After Ohio State had wrapped up its 14-9 win over Michigan and a spot in the Fiesta Bowl last week, Musburger shouted something to the effect of "The Buckeyes will now play for all the Tostitos!"
Oh, is that what you win by finishing first in the BCS?
This may be beating a dead horse, but this constant product placement has to go. It's bad enough that every graphic in every game has a sponsor (like the AFLAC trivia question, which gets a pass because that duck is funny). But for announcers to call it the "Tostitos Fiesta Bowl" or "Nokia Sugar Bowl" is just tacky.
The bowl system is maddening enough, as it is. Please don't make it any worse.
Today: The Texas-Texas A&M game (WJLA-7, WMAR-2, noon) has taken a backseat after the death Monday of Aggies freshman defensive end Brandon Fails. Texas A&M's players will wear a No. 89 decal on their helmets in his memory. . . .
Louisiana State visits Arkansas (WUSA-9, WJZ-13, 2:30 p.m.) for the SEC West Division title. Winner will play Georgia in the SEC title game Dec. 7. The Razorbacks haven't lost at home since 1997. . . .
Nebraska has been in freefall since getting pasted by Colorado to end the regular season last year, and the Cornhuskers will be thinking revenge when they host the Buffaloes (WJLA-7, WMAR-2, 3:30 p.m.) today. Nebraska Coach Frank Solich has been taking a lot of heat this season, namely because he calls the shots on offense, one that ranks 10th in the Big 12. Colorado, which hasn't won in Lincoln since 1990, has ensured a spot in the Big 12 title game. Nebraska, which needs a win to keep its 33-year streak of nine-win seasons alive, will probably end up in the Independence Bowl. Nothing says "excitement" like Shreveport in December.
Saturday: There are brawls, and then there are Backyard Brawls. Two of the more surprising teams in the land get together when No. 17 Pittsburgh hosts 24th-ranked West Virginia (WJLA-7, WMAR-2, 1 p.m.). It's the first time both teams have been ranked coming into the matchup since 1989, and the winner will secure second place in the Big East and a probable spot in the Gator Bowl on New Year's Day. West Virginia's Avon Coburne needs 101 rushing yards to pass Amos Zereoue and become the school's all-time leading rusher, and needs 189 to become only the 10th Division I-A running back with more than 5,000 career yards. There is reason to believe he can set both marks: As a freshman in 1999, Coburne ran for 210 yards against the Panthers, who are a respectable 25th in the country against the run this season. . . .
Florida Coach Ron Zook didn't make any friends with the media by placing his players off-limits before the Gators' game against Florida State (WJLA-7, WMAR-2, 8 p.m.). Seminoles quarterback Adrian McPherson didn't make any friends with the police (and his coaches and teammates) after reportedly stealing and cashing a check. He got the boot, meaning Chris Rix, who has been criticized by teammates for trying to do too much with the ball and for failing to get it into the end zone, will start. Florida State is hoping to avoid the ridicule that is sure to be unleashed with a loss today, meaning that a team with five losses will be playing in a BCS bowl.
-- Matt Bonesteel