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2011 NCAA Football – Week 10 Best Games

Week 10 here we come! This is a crazy week because what we really have is one game that is important and that’s #1 v. #2 with Alabama & LSU locking horns in Tuscaloosa. I’ve listed the games here that I think are the best, but really this week is about one game! Heck, it almost has  a Super Bowl type of feel to it! Either way, this one game will go a long way in determining who will eventually play in the BCS National Championship! There is a lot of thought that the winner here wins out and will finish 13-0, but don’t forget that there does exist a possibility that the loser here will win out and finish 11-1 and have enough juice in the BCS rankings to potentially give us a rematch, this time in New Orleans, for the chance to win it all!

A quick note here. The game are listed in decreasing order of importance/interest according to my opinion. Thus this week I obviously think the Alabama/LSU game is the most important/interesting game of the week. The 2nd most important/interesting game of the week for me is Oregon/Washington. This list is a little fluid depending on how much thought I give each game. The more I think about it the more I think that South Carolina/Arkansas should be the 2nd most important/interesting game instead of Oregon/Washington, but the Ducks/Huskies rivalry along with the Steve Sarkisian v. Chip Kelly factor, and the fact that the game is being played in Washington helped sway my opinion for UW/UO. Let’s get to it.

I think we take for granted just how similar these teams are defensively. Scoring Defense: Alabama #1, LSU #3. Rushing Defense: Alabama #1, LSU #3. Passing Defense: Alabama #2, LSU #10. Total Defense: Alabama #1, LSU #4. Then again, the offenses are very similar too. Scoring Offense: Alabama #11, LSU #12. Rushing Offense: Alabama #14, LSU #31. Passing Offense: Alabama #63, LSU #99. Total Offense: Alabama #22, LSU #81. LSU scores a lot of points while not being great offensively meaning they are pretty opportunistic when it comes to their defense. To me that’s the essence of the game. Remember that LSU leads the SEC in turnover margin at +15! Alabama is solid too at +6, but I think Bama probably gets a win here if they can avoid shooting themselves in the foot. This should easily be the best game of the college football season to date. Frankly, I don’t see how either offense is going to find any rhythm. Also remember that homefield advantage means nothing here. LSU is a fantastic road team. It won’t matter that the game isn’t in Baton Rouge. ALABAMA (-5)
Always interesting to see Oregon get outside of Eugene and see how much damage they can inflict on opposing defenses. The Oregon/Washington rivalry is probably the best rivalry in the Pac-12 when both teams have been dominant. In the last 7-8 years it seems like Oregon has won every game whereas the 7-8 years before that it seemed as if Washington was winning every game. Another layer if interest in this game is that Chip Kelly & Steve Sarkisian are the two best head coaches in the Pac-12. I think USC is going to be more than fine with Lane Kiffin at the helm, but I think USC fans are going to really think about what might have been had Sarkisian taken over for Carroll. Oregon probably wins this game, but remember that Washington is 6-2 with their two losses coming on the road against Nebraska & Stanford. Hard to imagine the Ducks faltering, but rivalries can produce anything. OREGON (-16.5)
No big surprise that Oklahoma St. is 21-point favorites at home against Kansas St. The Wildcats got exposed in Manhattan last week in their 58-17 loss to Oklahoma. What’s wild is that mid-way through the 2nd quarter, KSU was up 17-14 on Oklahoma before Boomer Sooner scored 44 unanswered points! That’s getting HAMMERED! Last week Oklahoma St. put together a great game in beating Baylor 59-24. What’s weird this year is that OSU has dominated a lot more when they focus on running the football. Their offensive line doesn’t get enough credit but Joseph Randle & Herschel Sims combined to rush for 256 yards & 5TD on only 22 carries! That’s 11.6ypc! Do you really think it’s going to be different this week? OKLAHOMA ST. (-21)
A horribly tough game for Texas A&M. Before the season began, I think most Aggies fans thought A&M might get to Norman at 8-0 with a real shot at beating the Sooners to catapult themselves into the BCS Championship, but now A&M is 5-3 and looking at 5-4 in what must feel like a horribly disappointing season. What’s also weird is that A&M has yet to lose a true road game!? Tie in that Oklahoma lost to Texas Tech in Norman, and maybe A&M has a shot! As for the Sooners, wow they looked HOT last week taking Kansas St. to the wood shed! If they get that kind of play this week, Texas A&M is staring at a 5-4 record which I would have thought impossible before the season began. OKLAHOMA (-13.5)
The LSU/Alabama game is getting hyped up a lot and for good reasons, but SC & Arkansas are both 7-1 which sets up for an incredible SEC battle as well. This game of cousre is interesting on a couple of fronts. The first is what could happen with the winner. Remember that if LSU beats Alabama & Arkansas beats LSU, it’s very possible an 11-1 Arkansas team winds up in the SEC Championship with a chance to play for the BCS Championship! The same holds for SC although the road is even easier because an 11-1 South Carolina team could upend a 12-0 LSU or Alabama squad in the SEC Championship! It’s wild. The Hogs have struggled lately, but SC’s offense has been horrific. This is a great game under the radar a bit. ARKANSAS (-5)
Another game going WAY under the radar, but this tilt has a lot of juice and is definitely one of the games I’m very much looking forward to seeing. Keep in mind that USC can’t get to the Pac-12 championship game and ASU is 4-1 while UCLA is 3-2 in the Pac-12. A UCLA win here puts the Bruins in control of their own destiny for playing in the Pac-12 championship which could lead to the ROSE BOWL! I think it’s also interesting because both Dennis Erickson & Rick Neuheisel have some heat on them. Neuheisel more than Erickson, but a UCLA win takes some heat off and could be a jump start for the Bruins program. It probably doesn’t matter, but a Pac-12 South title is something to shoot for. Keep in mind too that this line opened up at Arizona St. (-13.5)! ARIZONA ST. (-8.5)
It’s tough to see the Big East disintegrate because it’ll take away games like this. Cincinnati is a fantastic story this year as Butch Jones has lead UC to a 6-1 start & a 2-0 conference record. That’s a small sample size, but a win over Pitt makes UC 7-1 & 3-0. The biggest issue here is how long does Butch Jones stay in the Queen City? Remember he took over for Brian Kelly at Central Michigan. He then followed him to Cincinnati. He’s getting incredible results. He certainly can’t follow Kelly to Notre Dame because Kelly isn’t going anywhere, but Jones is a diamond looking for a better gig. I wouldn’t mind seeing him start fresh at Texas A&M in the SEC. I’m pulling for UC if only to increase the Jones hype machine. CINCINNATI (-3.5)
Outstanding Big 10 game! Remember that last season Michigan got off to an undefeated start only to lose to Michigan St. & choke away the rest of the season. Last week the Wolverines took care of business against Purdue, but beating the Boilermakers in the Big House & beating Iowa in Iowa City are two different things! Iowa is coming off a brutal loss to Minnesota which has to be an incredible embarrassment for Kirk Ferentz & Co.! They’ll be looking to get back on track, and what better team to do it against than Michigan? Keep in mind that Michigan controls it’s own destiny in the Legends division. Even if they lose to Ohio St. it won’t matter. Beating Nebraska, Illinois & Iowa buts them in Indianapolis! Something to keep in mind is that Iowa is 5-0 at home & 0-3 on the road. MICHIGAN (-4)
Last week was a great win for Notre Dame as they waxed Navy 56-14! Navy had been a gigantic thorn in ND’s side in recent years as they had lost 3 of their last 4 after beating the Midshipmen 43 consecutive times. The hammering felt fantastic, but Doug Flutie brought us back to reality when he said that we should expect a team like Notre Dame to beat Navy by 4-2 points. He’s right. The Irish are 5-3, but let’s face it, this year the only thing you can judge ND on is their games against Michigan, Michigan St., USC & Stanford. That’s it. So far they are 1-2. Getting to 8-3 with wins over Wake, Maryland & BC are expected. The big test comes in Pao Alto against Andrew Luck & the Cardinal. Those are Irish expectations. NOTRE DAME (-14)
Another solid Big East matchup that probably shouldn’t be close, but Louisville has been playing well of late so who knows? Remember that two weeks ago the Mountaineers went up to Syracuse & got waxed while a week later Louisville handled the Orange. The loss to Syracuse pretty much ruined WVU QB Geno Smith’s Heisman hopes even if they were dim to begin with, but he and WR Stedman Bailey are worth the price of admission! As you would expect with a Charlie Strong led team, the Cardinals are dominating defensively having the 12th best scoring defense in the nation. WVU should roll here because I think it’ll be hard to keep them under 25 points at home & Louisville’s offense is among the worst in the FBS. WEST VIRGINIA (-13)
You have to admit those new ECU helmets are pretty slick! The Pirate skull & crossbones are a lot more menacing than a simple block lettered “ECU”! On paper Southern Miss is a lot better than ECU, but note that both teams are 3-1 in Conference USA’s East division. The winner here will eventually play in the CUSA Championship game against either Houston or Tulsa. ECU already got waxed by Houston 56-3 so I don’t think ECU has much chance of winning CUSA, but I think Southern Miss might. It’ll be interesting because Southern Miss is 7-1 and on a 6-game winning streak, but ECU’s only losses have come against Virginia Tech, South Carolina, North Carolina & Houston. Good barometer game for Southern Miss. SOUTHERN MISS (-9)
TCU is going to roll in this one, but Wyoming isn’t horrible and the game is in Laramie. What’s interesting about this one in particular is how it ties in with the Mountain West. The Cowboys are 2-0 in conference with wins over UNLV & San Diego St. They haven’t played any of the MWC big boys such as TCU, Boise St., or Air Force although admittedly the San Diego St. win is a big one. TCU is 3-0 in conference and lead Boise St. by a half game who sit at 2-0 themselves. Remember that TCU has lost close games to both Baylor & SMU. Those are 2 games TCU shouldn’t have lost, but they’ve shown at least this season they can gaffe a bit. Wyoming might be good enough to take advantage although I doubt TCU gives them the chance. TCU (-19)
Interesting only in the rivalry sense, the ACC Coastle is Virginia Tech’s to lose while the ACC Atlantic is Clemson’s to lose so there really is no chance for either North Carolina school to get into the ACC Championship game. With their win over Wake Forest last week the Tar Heels got bowl eligible with a record of 6-3. The Wolfpack sit at 4-4, but do have remaining games against Boston College & Maryland which should at worst put them at 6-6. A win over an in-state rival would possibly give them a 7-5 season which takes a little heat off of Tom O’Brien. This isn’t one of my most favorite in-state rivalries, but it’s a good one and there is something on the line for NC State. NORTH CAROLINA (-3.5)
The game appears here only because Stanford is 8-0 & that is reason enough to make it an interesting & important game. Stanford is 21-point road favorites so on the surface it would seem that Stanford would be close to a 30-point favorite at home and should blow out the Beavers handily. However, anyone that knows college football knows Oregon St. has a way in these games. In 2006 they welcomed a #3 USC team and beat them 33-31. In 2007 they played at #2 California and won 31-28. In the same season they played #18 Oregon in Eugene and won 38-31. In 2008 they hosted #1 USC and beat them 27-21. I think Stanford wins, but crazy things happen in Corvallis & Oregon St. isn’t as bad as they’ve played this season. STANFORD (-21)
Another yawner for Boise St. They are 42-point favorites for a reason and most of that reason is reliant on the fact that UNLV is TERRIBLE this season! Boise is presenting a unique opportunity really. I’m not a fan of theirs because I think they play too weak a schedule to be included in any national championship discussion no matter how many times they go undefeated. On the other hand, if they played the Alabama/LSU winner in the BCS Championship then it could produce a major shift in college football. Either the SEC team beats them by 40 and nothing changes or Boise St. wins which would essentially end the BCS. I’m not really sure which I’d be a fan of really, but the possibility exists this year. BOISE ST. (-42)
Like Boise St., Houston appears on the list because they are 8-0 and thus have a very real chance at going 12-0 & possibly 13-0 if they win CUSA. If Houston wins the conference & wins their bowl, then they’ll finish 14-0 and what do you do with a team like that? They have to be ranked in the top-10 you would assume? Case Keenum here is the straw that stirs the drink. Last week the guy throws 9TD passes! IN A SINGLE GAME! This week he’s got UAB so maybe he’ll throw 15TD passes!? If Houston does play 14 games, then Keenum is on pace to end the season with 5,633 passing yards, 56TD, 5INT & a 72% completion rate. That’s incredible. HOUSTON (-27.5)
Indiana fans can be happy that this line started at Ohio St. (-29) so there has been improvement over this past week! Things are looking up! I always list the IU games because I’m a complete homer, but this game actually is interesting from Ohio St.’s side of the equation. The Buckeyes should hammer Indiana which would make their record 6-3 (3-2). That isn’t fantastic, but they should beat Purdue next week as well making them 7-3 (4-2) before ending the season against Penn St. & Michigan. Who knows what will happen there, but if Ohio St. can somehow go 3-1 in their last 3 and finish 8-4 (5-3) then they could win the Leaders division if Penn St. loses their last 3 games. Wow! Who would have thought that 2 weeks ago? OHIO ST. (-27.5)

November 5, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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