Usually the Thursday night game is something to ease you into the CFB weekend; it is akin to an appetizer which precedes the Saturday 7 course meal to come. Sometimes it is a good game, often it is not all that compelling.
But tonight is different, and makes this week a bizarro one in CFB. Tonight's game is by far THE game of the week, as it pits #3 West Virginia against #5 Louisville and will have a direct effect on the national championship race. It is certainly the biggest Thursday night game that ESPN has ever shown, and it dwarfs anything on offer on Saturday.
I talked to Brain & The Hit while walking to work this morning, and apparently tickets are going for $800. Each. A little birdie has dropped one down to The Hit from ticket heaven above, while Brain awaits a hopefully similar fate.
I don't have a great read on who might win, I only know that The Pizza Box will be insane tonight. I'm sure it will be loud enough to wake up all those Breeders Cup horses, or at least give them a good "what the fuck is going on?" from time to time, as Papa John's Stadium is a well-struck 3-wood from Churchill Downs.
The Pizza Box as seen from Churchill Downs
There are 2 things about this game that I want to mention though. First, the notion that the winner of this game will make it to the national championship game assumes that the team will win out, which would merit a big time NSFMF (not so fast my friends) from Lee Corso. Both teams still have to play Pitt & Rutgers, and all except for WVU-Rutgers will be on the road. The Big East teams may all cannibalize each other, and a 1 loss Big East team will have no shot at the brass ring. This point has actually been brought up a bit here and there.
My second point hasn't been discussed too much: whomever wins tonight immediately becomes the #1 fan of the team they beat for the rest of the year. Say Louisville wins. They not only need to win out to get to the title game, they may very well also need for WVU to win out to help them enough in the computers that they can stave off being overtaken by a 1 loss Florida, Auburn, or even USC/Cal winner. Same thing if WVU wins tonight. If the loser tonight goes in the tank and then loses to Rutgers and/or Pitt, that might be enough to screw the winner. Kind of a sleeping with the enemy dynamic going on there.
Of course the BCS anarchists out there probably want Rutgers to beat them both, run the table, and get shut out of the title game, which is still a possibility at this point.
The Big East this year has finally graduated from the kids table at Thanksgiving to the adults table. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out.
Enjoy, and east coasters be glad that it doesn't start at 4.30 in the afternoon - slipping out of here early today is going to be tricky but I'm up for the challenge.