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Friday, December 01, 2006

Weekend Viewers Guide

We all know about our game, but there is a solid slate of other games this weekend. Here is a quick preview of some of the better match-ups.

Conference USA Championship Game: Houston Vs. Southern Miss.
Friday Dec. 1st 7:00 pm (CST) ESPN2

For Southern Mississippi, it's business as usual, competing for another Conference USA championship. For Houston, Friday's league title game marks the end of a long journey back to respectability. Houston (9-3, 7-1 C-USA) has its highest win total since 1990 and QB Kevin Kolb is the school's all-time passing leader -- no small accomplishment at the school that produced prolific passers David Klingler and Andre Ware, a Heisman Trophy winner. The Eagles have won four C-USA championships and clinched their 13th straight winning record with four straight victories to finish the regular season. The Golden Eagles lead the league in scoring defense (16.5 points per game) and rank second in total defense (295.5 yards per game). In 1996, the Cougars beat Southern Miss 56-49 in three overtimes to clinch the first Conference USA championship. The Golden Eagles have won seven of the last eight meetings.

ACC Championship Game: Georgia Tech vs. Wake Forest
Saturday Dec. 2nd 12:00 pm (CST) ABC

Wake Forest kept winning and coming up with more reasons to celebrate: A school-record 10 wins, an improbable conference division title, Tobacco Road supremacy. But the 16th-ranked Demon Deacons don't have time to party yet. With their first league championship since 1970 and a spot in the Orange Bowl on the line in Saturday's Atlantic Coast Conference title game against No. 23 Georgia Tech, the stakes remain huge. Georgia Tech and Wake Forest did not meet this season, although the pair did meet a year ago in Atlanta with Tech winning 30-17. Tech holds a 20-7 lead in the all-time series.

Saturday Dec. 2nd 3:30 pm (CST) ABC

The second-ranked Trojans likely will wrap up a spot in the BCS title game if they beat UCLA for an eighth straight time on Saturday when the Pac-10 rivals square off at the Rose Bowl. UCLA (6-5, 4-4) already knows where it's headed for the postseason, set to face Florida State at the Emerald Bowl in San Francisco on Dec. 27. Even though this has not been the best of seasons for the Bruins, they probably would call it a very good one if they can somehow shock the Trojans. UCLA had won eight in a row over its Los Angeles area rival before losing the last seven.

SEC Championship Game: Florida vs. Arkansas
Saturday Dec. 2nd 5:00 pm (CST) CBS

The Gators are being realistic about their BCS title game chances, but have to be careful to avoid looking past Arkansas (10-2, 7-1), which was in the hunt until a 31-26 loss to LSU last Friday ended its chances of playing for the national title. After losing 50-14 to USC in the season opener, Arkansas won 10 in a row and thrust itself into the national spotlight before last Friday's loss. Florida has won its last five meetings with Arkansas to take a 5-1 lead in the all-time series. The Gators beat the Razorbacks 45-30 in 2004, in the last meeting between the teams, and also won 34-3 in the 1995 SEC championship game. Florida is trying to win its first SEC championship since 2000 and its seventh overall.

Rutgers at West Virginia
Saturday Dec. 2nd 6:45 pm (CST) ESPN

To earn its first Big East title and Bowl Championship Series berth, Rutgers will look to pull off a couple of other firsts when it travels to Morgantown to face West Virginia on Saturday. The No. 13 Scarlet Knights (10-1, 5-1) have completed a turnaround from doormat to national powerhouse this season and can clinch the league title for the first time with a win over the 15th-ranked Mountaineers (9-2, 4-2). The Mountaineers are second in the nation with 312.1 rushing yards per game, and third with 38.7 points per contest. West Virginia's explosive offense, though, was held in check in Saturday's 24-19 home loss to South Florida, which ended the Mountaineers' hopes for a BCS bid. While their streak of three straight Big East championships will end, the Mountaineers do have a chance to earn consecutive 10-win seasons for the first time in team history.