Big College Football Saturday

After another wild day of college football, here are some observations:

– Barring a slew of wild upsets that let a 2-loss team into the mix, the real contenders for the final four spots is now down to nine teams – Mississippi State and Alabama from the SEC, Florida State from the ACC, Oregon and Arizona State from the Pac 12, TCU and Baylor from the Big 12 and Ohio State and Nebraska from the Big Ten.

– Ohio State made a huge statement with its road demolition of Michigan State as they posted 49 points on Sparty’s vaunted defense. Suddenly the Buckeyes are in the mix though they probably need some help.

– I don’t have much sympathy for Auburn despite their two late fumbles (other than feeling bad for the individual players who messed up). Auburn rode good fortune to get to the BCS championship game last year, so they really can’t gripe about some bad luck this year. Also, their defense blows.

– Alabama pulled out a huge win against LSU, but they’re getting a ton of love based on reputation. This isn’t the same dominating Alabama team.

– The TCU/Baylor debate will become heated as it’s hard to figure out who should be ranked higher. Also, with Ohio State playing at Minnesota this week, the Buckeyes and TCU will have a common opponent for sake of comparison. TCU beat the Gophers at home 30-7, so Ohio State needs to beat Minnesota handily, and they can also help themselves if they thump Minnesota on the road.

– Arizona State got a huge win against Notre Dame, though they benefited from a slew of turnovers. The Ohio State win over Michigan State was probably more impressive as it was on the road and they overcame two of their own turnovers and got none from Sparty. If you take into account the eye test, you’ll see the Buckeyes are as talented as any other team. They’re just young and you’ll need to overlook a bad, early-season loss against Virginia tech after they lost Braxton Miller and had inexperienced freshman TJ Barrett starting in his place. Now we see just how good Barrett can be.

That said, it looks like the SEC, ACC and Pac 12 teams control their own fate. How it plays out for the others is anyone’s guess.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Couch Potato Alert: 3/13

Last night, you got a taste of madness…March Madness, as Connecticut/Syracuse played a 6-OT historic Big East quarterfinal game that seemed like it would never end. The player’s performances in this contest sum up why we love this time of the year in college basketball. You watch teams that will fight tooth and nail just to compete for another day. Neither team will receive a special trophy for last night’s game. No, Syracuse gets the opportunity to play West Virginia in a semifinal matchup this evening. Enjoy your hoop du jour.

All times ET…

NBA
Friday, 7:30 PM: Indiana Pacers @Atlanta Hawks (NBA TV)
Saturday, 9 PM: Los Angeles Clippers @ Denver Nuggets (NBA TV)
Sunday, 3:30 PM: Dallas Mavericks @ Los Angeles Lakers (ABC)
Sunday, 9 PM: Phoenix Suns @ Golden State Warriors (NBA TV)

NHL
Saturday, 3 PM: Ottawa Senators @ Pittsburgh Penguins (CBC)
Sunday, 12:30 PM: Philadelphia Flyers@ New York Rangers (NBC)

College Basketball
Friday, 7 PM: #13 Villanova vs. #5 Louisville (ESPN)
Friday, 7 PM: Maryland vs. #9 Wake Forest (ESPN2)
Friday, 9 PM: #23 Arizona State vs. #20 Washington (Fox Sports Net)
Friday, 9:30 PM: Boston College vs. #8 Duke (ESPN2)
Friday, 9:30 PM: #7 West Virginia vs. #20 Syracuse (ESPN)
Friday, 11:30 PM: USC vs. #14 UCLA (Fox Sports Net)
Saturday, 1:30 PM & 4 PM: ACC Semifinals (ESPN)
Saturday, 1 PM & 3:15 PM: SEC Semifinals (ESPN2)
Saturday, 1:40 PM & 4 PM: Big-10 Semifinals (CBS)
Saturday, 6 PM: Pac-10 Final (CBS)
Saturday, 6 PM: Big 12 Final (ESPN)
Saturday, 9 PM: Big East Final (ESPN)
Sunday, 1 PM: ACC Final (ESPN)
Sunday, 1 PM: SEC Final (CBS)
Sunday, 3:30 PM: Big-10 Final (CBS)
Sunday, 6 PM: NCAA Tournament Selection Show (CBS)

World Baseball Classic
Saturday, 8 PM: Puerto Rico vs. United States from Miami, FL. (MLB Network)

Random thoughts from a big day of college basketball

There were five top 20 matchups on Saturday, and although there weren’t any buzzer beaters, there were some good games. Here are a few random thoughts…

– What is CBS thinking having Gus Johnson in the studio? He’s a capable in the halftime show, but he should be at the gym calling a game.

– #8 Syracuse blew out #13 Notre Dame, 93-74. The Big East is deep again this season and any win will be tough, especially on the road. Six Orangemen scored in double figures, led by Arinze Onuaku’s 19 points. Luke Harangody scored 25 points, but was a miserable 9-28 from the field.

– #2 Duke beat #12 Georgetown at home, 76-67. This game was close at the start, but a late first half run put the Blue Devils ahead, 40-29. From there, Duke simply managed its lead. G’Town cut it to five with 0:46 to play, but Duke made its free throws and coasted to the win. Gerald Henderson led the Dookies with 23 points and is looking more and more like an NBA talent.

– #3 Wake Forest won at #9 Clemson, 78-68. There was a great atmosphere at Littlejohn Coliseum, but the Demon Deacons passed the ball really well down the stretch to fend off the pesky Tigers. Clemson cut the lead to 61-60 with 4:54 to play, but Wake went on a 10-1 run over the next two and a half minutes to essentially put the game away. Jeff Teague led Wake with 24 points and five dimes.

– #15 Arizona State went into Pauley Pavilion and upended #7 UCLA in overtime, 61-58. Former North Carolina State head coach Herb Sendek has the Sun Devils playing solid basketball. They aren’t a very balanced team; James Harden (24 points) and Jeff Pendergraph (18 points) scored 42 of the team’s 61 points. UCLA simply couldn’t figure out the ASU zone in the second half, and didn’t score a single point for the last eight minutes of regulation. Including the extra period, the Bruins scored a total of four points in 13 minutes. Ouch.

– #20 Louisville upended #1 Pittsburgh, 69-63. Like I said earlier, winning on the road in the Big East isn’t going to be easy this season. There are a lot of good teams with strong home courts. Terrence Williams (20 points, seven rebounds, four assists) led the way for the Cardinals, and Earl Clark posted a double-double (16 points, 11 rebounds) on his birthday. It looks like Duke will be the #1 team in the nation come Monday, at least in the ESPN poll.

Couch Potato Alert: 9/19

37th Ryder Cup
The three-day match-play competition between the United States and Europe has a way of making the world’s elite golfers wilt under the pressure of trying to capture the Ryder Cup. Over the last 25 years, it has become a hotly contested event, with the U.S. record at four wins, seven losses, and a tie, including three straight match defeats to the Europeans (the Ryder Cup takes place every two years). The competition will begin this morning at 7 AM EST on ESPN from the Valhalla Country Club in Louisville, Kentucky, and continue throughout the weekend on NBC.

Wake Forest vs. Florida State
Neither school has distinguished itself as a contender for securing a spot in the ACC championship game. Wake Forest would love to duplicate their last trip to Tallahassee, when they shutout the Seminoles 30-0 two years ago. Florida State has been playing short-handed due to player suspensions and will welcome back star wide receiver Preston Parker to the lineup on Saturday. Coverage begins at 7 PM EST on ESPN2.

LSU vs. Auburn
There’s no better way to start off the SEC season than with a LSU-Auburn showdown. The “Tiger Bowl” winner could establish itself as the team to beat in the SEC West, though Alabama might have a say in the matter down the road. LSU and Auburn have split their last four meetings, with each game decided by six or fewer points. Coverage begins at 7:45 PM EST on ESPN. Click here for the official LSU-Auburn smack thread.

Georgia vs. Arizona State
The luster has been taken off this game by the Sun Devils’ overtime loss at home to UNLV last week. It’s still a big game, as the Bulldogs are in the national title hunt despite being passed in the polls by USC and Oklahoma. ASU could get back in the BCS bowl picture with an upset in Tempe on Saturday night. Coverage begins at 8 PM EST on ABC.

Baltimore Orioles vs. New York Yankees
This Sunday night, the final major league baseball game will be played at historic Yankee Stadium. The House That Ruth Built has been the home office for post-season success come October, as 100 World Series games have been played at the Stadium. This event will be nationally televised on ESPN beginning at 8 PM EST.

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