If there were any illusions about teams using the 12th regular season game to set up better non-conference match ups, they have to be gone by now. Since it became permanent in 2006, schools have largely used it to set up late season bakery raids.
It's not hard to understand why. Adding the extra game takes away a bye week, and not everyone is as willing as Auburn is to wait until November to take that bye. Late in the season all the players are tired and beat up.
So thank goodness for Alabama-LSU and Arkansas-South Carolina, or else we'd be hurting for good games this weekend. Florida does play Vanderbilt too, but that's typically (though not always) a bad mismatch. Behold what other splendor we have upon us:
- Idaho State (1-7, 0-6 Big Sky) at Georgia
- Charleston Southern (2-6, 0-4 Big South) at Kentucky
- Chattanooga (5-3, 4-2 Southern) at Auburn
- UL-Lafayette (2-6, 2-3 Sun Belt) at Ole Miss
- Tennessee at Memphis (1-7, 0-5 CUSA)
It's not like the teams playing conference games this weekend are much better. All have at least one non-conference game left, but only Vanderbilt (with only Wake Forest) is skipping the cupcake line. Alabama has Georgia State (in its first year of playing football, no less), Arkansas has UTEP, Florida has Appalachian State, LSU has UL-Monroe, and South Carolina has Troy. Mississippi State is off, and while the Bulldogs don't have any patsies left, they did play UAB two weeks ago.