This Saturday will be full of fireworks that will shake up the BCS rankings. There are five games tomorrow that feature top-25 teams squaring off.
No. 23 Texas (6-2, 3-2) travels to Lubbock, TX, to take on No. 18 Texas Tech (6-2, 3-2). Whoever is running the scoreboard won't even be able to blink because this game is going to be a good old fashion Texas shootout.
No. 16 Texas A&M (6-2, 3-2) and No. 15 Mississippi State (7-1, 3-1) lock horns in Starkville, MS. Texas A&M is getting their first test in the toughest conference in the nation, but a road win at Davis Wade Stadium would keep the Aggie's alive for a BCS bowl down the road.
No. 2 Kansas State (8-0, 5-0) hosts No. 24 Oklahoma State (5-2, 3-1) and will look to keep their BCS National Championship dreams alive. Kansas State has made it look easy the last two weeks outscoring West Virginia and Texas Tech 110-38. Sophomore quarterback Collin Klein has emerged as the Heisman favorite as we near the end of the regular season and expect his greatness to continue on Saturday.
While these three games are marquee matchups, there are two CAN'T MISS games:
NO. 4 OREGON (8-0, 5-0) vs. NO. 17 USC (6-2, 4-2)
NO. 1 ALABAMA (8-0, 5-0) vs. NO. 5 LSU (7-1, 3-1)
First, let's start with the Pac-12. Before the season everyone circled this date on their calender. Both teams were suppose to be undefeated with the winner being one of the favorites to win it all.
Oregon did their job, but USC failed miserably.
USC has struggled with penalties and turnovers this year and it has come back to haunt them. In their two losses they have combined for eight turnovers and 190 yards in penalties. Monte Kiffin should have told his son to never accept the Oakland Raiders Head Coaching position in 2007 because it taught him how to turn the football over and commit penalties.
This is still a huge game for the Trojans. Their national title hopes went flying out the window after losing to Arizona last weekend, but they still have a great chance at making the Rose Bowl. They sit in first place in the Pac-12 South and if they finish the season in first they will represent the South in the Pac-12 Championship game.
However, a win against Oregon is going to be tough. If Arizona's offense torched USC, just imagine what Kenjon Barner and De'Anthony Thomas will do against the Trojans.
Oregon has scored at least 42 points in every game this year. The Ducks are the top scoring team in the nation (53.4 points/game) and third in the country in rushing offense (330.6 yards/game.)
The real test in this game will be Oregon's defense. Their defense has played great this year, especially after losing their defensive leader early in the season. Fifth-year senior, John Boyett, tore his ACL in the teams first game of the year. The team has come together as a family to dominate on defense in honor of their defensive captain.
The Ducks haven't played an offense as dangerous as the Trojans though. They passed the sobriety test, but now it is time to do a blood test to really see if there is any alcohol in their system.
Expect a back and forth shootout at the Los Angeles Coliseum. Marqise Lee and Robert Woods are two of the best receivers in the game and Barkley will need to find them early and often. Silas Redd could be the most important player for USC though.
What is the best formula to beat a high-scoring offense?
Control the clock.
If Redd can keep moving the chains rushing the ball it will bode well for USC.
Oregon will use their fast-pace offense against a struggling USC defense. Thomas and Barner are both going to have huge games for the Ducks. It is near impossible to stop Oregon's rushing attack and the Trojan's defense is not the answer.
Turnovers will be the key factor in the game. De'Anthony Thomas has shown in the past he puts the rock on the ground, so it will be crucial for USC to try and rip the ball out whenever "The Black Mamba" gets the ball. (Snoop Dogg should know there is only one Black Mamba, number 24.) Watch out for senior safety T.J. McDonald to force at least one fumble on Saturday, he is one of the best safeties in the nation.
USC has been a turnover machine all season. It will be crucial for them to win the turnover margin. If you give Oregon extra possessions you should just throw in the towel. The Trojans will have no chance to win this game if they don't fix their turnover and penalty issues.
Oregon will keep their BCS National Title hopes alive and get some revenge from losing last year to USC in Eugene. The "Quack Attack" will abuse USC on the ground and the Trojans will have costly penalties and a big turnover in the fourth quarter.
Now to the main attraction of the night:
Alabama vs. LSU.
I am still shocked that Alabama are 9.5 point favorites this Saturday. LSU hasn't lost a game in Death Valley since 2009. Head Coach Les Miles is 43-6 at home in his LSU coaching career.
I know Alabama is the best team in the country, but when was the last time LSU was nearly a 10-point underdog at home. Last time I checked Gary DiNardo is not running out of the tunnel leading the Bayou Bengals.
Alabama comes in ranking first in just about every defensive category, again.
I know this defense is nasty, but they have had an easy schedule. This is a young defense who saw three defensive starters selected in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft and three more in later rounds. This will be their first real test.
Their best win this year was a home victory last week against No. 15 Mississippi State. LSU is a different type of beast.
The one area, and the only area, LSU has the edge is they are already battled tested. This will be their fourth straight game against a ranked opponent. Furthermore, they also were able to rest last week during their bye week. LSU will be fresh and ready to go this Saturday.
Alabama is coming off an easy 38-7 win against Mississippi State, but history doesn't favor the Tide this Saturday.
Nine previous times the AP No. 1 team faced a top-20 opponent on the road the week after a home win against a top-20 team, they are 2-7.
This scenario has happened to Alabama recently. In 2010 after beating Florida, they lost the following week to South Carolina, 35-21.
The key in this game will be defense. Whoever forces more turnovers and stuffs the running game will put themselves in a great spot.
Also, it will be crucial for the quarterbacks to manage the game. One turnover could be the difference in the game, that is how good both these defenses are.
Alabama has the edge in the quarterback department.
A.J. McCarron has been sensational this year and is still roaming around in the Heisman discussion. The junior quarterback has thrown for 1,684 yards, 18 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. He is one of the best game managers in the nation, and he is a lot better than he gets credit for. Just ask LSU how last years National Championship game went when they forced McCarron to beat them.
Zach Mettenberger better hope LSU's rushing game is moving the chains. The junior quarterback is currently in his first year as the starter and has struggled this year. He has only thrown for over 200 yards in twice and is only completing 56% of his passes.
The Tigers will use their hot hand and keep feeding the rock to their freshman running back. Jeremy Hill was rarely used before the last two weeks. Good thing Les Miles pulled him out of his back pocket because Hill has rushed for 251 yards and three touchdowns against two top-25 teams.
While there will be offensive fireworks at the Los Angeles Coliseum, expect an old-school momma said knock you out type of game at Tiger Stadium this Saturday night.
I keep going back and forth on this game. I think Alabama will find a way to pull it out thanks to a key drive from A.J. McCarron in the fourth quarter. Alabama has proven to be the best team in the country and will keep their BCS National Championship hopes alive. No one has ever repeated as BCS National Champions, but this Alabama team has a very good chance to be the first.
This is revenge Saturday. Oregon wants to erase the loss at home last year to the Trojans. LSU remembers getting their tail whooped in the BCS National Championship last season.
So make sure on Saturday you sit back on the couch with your beer in one hand and chips in the other because this is must watch football all-day long!