BCS National Title Game '11

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

Friday, November 30, 2012

College Football: Week 14 matchups to watch

We finally have reached the last weekend for teams to make their way into BCS Bowl games. The game this weekend with National Championship implications is the SEC Championship between #2 Alabama and #3 Georgia. The winner of this game will play #1 Notre Dame in Miami for the crystal ball. The craziness of the Big Ten will finally be decided in Indianapolis Saturday night as #12 Nebraska (10-2) will take on Wisconsin (7-5) in the Big Ten Championship for a ticket to the Rose Bowl. Wisconsin came close to defeating the Huskers earlier this season in Lincoln and have earned a spot in this game because of Ohio State and Penn State being ineligible. At the beginning of the season it was all about a rematch between Oregon and USC in the Pac-12 Championship. Here we are at the end of the season and we have #16 UCLA playing #8 Stanford for the second time in less than a week for a trip to the Rose Bowl. The ACC's wheel of destiny landed on Georgia Tech this season. Georgia Tech (7-5) will play #13 Florida State (10-2) for the ACC Championship after Miami (FL)
self-imposed a postseason ban on themselves making the Hurricanes ineligible for the ACC Championship. Lastly, there is a crucial game tonight for a potential BCS at-large bid for #17 Kent State or #21 Northern Illinois. The Kent State Golden Flashes only need to move up one more spot in the BCS standings to make it to a BCS Bowl game. The Northern Illinois Huskies need a lot more help with losses from Boise State, Texas, and UCLA. Even that may not be enough for the Huskies to be eligible for an at-large BCS bid.

ESPN College GameDay will be live from Atlanta, GA (10:00 AM ET)

Matchup: #2 Alabama vs #3 Georgia

Thursday, November 29th

1. Louisville @ Rutgers  7:30 PM ET ESPN

- Finally, the mighty Big East will be settled tonight in Piscataway. Louisville and Rutgers were both upset this past Saturday and dropped out of the BCS Standings. The winner of this game will play in either the Sugar Bowl or Orange Bowl. The Rutgers Scarlet Knights are looking for their first BCS bowl bid in the school's history. Louisville went to a BCS Bowl game in 2007, where they defeated Wake Forest 24-13 in the Orange Bowl. The matchup in this game is going to be the Cardinals passing attack against the tough Scarlet Knight defense. Louisville will rely on the passing game of sophomore quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Bridgewater has averaged 350.2 passing yards and 2.8 touchdowns in his past five games. The Cardinal offense has averaged 296.5 passing yards per game this season. The Scarlet Knights have not been strong on offense this season and have needed to win games by relying on its defense. The Scarlett Knight defense is holding opponents to only 114.4 rushing yards per game and just 15.1 points per game. What could be a key aspect in this game is if the Scarlet Knights rushing attack led by Jawan Jamison can show some sort of life and wear down a Cardinal defense that has not faired well against the run this season. Could we see "pandemonium in Piscataway" part II against Louisville?

Prediction: Rutgers 28, Louisville 24

Result: Louisville 20, Rutgers 17

Friday, November 30th

2. #21 Northern Illinois vs #17 Kent State  MAC Championship (Detroit, MI)  7:00 PM ET ESPN2

- The Golden Flashes of Kent State are very likely to be BCS bound if they can win this game. On the other hand, the Northern Illinois Huskies are looking to repeat as the MAC Champions and are hoping for a miracle that they hit the 16th spot in the BCS Standings. The Golden Flashes are on a 10-game winning streak after being blown out early in the season at Kentucky 47-14. The success of Kent State has been in part to its rushing attack. Running back Dri Archer, who should be able to go tonight, has rushed for 125 or more yards in three of his last four games. Archer also has 18 total touchdowns on the season. The Golden Flashes are 11th in the country in rushing yards per game this season with 241.5. The Huskies are led by explosive junior quarterback Jordan Lynch who has led an offense that is currently 9th in the country in rushing yards per game with 245 yards. Lynch's dual threat ability has caused him to be a nightmare for defenses this season. Lynch has averaged 229.1 passing yards per game, 134.2 rushing yards per game, and has accounted for 39 of the Huskies touchdowns this season. Not only are the Huskies sound on offense, but their defense continues to be tough year after year. The Husky defense is holding opponents to 17.5 points per game this season. The MAC Championship is more than just a game this year. It could potentially be for the conferences first BCS bid.

Prediction: Northern Illinois 32, Kent State 26
Result: Northern Illinois 44, Kent State 37 (2OT)

3. #16 UCLA @ #8 Stanford  Pac-12 Championship  8:00 PM ET FOX

- In less than a week, UCLA and Stanford will have played two games against each other. In round one this past Saturday, The Stanford Cardinal completely outplayed the UCLA Bruins and won by a score of 35-17 in the Rose Bowl. The Bruins must now travel to the "The Farm" to get revenge against a very tough and physical Cardinal team. Last week, I picked the Bruins to pull the upset. Boy how was I ever wrong. Stanford running back Stepfan Taylor went off for 142 rushing yards and two touchdowns. The Stanford defense also shut down the UCLA offense by holding them to just 73 total rushing yards. Standout UCLA running back Johnathan Franklin rushed for only 65 yards and one touchdown leaving the offense up to the arm of quarterback Brett Hundley. If UCLA wants any chance of winning this time against Stanford, the offense must establish a running game. The UCLA defense must also prevent Stepfan Taylor from breaking free and running for big gains. We'll see if the Bruins have what it takes to win round two.

Prediction: Stanford 42, UCLA 21
Result: Stanford 27, UCLA 24

Saturday, December 1st 

4. #11 Oklahoma @ TCU  12:00 PM ET ESPN

- It's the Sooners last chance to win the Big 12 Championship. The Sooners need to defeat the Horned Frogs and then have Kansas State lose to Texas to be the winner of the Big 12. With a Big 12 Conference Championship, the Sooners would be guaranteed a spot in the Fiesta Bowl. The Sooners won in overtime in a shootout with in-state rival Oklahoma State this past weekend and TCU is coming off an upset victory at Texas. Sooner quarterback Landry Jones threw for an impressive 500 yards and three touchdowns this past weekend. Jones has thrown for 500 or more yards in his past two games and his main target has been junior wide receiver Jalen Saunders. Saunders has put up 285 receiving yards and two touchdowns in his past two games. A lot of pressure will be put on the Horned Frog defense to stop an offense that is averaging 41.7 points per game. The Horned Frog defense held the Texas Longhorns to just 13 points and 86 rushing yards last Thursday. They will need another gutsy performance from the defense, because the offense led by Trevone Boykin will not be able to put up enough points on the Sooner defense to win. Oklahoma should win this ball game and appear in the Fiesta or Sugar Bowl. If the Sooners do not win the Big 12 they will need to hope Kent State loses in the MAC Championship. Kent State could steal an at-large bid away from Oklahoma if they defeat Northern Illinois in the MAC Conference Championship game.

Prediction: Oklahoma 42, TCU 23

5. #23 Oklahoma State @ Baylor  12:00 PM ET FX

- Both of these teams put up over 40 points this past weekend and went into overtime. Look for this to be another Big 12 game where there is only offense and no defense. There could potentially be over 1,000 yards of offense in this game. The Oklahoma State offense has averaged 332.6 passing yards per game and has scored an average of 45.6 points per game. Quarterback Clint Chelf has looked solid since taking over the Cowboy offense four games ago. Chelf has averaged 251.7 passing yards per game and has thrown nine touchdowns. Baylor has been just as explosive on offense. Baylor has averaged 358.5 passing yards per game and is putting up 44.4 points per game. Quarterback Nick Florence has been amazing this entire season after having to replace Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III. Florence has passed for 3,825 yards this season and 30 touchdowns. We can't forget about the running games of both teams either as Baylor and Oklahoma State have top 20 rushing attacks. This is going to be a very high scoring affair and it will be up to one of the defenses to make a stop late in the fourth quarter.

Prediction: Oklahoma State 54, Baylor 49

6. #20 Boise State @ Nevada  3:30 PM ET ABC

- The Boise State Broncos are not completely out of the BCS picture yet. With a win, the Broncos would need one of the two scenarios to happen. The first scenario is the Broncos would need UCLA, Kent State, Texas, and Florida State to lose. The second scenario would consist of UCLA, Kent State, and Texas losing, then the Broncos jumping Michigan in the BCS Standings. Boise State needs to get past Nevada though. We all remember what happened two years ago when the Wolf Pack pulled the upset at home against the Broncos. Two years has passed though and both teams are not what they were in 2010. Boise State's offense has not been as explosive with quarterback Joe Southwick, but the Bronco defense has been one of the best in the country. The Bronco defense is only giving up an average of 14.4 points per game and 133.5 rushing yards per game. This could be trouble for a Wolf Pack offense that relies heavily on their rushing attack led by 1,000 yard rusher Stefphon Jefferson and quarterback Cody Fajardo. If Nevada cannot get their running game going it could result in a blow out win for Boise State.

Prediction: Boise State 42, Nevada 24

7. #2 Alabama vs #3 Georgia  SEC Championship (Atlanta, GA) 4:00 PM ET CBS

- This one is for all the marbles. The winner of this game goes to the BCS National Championship and the loser will likely be heading to the Cotton or Chick-fil-A Bowl. This is going to be a heavy weight fight with teams that had aspirations of making the National Championship before the season even began. These teams expected to be in Atlanta playing in a game of this magnitude. The Alabama Crimson Tide have a good offense with an even better defense. Crimson Tide quarterback AJ McCarron has 25 touchdown and only two interceptions on the season. The offense also consists of a solid backfield with Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon, as well as a rising star in freshman wide receiver Amari Cooper. The Crimson Tide defense led by line backer C.J. Mosley and nose guard Jesse Williams have allowed just 9.3 points per game this season. The Crimson Tide defense is currently the best overall defense in the country and have not given up more than 24 points in any game this season.

The Georgia Bulldogs appeared to be out of the race with a blowout loss at South Carolina. Then the season changed in those two weeks after the South Carolina game. Georgia barely escaped Kentucky 29-24 and Bulldog safety Shawn Williams called his own defense "soft." Georgia went on to upset Florida 17-9 and took control of the SEC East Division for good. The Bulldog offense led by quarterback Aaron Murray continues to look better with 14 touchdown passes in his last five games. The Bulldog offense has also become more explosive with the help of freshman running back Todd Gurley, who has rushed for 1,138 yards and 14 touchdowns this season. The Bulldog defense has given up just 11.1 points per game since they lost to South Carolina in Week 6. Linebacker Jarvis Jones  has been a nightmare for offenses this season and looks to be one of the key players in stopping the Crimson Tide offense. This game will be all about defense and field position. Both offenses will be geared towards game management and not making mental mistakes that could put the opposing team's offense in scoring position. A lot of pressure will also be placed on Alabama kicker Jeremy Shelley and Georgia kicker Marshall Morgan to make key field goals. This is going to be a very close game between two very talented teams.

Prediction: Alabama 23, Georgia 17

8. #18 Texas @ #6 Kansas State 8:00 PM ET ABC

- It's as simple as this. If Kansas State wins this game, they win their first Big 12 Championship since 2003 and guarantee themselves a spot in the Fiesta Bowl. Wildcat Quarterback Collin Klein will get his final chance to impress Heisman voters against an improved Texas Longhorn defense. The Wildcat offense needs the rushing attack led by Collin Klein and John Hubert. The Wildcats had just 76 rushing yards against the Baylor defense two weeks ago. The Longhorns have struggled against the run this season by giving up an average of 201.5 yards per game, meaning this could be something the Wildcat offense takes advantage of. The Longhorn offense struggled against TCU last week and have replaced quarterback David Ash with Case McCoy. McCoy has come in late in the fourth quarter twice this season to try and revive the Longhorn offense after Ash had struggled. If the Wildcat defense can shutdown the Longhorn rushing attack and put pressure on Case McCoy, the Wildcats have a good chance of winning this game. The Wildcat defense must put the Baylor game behind them after they gave up 52 points and 580 yards. Kansas State has defeated Texas in their last four meetings. We will see if Texas has anything left in the tank after last week's loss.

Prediction: Kansas State 34, Texas 24

9. #13 Florida State vs Georgia Tech  ACC Championship (Charlotte, NC)  8:00 PM ET ESPN

- Florida State and Georgia Tech are both coming off of embarrassing losses to their in-state rivals. The Florida State Seminoles expected to be here at the beginning season. If the Seminoles do not win this game, the Seminoles season has gone right down the drain again. Quarterback EJ Manuel was banged up last week against the Gator Defense, but has been cleared and will be ready to play Saturday night. The Seminole offense has been good this season averaging 41.5 points per game, but it has been the defense that has been the backbone of this team. The Seminole defense has given up just 15.1 points per game and 280.9 total yards per game this season. The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets made it to this game by default. Both teams ahead of the Georgia Tech in the ACC Coastal Division were ineligible to play. North Carolina had a one year bowl ban heading into the season and Miami (FL) recently self-imposed a bowl ban on themselves. The Ramblin' Wreck from Georgia Tech have one of the best rushing games in the country statistically with their triple option attack.  Last week though, Georgia shutdown the Yellow Jacket offense and held them to just ten points. The Yellow Jacket offense may be in even more trouble as they face the 4th best best defense in the country. The Seminoles should be headed to their first BCS Bowl game since 2005.

Prediction: Florida State 42, Georgia Tech 16

10. #12 Nebraska vs Wisconsin  Big Ten Championship (Indianapolis, IN)  8:17 PM ET FOX

- Earlier this season, Wisconsin blew a 17 point lead in Lincoln and lost to Nebraska 30-27. Since that game, the Huskers have squeaked out victories against Northwestern, Michigan State, Penn State, and Iowa. Wisconsin improved after losing that night in Lincoln, but have lost in overtime these past weeks against Ohio State and Penn State. In all honesty, these teams should be sending thank you notes to Ohio State for being ineligible to play in this football game. The Husker offense was shutdown last week at Iowa and were fortunate to come out of Iowa City with a 13-7 victory. The Huskers will rely again on the running game of Rex Burkhead, who rushed for 69 yards and one touchdown last week after being out since late October with a knee injury. The Badgers must rely on their running back Montee Ball as well. Ball set the record for most touchdowns in FBS history last week at Penn State. If the Badgers can pound it out on the ground that will open up wide receiver Jared Abbrederis to make plays down the field like he did against the Husker defense earlier this season. The key in this game is going to be the Wisconsin defense. The Badger defense has a talented linebacking core headed by Chris Borland and it will be up to them to contain Husker quarterback Taylor Martinez. Most people are looking for the Huskers to run away with this game and punch their ticket to the Rose Bowl. Just because the Badgers are 7-5 does not mean they don't have a chance to win this game. Expect round two between these teams to be just as close.

Prediction: Nebraska 26, Wisconsin 24

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