College Football: National preview
The national preview …
STANFORD, Calif. ó Toby Gerhart plans to spend a few extra minutes soaking it all in before walking off the field in what could be his final game at Stanford Stadium today against Notre Dame.
“I don’t think it will really sink in until after the game is over,” Gerhart said.
Gerhart will be far from the only participant with those sorts of emotions Saturday when the Cardinal (7-4) host the Fighting Irish (6-5) in the regular season finale for both teams.
The game could well be the last at Notre Dame for Irish coach Charlie Weis and star quarterback Jimmy Clausen, too.
Though he’d presumably play in a bowl game, Clausen is widely expected to skip his senior seasons and enter the NFL draft. That’s a decision Gerhart is weighing as well, deciding whether to apply for a medical redshirt or head to the NFL.
Weis’ fate is out of his hands. He will fly back with the team to meet with athletic director Jack Swarbrick instead of going on a recruiting trip as originally planned.
Weis said Sunday that he “would have a tough time arguing” if the school decided to fire him after five seasons. Weis led the Irish to BCS bowls in his first two years but has struggled since then.
His 35-26 record gives him a .573 winning percentage, which is worse than the .583 winning percentage that got Notre Dame’s two previous coaches, Tyrone Willingham and Bob Davie, fired.
Weis refused to talk about his job status after Sunday, saying his focus was entirely on winning this week’s game.
“I’m ready to go,” he said. “I’m fired up. I really am. I’m fired up to go out and play Stanford. I’m really looking forward to it.”
No. 11 OKLA. ST. (9-2) at OKLAHOMA (6-5)
Cowboys need to break through in annual “Bedlam” showdown for first 10-win season since 1988, and a shot at BCS at-large bowl bid. In last two years, Cowboys defense has been embarrassed by OU yielding 111 points and 1,041 total yards.
FLA. STATE (6-5) at No. 1 FLORIDA (11-0)
Gators’ 21-game winning streak is longest in nation and fourth longest ever for an SEC team. Trying to snap 5-game losing skid to Gators (FSU’s longest in series since dropping 6 in row from 1981-86), Seminoles just don’t seem to have what it takes considering how awful defense is (106th in nation in total defense, 434.4 ypg, 212 points given up in last six games)
No. 19 MIAMI (8-3) at SOUTH FLORIDA
For all Hurricanes have accomplished this year, Shannon needs win here and in bowl (which would be Miami’s first 10-win season since 2003) for him to say program has turned the corner.
ARKANSAS (7-4) at No. 17 LSU (8-3)
Since October, 2007, Tigers are 4-5 in games decided by 6 points or less including pair of losses to Razorbacks. Win gives Razorbacks three consecutive wins over Tigers for first time since 1927-29.
UCLA (6-5) at No. 24 USC (7-3)
Trojans’ current 9-1 run vs. Bruins is USC’s best run ever in Los Angeles rivalry that dates back to Trojans’ 76-0 win in 1929. Upset here would be real sign Neuheisel is putting bite back into Bruins, who haven’t been real competitive lately in this rivalry.