Oklahoma vs. Texas (The Red River Shootout)- In August, this might have been a game for a spot in Glendale, but indiscretions at Norman and youth in Austin means that both teams enter the Cotton Bowl with a loss.
For Oklahoma to win, they will need a Heisman day from uber running back Adrian Peterson. He is carrying the weight of the school on his shoulders anyway and has played here before in a starting, and last year a losing, role. You would think after being blown out here last year and with the pre-season focus and that embarrassment in replay in Oregon that Oklahoma wants to prove something to the college football world that it is still a player on a national stage. Bob Stoops is still running the show, and they still can play defense. The Sooners have played to the level of their opposition so far this season and that bodes well, as Texas is very good.
For the Longhorns to win, they need to relax and execute. This will be a major challenge for redshirt freshman quarterback Colt McCoy. McCoy has yet to be tested away from the friendly confines of Austin, and while the Cotton Bowl will be a friendly neutral site, it isn't a home game and how quickly he relaxes and plays his game will determine how well they do. Texas, despite the loss, is a mighty fine club on both sides of the ball and want to avoid a second loss like the plague. They must make Oklahoma beat them in the air, because they will be eight in the box most of the game.
I'm going for the upset here, I like Peterson over McCoy and the Sooners by 3.
Oregon at Cal- The biggest growth period for a team in college football is between week one and week two. There is no better illustration of that than this year's Cal Golden Bears. The Bears are not the same team that was gutted in Knoxville to start the season. With Ted Tedford, Nate Longshore has transformed the offense from a prototypical Pac 10 high yardage and point squad, to an elite offense that doesn't stop coming. They are the irresistible force that we are used to seeing from that team in Los Angeles.
If one uses the term irresistible force in a story, there must be an immovable object. And that is the Oregon defense. Defense and Pac Ten are about as synonymous as Calista Flockhart and all you can eat buffet's, but the Ducks held Oklahoma to 15, and Arizona State's Rudy Carpenter to 33 yards passing. That's downright SEC in a conference that looks like the old AFL. Oh, and Denis Dixon can play quarterback too. They may not be as fine tuned as Cal or 'SC, bu they aren't slouches on offense either.
This is a BCS playoff game. That's not extra hype, it is the truth. The winner faces USC for a BCS berth, possibly a Rose Bowl berth. We have seen that both these teams are now top ten quality, and will focus on the Trojans with extra confidence after this.
Outside the ground war of attrition that is he SEC, this might be one of the best games of the year. Cal has a major advantage in that this game is in Berkley. Home teams get a three point bump from Vegas, and that's my call. Cal by 3.
LSU at Florida- There aren't enough swamp and alligator cliches to describe this game between these two marsh infested state schools. They both boast two incredible quarterbacks in Chris Leak and JaMarcus Russell. They have incredible defenses, and they both have shots at not only the Sugar Bowl, but Glendale as well. Although truth be told, LSU needs Auburn to lose twice and that's a huge longshot.
There isn't anything new that can be really said here as the airwaves will talk this game to death tomorrow. The winner will have established these basic rules of thumb. Less turnovers, less penalties, better time of possession, and better special teams play. Yup, it's that basic as they are very equal teams. Sorry to disappoint.
Florida has very quietly put themselves in position for an undefeated run through the SEC. The metaphysical equivalent of dating Jessica Simpson and Hillary Duff back to back. They beat Tennessee on the road, have LSU at home, Auburn on the road and Georgia in Jacksonville. I'm not saying they will run the table, but they, along with Auburn, have put themselves in the position to do it.
It's in the Swamp. I'll take Florida by 3. Seems like a good number.
While Florida State wishes they could turn back the clock on this week, the rest of College Footballand is looking forward to a monumental Saturday.
Last night in Raleigh, #17 Florida State was upset by the resurgent North Carolina State Wolfpack, 24-20. NC State trailed 20-10 with less than one minute to go in the third quarter. Daniel Evans capped off a seven play drive by hitting Geron James with a ten yard strike with :16 to go in the third, then hit John Dunlap from 12 yards out with 10:36 to go for the winner.
Drew Weatherford was intercepted inside Wolfpack territory with under three minutes to go to foil the Seminole comeback.
Evans went 13 for 22 for 190 yards and three touchdowns, highlighting the best performance so far for the redshirt sophomore, who also upset Boston College this season. Andre Brown rushed for 113 yards in the win as the Wolfpack go to 3-2 overall, but 2-0 in the strange ACC.
Weatherford was the highlight of the Florida State Offense throwing for 249 yards and two touchdowns before throwing the interception. FSU is 3-2, but a measly 1-2 in the ACC.
Now, on with the countdown: