Welcome to November, the month where everything comes together. The NBA is here and the Bucks begin the season Friday night against Boston. College basketball gets under way at full throttle. The college football schedule is chock full of rivalry games and the run to the NFL playoffs begins.
In November's first 26 days there will be at least one football game on TV for all but two of those days. The lone exceptions are Tuesday, November 13 which is ESPN's 24 hour basketball marathon and Wednesday, November 21 which falls right smack dab in the middle of Feast Week.
And as usual, November begins with a bang. The Thursday night NFL matchup is, well, not very good. San Diego has dropped three straight after a solid start while Kansas City just can't seem to get out of its own way. But there's hope for the Chargers at 3-4. Denver isn't exactly running away with the division and as always, to win the division you must win within the division.
There are three college football games: Eastern Michigan-Ohio, Virginia Tech-Miami and Middle Tennessee-Western Kentucky and while none may seem enticing there's plenty on the line in all three games. The Ohio game would have a lot more meaning if the Bobcats were still unbeaten. Last week's loss to Miami, OH not only ended a nice run but throws the MAC East division into chaos with four teams within a game of each other atop the division. There's a lot to sort but the wheels in my mind starting turning...what if all four teams finish 6-2? I found the tiebreaker procedure and you're on your own trying to figure it out.
In years past the Virginia Tech-Miami game carried a lot of weight but not so much this year. As such, the ACC Coastal division is wide open with only Virginia and ineligible North Carolina out of the mix. If the Hokies win they will be in control but a Hurricanes win would mean the Miami-Duke game on November 24 could be for all the marbles. Who saw that one at the start of the year?
We like to say "know your Sun Belt" and never has that been more true this year. The 2012 season has been filled with Sun Belt-led upsets and both Western Kentucky (road win over Kentucky) and Middle Tennessee (road win over Georgia Tech) have impressive wins. Once again we have a wide open four team race and both the Hilltoppers and Blue Raiders are part of the discussion. As a bonus, this game has been one of the most competitive in all of college football of late. In 2010 Middle Tennessee won 27-26. Last year Western Kentucky won by three in double overtime.