#1 Alabama vs #5 LSU
A rematch of last years championship game is what is expected for tonight’s battle in Death Valley. The Crimson Tide come in with everything working on all cylinders. The defense is at it’s usual self, giving up only 8.1 pts per game, which leads the nation. Their offense is much improved over last year as AJ McCarron is sneaking into the Heisman talk with his proficiency. McCarron has a 69% completion percentage, thrown 18 tds and has 0 interceptions on the season. They currently have the 19th most difficult schedule in the nation but with #5 LSU and the #16 Texas A&M the next two weeks, that ranking should climb. That will also answer in naysayers about who they’ve played and their lofty ranking. The Tigers have two things working for them…Les Miles and Death Valley! Miles is one of the nation’s most interesting coaches since taking over for Saban in ’05. His record of 82-19 is just one thing that he brings to the table but he also brings the intangibles, just like his quote after the LSU victory over South Carolina this year “Death Valley is where opponents dreams come to die”! The problem with Miles’ Tigers is the offense. Junior Zach Mettenberger has not been reliable at the quarterback position with a completion percentage under 57% and only 7 TDs to 4 INTs. To be successful with a great defense he really just needs to be much like McCarron, a game manager who keeps his turnovers low and make the passes they ask him to make. Mettenberger is not that QB and he has shown an inability to win games with his talent. This is a down year for the Tigers offense and they really need more out of their QB if they want to make it back to the National Championship game. The 9-6 OT regular season game from last year will not happen as America will see a dominate Defense that is complimented by an assertive and efficient offense. Look for the penalties to play a big role as LSU continues to draw the flags. In their game against Texas A&M, they had more penalty yards that passing!! Death Valley keeps it close early but the lack of Tiger offense and the Tide’s ability to do everything right will eventually create a big margin of victory for the visitors.
Bama 29 LSU 13
#2 Oregon vs #17 USC
The Ducks can’t lose…can they? Oregon has a shot to make it back to the title game since their loss to Cam Newton and Auburn but they must be undefeated. This game was supposed to give them a chance to boost their strength of schedule but USC and the Fighting Lane Kiffin’s have surprisingly lost 2 games, both on the road. The Trojans were a pre-season pick by multiple sources to win the championship but now they have a chance at spoiling that chance for the Ducks. The Ducks offense will not be stopped but will their defense continue to play well, even against a dangerous offense in Southern Cal? Matt Barkley may be out of the Heisman running (he’s not winning) but he can salvage his season and at least pick up a ticket to New York for the festivities if he can repeat last year’s performance against the Ducks in a 38-35 victory. Last year’s game saw a 2 loss USC beat then #4 Oregon in Eugene. This has the makings of an instant classic and a possible replay of last years final. There will be high flying action and this match up will give you something to watch if the LSU/Bama turns in to a stinker early. Watch for Marcus Mariota get a lot of national attention after this game, win or lose.
Ducks 44 USC 40
If you ever wonder if networks really work together, this weekends top matchup’s will let you know they don’t! The 2 games that any college football fan wants to watch, no matter alliances, are the LSU/Bama and USC/Oregon games…and what happens? They are on at nearly the same time! The Oregon Ducks should be the angriest about the situation because finally people east of Oregon have a reason to watch and it’s before bed time. Yet, the SEC powerhouses play at 8. This means America gets an hour to watch Oregon’s high flying offense and improved defenses but that won’t be enough as Oregon needs to catch the eye of more voters if they want to move up in the BCS standings. It’s just a shame we couldn’t have a 6/9 staggered start, just think of how many viewers the networks are splitting when both could have had all of them! It’s making me pull my hair out and wearing my remote out…at least they are not on ESPN3! I just wish they would put their heads together for everyone’s benefit, even theirs.