BCS National Title Game '11

BCS National Title Game '11
BCS National Championship 1/10/11 Oregon vs Auburn

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

College Football Week 9 Recap

My overall Record: 64-26
My Record in Week 9: 4-6 

Best game from Week 9: Arizona 39, #9 USC 36

We got "Separation Saturday" alright. It was one of the toughest weekends of picking games I have ever had. What started out as a normal day became very interesting by night. #3 Kansas State looked good again and beat #14 Texas Tech at home 55-24. The #4 Ducks ran all over Colorado and won big 70-14. Things became crazy though when #10 Georgia knocked off #2 Florida 16-9 in Jacksonville to put them in good position to win the SEC East Division. Then Arizona had a comeback victory and beat #9 USC 39-36. At night, #5 Notre Dame took down a tough #8 Oklahoma team in the last few minutes 30-13 to keep their undefeated season alive. #22 Michigan went into Lincoln in a crucial game for the Big Ten Legends Division and looked awful. Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson was injured late in the first half and did not return. This left Michigan with no offense and the Huskers went on to win 23-9. Nebraska is now the leader of the Legends Division. The night eventually ended with Washington pulling off an upset at home against another Top 10 opponent. The Huskies upset #7 Oregon State 20-17 with a late 30-yard field goal. This had to be one of the most interesting and important weeks of the college football season.

What we learned: 

Notre Dame proved themselves at Oklahoma and are a legit national title contender.

- The Irish did the unthinkable on Saturday night in Norman. A majority of the country felt this was going to be the end of their undefeated season. The Irish defense stepped up again and held the Sooners to just 15 rushing yards. I can't say enough about the play of star linebacker and Heisman contender Monte Te'o, who had 11 tackles and the key interception that led to the Irish's 46-yard field goal that iced the game. What was so surprising was the Irish offense. The Irish put up 403 yards on a physical Sooner defense. Sophomore quarterback Everett Golson played great and showed great maturity in his biggest game as a starter. Golson made a clutch 50 yard pass to wide receiver Chris Brown right after the Sooners had tied the game up. Golson then ran it in for the game winning touchdown. The Irish are now third in the BCS, and have a very good chance of going undefeated. The problem for the Irish is that if Kansas State and Oregon continue to go unbeaten they will most likely be left out of the national title game. They do not have a strong schedule down the stretch and do not have a conference championship game like Oregon. 

Do not overlook the Georgia Bulldogs.

- Just when everyone was counting the Dawgs out, they came out and shut down the #2 Florida Gators to gain control of the SEC East Division. The Georgia offense didn't look great with Aaron Murray throwing three interceptions, but Florida looked even worse with six turnovers. The Georgia defense lived up to what they were supposed to be this season. The Dawg defense gave up only 75 yards to a team that has relied heavily on the run the whole season. The defense also put pressure on Gator quarterback Jeff Driskel the entire game. The Dawg defense caused Driskel to throw two interceptions and put the ball on the ground three times, with one being recovered by the Dawgs. Two key plays that helped Georgia win was when Jeff Driskel's pass from the five-yard line was intercepted in the end zone by Georgia safety Bacarri Rambo as time expired in the first half. The other key play came late in the fourth quarter when Georgia was up 17-9. Florida tight end Jordan Reed caught a 13 yard pass from Jeff Driskel and tried to get into the end zone, but Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones knocked the ball loose and it went out of the end zone for a touchback. All the Bulldogs have to do is win this week at home against Ole Miss (5-3) and at Auburn (1-7) to clinch a spot in the SEC Championship Game.

The USC Trojans are in big trouble.

- The Trojans disappointed again and lost their 2nd Pac-12 game of the season. The Trojan offense put up 618 total yards and Matt Barkley threw for 493 passing yards and three touchdowns. Wide receiver Marqise Lee had a career day and set records with 345 receiving yards and two touchdown receptions. These statistics looked great, but there is simply no discipline for this Trojan team. The Trojans turned the ball over five times and had 13 penalties for 117 yards against Arizona. Arizona quarterback Matt Scott threw all over the Trojan defense and Scott, along with running back Ka'Deem Carey, rushed for 100 plus yards on the Trojan defense. I can't emphasize how bad the play calling was for the Trojans in the remaining minute of the Arizona game. Matt Barkley threw a deep ball, instead of spiking the ball or throwing a short pass to get into field goal position. It wasted precious time off the clock and caused them to have to throw a hail mary to win the game. That was just bad football in my opinion. For a team that was supposed to be a national title contender, they might not even win their own division. If USC loses at home against #4 Oregon this weekend, there is a very good chance they don't make the Pac-12 Championship. I think it's fair to say that if the Trojans make the Pac-12 Championship game they will be going on the road.

The Arizona Wildcats control their destiny in the Pac-12 South Division.

- The Wildcats are said to be one of the best 5-3 teams in the country. I am not even sure how you can say you're a good 5-3 team, unless you are settling for mediocrity. I will just go along with it though. The Arizona Wildcats had a statement win this past Saturday against #9 USC 39-36. With this win, the Wildcats control their destiny and have a chance to play in the Pac-12 Championship. The Wildcats were blown out 49-0 on the road at Oregon and had two heartbreaking losses to Oregon State and Stanford. The Wildcats could easily be 7-1, but couldn't come up with wins when the game was on the line. Quarterback Matt Scott continues to look impressive in Rich Rodriguez's system and is leading the Wildcat offense to an average of 354.4 passing yards per game. Arizona must travel to Pasadena this weekend to take on the UCLA Bruins. If Arizona beats UCLA, USC loses to Oregon, and Arizona State loses to Oregon State this weekend, watch out for the Cats. Arizona would now win in a tiebreaker with USC. The Wildcats would need to beat weak opponents Colorado and Utah, as well as a season ending rivalry game at home against Arizona State to win the Pac-12 South Division.

Final Thought:

- I am going to discuss the BCS again. After Notre Dame won a tough road game at Oklahoma, they passed Oregon in the BCS rankings. What is a little bit surprising is that the Irish are still not very much higher than the Ducks in the rankings. Here are the four finalists in the BCS Championship race.

1. Alabama       .9759
2. Kansas State .9400
3. Notre Dame  .9147
4. Oregon          .9136


If Alabama goes into Death Valley and beats LSU, I am almost positive we will see the Crimson Tide in the national title game. The Kansas State Wildcats have key wins and will play another ranked team #24 Oklahoma State at home Saturday night. The Wildcats will also play a few quality teams after this game, such as TCU and Texas. The problem for Kansas State is that they do not have a conference championship and it could hurt them on the last weekend of the season. Notre Dame may have had a great win Saturday night, but will be passed by Oregon if they defeat USC on Saturday. The Fighting Irish have to easy of a remaining schedule and could end up playing a three loss USC squad in their only remaining quality game. It's hard to believe, but the Irish may go undefeated and be left out of the title game. Lastly, the Oregon Ducks may feel like they are not getting any love, even though they are probably the 2nd best team in the country. What is great for Oregon is that they have quality games remaining that could help them reach 2nd place in the BCS Standings. Oregon travels to #17 USC this weekend and a win would leap them over Notre Dame. If Stanford can beat Oregon State the week before they travel to Oregon, it could put Stanford in the Top 10. That will be a quality win for the Ducks. If Oregon State can stay at one or two losses that will be helpful when the Ducks travel to Corvallis for the Civil War. The fact that Oregon has a conference championship will help them as well. The Ducks have the best chance to make the BCS Championship game if they can win out.

sources: espn.com & teamrankings.com

Thursday, October 25, 2012

College Football: Week 9 matchups to watch

We all thought "Separation Saturday" took place three weeks ago. That doesn't even compare to what we have on our hands this weekend. National Title and Conference Championship implications are leaning on this weekend's games. There are four matchups that consist of teams ranked in the Top 15. A big non-conference game between the #5 Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the #8 Oklahoma Sooners headlines this weekend's games. There is also the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party game  between rivals #2 Florida and #10 Georgia in Jacksonville. This game right here will pretty much decide who represents the East in the SEC Conference Championship game. The other two ranked matchups consist of the surprisingly undefeated #11 Mississippi State traveling to #1 Alabama and #3 Kansas State playing another ranked opponent in #14 Texas Tech in Manhattan. This weekend will also play as "Separation Saturday Part 2" for the Big Ten. Northwestern will host Iowa and #22 Michigan will play a crucial game at Nebraska in a game that could decide who wins the Legends Division.

This Saturday, I will be at the Oregon-Colorado game, which should be called the "The Grateful Dead Game." Just think about it.  The Ducks won big last year in Boulder by a score of 45-2. There isn't much to analyze for this game, because it is going to get ugly very quickly. The Ducks may not let up on the gas until the fourth quarter because of the whole BCS situation. The Buffalo defense is giving up an average of 42.6 points per game, which is the second-worst in the country.

Colorado @ #4 Oregon  3:00 PM ET Pac-12 Network

ESPN College GameDay will be live from Norman, OK

matchup: #5 Notre Dame @ #8 Oklahoma

Saturday, October 27th

1. #14 Texas Tech @ #3 Kansas State  3:30 PM ET FOX

- Kansas State is coming off another impressive road win against a ranked opponent and Texas Tech won an overtime thriller at TCU. The Wildcats are playing good football and the offense headed by Heisman front-runner quarterback Collin Klein is averaging 233.9 rushing yards and 42.9 points per game. The Kansas State defense is also playing great and have given up just 16.1 points per game. Tommy Tuberville's Red Raiders are off to their best start since the 2008 season. Quarterback Seth Doege has the fifth highest quarterback rating in the country with 169.6. The offense is also averaging 42.9 points per game and the defense is in the Top 15 in the country giving up 315.0 total yards per game. This will be the Wildcats toughest game they have the rest of this season and their defense must be able to contain the explosiveness of the Red Raider offense.

Pick: Kansas State 

2. #2 Florida vs #10 Georgia (Jacksonville)  3:30 PM ET CBS

- Heading into the season it was the Georgia Bulldogs who were the favorite to win the SEC East Division. Now it is the Florida Gators who are the team to beat in the East after beating #4 LSU and #7 South Carolina. Georgia has had a big wake up call in their past two of games. The Bulldogs were blown out in Columbia to South Carolina 35-7, and then struggled to beat a Kentucky team that is now 1-7 on the season. The Georgia offense led by senior quarterback Aaron Murray is going to have to continue to make smart decisions in the pocket, because this is the best defense he will play this season. The Gators defense is giving up just 12.1 points per game and have converted eight turnovers in their last three games. The Gator offense has turned the ball over just two times in their past three games. The Bulldog defense will need to be able to contain a lethal rushing attack led by running back Mike Gillislee and quarterback Jeff Driskel. The Gators have owned this series for the past decade winning seven of the past ten meetings. I see the Gators taking another one from the Bulldogs and clinching the SEC East Division title.

Pick: Florida 

3. #9 USC @ Arizona  3:30 PM ET ABC/ESPN2

- The USC Trojans are coming off a blow out win at home against a struggling Colorado team, but now must go on the road where they have been tested all season. The Trojans travel to Tucson where they have won the last two meetings by only a combined total of ten points. The Trojans have struggled on the road all season to mediocre teams. Syracuse and Washington gave them tough games and Stanford beat them. Arizona blew out Washington this past weekend at home 52-17 and are currently putting up 352.3 passing yards per game. The problem for the Wildcats is that their defense is thin. The Wildcats will struggle to cover wide receivers Marqise Lee and Robert Woods, but if the Wildcats can get their passing game going against the Trojan defense this could be a close game once again. I think USC wins, but that the Wildcats give the Trojans a scare before they host Oregon next weekend.

Pick: USC

4.  Duke @ #12 Florida State  3:30 PM ET ESPNU

- Duke football is included in a must watch game. Is this real life? This may have been an interesting game to watch after Duke won a thriller last weekend against North Carolina and became bowl eligible, but now is even more intriguing with Seminole star running back Chris Thompson out with a season ending ACL injury. Duke quarterback Sean Renfree is the true leader of this Blue Devil team and will need to be almost perfect to beat the Seminoles on the road. The Seminoles are one of the best rushing teams in the country and now many of the duties will be given to running back James Wilder Jr. The Seminoles offense is currently averaging 44.4 points per game and the Seminole defense is giving up just 12.6 points per game. It is going to be difficult for the Blue Devils, but if they can find a way to pull the upset they will be in a good position to win the ACC Coastal Division.

Pick: Florida State 

5.  Michigan State @ #25 Wisconsin  3:30 PM ET ABC/ESPN2

- Wisconsin and Michigan split games last season. Michigan State won on a hail mary pass as time expired during the season and Wisconsin won in a close game in the Big Ten Championship game. This season, Wisconsin started off to a rough start, but have bounced back. A win over Michigan State could guarantee them the Leaders Division and a chance to win the Big Ten again. Michigan State started the season with high hopes, but are now out of the Legends Division race. The Spartans have lost three of their last four conference games. The Spartan defense is still one of the best in the country, but the offense has not been able to produce points. The Badgers offense has consistency looked better each week and running back Montee Ball is averaging 155.5 yards and 2.5 rushing touchdowns per game in Big Ten play. The Badger defense headed by linebackers Mike Taylor and Chris Borland, who have a combined 151 tackles this season, will prevent one of the worst offenses in the country to put up enough points to win. The Badgers take this one in Madison and put themselves in a great position to win the Leaders Division.

Pick: Wisconsin  

6. Ohio State @ Penn State  5:30 PM ET ESPN 

- What is so sad about this game is it probably includes the two best teams in the Big Ten, yet neither can become bowl eligible because of NCAA sanctions. This is more of a statement game for both universities. The Buckeyes pulled an overtime thriller out against Purdue last weekend and also lost quarterback Braxton Miller to an injury. Miller is said to be ready for this weekend's game though. Penn State's offense led by senior quarterback Matt McGloin is averaging 37.3 points per game in Big Ten play. The Nittany Lion defense is also only giving up 15.7 points per game this season. The Ohio State offense will struggle if Miller is not completely healed for this game and it could give a huge advantage to the Nittany Lion defense. The Buckeye defense, who have given up an average 36.3 points in their past three games, could have trouble defending a rather tough Nittany Lion offense.

Pick: Ohio State 

7. #5 Notre Dame @ #8 Oklahoma  8:00 PM ET ABC

- This will be the biggest non-conference game of the season. This game has National Title implications for both teams. If the Fighting Irish can go into Norman and win, this will put them in a very good spot to go undefeated, as well as move up in the BCS rankings. If Oklahoma wins, the Sooners jump in the BCS rankings and put themselves in a good position to stay in the race to make the title game. The Sooners have caught fire at the right time of the season by playing great offense and defense. Sooner quarterback Landry Jones is finally playing up to his potential and is helping the Sooners put up 44.7 points per game. Notre Dame is coming off two very close games against Stanford and BYU. The Fighting Irish defense plays lights out week in and week out giving up an average of only 9.4 points per game. The real question coming into this game is how the Notre Dame offense will do against a good Sooner defense. The Fighting Irish will have quarterback Everett Golson back this week and it will be interesting to see how he handles pressure in a tough OU Memorial Stadium environment. I feel this is the game where the Irish finally get exposed this season. Sooners win 24-13.

Pick: Oklahoma 

8. #22 Michigan @ Nebraska  8:00 PM ET ESPN2

- This is the game at the beginning of the year we had marked on our calendars. This will most likely be the game that decides who wins the Big Ten Legends Division. The Michigan Wolverines and Nebraska Cornhuskers are coming off late fourth quarter come-from-behind victories. Denard Robinson continues to be the catalyst for the Wolverine offense and Taylor Martinez has made strides in his passing game. The Husker defense has struggled this season and has had trouble containing mobile quarterbacks. The Huskers are currently 102nd in the country in defending the run, but are ninth in defending the pass. The Wolverine defense has come back after struggling early in the season and are currently the ninth best overall defense in the country. Denard Robinson will present the Husker defense with a lot of problems like last season, but it will come down to the Wolverine defense. If the Wolverine defense can defend the running game and put pressure on Taylor Martinez for all four quarters the Wolverines should come out with the win. I think this is going to be a close game that comes down to the very end.

Pick: Michigan 

9. #11 Mississippi State @ #1 Alabama  8:30 PM ET ESPN

- The Mississippi State Bulldogs come into this game undefeated and are looking to give the #1 Crimson Tide a run for their money. Bulldog quarterback Tyler Russell has currently thrown 15 touchdown passes and just one interception. Running back LaDarius Perkins has rushed for 724 yards and eight touchdowns this season. Wide receiver Chad Bumphis also has 479 yards and six touchdown receptions this season. The offense has looked solid and the defense has been even better. The defense is giving up just 14.4 points per game. The Crimson Tide offense continues to reload even with all of the injuries they have had this season. Not only is quarterback A.J. McCarron in the Heisman discussion, but running backs Eddie Lacey and T.J. Yeldon have been a dual threat in the backfield as well. Now true freshman wide receiver Amari Cooper is causing defenses all sorts of problems. Cooper had seven receptions for 162 yards and two touchdown receptions at Tennessee this past weekend. The Crimson Tide defense continues to be the best in the country in points per game and in yards per game. The Crimson Tide are giving up just 8.3 points per game. I expect the Crimson Tide to get their first real challenge of the season, but will slowly pull away from the Bulldogs in the 2nd half.

Pick: Alabama

10. #7 Oregon State @ Washington  10:15 PM ET Pac-12 Network

- The Beavers moved up in the BCS after beating Utah in part to their defense causing big turnovers. The Huskies were blown out at Arizona and are now currently 0-3 on the road and losing by an average of 34.6 points a game. At home though, the Huskies have been a much different story. The Huskies upset #8 Stanford in September and two weeks ago tested #11 USC, but turned the ball over four times and lost 24-14. The Beavers will start quarterback Sean Mannion, after Cody Vaz started these past two weekends because of an injury Mannion suffered on October 6th against Washington State. The defense continues to be the main reason why the Beavers win and last week the defense simply beat Utah. The Beaver defense converted two turnovers on Utah's 16 and 10 yard line. It set up short scores for the Beaver offense in the red zone. Washington is one of the most bipolar teams in college football this season. They play awful on the road and play very tough at home. The Huskies will give the Beavers a tough game and the Husky defense will play well at home as usual. The Beavers do escape though, because the Huskies will turn the ball over at least twice in this game and leave points off the scoreboard.

Pick: Oregon State 

Sources: teamrankings.com, espn.com, UWBadgers.com

Monday, October 22, 2012

College Football Week 8 Recap

My overall Record: 60-20
My Record in Week 8: 9-1

Best Game from Week 8: #17 Texas Tech 56, #23 TCU 53 (3OT)

We finally had a weekend where no team was bit by the upset bug. The #2 Florida Gators took care of business in "The Swamp" as they chomped up the #7 South Carolina Gamecocks 44-11. The #4 Kansas State Wildcats went into Morgantown and laid a smack down on the #13 West Virginia Mountaineers. Wildcat Heisman front-runner Collin "Optimus" Klein accounted for all seven touchdowns and racked up 323 passing yards on an inferior Mountaineer defense. The Oregon Ducks went into Arizona State looking to be tested and scored 43 unanswered points in a matter of 18 minutes. The Ducks checked out of Tempe four minutes into the second quarter and ended up winning the game 43-21. #5 Notre Dame found themselves in a tussle with BYU and held on in the fourth quarter to win 17-14. #6 LSU also found themselves in a tough game in College Station against the #18 Texas A&M Aggies and were able to hold on 24-19.

What we learned: 

The West Virginia Mountaineers are finding out what life is like in a tougher Big 12 Conference. 

- It happened again. The West Virginia Mountaineers were blown out once again to another Big 12 Conference opponent. In West Virginia's last two games, the Mountaineers have been outscored 104-28. The Mountaineer defense has given up 1,155 yards in two games and quarterback Geno Smith threw his first two interceptions this past Saturday against Kansas State. The Mountaineers get a bye this upcoming weekend and then host an offensively explosive team in TCU on November 3rd. Everything about the Mountaineers has to get better, especially the defense which is giving up an average of 39.9 points per game.

The Big Ten is starting to sort itself out.

- Michigan, Michigan State, Iowa, Nebraska, and Northwestern all went into the weekend needing to get wins to separate themselves from one another in the Big Ten Legends Division. The Michigan Wolverines finally snapped their four game losing streak to in-state rival Michigan State on a game-winning 38-yard field goal by Brendan Gibbons with just seconds remaining. This gave the Wolverines their 900th win in program history. The Michigan State Spartans are now pretty much out of the picture as they have already lost three conference games. The Iowa Hawkeyes hosted a surprisingly tough Penn State team in Iowa City and were completely outplayed. The Hawkeyes were down 38-0, until they were able to get 14 points in the fourth quarter. Iowa looked awful and I'm not sure they will be able to bounce back this weekend at Northwestern. The Nebraska Cornhuskers and Northwestern Wildcats played a barnburner in Evanston. The Wildcats appeared to be wide awake and were leading the Huskers 28-16 with 8:31 left in the fourth quarter. The Huskers found it within themselves to comeback and took the lead with 2:08 left in the game with a touchdown pass from Taylor Martinez to Ben Cotton. Northwestern then came down and missed a 52-yard field goal that went wide right with 1:10 remaining. The Huskers found a way and escaped with the victory. Right now it appears that the game between Michigan and Nebraska this upcoming weekend could decide who wins the Legends Division. If Michigan wins in Lincoln that will put them in a good position and they will be in the driver's seat with a 4-0 conference record. If Nebraska wins, it will be a battle until the very end of conference play with Michigan.

Duke is in the ACC Coastal Division hunt.

- This was one of the biggest stories of Saturday. The Duke Blue Devils are bowl eligible for the first time since 1994. It took a fourth down touchdown pass from Sean Renfree with 13 seconds left in the game to get the win. Duke had to comeback and beat Tobacco Road rival North Carolina after they had  blown a ten point lead with 3:12 left in the game. Not only did Duke become bowl eligible, but they are now in the ACC Coastal Division race. The Blue Devils are currently in first place with a 3-1 conference record. Virginia Tech has struggled this season and was the the pre-season heavy favorite to win the division. The Blue Devils do have to play at #12 Florida State this weekend and then host #18 Clemson the following weekend. If Duke does not win one of these games, their hopes of winning the division will most likely be over.

Last Thought:

- There is so much discussion over the current BCS rankings and why the Oregon Ducks are not getting the respect they deserve. Kansas State and Notre Dame are also the two other teams in this discussion. There is no debate that Alabama is number one and that Florida is number two. This is not a big deal, because if these two teams happen to go undefeated one of them will lose in the SEC Championship game. The problem is what separates Kansas State, Oregon, and Notre Dame if all of them happen to go undefeated, which I highly doubt will happen. I assume that only one of these teams stays undefeated. Here are the résumés of all three teams.

#3 Kansas State

                                     Key wins: at #6 Oklahoma and at #13 West Virginia
                                     Oklahoma is currently 5-1 and 8th in the BCS
                                     West Virginia is currently 5-2 and 19th in the BCS

Kansas State also has a home win over ACC opponent Miami (FL) and beat a ranked Iowa State team on the road. Kansas State will play their third straight ranked opponent this weekend at home against #14 Texas Tech. Texas Tech's only loss this season was at home against Oklahoma. Kansas State will finish their season with games against teams that have .500 or better records. Oklahoma State and TCU are both currently 5-2, while Texas is ranked 23rd with a 5-2 record.

#4 Oregon

Key wins: vs #22 Arizona and vs #23 Washington
Arizona is currently 4-3 and unranked
Washington is currently 3-4 and unranked

Oregon destroyed an unranked Arizona State team, who lost on the road to a now 3-4 Missouri team with their backup quarterback playing. It doesn't help the Ducks that they didn't play any teams from a BCS automatic qualifier in non-conference play. The Ducks will get #9 USC on the road in two weeks and that should really help them in the computers if they can win that game. If Stanford and Oregon State continue to win that will help the Ducks as well. 

* Yes, I am aware Kansas State backed out of a home-and-home series with the Ducks, but it allowed the Ducks to play in Arlington against LSU last season.

#5 Notre Dame

Key wins: at #10 Michigan State, vs #18 Michigan, and vs #17 Stanford
Michigan State is currently 4-4 and unranked
Michigan is currently 5-2 and ranked 22nd in the BCS
Stanford is currently 5-2 and 17th in the BCS

Notre Dame has other wins against Purdue, Miami (FL), and BYU, but these teams have a combined record of 11-12. The Fighting Irish played close against Purdue and BYU and only won by a combined total of six points. Their only other games that could help them get in the BCS National Title is a win at Oklahoma this weekend and a win at USC at the end of the season. Playing at home against Pittsburgh and Wake Forest, as well as traveling to Boston College will not help the Irish out one bit. 

I realize if there was an eye test Oregon would be the number three team in the country, but their schedule has weakened them tremendously. It's tough playing in a conference where only two or three of the nine teams you play in conference are up to your skill level. The Big 12 gives Kansas State that edge of being higher in the BCS, even though they probably are the fourth best team in the country. As for Notre Dame, this team has a great defense, but their offense is not very good. Their schedule is not as impressive either because of the lack of consistency of Big Ten teams. Notre Dame wins games ugly against teams that to be honest are not very good.

Friday, October 19, 2012

College Football: Week 8 matchups to watch

We can just call this "Separation Saturday Part 1" for the Big Ten Legends Division. Michigan and Michigan State will play for bragging rights and Northwestern will try to knock off Nebraska for the second straight year. Iowa will also host an improving Penn State team Saturday night. The SEC and Big 12 have their fair share of games as well. #7 South Carolina will try to bounce back at #2 Florida in a game that could be a deciding factor in winning the SEC East. #6 LSU will travel to College Station to take on a surprisingly tough #18 Texas A&M team led by freshman quarterback Johnny "Football"  Manziel. Lastly, the Big 12 has #17 Texas Tech traveling to #23 TCU and #4 Kansas State playing a crucial away game at #13 West Virginia.

ESPN College GameDay will be live from Gainesville, FL (Live at 10:00 AM ET)

matchup: #7 South Carolina @ #2 Florida

Thursday, October 18th

1. #3 Oregon @ Arizona State  9:00 PM ET ESPN

- This has the making to be a long night of football , but in the end you will be sitting there trying to catch your breath. The Oregon Ducks are averaging 86.2 plays per game and Arizona State is averaging 77.8 plays per game. I have a feeling this is going to be like the game from the 2010 season. It will be very fast paced and physical game. It will be the Ducks first real challenge of the season. This is going to be a test to see how freshman Marcus Mariota handles the pressure of facing a better defense and playing in a tougher environment. The Ducks also go into Thursday with defensive problems relating to an incident that left defensive tackle Isaac Remington suspended indefinitely. True freshmen defensive lineman Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner will see the field a lot more now and junior Taylor Hart will take Remington's spot on the line. Senior Dion Jordan will also be asked to do a lot more on the defensive side of the ball. The Ducks need to prepare for a Sun Devil air raid offense that is averaging 291.2 passing yards per game. Sun Devil quarterback Taylor Kelly has averaged 266.6 passing yards per game and the offense is averaging 40.5 points per game. The Duck's offense is currently second in the nation in scoring with 52.3 points per game. The Oregon rushing attack, which averages 302.3 yards per game, will play a defense that is giving up just 15.8 points per game. This is going to be a really tight game for the most part. We will see if the Ducks can tire the Sun Devil defense out and pull away in the second half. The Ducks have beaten Pac-12 opponents this season by an average of 35 points and have won the last seven meetings against the Sun Devils. Lastly, I will take The Duck aka Puddles to take down Sparky in a fighting match. Over the past month, both have been running negative campaign ads proving why the other should not be President. 

Pick: Oregon        Result: Oregon 43, Arizona State 21

Saturday, October 20th

2. #6 LSU @ #18 Texas A&M  12:00 PM ET ESPN

- The LSU Tigers are back in the BCS title discussion after a must win over South Carolina last Saturday night. The Texas A&M Aggies are coming off a big Saturday night win as well. The Aggies had to hold off a surging Louisiana Tech team in the remaining seconds of the game. The Tigers looked much better offensively against South Carolina and will look to pound it out on the ground against an Aggie defense that is giving up 442.0 yards per game. The most intriguing matchup will be explosive freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel and the Aggie offense taking on one of the most physical defenses in country. For Manziel to put up huge numbers like he has these past three games, he is going to need his line to give him more than enough time to pass or run the ball. If the Aggies are dominated upfront by LSU's tough defensive line led by defensive end Sam Montgomery, it is going to be a long day for the offense. Texas A&M will need their 12th man to win this ball game.

Pick: LSU

3. Michigan State @ Michigan  3:30 PM ET Big Ten Network

- This is always a big game because of the Paul Bunyan Trophy, but more is on the line then just that.  Michigan has not beat Michigan State since 2007 and needs this win to begin their chances of winning the Legends Division. Michigan State is trying to stop the bleeding as they lost their past two home games against Ohio State and Iowa. The Spartans have already lost two Big Ten games and losing to Michigan this weekend would most likely end their chance of repeating as the Legends Division champion. As usual, this game comes down to Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson being able to make plays outside of the the pocket. Michigan State's offense has struggled averaging just 21.0 points per game and must face an improving Michigan defense that is allowing just 6.5 points per game in Big Ten games this season. I like the Wolverines to finally snap their five game losing streak to the Spartans.

Pick: Michigan 

4. #7 South Carolina @ #2 Florida  3:30 PM ET CBS

- The big story for this game is not that Florida comes in ranked number two after the latest BCS rankings, but that South Carolina All-American running back Marcus Lattimore is questionable for Saturday's game. This is a must win for both teams, because this could be the deciding factor of who represents the SEC East in the SEC Championship game. This game, of course, will come down to who plays the best defense. Both teams are only giving up an average of 12 points per game. The Gator offense relies heavily on their rushing attack. The Gators are rushing for 233.3 yards per game (6th in the country), but are one of the worst passing teams in the country averaging just 145 yards per game. It will be up to quarterback Jeff Driskel and running back Mike Gillislee to make big plays on the ground. The Gamecock's offense is not the most explosive, but possibly losing Lattimore will be a huge blow to the Gamecock ground game. It will put more pressure on quarterback Connor Shaw to pass the ball. I feel The Gators win by at least ten points on Saturday and get revenge on the Ol' Ball Coach Steve Spurrier.

Pick: Florida 

5. #17 Texas Tech @ #23 TCU  3:30 PM ET ABC/ESPN2

- Can you say shootout? Both teams put up 49 points last weekend in must win situations. The winner of this game will continue to stay in the Big 12 race and the other will appear to be out of it with two conference losses. Texas Tech has been one of the most surprising teams this season with an explosive offense and the seventh best defense in the country. Quarterback Seth Doege put up 499 passing yards on West Virginia last weekend, but will have a tougher time against a Horned Frog defense that is giving up just 14.5 points per game. TCU may have lost quarterback Casey Pachall, but freshman Trevone Boykin has been able to come in and play well for Horned Frogs. Last week, Boykin had a completion percentage of 73.3 and five total touchdowns. If the Red Raider defense can get to Boykin it will cause him to make mistakes like he did against Iowa State two weeks ago. The Red Raider offense will then be able to capitalize and score off of those turnovers.

Pick: Texas Tech 

6. Nebraska @ Northwestern  3:30 PM ET ESPN2/ABC

- Last season, Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter went wild on the Nebraska defense and helped the Wildcats pull the upset in Lincoln 28-25. The Wildcats are looking to do the same thing this season, but at home. The Huskers are coming off a much needed bye week after getting hammered at Ohio State two weeks ago. The Husker offense is ranked in the top ten in rushing yards per game and in points scored per game. The problem is the defense. The Husker defense is giving up an average of 220.8 rushing yards per game. The defense cannot defend against quarterbacks who can run and make plays outside of the pocket. Two weeks ago, Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller put up 186 rushing yards on the Husker defense. If Nebraska wants any chance of winning this game and staying in the Big Ten Legends Division race they must shut Kain Colter down.

Pick: Nebraska 

7. #4 Kansas State @ #13 West Virginia  7:00 PM ET FOX

- This is one of the biggest road games Kansas State has had in a while. This is an important game for Heisman candidate senior quarterback Collin Klein, as well as the Kansas State defense. I can guarantee you West Virginia's offense will come out ready to play this game after getting embarrassed last weekend at Texas Tech. Kansas State should be fine on offense as West Virginia has looked awful on defense this season. Collin Klein will probably be able to open more of the passing game up, because the Mountaineer defense is the worst in the country at defending against the pass. The Mountaineers are giving up 415.2 passing yards per game. On the flip side, Geno Smith and the Mountaineer offense had been one of the best offenses in the country, until they were humiliated last weekend. The Wildcat defense has been solid against the run, but has seemed to struggle when defending against the pass. Kansas State cannot afford to leave West Virginia wide receivers Stedman Bailey and Tavin Austin open, otherwise it is going to be almost impossible for the Wildcats to keep up on the scoreboard. Don't be surprised if this game turns into a shootout in Morgantown on Saturday night.

Pick: Kansas State 

8. #1 Alabama @ Tennessee  7:00 PM ET ESPN

- The last time Tennessee beat Alabama it was 2006. Tennessee almost pulled the upset three years ago, but a last second winning field goal was blocked by Terrence "Mount" Cody. The last two seasons, the Vols have been humiliated in this rivalry being outscored 78-10. The Tennessee offense has a mediocre rushing attack, but has had a solid passing game with Tyler Bray at quarterback. The Alabama defense is giving up just 181.2 yards per game and only 7.5 points per game. They also have only given up two passing touchdowns this whole season. Not only will the Tennessee offense have their work cut out for them, but the Tennessee defense is going to have to defend physical running backs Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon. If the Vols want to hang in this game they will have to play tough defense, because the offense will not be able to put up many points on the best defense in the country.

Pick: Alabama

9. Baylor @ #25 Texas  8:00 PM ET ABC

- Both Texas and Baylor were embarrassed last weekend. Texas and Baylor have looked absolutely terrible on offense. Baylor is ranked dead last in college football giving up 595.8 yards per game. Statistics have shown that this Texas defense is one of the worst in school history. The Longhorns give up 32.5 points per game and are giving up 449.7 yards per game. Besides last weekend, both Texas and Baylor have had high powered offenses though. The Bears are ranked third in the country averaging 47.5 points per game and are ranked first in the country in passing yards with 420.0 yards per game. The Longhorns are fifth in the country scoring an average of 42.5 points per game and averaging 446.0 yards per game. Expect a very high scoring game between these two schools. We'll see if the Longhorns can snap a two game losing streak to the Bears.

Pick: Texas 

10. Penn State @ Iowa  8:00 PM ET Big Ten Network 

-Penn State has not won in Iowa City since 1999. The Hawkeyes came from behind last Saturday and  shocked Michigan State in overtime 19-16. Now the Hawkeyes are 2-0 in conference play and are in the race to win the Big Ten Legends Division. They may have to play this game without their leading rusher Mark Weisman though, who is questionable with an ankle injury. The Nittany Lions had their big win two weeks ago at home against Northwestern. The Nittany Lion offense led by quarterback Matt McGloin has been much better and they have been able to establish both a passing and rushing attack. We'll see if the tough Hawkeye defense can hold off a surging Penn State offense. This game will consist of both teams playing for field position, as well as playing hard-nosed defense. This will be your typical low scoring Iowa-Penn State game again.

Pick: Iowa 

sources: teamrankings.com, espn.com, and registerguard.com

Thursday, October 18, 2012

College Football Week 8: Thursday night matchup

Thursday, October 18th

1. #3 Oregon @ Arizona State  9:00 PM ET ESPN

- This has the making to be a long night of football , but in the end you will be sitting there trying to catch your breath. The Oregon Ducks are averaging 86.2 plays per game and Arizona State is averaging 77.8 plays per game. I have a feeling this is going to be like the game from the 2010 season. It will be very fast paced and physical game. It will be the Ducks first real challenge of the season. This is going to be a test to see how freshman Marcus Mariota handles the pressure of facing a better defense and playing in a tougher environment. The Ducks also go into Thursday with defensive problems relating to an incident that left defensive tackle Isaac Remington suspended indefinitely. True freshmen defensive lineman Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner will see the field a lot more now and junior Taylor Hart will take Remington's spot on the line. Senior Dion Jordan will also be asked to do a lot more on the defensive side of the ball. The Ducks need to prepare for a Sun Devil air raid offense that is averaging 291.2 passing yards per game. Sun Devil quarterback Taylor Kelly has averaged 266.6 passing yards per game and the offense is averaging 40.5 points per game. The Duck's offense is currently second in the nation in scoring with 52.3 points per game. The Oregon rushing attack, which averages 302.3 yards per game, will play a defense that is giving up just 15.8 points per game. This is going to be a really tight game for the most part. We will see if the Ducks can tire the Sun Devil defense out and pull away in the second half. The Ducks have beaten Pac-12 opponents this season by an average of 35 points and have won the last seven meetings against the Sun Devils. Lastly, I will take The Duck aka Puddles to take down Sparky in a fighting match. Over the past month, both have been running negative campaign ads proving why the other should not be President. 

Pick: Oregon 

sources: teamrankings.com, espn.com, and registerguard.com

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

College Football Week 7 Recap

My overall Record: 51-19
My Record in Week 7: 8-2

Best Game from Week 7: #9 LSU 23, #3 South Carolina 21

I wasn't sure what type of weekend it was going to be, but it ended up turning into an exciting one. LSU bounced back on Saturday night in a tussle with #3 South Carolina down in the bayou. LSU was a completely different team then they were when they lost at Florida just one week earlier. The offensive line was solid and it appears LSU has found a new running back. Freshman Jeremy Hill, who had just three carries for ten yards against Towson and Florida, rushed for 124 yards and two touchdowns. This LSU team looked reenergized and now appears to be back in the hunt for a national title. The Fighting Irish snuck out a close one in South Bend against Stanford to stay undefeated. The image of Stanford running back Stepfan Taylor reaching the ball over the goal line will be talked about for awhile, especially if the Irish continue to win. Oklahoma also appears to be back in the mix as they physically beat Texas up on both sides of the ball. The last time the Sooners beat the Longhorns by more than 40 points was back in 2003.

There were three teams that were on upset alert this past weekend. #6 Kansas State was able to battle off Iowa State in a hard fought game in Ames, the #10 Oregon State Beavers looked impressive at BYU with backup quarterback Cody Vaz, and then there was #5 West Virginia who was blown out by Texas Tech in Lubbock 49-14. I feel a lot of people knew this was a trap game and that West Virginia had a chance to lose, but no one could have predicted the Mountaineers losing by 35 points. The interesting thing about this loss is West Virginia didn't turn the ball over once and quarterback Geno Smith continued his streak of not throwing an interception. Lastly, there was a wild finish between the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs and the Texas A&M Aggies. Hopeful BCS buster Louisiana Tech was down 34-7 in the second quarter. Louisiana Tech battled back in the second half and was only down 59-44 with 2:04 remaining in the game. The Bulldogs came down and scored a touchdown with 1:46 remaining to make it 59-51, and then recovered an onside kick. The Bulldogs quickly made their way down the field and scored again with 38 seconds remaing, but failed to convert the two-point conversion and lost 59-57. This ruined Louisiana Tech's chances of being this year's BCS buster. There is still hope for the Ohio Bobcats to be that team though.

What we learned from Week 7:

LSU is on a mission.

- I am honestly very impressed in the way Les Mile's team fought through adversity and beat a tough South Carolina football team. LSU had nothing offensively against the Florida Gators two weeks ago, but came out on Saturday night in Death Valley as determined as ever. The key of winning that game was for the offensive line to protect quarterback Zack Mettenberger. Senior left tackle Josh Dworaczyk was all over potential All-American defensive end Jadeveon Clowney and took him out of the game. The LSU offensive line gave up just one sack to one of the best defenses in the country. Zack Mettenberger played rather well except for the interception thrown in the first quarter, which helped South Carolina set up their first score of the game. One of the biggest surprises to the offense has to be freshman running back Jeremy Hill. Hill had just 13 touches for 71 yards on the season. He finished this past game with 17 carries for 127 yards. He averaged 7.3 yards per carry and had two touchdowns. LSU moved from the nine spot down to the six spot in the new BCS rankings after beating South Carolina 23-21. This is the team I thought LSU would be this season. If they beat Alabama on November 3rd at home they will most likely win the SEC Conference.

The Sooners look better than ever.

- Wow! where was this Sooner team this past month and a half? The Sooners were firing on all cylinders and destroyed the Texas Longhorns in every aspect of the game. I picked Oklahoma to be in the BCS National Championship game and this is the type of team I believed them to be this whole season. The Sooners struggled to beat UTEP on opening weekend and then three weeks later lost at home to a tough Kansas State team. The way in which the Sooners lost to Kansas State was just hard to swallow, because you knew they were not playing up to their potential. Oklahoma looked much improved on defense against Texas Tech and then went off against rival Texas on Saturday. The Oklahoma offense racked up 677 yards on the Texas defense and sophomore quarterback Black Bell "The Belldozer" had four rushing touchdowns in the first half. Starting quarterback Landry Jones played his best game of the season passing for 321 yards and one touchdown. The Sooner rushing attack looked almost unstoppable as they put up 343 yards with 167 yards of it coming from junior Damien Williams. Williams 95 yard touchdown run late in the first quarter sparked the Sooners and was the longest rushing touchdown in Red River Rivalry history. The Sooners are definitely in the BCS discussion again.

Notre Dame is looking more and more like a championship contender every week.

- This is one of the best Notre Dame defenses I have seen in years. The Irish defense is giving up just 8.7 points per game (2nd in the country) and have not given up a touchdown in their past four games. Senior linebacker Manti Te'o has to be in the Heisman discussion right now. Te'o is averaging 9.5 tackles per game and made two key stops on the goal line in overtime to keep Stanford running back Stepfan Taylor out of the end zone. The question still lies on who should be the starting quarterback. Everett Golson fumbled four times and three of them were recovered by Stanford. One of the fumbles turned into a touchdown as Golson held onto the ball to long in his own end zone and was hit from behind causing him to fumble the ball and Stanford's Chase Thomas to recover. Golson is questionable for this weekend's game against BYU. Tommy Rees has been clutch whenever he has needed to come into crucial situations for the Irish. Rees had an important touchdown run in a win against Michigan and a key touchdown pass that helped Notre Dame get by Stanford in overtime. I will not be surprised if we see a lot more of Tommy Rees in these next few games. Notre Dame's win over Stanford could be what gets them considered for a BCS At-Large bid. If Notre Dame goes to Norman in two weeks and beats Oklahoma look for the Irish to be a lock for a BCS Bowl game.

Texas A&M's true freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel could be in the Heisman mix.

- Texas A&M is off to their best start since 2007. A big part of the success for the Aggies has been because of the play of redshirt freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel. This past Saturday, Manziel had 395 passing yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for 181 yards and three touchdowns. Manziel is the first SEC player to ever put up 500 total yards in two games. Manziel's statistics for this season include 1,680 passing yards, 14 passing touchdowns, 676 rushing yards, and ten rushing touchdowns. He appears to be the true leader of this Aggie team and is the spark the Aggies did not have last season. The next three of four games will be tough for the Aggies though, as they host LSU and travel to Mississippi State and Alabama. If Texas A&M finds a way to win two of these games and win all the others, look for Manziel to be in the top 5 of the Heisman race.  

The Longhorn defense has a lot of work to do.

- This is currently one of the worst defenses in Texas Longhorn history. The Longhorn defense is giving up an average of 32.5 points per game, which is 97th in the country, and 449.70 total yards per game. Oklahoma put up 667 total yards on the Longhorn defense this past Saturday. The Oklahoma offensive line physically beat up the Longhorn defensive line and Longhorn defenders struggled to tackle ball carriers. The Sooners averaged 6.7 yards per carry on the Longhorn defense, and also scored a 95 yard rushing touchdown. I can guarantee you Head Coach Mack Brown and his staff are working the defense hard this week at practice. Texas's defense going into this season was supposed to be one of the best in the country consisting of potential All-American defensive ends Alex Okafor and Jackson Jeffcoat. This weekend will be a big test for the Longhorn defense as they host a Baylor team that is averaging 47.6 points per game and 398.4 passing yards per game, which is the best in the country. It will be interesting to see how this Longhorn team faces adversity and if they can come back and win at least six of their last seven games.

Last Thought: 

We are half way through the 2012 football season and every conference is up for grabs. The SEC East has turned into a battle between undefeated Florida, South Carolina, and Georgia. The SEC West is going to come down to Alabama, LSU, and even Mississippi State and Texas A&M could be in the mix. The Big 12 is going to be the most interesting because there is no longer a conference championship game. Kansas State is the front-runner right now, but Oklahoma appears to be a reenergized team after their win against Texas. West Virginia, Texas Tech, and possibly even TCU and Texas are in the Big 12 race. The Big Ten is a complete mess and it appears Wisconsin will be the champion of the Leaders Division with their win over Purdue this past weekend. The Legends Division though is completely up for grabs. The only team not in the Legends Division race will be Minnesota. The five other teams in this division will beat one another up and I won't be surprised if the team that comes out of this division has two or three conference losses. Lastly, the Pac-12 is going to come down to Oregon, Oregon State, and USC. I guess you could say Arizona State and Stanford are in the race too, but these three teams seem to be the clear leaders of the Pac-12 Conference.

Friday, October 12, 2012

College Football: Week 7 matchups to watch

This weekend does not consist of the best matchups, but a majority of the games are a toss up. There are a lot of even matchups, along with matchups that could potentially lead to an upset of a top ten team. The biggest games of the weekend consist of the good ole' Red River Rivalry game between #15 Texas and #13 Oklahoma, along with a meeting in Death Valley between #3 South Carolina and #9 LSU. Another big game will be between #17 Stanford and #7 Notre Dame, as this game is crucial for the Irish to put themselves in a good position to receive a BCS bowl bid. Wisconsin and Purdue, who are the contenders for the Big Ten Leaders Division, will play an important game that could end up deciding who plays in the Big Ten Championship game. Lastly, #5 West Virginia, #6 Kansas State, and #10 Oregon State will all have road contests this weekend and be on upset alert.

ESPN College GameDay will be live from South Bend, IN (Live at 10:00 AM ET)

matchup: #17 Stanford @ #7 Notre Dame

Saturday, Oct. 13th

1. #15 Texas @ #13 Oklahoma (Dallas)  12:00 PM ET ABC

This will be the most important Texas-OU game since 2009. Both teams are battling for the Big 12 crown and need to win this game to stay in the race. Oklahoma bounced back last weekend against Texas Tech with a strong defensive performance. The Sooners had three interceptions with one going for a touchdown. The Sooner'd defense held Texas Tech to just 89 total rushing yards. Texas comes in  after a tough loss at home against West Virginia. The Longhorn offense is clicking and quarterback David Ash is third in the country with a quarterback rating of 180.1. The Longhorn defense was the main focus coming into the season, but the offense is the real deal this season averaging 46.8 points per game. There is going to be a lot of pressure on the Sooner defense to stop this surprisingly lethal Longhorn offense. It should be a rather intense Red River Rivalry game this year.

Pick: Oklahoma

2. #6 Kansas State @ Iowa State  12:00 PM ET FX

- The Kansas State Wildcats have not been ranked this high since the 2003 season. Wildcat quarterback Collin Klein continues to put on solid performances every week and will look to put on another as the Wildcat offense takes on a Iowa State defense that is giving up just 15.8 points per game (19th in the country). The Cyclones are coming off a big win as they upset #15 TCU on the road 37-23. The Cyclones are notorious for upsetting highly ranked teams. Last season, the Cyclones did the unthinkable and knocked off #2 Oklahoma State in double overtime 37-31 at home. The Wildcats may be in for a tough game when they travel to Ames on Saturday. We'll see if the Wildcats can live up to the hype and avoid the big upset.

Pick: Kansas State 

3. Wisconsin @ Purdue  12:00 PM ET Big Ten Network

- Both teams have lost one non-conference game and one conference game. With Ohio State and Penn State ineligible to win the Big Ten Leaders Division, it is up to one these two teams to be the representative in the Big Ten Championship. Wisconsin has had quarterback problems, but it appears freshman Joel Stave has finally gained the starting job. The Badgers have looked better offensively these past three games, even though one of them was a three point loss at Nebraska. Wisconsin has lost both of their games by a combined total of six points. Purdue was blown out at home last weekend 44-13 by Michigan and desperately needs this win to get back on track. Michigan put up 409 total yards on the Boilermaker defense and 235 of the rushing yards were from quarterback Denard Robinson. The Boilermaker defense now must try to defend one of the most physical runners in the country Badger running back Montee Ball. I feel the Badgers pull away in the fourth quarter and get the win on the road.

Pick: Wisconsin

4. #1 Alabama @ Missouri  3:30 PM ET CBS

- Alabama is coming off a bye week and Missouri is looking to get revenge after they were upset at home last weekend against Vanderbilt. The Tiger's offense lost quarterback James Franklin last weekend to another injury and will have to rely on freshman Corbin Berkstresser to take on the best defense in the county. The Alabama defense is ranked first in the country giving up an average of seven points per game. The Tiger defense will also have their hands full with quarterback AJ McCarron, physical running back Eddie Lacy, and wide receiver Amari Cooper. The Tigers won't stay in this game for more than a quarter. Alabama is to talented and physical on both sides of the ball, it is hard to picture the Tigers keeping up in this one.

Pick: Alabama

5. #5 West Virginia @ Texas Tech  3:30 PM ET ABC/ESPN

- The West Virginia Mountaineers beat the Texas Longhorns last weekend 48-45. West Virginia must travel back to Texas again, this time Lubbock. This could be a trap game for the Mountaineers after winning two close games against Baylor and Texas these past two weekends. Texas Tech was manhandled by Oklahoma last weekend at home and will have to rely heavily on their defense on Saturday. If the Red Raiders want to pull off the upset this Saturday, they must stop one of the most explosive offenses in the country. The Mountaineers are averaging 406.8 passing yards per game and 52.0 points per game. The only way Geno Smith and the Mountaineers lose this weekend is if they come out flat after last weekend's big win.

Pick: West Virginia 

6. #17 Stanford @ #7 Notre Dame  3:30 PM ET NBC

- This is an important game for the Fighting Irish. If they win here, the only other tough games they have left is at Oklahoma and at USC. This game could determine their fate of earning a BCS bowl bid. The Notre Dame defense is one of the biggest surprises of the college football season. The defense is only giving up 7.8 points per game, which is second in the country. The Cardinal offense has been up and down these past two weeks. They couldn't get one touchdown against Washington two weeks ago, then put up 54 on Arizona this past weekend. They lack consistency on offense and I don't see quarterback Josh Nunes and running back Stepfan Taylor being able to put up enough points on a tough Irish defense led by Manti Te'o. The Irish will be looking to get their first win against the Cardinal since 2008.

Pick: Notre Dame

7. #10 Oregon State @ BYU  3:30 PM ET ABC 

- Oregon State was a lock to win this game about five days ago, then we found out starting quarterback Sean Mannion had suffered a knee injury. This has now turned into a real challenge for the Beavers. BYU's offense should look a little more stable this game as quarterback Riley Nelson returns after he suffered a back injury against Boise State on September 20th. The Cougars offense looked awful last Friday as they only put up six total points on Utah State. Thankfully, the highly talented Cougar defense held Utah State to just three points to help BYU earn their fourth win of the season. The Beavers offense struggled last weekend against Washington State at home and now they must travel to Provo without their leader. This is going to be a very defensive game and both offenses will not produce a lot of points. This could potentially be a 13-10 outcome.

Pick: BYU

8. #3 South Carolina @ #9 LSU  8:00 PM ET ESPN

-South Carolina moved to number three after blowing out the Georgia Bulldogs at home 35-7. LSU went from four to number nine after losing a hard fought game at Florida. There is going to be tremendous pressure on South Carolina, because they are in uncharted territory. The Gamecocks are not used to being in this type of position. LSU should be fortunate they have this game at home in Death Valley, where they have a huge home field advantage. The Tigers have not lost at home since October of 2009 when they were beat by Tim Tebow and the Florida Gators 13-3. This game will showcase two of the best defenses in the country and it will come down to the offenses putting up points on the scoreboard. South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw was just six of ten for 162 yards last weekend, but still managed to throw two touchdowns and no interceptions. Shaw is going to have to manage the game this weekend and rely on Heisman candidate running back Marcus Lattimore to run through a tough LSU defense. On the other hand, LSU has no big playmakers on their offense this season. LSU's offensive line has to play its best game of the season this weekend. The Offensive line cannot afford to let Gamecock defensive end Jadeveon Clowney get to quarterback Zach Mettenberger, otherwise it is going to be another long night for the Tiger offense. I feel LSU bounces back with a win on Saturday night in a very close and hard hitting game. This game will be a battle in the trenches.

Pick: LSU

9. Tennessee @ #19 Mississippi State  9:00 PM ET ESPN2

Mississippi State is off to their best start since 1999 and Tennessee is trying to win their first SEC road game since the end of the 2010 season. This will be the Bulldogs first real test of the season. The best opponent the Bulldogs have faced is an Auburn team that is currently 1-4. The Bulldogs have a great defense that is giving up only 13.4 points per game, which is the 11th best in the country. The Bulldogs offense has also been consistent this season and Junior quarterback Tyler Russell has lived up to the hype so far. Russell has thrown ten touchdown passes and just one interception. The Bulldog offense is going to have to put up their average this season of 34.2 points if they want to move to 6-0. Tennessee has an explosive offense consisting of quarterback Tyler Bray, running back Rajion Neal, and wide receiver Justin Hunter. The Volunteers are 3-2, but they have lost two very close games to tough Florida and Georgia teams. The Bulldog's defense has to be able to contain the Volunteer offense. If the Volunteers start putting points on the board, it is going to be hard for the Bulldog's offense to keep up. The Bulldog defense is key to winning this game.

Pick: Mississippi State

10. #22 Texas A&M @ #23 Louisiana Tech  9:00 PM ET ESPNU

- This game was originally scheduled for opening weekend, but was cancelled due to Hurricane Isaac. Louisiana Tech may have had an advantage in Week 1 because Texas A&M was inexperienced at the quarterback position. Here we are though, both teams are ranked and off to a good start this season. The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs are currently on a 12-game regular season winning streak. If the Bulldogs win this game, they could very well be in the hunt for a BCS At-Large bid. The Texas A&M Aggies have looked solid so far this season and are ranked in the top 15 in the country in points for and in points against. The Bulldog defense, which ranks 109th in the country in points against, must contain dual threat Aggie quarterback Johnny Manziel. Manziel has thrown 11 touchdown passes and rushed for seven. This game could turn into a shootout with Louisiana Tech averaging 53.2 points per game and Texas A&M averaging 44.6 points per game .

Pick: Texas A&M

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

College Football Week 6 Recap

My Overall Record: 43-17
My Record in Week 6: 8-2

Best Game from Week 6: Penn State 39, #24 Northwestern 28

"Separation Saturday" turned out to be a pretty good one. There were a lot of games that lived up to the hype and there were some that simply didn't. Two games that lived up to expectations were the LSU-Florida and West Virginia-Texas game. It took until the last minute of each game for a winner to be decided. Two other surprisingly great games included NC State coming from behind to upset #3 Florida State 17-16 and Penn State scoring 22 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to upset #24 Northwestern. Games that were supposed to be close, but turned into bloodbaths included Georgia-South Carolina and Nebraska-Ohio State. #6 South Carolina manhandled #5 Georgia at home 35-7 and the Ohio State offense exposed the Nebraska defense by winning 63-38. Lastly, teams in the top ten consisting of Oregon, Kansas State, Notre Dame, and Oregon State took care of business against their opponents.

What we learned from Week 6:

Florida State is still Florida State.

- Florida State did it again! The nation thought this was the year that Jimbo Fisher and his Noles would finally get over that hump and not have any bad losses. The Noles were up 16-0 after the first half, but failed to score in the second half. NC State came down and scored with 16 seconds left to win the game 17-16. The Noles have lose three of their last four meetings against NC State in Raleigh. The Noles will try to bounce back this upcoming weekend as they host a struggling Boston College team.

TCU is in big trouble without Casey Pachall.

- Casey Pachall let the TCU fan base down again. Pachall, of course, failed a drug test prior to the season starting, but was allowed to play. Last week, Pachall was arrested for a DWI and was suspended indefinitely. Pachall ran this offense and had the Horned Frogs undefeated and ranked fifteenth in the country. This past weekend though, the country found out just how much he will be missed as Iowa State came into Fort Worth and knocked off the Horned Frogs 37-23. This upcoming weekend will be very tough for TCU as well. TCU must travel to play a Baylor team that is averaging 54.3 points per game.

Geno Smith and the Mountaineers proved they are a legit contender.

- No one can doubt West Virginia and Geno Smith anymore. The Mountaineers went into Austin and won their first Big 12 road contest against Texas 48-45. Geno Smith threw for 268 passing yards and four touchdowns. Smith has yet to throw an interception this season. The Mountaineers must travel back to the state of Texas this upcoming weekend to battle Texas Tech. This could be a trap game for the Mountaineers after coming off a huge victory against the Longhorns.

The SEC East may come down to the Florida-South Carolina game.

- The Florida Gators and South Carolina Gamecocks had huge wins this past weekend. Florida fought off a tough LSU defense to win and South Carolina blew out Georgia. Florida and South Carolina have looked great defensively and the play of Gator quarterback Jeff Driskel and Gamecock quarterback Connor Shaw have progressed greatly since the first week of the season. Both teams are now ranked in the top five. #3 South Carolina will travel to play at #9 LSU this upcoming in a very important game. #4 Florida travels to Vanderbilt in what should be an easy win.

Penn State is officially an improved team.

- The Bill O'Brien era started off to an 0-2 start. The Nittany lions have won their past four games and have been exciting to watch. This past weekend's game against undefeated Northwestern was for sure the game that got Penn State back on the map. Nittany Lion quarterback Matt McGloin is proving that he is a gamer and a true leader of this team. McGloin has 12 touchdown passes and five rushing touchdowns this season. McGloin has thrown just two interceptions. The Nittany Lion rushing attack looked tough against Northwestern as Zach Zwink and Michael Zordich both rushing for one touchdown. Receiver Allen Robinson had 85 yards with two touchdown receptions. Penn State;s performance was gutsy as they were five of six on fourth down conversions. One conversion was a touchdown pass and another one led the Nittany Lions winning touchdown. Bill O'Brien should be proud of his team and I feel myself pulling extremely hard for this team.

Last thought: 

- No team as this point can be trusted. Just when you are set on one team they are upset that weekend. #7 Notre Dame gets #17 Stanford this upcoming weekend and I believe the Irish will get the job done as the defense continues to look great week in and week out. The offense appears to be clicking as they put up 41 points on the Miami Hurricanes. Florida and Alabama have very winnable games at Vanderbilt and Missouri. Ohio State will most likely trounce Indiana in Bloomington. Five of the other top ten teams playing this week have challenging games. The South Carolina-LSU game will be big because they are both top ten teams, but Kansas State and West Virginia will be tested in road games at Iowa State and Texas Tech. The Oregon State Beavers are for sure on upset alert now at BYU, as starting quarterback Sean Mannion is out indefinitely with a knee injury.

Friday, October 5, 2012

College Football: Week 6 matchups to watch

We could be in for the best Saturday of the season! This weekend is crucial for teams who want to stay in the national spotlight and be BCS title contenders. The two big games of the weekend consist of teams from the SEC Conference. #5 Georgia will play at #6 South Carolina in a game that could decide who wins the SEC East Division. The other game will be a struggling #4 LSU Tiger team traveling to "The Swamp" to take on the #10 Florida Gators. The Big 12 will have their own showdown as well. Big 12 newcomer #8 West Virginia and Geno Smith will head down to Austin for their first road game of the season to battle #11 Texas. This will be a real test for the Mountaineers and could be crucial in them capturing the Big 12 title. The important Big Ten game this weekend will be in Columbus as #21 Nebraska takes on #12 Ohio State. The Pac-12 also has a rivalry game in #23 Washington and #2 Oregon. Lastly, a few matchups that could surprise us this weekend could be Miami (FL) vs #9 Notre Dame in Chicago, Michigan at Purdue, and #17 Oklahoma at Texas Tech.

This Saturday night, I will again be at Autzen Stadium in Eugene to watch #23 Washington take on #2 Oregon. Washington and Oregon both come off big victories that took place at Seattle's CenturyLink Field. Washington, of course, upset #8 Stanford 17-13 last Thursday night. This should be an interesting game and we will see how Washington's offense does against the Duck defense. Washington has not beaten rival Oregon since 2003. 

#23 Washington @ #2 Oregon  10:30 PM ET ESPN

ESPN College GameDay will be live from Columbia, SC (Live at 10:00 AM ET) 

matchup: #5 Georgia @ #6 South Carolina

Saturday, Oct. 6th

1. #24 Northwestern @ Penn State  12:00 PM ET ESPN

- The Fighting Fitzgerald's of Northwestern are 5-0 and the only Big Ten team that is eligible to fight for a National Championship. Penn State has been solid since their 2nd week heartbreaking loss at Virginia. The Nittany Lion offense has improved tremendously since their 0-2 start, and this would be a huge win for Bill O'Brien and his squad. The Nittany Lion defense will need to be able to contain Wildcat quarterback Kain Colter, who can pass, run, and even receive. The Wildcats have not won in Happy Valley since 2004.

Pick: Penn State 

2. Virginia Tech @ North Carolina  12:30 PM ET ESPN3/GAMEPLAN

- The Virginia Tech Hokies have coughed up two non-conference games to Big East teams. The games matter now for the Hokies as they get into ACC Conference play. Hokie quarterback Logan Thomas will be relied on heavily to control the game and make big plays. The North Carolina Tar Heels have lost two games this season by a combined five points. The Tar Heel defense is ranked in the top 20 and the offense is averaging 43.2 points per game. You can bet this will be a very close game.

Pick: Virginia Tech

3. #4 LSU @ #10 Florida  3:30 PM ET CBS

- This will be nothing like last year's blowout as the Tigers trounced the Gators 41-11 at home. Both teams are a lot more even this season and rely on their tough defenses to win ball games. LSU has not looked good their past two games against Auburn and Towson. A main reason is because of the production of the offense and their problem of turning the ball over five times in two games. The Gators started off the season slow, but head coach Will Muschamp has his squad ready to take on a tough and physical LSU team. One advantage the Gators have right now is that quarterback Jeff Driskel is looking better and better each game he plays. Driskel is able to rely on big playmakers RB Mike Gillislee, RB Trey Burton, and WR Frankie Hammond. It is going to get heated in "The Swamp" on Saturday afternoon and this game will come down to which team makes that one clutch play late in the fourth quarter.

Pick: Florida

 4. #17 Oklahoma @ Texas Tech  3:30 PM ET ABC/ESPN2

- The Sooners come off a bye week after being upset at home against Kansas State two weeks ago 24-19. The Sooners were upset at home last season to Texas Tech in Norman 41-38. The Sooners now go into Lubbock where they have been upset the last three times they have played there. A lot of pressure will be on senior quarterback Landry Jones and the offense to put up points in this game. The Red Raider defense is only giving up an average of 167.5 yards per game, which is first in the country. The Red Raiders are also fifth in the country by only giving up an average of 10.8 points per game. Red Raider quarterback Seth Doege has been solid this year too, as the Red Raiders are seventh in the country with 358.8 passing yards per game. Everything points to Texas Tech winning, but I think the Sooners sneak it out and come up with a crucial win in Lubbock.

Pick: Oklahoma 

5. Michigan @ Purdue  4:00 PM ET Big Ten Network

- The Wolverines are off to a disappointing 2-2 start. Quarterback Denard Robinson has thrown eight interceptions and just six touchdown passes in four games. This is a very important game for the Wolverines and their offense. The Boilermakers are an improved team this season and the offense is averaging 42.5 points per game. This game will simply come down to defense. If the Boilermaker defense contains Denard Robinson and the running game they have a good shot at knocking off Michigan at home.

Pick: Michigan 

6. #5 Georgia @ #6 South Carolina  7:00 PM ET ESPN

- This will be the most intriguing match-up of the weekend. Both teams could be competing for the SEC East Division title. The Big match-up will be quarterback Aaron Murray and his offense vs defensive end Jadeveon Clowney and his Gamecock defense. The last seven of ten meetings have been decided by seven points or less. I believe this game will look a lot like last year's game as 87 combined points were scored. This will be a very high scoring affair and it will come down to which defense can come up big late in the fourth quarter.

Pick: Georgia 

7. #8 West Virginia @ #11 Texas  7:00 PM ET FX

- West Virginia will officially get a warm welcome to the Big 12 on Saturday. This game is very important for both teams in battling for the Big 12 conference, as well as staying in the National Title hunt. I don't think scoring points will be a problem for any team in this game. Texas is ninth in the country averaging 47.3 points per game and West Virginia is third averaging 53.0 points per game. All eyes will be on West Virginia Heisman front-runner quarterback Geno Smith, as he will have his first real test of the season against defensive end Alex Okafor and the Longhorn defense. The Mountaineer defense looks weak and Texas should be able to put points on the board. It just depends if the Longhorn defense can get enough defensive stops to win the game.

Pick: West Virginia 

8. Miami (FL) vs #9 Notre Dame (Chicago)  7:30 PM ET NBC

- The Hurricanes were blown out in Week 2 at Kansas State 52-13, but are now rolling after winning three straight games. The Hurricanes are learning who they are as a team and the offense has looked explosive by averaging 41.3 points these past three games. The Fighting Irish are coming off a bye week and will continue to rely on their defense to win ball games. The question for the Fighting Irish will be who their quarterback will be? Tommy Rees came up big against Michigan, but there is no way of knowing if it will be him or Everett Golson. The key to this game will be Notre Dame being able to  shutdown their opponent's offense. The Hurricanes will be finished if they can't move the football.

Pick: Notre Dame

9. #21 Nebraska @ #12 Ohio State  8:00 PM ET ABC

- Nebraska Head Coach Bo Pelini returns to his old stomping grounds of Ohio State. Both the Huskers and Buckeyes are coming off two close conference wins against Wisconsin and Michigan State. This game will really test the Huskers if they are for real and can contend in the Big Ten this season. Taylor Martinez and the offense did what they did against Wisconsin last weekend like they did against Ohio State last season. The Huskers struggled and fumbled the football in the first half, then showed up in the second half and played lights out. The Huskers cannot do this in a hostile Ohio Stadium environment against a Buckeye defense giving up an average of 17.0 points per game. Another challenge for the Huskers will be their defense trying to contain dual-threat quarterback Braxton Miller. This will be a very close game and I see the Buckeyes escaping by a field goal.

Pick: Ohio State 

10. #23 Washington @ #2 Oregon  10:30 PM ET ESPN

- The Washington Huskies are coming off a huge upset win over Stanford 17-13. The high flying Oregon Ducks appeared to struggle in the first half against Washington State, but went crazy after the third quarter began. Husky quarterback Keith Price is going to need to be consistent Saturday night and be able to move the ball down the field on the Oregon defense. The Husky offense has struggled this whole season to put points up on the board. You have to be able to put points up if you want to have a shot at upsetting the Ducks. I think the first half is close, but as usual Marcus Mariota and the offense consisting of Kenjon Barner and De'Anthony Thomas put up big numbers in the second half. The Huskies have not beaten the Ducks since 2003 and have not won in Autzen Stadium since 2002.

Pick: Oregon

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

College Football Week 5 Recap

My Overall Record: 35-15
My Record in Week 5: 10-0

Best Game from Week 5: Miami (FL) 44, NC State 37

Students rush the field as Washington upset Stanford 17-13 
I can finally say I went 10-0 in picks after this past weekend. My big pick of the week was Washington upsetting #8 Stanford at home on Thursday night 17-13. The Huskies hung in there the whole game and eventually got the best of the Cardinal, who missed key tackles that could have prevented the upset.  Saturday was full of games that came down to the last few minutes. Miami (FL) played in another crazy game for the second week in a row and found a way to win it with 19 seconds remaining. West Virginia and Baylor went on a bigger scoring spree then anyone could have ever imagined, and Michigan State and Ohio State battled it out until the very end in East Lansing. The Tennessee Volunteers almost pulled off the upset in a surprisingly high scoring game with the Georgia Bulldogs, but turned the ball over twice in the remaining minutes of the game. Wisconsin was beating Nebraska 27-10 early in the 3rd Quarter, but Taylor Martinez got his team back into the game with a 38 yard touchdown run and a 10 yard touchdown pass. Wisconsin tried to comeback with a minute remaining in the game, but Montee Ball fumbled the ball and the Huskers escaped with a 30-27 win. Lastly, ranked Texas and Oregon State had to score last minute touchdowns to beat Oklahoma State and Arizona.

What we learned from Week 5:

 West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith is the clear Heisman front-runner. 

- Geno Smith has been sensational so far this season. This past weekend Smith was 45/51 for 656 yards with eight touchdowns. Not saying Baylor has the best defense, but those numbers are unreal. Smith's total quarterback passing statistics for the season include being 141/169 for 1728 yards with 20 touchdowns. He also has a completion percentage of 83.4 and no interceptions. A big reason for the success of Smith is his two explosive targets Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin. We will see just how good Smith is when his Mountaineers travel to play Texas this Saturday.

LSU may not be as good as we thought they were.

- LSU looked shaky these past two weekends against Auburn and Towson. This has caused the Tigers to drop from two to four in the AP Poll. The problem has come down to LSU fumbling and turning the football over. In these past two games, the Tigers have turned the ball over five times. If the Tigers want to be successful in the SEC, they cannot afford to do this every game.

Virginia Tech is overrated.

- What else is there to say about the Hokies? They came in looking to be a force in the ACC again this season. The Hokies have lost two of their last three games to subpar Big East teams. Virginia Tech got throttled in Week 2 by Pittsburgh 35-17, and then lost with 13 seconds left in the game against Cincinnati this past weekend by a score of 27-24. Hokie Quarterback Logan Thomas has not been the player everyone thought he would be by passing for just eight touchdowns and throwing six interceptions. Frank Beamer is notorious for losing early season games and winning the rest. We will see if his Hokies can turn it around this weekend as they travel to Chapel Hill to take on a scrappy North Carolina team.

 Oregon State's offense is potentially dangerous.

- The Beavers pulled out another Pac-12 road game. The nation now knows that it isn't just the Beaver defense that is giving opposing offenses nightmares. The Beaver offense may be incredibly lethal this season. Quarterback Sean Mannion looked great this past weekend against Arizona as he passed for 433 yards and three touchdowns. Mannion is averaging 362.6 passing yards per game and has wide receivers Markus Wheaton and Brandin Cooks to thank. Wheaton has averaged 158 receiving yards these past two games with three touchdown receptions. Speedster Brandon Cooks has averaged 162 yards these past two games with one touchdown reception. The new explosive member of the Beaver offense is freshman running back Storm Woods. Woods had 29 carries for 161 yards with one touchdown run against Arizona. The Beavers will look to continue their three game winning streak as they host Washington State this Saturday.

Last Thought:

We are less than half way through the 2012 season, but the Pac-12 has looked surprisingly good thus far. At the moment, the Pac-12 has six teams in the AP Top 25 Poll. Please let me know the last time that actually happened. I'm not completely sold on the conference as a whole yet. Each team has only had two conference games and there have already been two huge upsets. #21 Stanford upset #2 USC and Washington upset #8 Stanford two weeks later. The real question will be is if the Pac-12 consists of good teams beating good teams or mediocre teams beating mediocre teams? It's hard to tell if teams like Oregon State, UCLA, or Arizona State are for real right now. These next few weeks we will begin to figure out which teams are the contenders and who are the pretenders. 

Oregon vs Washington State at CenturyLink Field