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Non-BCS Player of the Week
Luke Nevill – Utah
2 Games: 23 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 2 bpg, 67% FG
Happy New Year! The first day of 2009 offers up some intriguing matchups on the gridiron, but given the recent phenomena of spreading out bowl games over an entire month New Year's Day can seem a bit barren to some. Bragging rights for conferences are on the line as well, most notably in a couple of matchups between the Big Ten and SEC along with a traditional showdown in Pasadena. The league/team with the most to lose: Virginia Tech, champions of the ACC.
Heading into this Saturday it seemed like the Notre Dame Fighting Irish were well on their way to a seventh victory and a berth in either the Gator or Sun Bowl. All they had to do was beat Syracuse, playing for a recently dismissed head coach in Greg Robinson and dead last in the Big East. But while the Orange haven't played particularly well this season, you can't accuse this team of quitting. What ensued was one of the more stunning results of the day, with Syracuse stunning the Irish 24-23 on a late touchdown pass. Where do the Irish go from here?
Well Billy and I are back with three more big games to preview on "Rivalry Week", and the three games in this piece all have conference title implications. One of those game will have a direct impact on the national title hunt, while another is a rivalry marked by its hatred spiced up by a possible BCS berth on the line. The third game features the nation's largest rivalry trophy that can be carried (the Fremont Cannon between UNLV and Nevada has them beat) along with the stakes of a Rose Bowl berth.
For those of you with access to CBS College Sports (I'm not one of them), consider yourselves very lucky: you get to check out a game that could very well decide the Mountain West when TCU visits Utah tonight. Of course, the Utes still have BYU on the schedule, but a TCU win could essentially lock up the conference title for the Horned Frogs and set them up for a run at a BCS at-large berth. Also on the schedule before Saturday is another attempt by the ACC to provide some clarity to its race, and a pair of WAC teams treading water in regards to bowl eligibility.