule, they either need a win here or in their last game against Texas A&M. The schadenfreude potential of Texas not making a bowl game after all the crap they pulled during the Big Ten Expansion Drama is too great to ignore here. Cheer for Kansas State and watch Mack Brown throw Greg Davis under the bus in the post-game.
#12 Mizzou at Texas Tech, 7:00 EST
Who you cheer for here depends on your level of delusion as a Cyclone fan. Do you think ISU has a legit shot at the North title? By all means, cheer for Texas Tech and hope that ISU can beat Mizzou for the Telephone Trophy. Are you like me, and think that less 6-win teams means a better bowl game destination? Cheer for Mizzou.
Other Games of Note:
#3 TCU @ #5 Utah, 2:30 PM EST
Also known as "the game the rest of the country will be watching during the ISU-NU game," this is arguably the most important game of the week, and the most important MWC game of this decade. The winner of this game will likely end up with an at-large berth in the BCS, and getting beat down by a Sugar Bowl team sounds better than getting beat down by a Las Vegas Bowl team. Go Utes!
Toledo @ Northern Illinois, 6:00 EST on Tuesday
Sure, it's a MAC game. But it's college football on a Tuesday, so it's almost worth it. The winner of this game is almost a lock to win the MAC West. Considering that ISU was staring down a possible MAC destiny less than six months ago, having a solid win over the MAC champion would be nice on a bowl resume.