It’s the half way point in the season and the race to the BCS Championship officially got its start with the release of the first BCS Poll this past Sunday. Alabama is sitting pretty at the #1 spot in the poll and #2 Florida has an edge as well (more on that later). But schools like Oregon, Kansas St., Notre Dame, LSU and South Carolina are all going to try their best to usurp the top dogs in the nation. The following games are the match ups you need to watch to see how the race for the national championship shapes up.
#6 LSU @ #18 Texas A&M
Saturday, October 20th Noon EST
LSU is the highest ranked 1-loss team in the country. After a poor showing in the swamp, losing 14-6 to Florida, the Tigers bounced back and dropped, then ranked, #3 South Carolina to jump back into the conversation. The good news for the Tigers, they’re back in the mix. The bad news, even if they win in college station this week, they still have visits from #1 Alabama and #12 Mississippi State in the next two weeks. Lining up on the other side of the football is Texas A&M. The Aggies have a nice ranking but dropped their only game against a real power house 20-17 at home against Florida. The Aggies need this game to make a statement and let the SEC know that they need to be taken seriously.
#7 South Carolina @ #2 Florida
Saturday, October 20th 3:30pm EST
The Gamecocks may have dropped their game against LSU last week but they get a chance for a statement win this week at the swamp. The Ol’ Ball Coach takes a slightly banged up squad to take on his former team. Powerhouse RB Marcus Lattimore may see limited playing time due injury so the offense will need to rely on QB Connor Shaw to lead them against a defense that is only giving up just over 12 points a game. For the Gators this is a chance to solidify their #2 ranking and keep themselves from getting jumped by #3 Oregon in the BCS Poll. Florida only has one more game on the road for the rest of the season, the final game of the season against rival Florida State.
Michigan St. at Michigan
Saturday, October 20th 3:30pm EST
Both of these programs have been pretty disappointing this season. Michigan started their season ranked 8th in the country but Alabama made quick work of them and the Wolverines haven’t fully recovered. Heisman hopeful Denard Robinson seems to actually have taken a step back in his development as a passer, although still exciting to watch. Michigan State actually started their season with an impressive win over a ranked Boise State team that had Le’Veon Bell popping up on a lot of people’s early Heisman radar. However, home losses to Notre Dame, Ohio State and Iowa have taken the Spartans out of the picture. So you may be asking yourself why you’re reading about teams that are a combined 8-5. Well, because this is college football and there are always rivalry games. This specific rivalry game awards the winner with the Paul Bunyan trophy. The winning school gets to take home the massive four foot tall statue (on a five foot base) home for the year. Mr. Bunyan has resided in Lansing since 2008 and Senior QB Denard Robinson would like nothing more than to bring it back to Ann Arbor.
#4 Kansas St. @ #13 West Virginia
Saturday, October 20th 7pm EST
This match up could have been even bigger had West Virginia not gone to Lubbock, TX and laid an egg against Texas Tech. But even so, this is a show down of the two front runners for the Heisman Trophy. The Wildcats of Kansas State are lead by QB Colin Klein, who does whatever it takes to get the job done. He may not be flashy, but he’s a winner who can take over a game with his arm or legs. Similarly, on the Mountaineer side line, QB Geno Smith can beat an opposing defense on the ground or in the air. Smith had a pedestrian week according to the lofty bar he set for himself, but the loss to Texas Tech didn’t knock him out of the Heisman race. It simply gave everyone else in college football an opportunity to catch up. These two QB’s have accounted for almost 4,000 yards and 33 TDs. Simply put, this game is going to showcase two of the best college football players in the country.
Utah @ #8 Oregon State
Saturday, October 20th 10:30pm EST
The little engine that could, Oregon State, gets to take on a lackluster Utah team at home. Why is this game important? Well, first off, consider that Oregon State didn’t receive a single vote in any of the major preseason rankings. In fact, the Utah team they face this weekend actually received more preseason hype than the Beavers did. But all Oregon State did was take care of business in all of their games, en route to a #8 ranking in the first BCS poll of the year. They may not be destroying the competition like intrastate rival Oregon but if they keep it up they only have one big hurdle between now and their home game with the Ducks on Nov. 25th in a match up of unbeaten Pac-12 schools with silly mascots. The Oregon/Oregon St. game is annually one of the best in-state rivalry games of the year, and we should all be hoping for a match up of un-beatens in this years “Civil War” game. But this could be a trap game for the Beavers who better not be get caught up in all the BCS ranking hype.
Bold Upset Prediction of the Week:
#14 Florida State goes down to, rival, Miami.
Miami has two tough losses on it’s schedule but they came at the hands of #4 Kansas State in Manhattan, KS and #5 Notre Dame at Soldier Field (losing a close game to UNC is excusable for this Miami team). The Hurricanes have an athletic squad that wants to prove that it still has some clout and would love to be the reason one of their instate rivals drops out of the polls. Combine that with the fact that Florida State has only played away from home twice this season and their record on the road is 1-1. Their lone road win was a tougher than expected contest to South Florida. So Seminole fans, don’t be surprised when I say I told you so.