BCS National Title Game '11

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

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

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