NCAAF Week 14 Weekend Preview

December 3, 2010

Last Friday was possibly the worst day of the year for me. Well, actually, it was the worst day of the year. Starting with Alabama’s complete meltdown against Auburn, and ending with Boise State’s similar meltdown against Nevada, I realized that a dream had died. The outside chance that Boise State would meet TCU in the national championship, and thus become a catalyst for the progression of a playoff for college football, dissolved as quickly as Alabama’s lead in the second half. While it is unlikely that there will be mass chaos in college football this year, my hope was renewed on Tuesday morning when TCU announced their intentions to leave the Mountain West Conference for the Big East starting in 2012. While this weekend may prove to be nothing more than going through the motions of conference championship games, let it be known that the dream has not completely, and never will, die.

5 Games to Pay Attention To

#1 Oregon at Oregon State (Saturday, 3:30 PM EST)

Before the beginning of the season when I gave my predictions for every college football team, I predicted that Oregon would end the season at 9-3. While that prediction was obviously off-base, one of the games I felt Oregon would lose was the annual Civil War battle against in-state rival Oregon State. After an entire season of observation of both teams, I no longer feel that is going to be the case. Oregon is only going to be beat by a team that can stop their high octane offense. In some of my previous Weekend Previews, I have felt confident about a few teams’ chances against the Ducks (California, Stanford, Arizona, and Arizona State). Those teams have the best defenses in the Pac-10, and were the only teams in that conference, in my opinion, capable of bringing down the Ducks. Unfortunately, Oregon State has a defense that gives up a little over 400 yards per game, and ranks behind all the aforementioned teams in that category. With that being said, the only thing that supporters of chaos in the BCS can hope for is that the intensity of an in-state rivalry will motivate a sub-par Beavers defense to play far better than they have all season. While I’m in that category of fans, I wouldn’t hold my breath on that happening.

My Pick: Oregon 49-35

#2 Auburn vs. #18 South Carolina (Saturday, 4 PM EST)

To start, let it be known that is it much tougher to beat a team the second time around. This game may not be as much about South Carolina being able to stop Auburn as it may be about them being able to exploit Auburn’s defense. When Auburn has been in trouble this season, it has been because teams have picked on Auburn’s weak defensive secondary. Alabama did it with Julio Jones, Georgia did it with A.J. Green, and South Carolina has already done it once this season with Alshon Jeffery. If Gamecocks quarterback Stephen Garcia can hook up with Jeffery early and often, we may see something similar to last Friday to start the game. That will open up the running game, and could put Auburn in a precarious position in the second half. Alabama had the game against Auburn won; they just beat themselves. If South Carolina can start off similarly, it will be up to them not to self-destruct.

My Pick: 37-34 South Carolina

#20 Florida State vs. #12 Virginia Tech (Saturday, 7:45 PM EST)

Talk about a game featuring a couple of programs that have turned it around. Jimbo Fisher, in just his first season as head coach of Florida State, has led the Seminoles back to where fans in Tallahassee feel they should be every year. Virginia Tech, on the other hand, has quietly reeled off ten straight wins since dropping their first two games of the year, which included a loss against FCS opponent James Madison. While this game has no implications other than a trip to the Orange Bowl, it is still an interesting matchup. Virginia Tech is still a team that relies heavily on the run, even though quarterback Tyrod Taylor is a duel threat that can beat you through the air. Florida State’s chances of success will likely hinge on how senior quarterback and leader Christian Ponder plays. He has the ability to play like an All-American, but is unpredictable. If we get to see Ponder at his best, then this will be a great game.

My Pick: 28-20 Virginia Tech

#13 Nebraska vs. #10 Oklahoma (Saturday, 8 PM EST)

Like the ACC championship game, this matchup has no real implications other than a trip to a BCS bowl for the winner. For Nebraska, it would be a storybook ending to their time in the Big 12; a win against rival Oklahoma that would give them their first overall Big 12 title since 1999, just as they head off for the Big Ten next season. For Oklahoma, this game could be somewhat of a redemption game. After reaching number one in the BCS rankings late in October, the Sooners promptly fell from the top spot after a loss to Missouri. Then, Oklahoma was largely forgotten after a loss against Texas A&M two weeks later left them in danger of not even qualifying to play for the Big 12 Championship. If Oklahoma can get a win against the Cornhuskers, some of the sentiment that they are inconsistent against quality teams this season could go away. Nebraska, on the other hand, would like to prove that they do in fact bring an offense with them to games against quality opponents. Expect this to be a close one.

My Pick: 31-27 Nebraska

Connecticut at South Florida (Saturday, 8 PM EST)

You may be wondering why this is a top five game to pay attention to this weekend. Well, believe it or not, one of these teams is playing for an outright Big East crown. If Connecticut can win this weekend against the Bulls, they will be the Big East champions. At 7-4. With an automatic bid to a BCS bowl. While Michigan State, at number seven and 11-1, will likely not play in a BCS bowl. As unfair as it may seem, it isn’t a sure thing that UConn will even win this game. South Florida has been competitive in all but one game this season, and even made their case as arguably the third best team in Florida by beating Miami last weekend. If the Bulls do happen to beat the Huskies, then they have the slim chance of being tied atop the Big East standings with four other teams. And you thought the BCS formula was a mess…

My Pick: 28-24 Connecticut

5 More to Flip To

#24 Northern Illinois vs. Miami (OH) (Friday, 7 PM EST)

The RedHawks have been the turnaround story of the season, after going 1-11 in 2009. Northern Illinois isn’t your average MAC team, though…

SMU vs. UCF (Saturday, 12 PM EST)

See what kind of looks people give you if you tell them you’re going to watch the SMU vs. UCF game. Seriously, try it…

Utah State at #9 Boise State (Saturday, 3 PM EST)

You thought Wisconsin ran up the score? I wouldn’t want to be the team that has to play Boise State after the loss they endured last Friday.

Washington at Washington State (Saturday, 7 PM EST)

The Huskies can become bowl eligible for the first time in Jake Locker’s career if they can beat rival Washington State for the Apple Cup. That would make a whopping four Pac-10 teams bowl eligible.

USC vs. UCLA (Saturday, 10:30 PM EST)

I honestly just ran out of games I thought were interesting.

Storylines for the Weekend

The Cam Newton Rule

The general feeling from people associated with college football is that the ruling on Cam Newton’s eligibility sets a bad precedent. Assuming that college football does not realize this would be ignorant. If the NCAA were to rule Newton ineligible, then you can bet that there would be lawsuits filed by both the Newton family and the University of Auburn. Rather than deal with that mess, the NCAA just decided that it would be better to let Newton play, then institute a rule (which we’ll dub “Cam’s Rule” for now) that prevents such actions from occurring in the future. So, to all you fathers out there making calls to your “agent buddy” to discuss how much your son is worth this very moment, sorry. It’s not going to be allowed next season.

My Conference Re-Alignment Predictions, Part II

My prediction as to what the college football landscape will look like in the near future in order to accommodate a playoff will be posted soon. Check back tomorrow, as I will hopefully have it posted by then. If you haven’t seen my original prediction, you can read it here. However, be warned that my original predictions are pretty off-base with TCU’s recent announcement to join the Big East.

– K. Becks

3 Responses to NCAAF Week 14 Weekend Preview

  1. Mark on December 3, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    Suck my MAC championship dick!!!!

  2. Jack on December 4, 2010 at 12:55 am

    i like the redhawks input

  3. K. Becks on December 10, 2010 at 7:48 pm

    I have to applaud them; they played well. I really didn't think they'd be able to beat Northern Illinois.

    Their bowl game could be pretty interesting, too.

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