2011 NCAAF Week 10 Weekend Preview

November 4, 2011

If I am correct, the majority of college football fans have been looking forward to this weekend for quite some time.

Regardless of what you may think of the two teams playing each other this Saturday night, there is no denying that the buzz surrounding the LSU/Alabama game is affecting us all. There hasn’t been a regular season game as anticipated as this one since top ranked Ohio State took on second ranked Michigan back in 2006. That one turned out to be a classic, and hopefully, so will this one.

Of course, there are several other games that shouldn’t be ignored on Saturday. Here is a list of my top five games to watch this weekend, as well as five more games to keep an eye on and some storylines that will keep people talking.

5 Games to Pay Attention to This Weekend

Vanderbilt at Florida (Saturday, 12:20 PM ET)

Neither team has a real shot of winning the SEC East, which makes this game irrelevant to the majority of fans. But how many times does Vanderbilt really have a shot at beating the Gators? Something as historical as this is definitely worth watching, even if it doesn’t mean that much in the grand scheme of things.

The Commodores were on the verge of a huge upset last weekend when they took 8th ranked Arkansas to the wire before succumbing to the Razorbacks 31-28. However, it was the third week in a row that Vanderbilt dominated the opposing defense with over 200 yards total rushing. The fourth time could be a charm for James Franklin’s team, which gets to face a Florida team that has been gashed frequently by the rushing attacks of Alabama, LSU, Auburn and Georgia during a tough four game losing streak. The Gators are always tough to beat at “The Swamp”, but Vanderbilt has the opportunity to hit them while they’re down. If Vanderbilt can continue running the ball well, look for a mild upset in this one.

My Pick: 33-27 Vanderbilt

Texas A&M at #7 Oklahoma (Saturday, 3:30 PM ET)

Texas A&M may possibly be the worst team in the nation at closing out games. This is especially disturbing to me considering the fact that I predicted them to finish 11-1. Still, this game has the potential to be a good one because the Aggies are so unpredictable and the Sooners seemed to have taken out all their rage on Kansas State last weekend. At the very least, there should be a lot of scoring in this one.

The key to this game will be the play of each team in the second half (sounds simple, right?). Texas A&M could get up early on Oklahoma, but that means nothing because their defense has not shown the ability to hold leads in the second half and the offense has essentially shut down during the 3rd and 4th quarters of some games. Oklahoma, on the other hand, could run away with this game if they get out to an early lead. Texas A&M will need to play their best defensive game of the year to beat the Sooners. Oklahoma averages 46 points per game, and will mercilessly pound any team that is not ready to play on the defensive end. This one could be close, but Texas A&M will have to play like the team I thought they were when the season began.

My Pick: 38-31 Oklahoma

#10 South Carolina at #8 Arkansas (Saturday, 7:15 PM ET)

This is a game worth watching because both teams are ranked in the top ten (depending on which poll you consult), but it has the potential to get ugly. Ever since dismissing Stephen Garcia from the team and losing Marcus Lattimore for the season, South Carolina has had noticeable issues on offense. While it didn’t hurt them the past three games, it could be a huge issue against Arkansas. Although the rankings would suggest anything but, South Carolina fans may need to hope for a miracle to win this one.

Arkansas has made pretty much every game interesting since the comeback against Texas A&M at the beginning of October, which is why Razorback fans shouldn’t be treating this game as a sure win. Arkansas is one-dimensional on offense, and opposing defenses are finding that if you can stop Tyler Wilson, you can stop Arkansas. However, I don’t know if South Carolina has the offense to score enough points even if they do slow down Arkansas’ offense. The Razorbacks have still scored a lot of points this year with their pass happy offensive attack. 

My Pick: 35-17 Arkansas

#17 Kansas State at #3 Oklahoma State (Saturday, 8 PM ET)

Kansas State was a nice story for the first eight weeks of the season, but let’s face it: it’s the state of Oklahoma’s year to rule the Big 12 conference. The Wildcats, coming off of a beating from the Sooners, now must travel to Stillwater to face an Oklahoma State team that has been even better than their in-state rivals at racking up points on teams with questionable defenses.

Statistically, the Cowboys have the second best offense in the entire country. Other than Houston, who has not played a ranked opponent all season, the Cowboys are the only team that has scored over 55 points in at least three games. Their powerful offense will be the difference in this game, because Kansas State simply won’t be able to keep up. At this point, freak wideout Justin Blackmon getting 100 yards receiving is not necessary for Oklahoma State to win games; it’s just a nice footnote in what is usually an otherwise boring contest. Still, if you love offense, this game is worth watching regardless of the score.

My Pick: 45-28 Oklahoma State

#1 LSU at #2 Alabama (Saturday, 8 PM ET)

It doesn’t get any better than #1 vs. #2, folks. Both Alabama and LSU have been pounding opponents all year, but it is safe to say that neither team will be walking over the other in this one. This should be a classic LSU/Alabama game, with both teams relying on a strong running game and shutdown defenses to suck the life out of opponents. However, there is one thing setting the two teams apart that I believe will make the difference.

LSU has relied on, and done exceptionally well with, a two quarterback system featuring Jarrett Lee and Jordan Jefferson ever since Jefferson came back from his suspension. Both quarterbacks have been able to get into a groove early and the offense has not missed a beat when one quarterback goes out and another comes in. However, Alabama is unlike any defense LSU has faced this season. They are more physical, more talented and better in the secondary than any team the Tigers have or will face this season. I believe that Alabama will not allow either quarterback to get into a rhythm (that is, if Les Miles insists on using both Lee and Jefferson) and will get out to a slight lead in the first half that they will not relinquish.

As of Sunday morning, you can start the debate about whether a one loss LSU team can still make the national title game.

My Pick: 27-24 Alabama

5 More to Flip To

#13 Michigan at Iowa (Saturday, 12 PM ET)

After the embarrassing loss to Minnesota last weekend, Iowa can play spoiler in just about every game left on their schedule.

Texas Tech at Texas (Saturday, 12 PM ET)

Rivalry games are always interesting, but neither team is truly competing for anything other than bragging rights.

TCU at Wyoming (Saturday, 2 PM ET)

These two teams are probably the best bets to give Boise State a run for their money in the Mountain West.

#23 Cincinnati at Pittsburgh (Saturday, 7 PM ET)

As usual, the Big East race is wacky and almost every game is a battle for the league lead. This one is no different.

Missouri at Baylor (Saturday, 7 PM ET)

The fun thing about this game is, neither team has much of a defense. Expect close to 100 points total in this game.

Storylines for the Weekend

Once again, I don’t have any interesting storylines to share for the weekend. I’m about ready to axe this section from the Weekend Preview series, because more often then not there is nothing for me to say that hasn’t already been said.

To voice your opinions on this change, email me at kbecks@aroundthecorn.com, follow me on Twitter @KBecks_ATC or “Like” Around The Corn Sports Blog’s page on Facebook. Continued thanks go out to everyone who reads my work.

– K. Becks

2 Responses to 2011 NCAAF Week 10 Weekend Preview

  1. Sterling Williams on November 4, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    I really hope vanderbilt doesn’t win…. Although I would like too see OSU win

    • K. Becks on November 11, 2011 at 8:02 pm

      Well, you got your wish. I was watching the out of town scoreboard the entire game watching Vandy come back from the deficit that they built, only to come home to find that they weren’t able to pull out the win.

      I hope that Vanderbilt can get to six wins this year because after reading an SI article about them, I think that their coach deserves to go to a bowl game. It’s going to be tough now, though.

      Thanks for reading!

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