Saturday, October 07, 2006

College Football Week 6 Preview

After a dull slate of games last week (hey, every week can't be my 'Kick Ass Weekend of College Football') the schedule picks right back up this week with a number of games, including the Red River Rivalry, sure to affect the Top 25 and the BCS standings.

Here's a look at My 5 Games to Watch:
11 Oregon @ 16 Cal 8PM, ABC
The Bears are finally living up to their preseason hype, rebounding from their opening week loss to the Vols to post 4 straight 40+ point games, all wins. Soph QB Nathan Longshore, who has already piled up 1221 yards and 14 TDs, leads the potent offensive attack, and he normally looks for soph receiver DeSean Jackson, who has 27 catches for 447 yarts & 7 TDs. The rest of the heavy lifting falls on the able shoulders of junior RB Marshawn Lynch, who isn't having a spectacular year (79 atts, 555 yds, 4 tds rushing, 123 yds & 3 TDS on 11 receptions) but is a threat to break the game open at any time. The Bears will face another potent offense in the Ducks, the team that won the game against Oklahoma, 34-33, a couple of weeks ago on 2 controversial calls. They are averaging 40 PPG and are led by junior QB Dennis Dixon (1032 yds, 6TDs) and soph RB Johnathan Stewart (58 atts, 457 yds, 4TDs). Basically this should be a run-n-fun shootout in the Wild West, with the winner in the driver's seat atop the crowded Pac-10 standings.
MY PICK: Cal 45, Oregon 37

Michigan St. @ 6 Michigan, 4:30 PM, ESPN
On paper this one looks like a mammoth mis-match: the 5-0 Wolverines are at home, where they have not lost to the Spartans since 1990; they haven't lost to them at all since 2001, a 24-21 MSU victory in East Lansing. Plus State is coming off 2 consecutive brutal home losses, the 40-37 choke job vs. the Irish and a humiliating 23-20 homecoming loss to a horrible Illinois team. So all odds would appear to be stacked against the Spartans pulling one out in this situation. But aren't animals moist dangerous when backed into a corner? If so, watch out because not only is MSU's pride hurt from the 2 losses, but their character and the abilities of their beloved coach, John L. Smith are both in question. And you throw in the fact that this is an intra-state mega-rivalry, and well anything can happen.
Like another Spartan beating.
MY PICK: Wolverines 35-13.

13 Tennessee @ 11 Georgia 7:45, ESPN
The Dawgs are getting their starting QB, Joe Tereshinski III, back in the lineup just in time; without him the past 3 games the Bulldog offense has been about as dangerous as a chihuahua, struggling to defeat Colorado and Ole Miss, teams that are a combined 1-9. But an injury to All-SEC kicker Brandon Coutu will place the ball on the foot of Tennessee native Andy Bailey, whose 29-yd missed FG cost the Dawgs a close one vs. the Vols in 2004. On the other side Tennessee QB Eric nephew of Danny Ainge has led the way with a solid season (1389 yds, 12TDs, 5INTs)and the Vols have averaged 300+ yds in the air and 31 PPG. It all adds up to a tough hedge to climb for UGA, but they don't lose very often between the infamous hedges of Sanford Stadium. Look for the return of Tereshinski plus the stingy Dawg defense (34 pts allowed in 5 games) to win out over Ainge and the orange-clad army.
MY PICK: Dawgs 24-21

9 LSU @ 5 Florida
Finally a tough test for the Urban Renewal Project, which has the Gators highly ranked but highly untested as well; their 21-20 squeaker at Tennessee is their only win vs. a ranked team.
Other than that they've beat on the likes of So. Miss, UCF, Kentucky and Alabama, who are a combined 11-9. Now comes the real stuff as the rugged and speedy Tigers come to the Swamp in a possible SEC Championship game preview (although Auburn & Georgia will have a lot to say about that.) LSU is the last team to win at the Swamp, 24-21 in 2004, and they have won 2 in a row & 3 of 4 vs, UF. Led by exciting junior QB JaMarcus Russell (1246 yds, 19 TDs) the Tigers actually average more points per game than the high-flying Gators (38-29), but it is the sturdy LSU defense (37 pts allowed in 5 games, including only 7 in a 7-3 loss at Auburn 3 weeks ago)that gives opposing coordinators nightmares. This one should be a classic SEC slugfest, with both teams contributing big plays on both sides of the ball. When the dust clears I think the Gators will be undefeated no more, and with games against Auburn & Georgia up next, they could be out of the title hunt in a hurry.
MY PICK: Tigers 17- 14.

7 Texas @ 14 Oklahoma
The Red River Shootout is one of the oldest (101 years), most coveted and hard fought rivalries in all of college football. You got 2 powerhouse schools from the Nation's heartland, both from areas where college football rules the universe, and you plop them down down in the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, right in the midst of the Texas State Fair, and just let them go at each other.
This year is a bit different, as neither school is undefeated for the first time since 1999 and the first time since 2000 that neither is ranked in the top 5. Doesn't matter. This rivalry exceeds all rankings and records, much like the Ohio State/Michigan or Florida State/Florida hate-fests. Plus this version should be plenty interesting, with Texas and freshman QB Colt 45 McCoy taking his 1-loss Longhorn squad up against a still-seething Sooner squad which was denied a victory at Oregon due to 2 horrendous calls that cost them the game, admitted by the now disbanded & disgraced officiating crew. Heisman hopeful Adrian Peterson (643 yds, 7 TDs) will be looking to ride the Sooner Schooner roughshod over the Texas defense, but Texas has some runners, too(Jamal Charles & Selvin Young) plus a great receiver as well (Limas Sweed.)
It has all the makings of a great installment of the Rivalry, but I give the edge to the more experienced, hungrier, angrier Sooners.
MY PICK: Oklahoma 28- 24

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