Curci: Week 12 College Football Preview
By Joe Curci
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With Alabama losing Saturday, the complexion of the BCS has turned completely upside down.
This could be yet another year where the best team in the country will not play in the title game. Now every Alabama fan will be forced to root for one of the remaining unbeaten teams to go down.
The good news for Tide fans is that the road is not exactly simple for the three remaining unbeaten teams. Oregon will play Stanford this week, Oregon State, and then the Pac-12 title game. Kansas State has games at Baylor and home against Texas. Notre Dame will host Wake Forest before traveling to USC to end their season.
You can make a case for all of these teams slipping at one point, but that remains to be seen.
#13 Stanford @ #2 Oregon 8:00 p.m.
The first of the remaining three hurdles for the Ducks. They take on Stanford at home, trying to repeat their 53-30 win from last season.
The Ducks have outscored their opponents by 325 points (548-223) and have won 13 in a row dating back to last season. Chip Kelly will have to keep his team focused, as the media has backed them as a favorite to get into the title game this January. They must stay focused and beat a very good Cardinal team.
Stanford comes into this contest off four straight wins since their controversial loss at Notre Dame. They beat a very tough Oregon State team at home last week and will travel to Oregon to try and pull off a huge upset.
Stanford has a lot of talent, but if Oregon is going to lose, it will most likely be in the Civil War next week. The Ducks’ ‘O’ is just too good behind Marcus Mariota and Kenjon Barner. PICK: Oregon 55 Stanford 28
#1 Kansas State @ Baylor 8:00 p.m.
Unless he comes out and throws a ton of interceptions and the Wildcats get blown out in their next two games, all roads lead to the Heisman Trophy for quarterback Collin Klein.
The Wildcats will travel to Baylor to take on a team they stunned last season winning 36-35. Klein rushed for 113 yards and a score, and threw for another 146 yards and two touchdown passes, upsetting a Baylor team led by Robert Griffin III. Griffin had five touchdown passes in that game but it was Klein who led the Wildcats to 10 unanswered in the fourth quarter.
This time around the game will not completely be on Klein’s shoulders. The defense will have to continue their solid play, and as long as the team doesn’t look ahead to next week’s matchup with Texas they should prevail. PICK: K-State 41 Baylor 33
Wake Forest @ #3 Notre Dame 3:30 p.m.
The Irish find themselves in a major predicament. As of right now indications seem that they will be on the outside looking in on playing in the BCS Championship Game, should things remain the same.
As we saw last week with Alabama, nothing is set in stone. And Irish fans will find themselves rooting heavily for a Kansas State and-or Oregon loss. They must take care of business in their own right, and the way these computers work, they need to add some style points.
They welcome in a Wake Forest team that has lost four of their last six and the Irish should be able to keep their offensive production to a minimum. Notre Dame will win, but by how much? PICK: Notre Dame 33 Wake Forest 6
#22 Rutgers @ Cincinnati 12:00 p.m.
After getting off to such a tremendous start Rutgers has hit a few bumps in the road. They let a 2-7 Army team hang around for three quarters before finally putting them away last week, and the week before they lost to Kent State. Now in the home stretch of the season the Scarlet Knights will have to bear down for three very tough Big East games.
They got a big break last week when Louisville lost at Syracuse, so the Knights control their own fate in terms of becoming Big East champions. Over the past two weeks quarterback Gary Nova has thrown just three touchdown passes, but seven interceptions. The Rutgers’ offense cannot afford any turnovers this week against the Bearcats who play great defense.
If Nova can avoid costly turnovers Rutgers will have a shot, but I think this is the start of a rough end to what was a solid season. PICK: Cincy 24 Rutgers 14
#18 USC @ #17 UCLA 3:05 p.m.
USC’s defense has not been good this year and the all the pressure has come down on Matt Barkley to win the tough games. They have struggled against good teams, and have not played to the level of expectations that were foreseen this season. It won’t be easy, but they should beat the Bruins in a close game in a game that could decide who plays in the Pac 12 title game. PICK: USC 51 UCLA 38
#12 Oklahoma @ West Virginia 7:00 p.m.
Remember when Geno Smith was being compared to Andrew Luck, and RG3? We’ll over the past few weeks their schedule has forced the Mountaineers into some tough losses. Four in a row to be specific and now they host a hungry and angry Sooner team. Quite simply the Sooners should win this game on class alone, but I do expect WVU to play hard and try to give the home crowd a big win to salvage what has become a disappointing season. They will come up short. PICK Oklahoma 41 West Virginia 27
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