Last week we were all hot and bothered by the LSU-Alabama showdown and this week we get to enjoy our homemade granola, drink some herbal tea and bust out the yoga mats for the Pac 12 game of the year with Oregon traveling to face White Jesus Andrew Luck and Stanford. Oregon fell down early last season before laying the lumber to in the second half and running away with the game. Elsewhere in the Pac 12, Washington travels to USC in hopes of (finally) winning a game against a good team. After giving up 50+ to both Nebraska and Stanford, the Huskies managed to hold Oregon to 34. If only they scored more than 17.
The ACC mercifully ends the Thursday night curse when it paired Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech together. This is a must win for Georgia Tech as a loss would give Paul Johnson’s ego the Jackets a third conference loss. After the battle of the Tech’s the game of the week is probably Free Shoe taking on Miami. This could be dubbed the “Oh how the mighty have fallen” bowl. After starting the season 2-3, FSU has rebounded thanks to a drop in competition to win four straight. Meanwhile, Al Golden now gets to answer questions about Penn State.
The Big 12 is off this week as far as marquee games, but Texas-Missouri and Kansas State-Texas A&M should be entertaining. Some are saying Texas Tech is in prime position to trip up Oklahoma State, but after seeing Texas Tech play the past two weeks, I just don’t see that being all that close in the third quarter. The Big East is highlighted by the one-loss Cincinnati Bearcats hosting West Virginia. Cincy was destroyed by the SEC’s 9th best team (Tennessee) and is in line for a BCS bowl. I bet the Orange Bowl committee is so happy to hear that.
The SEC has only two games of importance, but neither are really that important. Auburn travels to Athens to take on Georgia while South Carolina hosts Florida. Should the Gamecocks lose it would mean UGA would need a split against Auburn and Kentucky to win the right to get housed by LSU. Should Auburn pull the upset, South Carolina would be a win against a bad Florida team away from the Dome.
Boise State plays the second of it’s two game season this week when it hosts TCU. Such a gauntlet.
After a 2-2 week to further cement my legacy as that of mediocrity personified, let’s hope we can pull off a winning week this go around. As always, the rankings are based on the BCS standings and the lines come from Bodog as of Thursday afternoon.
GAMES OF THE WEEK
#7 Oregon at #4 Stanford (-3.5), 8:00, ABC
The Ducks are coming into this game at the right time as star RB LaMichael James is healthy after he dislocated his arm against Arizona State. Oregon is averaging 298 yards per game on the ground, 5th best in the nation. Stanford is giving up just under 79 yards on the ground, 3rd best in the country. That right there is the story line. Can Oregon do it’s thing against the Cardinal defense? Meanwhile, Oregon is 58th in the nation stopping the run, while Stanford is 17th in rushing offense. Add that to the Cardinal having the best quarterback in the country and you can see why Oregon is the underdog in this game. However being a road dog of only 3.5 points when you can’t stop the run and they like to run the ball is a bit odd.
The one good thing Oregon does do on defense is get to the quarterback. The Ducks are 6th in the nation in sacks, getting 3.22 each game. Stanford will be a tough test for the undersized Oregon DL, however, as the Cardinal OL might be the best in the country. If Luck stays relatively clean I don’t see how Oregon stops Stanford. While Stanford will be without some key starters on offense (2 TEs and a WR) I think their OL and running game can control Oregon’s front 7. Oregon will get their yards in this game, but if Stanford can dominate the clock, I think Oregon will get antsy. Stanford 31 – Oregon 27.
#10 Virginia Tech (-1) at #21 Georgia Tech, 8:00, ESPN
The Hokies come into this game looking for the knockout punch to Georgia Tech’s ACC title hopes. The stats all point to Virginia Tech winning this game. They run the ball well, something Ga Tech has a hard time defending, and they stop the run better than almost every other team in the country (5th in the nation). They’ve had 10 days to prepare for Paul Johnson’s option attack, and we all know that the more time you have to prepare for his offense the better it is for you.
However, I think Georgia Tech takes this game. I think Virginia Tech is vastly overrated. The Hokies were dominated at home by Clemson and their best win was a frantic comeback against Miami at home as well. Georgia Tech, meanwhile, plays much better at home than they do on the road, and after a confidence building win against Clemson 10 days ago, I think Paul Johnson will have his team ready knowing that a loss essentially eliminates them from ACC contention. Georgia Tech 31 – Virginia Tech 30.
#19 Nebraska (-3.5) at #12 Penn State, 12:00, ESPN
So, yeah…nothing really interesting surrounding this game at all, huh? This game should be talked about for all of the right reasons (Big 10 race, historical powers meeting, etc…) but instead we have to talk about the rape of children and the lack of a proper response. In the matter of 3 days Penn State lost their president, athletic director and head coach. Imagine that happening at your school. Yikes.
Anyhoo, the game itself should favor Penn State, yet the Huskers are a 3.5 point road favorite, and that was before the Sandusky story broke. Penn State is 8th in total defense, including 24th against the run, something Nebraska relies (too heavily) on. The other side of that coin is that Penn State is equally as bad on offense as they are good on defense (88th in total offense, 55th in rushing). I honestly think this game could go in any number of ways. A part of me says Penn State folds under the intense pressure of the moment, letting their emotions get the best of them and they get blown off of the field. The other part of me sees the young kids playing the best game of the year, effectively winning one for JoePa. They don’t do anything well on offense, but Nebraska doesn’t do anything well on defense. Add that to the fact that they are playing at home in what will be a historic game and I like Penn State to come out swinging for the fences. Penn State 24 – Nebraska 17.
#20 Auburn at #15 Georgia (-12.5), 3:30, CBS
The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry has become one of the more fun games each year in SEC country. Both programs are so similar it’s scary. They recruit the same players every year, with each winning some and losing some. Before Cam Newton took over in the 4th quarter is last year’s game, it looked for a moment that UGA was going to win their 5th straight game against Auburn. They’ll have to settle for 5 out of 6 should they win this season.
When I first saw the line open at -12.5 I was very surprised. I then saw several sites raise the line to 13 and I was even more shocked. Then is did some research. Auburn is 84th against the run, 50th against the pass and 75th in total defense. Georgia is 8th, 24th and 7th in those categories, respectively. Auburn is 31st in rushing offense, but 108th in passing and 89th in total offense. Georgia is 43rd, 39th and 37th, respectively. The Tigers are pretty bad in every major statistical measure on defense and only their rushing offense saves them from the abyss on offense.
Meanwhile, Georgia is getting healthy at the right time with Malcolm Mitchell expected to return to the offense. The team’s leading receiver has missed the last three games with a severe pull in his hamstring. Auburn has had two weeks to prepare for this game, but Georgia hosted New Mexico State last week and went into the half leading 49-3, so they essentially had a week off as well. Georgia gets Isaiah Crowell and Carlton Thomas back after last week’s suspension, so the top two RBs on the current depth chart should be well rested. After the way last season’s game ended (two Auburn players suspended and Trooper Taylor being a douchebag) I think Georgia is out for blood this week. I expect this game to get chippy early on, but look for the more talented and experienced Georgia team to take over in the second half. Georgia 31 – Auburn 13.
Record: 13-11-1 ATS