Top NCAA Football Games of Week, Thursday Recaps and Saturday Previews
College football is entering the home stretch .As the saying goes, the games they remember are the ones played in November. Let’s check in on the college football landscape and see what the top five matchups are for this weekend.
Thursday Night Mighty Match-up's
#16 Baylor vs. #10 Oklahoma 41-12 Final
Arguably the most-anticipated game ever at Baylor at least for long time can Thursday night and took advantage of it. Oklahoma has most of the history, dominance but Thursday night it was owned by the Bears not the Sooners. The Bears played at home against a No. 12 Oklahoma team that revamped its defense during the offseason because of matchups just like this one. Baylor began the game at (7-0, 4-0) and is the Big 12's only undefeated team and, with its highest ranking in 60 years, the only one in the top 10.
It’s hard to believe but just a few seasons ago Baylor had been the laughing stock of the Big 12. The Bears continue to have a school-record winning streak that is now at 12 games, and they are one step closer to go for a possible Big 12 title and BCS shot as they thrashed Oklahoma party Thursday night 41-12. The only blocks they have in their way are teams in the top half of the league standings -- Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and Texas.
Baylor quarterback redshirt junior Bryce Petty was a stud as he completed 13-of-26 passing attempts for 204 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions in Thursday night’s game.
#5 Stanford vs. #3 Oregon 26-20 Final
This game was for all the marbles of the Pac-12 and had National championship implications are on the line. The two powerhouses clash took place on the gridiron in Palo Alto. Oregon and Stanford represented the winners of the past four Pac-12 conference championships. The Cardinal handed the Ducks their only loss last season, 17-14 in overtime in Eugene. This game seemed a lot different going in since the Ducks remained undefeated while the Cardinals suffered an upset against Utah. But going out it certainly wasn’t what the Ducks expected as they lost to Cardinals 26-20. Stanford's defense through three quarters shut-out the Ducks.
The loss came with a price as Oregon redshirt sophomore quarterback Marcus Mariota who is dealing with a partially sprained MCL, but he did try to help his team with three fourth quarter touchdowns, but they weren't enough to revive Oregon's championship aspirations. He ended the night with 20-of-34 passes completed for 250 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions in Thursday's loss against Stanford and but did he just knock himself out as one of the front runners for the Heisman Trophy.
Saturday’s Top Match Up’s
Game of the Weekend
#1 Alabama vs. #13 LSU
Alabama versus LSU is a made-for-prime-time matchup in the Southeastern Conference and maybe even a must-win in the Crimson Tide's bid for a third consecutive national championship. Alabama has overcome down-to-the-wire November defeats the past two seasons -- to Texas A&M and the Tigers - and still managed to claim the title, thanks to timely losses by other contenders.
Now, four other unbeaten teams are lined up just waiting for the Tide to falter, making perfection the only guaranteed ticket to the BCS title game in Pasadena, Calif. LSU posses the first real threat to Alabama since the Tide played Texas A&M in their second game of the season.
The Tide will be heavily favored in at least two of their last three regular-season games against Chattanooga and Mississippi State before facing No. 7 Auburn. Even so Alabama is an 11-point favorite over LSU this weekend. If this game were being played in Baton Rouge the Tigers would have a better chance. As it stands expect Alabama to be victorious and remain undefeated.
#2 Florida State @ Wake Forrest
Wake Forrest does not pose a significant threat to Florida State but the real story here is about the Seminoles. Twelve seasons have come and gone since Florida State last played for the BCS national championship, but FSU is making a convincing argument that it again belongs on college football's biggest stage come January.
The concerns being the Seminoles don’t become complacent with their success before then. Florida State looks to clinch a spot in the ACC championship game it visits Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons will be without its top offensive weapon on Saturday. The Seminoles haven't won their first nine games since winning the 1999 national championship, and they haven't appeared in the title game since falling to Oklahoma the following season.
After last week's 41-14 rout of then-No. 7 Miami, they moved up to No. 2 in the latest BCS standings behind Alabama and could be five victories away from playing in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 6. The Demon Deacons nearly upset Miami on Oct. 26 before allowing a touchdown with 53 seconds remaining in a 24-21 loss, but they set a season low with 198 total yards in a 13-0 loss to Syracuse last week.
The biggest blow came when leading wide receiver Michael Campanaro suffered a broken collarbone in the first quarter. He is expected to miss 4-6 weeks possibly marking the end of the senior's college career. Look for the Seminoles to stay on track and keep their national championship hopes alive.
#9 Auburn @ Tennessee
With both Ohio State and Clemson on byes this week the next and final best matchup of the weekend falls to Auburn. Auburn has plowed its way into SEC, and maybe national title, contention with a running game that has lately been making the forward pass more luxury than necessity. Auburn attempted nine passes at Arkansas last Saturday and still won 35-17. With its run-heavy formula working well the Tigers now face the conference's worst run defense statistically Saturday when they visit Tennessee. While Tennessee does not pose a real threat they are still an SEC conference foe the Tigers have to contend with on their turf.
However the Volunteers have its work cut out for them again as they face a ranked opponent for the fifth straight game and the seventh time this season. The Volunteers are 1-5 in those matchups, getting outscored 221-98. Auburn extended its win streak in this series to five with a 26-22 road victory in the last matchup in 2009. The streak will continue until six when this matchup is over.
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