Tag:Christine Michael
Posted on: November 22, 2011 12:13 pm
Edited on: November 22, 2011 12:14 pm
 

Keys to the Game: Texas A&M vs. Texas

Posted by Tom Fornelli

TEXAS A&M WILL WIN IF: The defense that shows up against Kansas last week returns for an encore performance. In the Aggies three-game losing streak before the Kansas win, they were allowing 44 points a game. Kansas only managed to score 7 against them last week, and though there's quite a difference in talent between Kansas and Texas, the Texas offense has been in a rut the last few weeks. Texas A&M needs to make sure they stay there. Especially considering that the Aggies offense has lost Christine Michael and may be without Cyrus Gray as well in this game. Which means Ryan Tannehill may have to shoulder a lot of the load, and it won't be easy to do against the best defense in the conference. The good news for Texas A&M is that the Longhorns don't provide much of a threat through the air, and that may be playing into Texas A&M's strength as the Aggies defense is allowing a conference best 2.74 yards per carry.

TEXAS WILL WIN IF: The Longhorns have had trouble establishing a passing attack all season long. They average only 181.6 yards passing per game, and the team's efficiency rating of 119.45 is the lowest in the Big 12 outside of Iowa State. If there were ever a week to find a passing attack, this may be it. While the Texas A&M defense leads the Big 12 in sacks, its secondary is also allowing 292.3 yards per game and nearly 3 touchdowns for every interception. So whether it's David Ash or Case McCoy under center on Thursday night, Texas would be well-served to try and move the ball through the air. The Longhorns defense is the best in the conference, but Texas A&M should be able to put up some points against it over 60 minutes, and I don't believe the Longorns offense can outscore the Aggies if it remains so one-dimensional.

X-FACTOR: Case McCoy. McCoy has been Texas' "throwing quarterback" for the most part this season. Despite the limited amount of time he's seen under center, he's thrown more touchdowns on the year than David Ash (4 to 3) and is also yet to throw an interception. So if Texas is going to get a passing game going against the Aggies on Thursday night, then it's going to be McCoy who has to get the job done for them. The more successful he is, the more successful the Longhorns will be.
Posted on: November 21, 2011 1:09 pm
Edited on: November 21, 2011 1:09 pm
 

Cyrus Gray could miss Texas game

Posted by Tom Fornelli

We're only a few days away from what could be the final Lonestar Showdown between Texas A&M and Texas, and at the moment Mike Sherman and the Aggies aren't exactly clear on who their running back is going to be. Texas A&M lost Christine Michael to a torn ACL against Oklahoma a few weeks ago, and Cyrus Gray hurt his shoulder during a 61-7 win over Kansas.

So in a matter of two weeks the Aggies have gone from possibly having two thousand yard rushers in their backfield against Texas to facing the possibility of having Ben Malena and Will Randolph in the backfield. Randolph hadn't played a snap all season until Saturday when Mike Sherman had to burn his redshirt following Gray's injury.

According to CBSSports.com's Texas A&M Rapid Reporter Brent Zwerneman, Gray has a stress fracture in his shoulder and is considered "day to day."

Considering that fractured bones don't heal in 72 hours, I'm guessing that means whether Gray plays or not will depend on how much pain he's willing to play through. Because, make no mistake about it, having a stress fracture in your shoulder isn't going to feel very good when you're playing running back and being hit repeatedly.

If Gray can't play on Thursday, he should be healed in time to play in Texas A&M's bowl game.
Posted on: November 12, 2011 11:31 pm
 

Big 12 Winners and Losers: Week 11



Posted by Tom Fornelli


A handy recap of who really won and who really lost that you won't find in the box score.

WINNER: Collin Klein's fantasy owners

I know that college fantasy football isn't as popular as the NFL version, but if you do play it and you don't have Collin Klein on your team, then you did something wrong earlier this season. Klein had another amazing game on Saturday as Kansas State beat Texas A&M 53-50 in four overtimes.

What was truly amazing, however, was how dominant Klein was. Kansas State scored 7 touchdowns in the game, 6 of which came courtesy of Klein as he ran for 5 (increasing his season total to 24 rushing touchdowns) and threw for another. The other Kansas State touchdown came when Klein fumbled at the goal line while going in, but luckily receiver Tramaine Thompson jumped on the loose ball.

Even more insane than the scoring? Kansas State had 411 yards of total offense in the game. Klein was responsible for 384 of those yards, or 93% of the Kansas State output.

LOSER: Mike Sherman's job stability

I've mentioned it here before in recent weeks, but Mike Sherman can't exactly be feeling too comfortable in College Station these days. Texas A&M came into the season as a top-ten pick in both polls, and now ten games into the season the Aggies find themselves at 5-5 on the year and 3-4 in the Big 12. When you're as talented a team as Texas A&M is and you keep making the same mistakes over and over -- though there was no second-half disappearing act this week, but A&M did blow a 10-point lead in the closing minutes -- then at some point the blame has to fall squarely on the coaching staff.

It's very possible that with the season's final two games, and hopefully a bowl game, Sherman is coaching to keep his job with Texas A&M. Either that or the Aggies will be moving on to the SEC and bringing in a new staff to go with its new conference.

WINNER: Brandon Weeden's Heisman Campaign

On Saturday we saw both Andrew Luck's Stanford team fall to Oregon, and Kellen Moore's Boise State team fall to TCU. You know what that means? That means Brandon Weeden is going to start climbing on a lot of Heisman ballots. Not that he really needed Luck and Moore to fall to start gaining the attention, as after Saturday's 66-6 romp over Texas Tech, Weeden now has 3,635 yards passing with 31 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. He also has two more games to add to those numbers, and while they're not as incredible as Case Keenum's numbers, Weeden's doing it against the Big 12 for the #2 team in the country.

LOSER: Texas Tech

I don't even know what to say at this point. I remember seeing Texas Tech beat Oklahoma earlier this season, I know it happened, I just can't fathom how it happened at this point. How does a team that played so well on that night go into such a devastating tailspin so fast?

It's not that Texas Tech lost to Oklahoma State, it's that Texas Tech never even had a prayer. This looks like a team that just doesn't care about anything anymore. It already won its Super Bowl, and now it's just trying to get through the year.

WINNER: This guy



Kudos to you, Texas Tech fan. Even during the worst of times, you do not abandon the GUNS UP attitude. Many of your fellow fans had gone home long before you fired your gun into the air. If only it hadn't been filled with blanks of despair.

LOSER: Kansas fans

You poor souls. You'd given up on your team this season already, and with basketball season now officially underway, you were ready to turn your backs to football and never look back. But then something strange happened.

Kansas not only took a lead against Baylor, but it held it. It even expanded on it. Suddenly, it's the fourth quarter and your Jayhawks are up 24-3 on Baylor! This team is going to reward you! They're going to thank you for sticking with them through all this pain!

And then suddenly Baylor scores 21 points in the fourth quarter to force overtime and then beat you 31-30 when Turner Gill decided to go for two but a terrible fade into double coverage fell incomplete.

The lesson here is never care, Kansas fan. Never. Care.

WINNER: Gary Pinkel's Big 12 Check List

With a 17-5 win over Texas on Saturday, Missouri beat Texas for the first time under head coach Gary Pinkel, and in the last time the two schools will meet as conference opponents. It was also the first time Missouri had beaten Texas in the last six meetings of the team, and only the second time in the last seventeen. Pinkel has now beaten every team in the Big 12 at least once, and what was looking like a disappointing season could be on pace for a respectable 7-5 campaign, including two wins over ranked teams.

Of course, it wasn't all good news for Missouri, and I'll get to that next.

LOSER: The knees of some of the Big 12's best

These are players that the Big 12 has lost in the last two weeks due to knee injuries: Oklahoma's Ryan Broyles, Texas A&M's Christine Michael and on Saturday Missouri's Henry Josey and Texas' Fozzy Whittaker.

We know Broyles and Michael are done for the year, and we learned on Saturday night that Josey, the conference's leading rusher, is also done for the year with a myriad of injuries to his left knee. There's been no official word on the status of Whittaker, but given how the injury looked and that he finished the game in street clothes and crutches on the sideline, I'm not expecting good news for Fozzy either.

Image of the Texas Tech fan courtesy of Mocksession
Posted on: November 11, 2011 2:45 pm
 

The Saturday Meal Plan: Week 11

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The Saturday Meal Plan is a helpful guide put together for you to maximize the results of your college football diet.  Just enough to leave you feeling full, but not so much you spend your entire Sunday in the bathroom.

It's been one of the longest weeks that I can remember in the world of college football because of what has been going in in State College this week, and I don't know about you, but I could really use a day to just immerse myself in football games and nothing else at this point.

So, thankfully, we've got a pretty decent slate of games on tap this weekend, though the schedule does get a bit thin toward the end of the day.

BREAKFAST

Texas Tech vs. #2 Oklahoma State - ABC, 12pm ET

Texas Tech has already spoiled the party for Oklahoma this season, and now it will be looking to finish off another Oklahoma school with BCS championship dreams. Of course, considering the way that Texas Tech has looked the last two weeks since that Oklahoma win, a victory against Oklahoma State in this one might be even more of a shocker. - Tom Fornelli

#13 South Carolina vs. Florida - CBS, 12pm ET

Steve Spurrier facing the program built by Steve Spurrier is always a headline-maker, but the bigger story is whether the Gamecocks can stay afloat in the SEC East title race. As in command as Georgia appears to be, a Carolina win over the Gators paired with an Auburn win over the Dawgs would have the East crown clinched for the Gamecocks by the end of the day. Florida may have something to say about that, though, after their previously moribund offense came to life with 410 total yards and 26 points vs. Vandy. - Jerry Hinnen

Iowa vs. #17 Michigan State - ESPN2, 12pm ET

There are approximately three games left (barring disastrous upsets) that will decide the Big Ten Legends Division race. This is one of them. Iowa, even with three losses, still controls its own destiny in the race, and has been undefeated at home. Meanwhile, Michigan State is the putative leader of the division, and a win here puts the Spartans in great shape to make it to Indianapolis in December. MSU hasn't been able to run on anybody, and Iowa hasn't been able to stop anybody on the ground. Something's gotta give. - Adam Jacobi

LUNCH

#5 Boise State vs. TCU - Versus, 3:30pm ET

Here it is, Boise State's Mountain West Super Bowl. With no conference championship, and a soft finish to the regular season schedule, this is the Broncos last chance to make a statement against an opponent with any national recognition.  The Horned Frogs aren't the power they have been the last two seasons, but they definitely present the most difficult challenge to Boise State in the conference.  Bad news for TCU though, the defense that is giving up 200+ yards per game through the air has to face Kellen Moore on the Smurf Turf.  I expect Moore and Co. to take the opportunity to make a statement to the nation, so get the scoreboard warmed up now. - Chip Patterson

#14 Kansas State vs. Texas A&M - ABC, 3:30pm ET

If last week was any indication, we were all a bit early in writing off Kansas State following it's loss to Oklahoma. The Wildcats nearly put an end to Oklahoma State's BCS hopes last weekend, and they will be looking to put another nail in the coffin of Texas A&M this weekend. The Aggies have lost two in a row coming into this game, and lost running back Christine Michael for the season last week. Will the A&M offense be capable of making up for his absence? Also, will it even matter if Collin Klein has another amazing game for the Wildcats? - TF

#15 Georgia vs. #20 Auburn - CBS, 3:30pm ET

Can Mark Richt's team handle the pressure? Win this game, and the Bulldogs will be one home gimme over Kentucky from their first trip to the SEC Championship game since 2005--the sort of stakes under which Richt's team has repeatedly shriveled in those five preceding years. If Aaron Murray plays his game, the Dawg defense forces Clint Moseley to look like the sophomore making a third career start he is, and Isaiah Crowell can find a hole or two, Georgia should be home and dry. But if they don't? The Tigers showed against Carolina and Florida that they're perfectly happy dragging opposing pro-style offenses into a low-scoring slugfest where Michael Dyer and Onterio McCalebb dominate things ... and the Tigers win. - JH

Florida State vs. Miami - ABC/ESPN, 3:30pm ET

The in-state rivalry enters a new chapter with both Miami and Florida State making coaching changes in the last two seasons.  With EJ Manuel healthy again, the Seminoles are on a four-game winning streak averaging 38.5 points per game.  They are likely out of the ACC Atlantic race, but there is still plenty to play for for these two Florida programs.  Players from both locker rooms have made a point to mention this game meaning a little more, as you can feel the intensity returning to the rivalry.  High profile recruits will be in the house, bragging rights will be on the line, and the Hurricanes are no doubt looking to get revenge after last season's embarrassing 45-17 loss at home. - CP

USC vs. Washington - FX, 3:45pm ET

Although USC can't play in a Pac-12 Championship game this season, it would still like to show the rest of the conference that it's the best team in the Pac-12 South this season, and if it continues to play like it has been the last few weeks, then Washington may be in for a long day. Of course, on the other side of the field is a Washington team that is improving but still doesn't have that signature win under Steve Sarkisian. Going to The Coliseum and handing USC a loss would be just that. - TF

Illinois vs. #24 Michigan - ABC/ESPN, 3:30pm ET


The last two times these teams squared off, the final score was a 67-65 3OT masterpiece in Michigan's favor. We might not see 132 total points scored (or even 100; quelle horreur!), as both defenses have been miles ahead of last year. That said, both teams' exciting quarterbacks are back and putting up solid numbers, and each squad should be extremely motivated to snap a losing streak with a big victory. Folks, it's Denard vs. Scheelhaase; why wouldn't you watch this game? - AJ

DINNER

Maryland vs. Notre Dame - NBC, 7:30pm ET

Do you ever think to yourself that you hate your eyes? Well, if so, then this will be the game for you. Maryland will be breaking out the infamous uniforms we saw in their season opener against Miami earlier this year, and they'll be combined with Notre Dame's Trapper Keeper helmets. By the time the third quarter begins you'll feel like you've been trapped inside a Jackson Pollock painting. - TF

Mississippi State vs. #3 Alabama - ESPN, 7:45pm ET

Oh, Bulldogs, you did not pick the right time to face Alabama. Not that it likely would have any difference--since back-to-back shockers over the Tide in 2006 and 2007, State has lost three straight to Nick Saban's team by a combined score of 93-20. But catching Alabama the week after the wicked sting of losing to LSU won't do much for their chances. Unless Chris Relf and Tyler Russell took some seriously ginormous strides during last week's clobbering of FCS UT-Martin, it's doubtful a Bulldog offense that's had its share of troubles this season will find many solutions against the angry Tide. - JH

#4 Stanford vs. #7 Oregon - ABC, 8pm ET

The Game of the Century may have been in Tuscaloosa this past weekend but the Game of the Century, Western edition will take place Saturday in Palo Alto as Oregon puts their 18 game conference streak against Stanford's nation-leading 17 game winning streak. This was a close game last season before the Ducks pulled away late, something Andrew Luck and company are intent on correcting in order to come out of the game with a win and their national title hopes alive. - Bryan Fischer

LATE NIGHT SNACK

Washington State vs. Arizona State - Versus, 10:30pm ET

Both teams are looking to make a statement and pick up a win but more is on the line for Arizona State after losing control of the Pac-12 South after last week's loss to UCLA. The Cougars are improved but will have to deal with Vontaze Burfict on defense and an offense with plenty of weapons to contain. - BF 
Posted on: November 7, 2011 1:14 pm
Edited on: November 7, 2011 1:14 pm
 

Texas A&M's Christine Michael has a torn ACL

Posted by Tom Fornelli

What has already been a frustrating season for Texas A&M in 2011 got a bit worse on Monday afternoon. The school announced that running back Christine Michael suffered a torn ACL in the Aggies loss to Oklahoma on Saturday and his season is over.



Michael, a junior, is Texas A&M's leading rusher on the season, rushing for 899 yards and 8 touchdowns on the season. He's been part of a two-headed monster in the backfield, along with Cyrus Gray, for the Aggies all season long. He had four games of 100 yards rushing or more on the season.

Gray will take on a larger role in the Texas A&M ground game, and sophomore Ben Malena will likely take over as Texas A&M's second running back. He has 8 carries for 52 yards and a touchdown on the season and has appeared in four games this season.

Obviously this is a huge blow to a Texas A&M offense that has already had a lot of trouble playing a full 60 minutes and is 5-4 on the season and 3-3 in Big 12 play. Michael's absence will surely be felt in games remaining against Kansas State and Texas.
Posted on: October 22, 2011 7:19 pm
Edited on: October 22, 2011 7:20 pm
 

QUICK HITS: Texas A&M 33 Iowa State 17

Posted by Tom Fornelli

TEXAS A&M WON. This week's performance from the Aggies wasn't nearly as impressive as the one we saw against Baylor last week, but I'm sure Mike Sherman's team will be happy to head home with a win. Texas A&M got off to a slow start in this game, trailing Iowa State 7-3 after the first quarter but the Aggies righted the ship in the second quarter to take a lead it never gave back. Ryan Tannehill didn't have a great game, completing only 23 of his 42 passes for 249 yards and 2 touchdowns, but his running backs more than picked up the slack. Cyrus Gray rushed for 139 yards but was outdone by his backfield partner Christine Michael, who finished with 142 yards and a touchdown.

WHY TEXAS A&M WON. The Iowa State offense just couldn't get anything going on Saturday. Starting quarterback Steele Jantz got the hook after Iowa State's first two possessions after failing to complete a pass to anybody on his team, and redshirt freshman Jared Barnett took his place. Barnett had some positive results on his first drive, as Iowa State marched downfield for a touchdown, but after that life got a lot tougher for the Cyclones offense. Barnett finished the day 16/36 for 180 yards.

WHEN TEXAS A&M WON. While Iowa State hung around and kept things close in the fourth quarter, you never really got the sense that the Cyclones would be able to complete the comeback following a touchdown run from Christine Michael that made the score 30-7 in the third quarter.

WHAT TEXAS A&M WON. By picking up this win on the road Texas A&M improved to 3-1 in the Big 12 which keeps the Aggies hopes of winning the Big 12 alive at the moment. Sure, they'll need to win out and have to hope Oklahoma State trips up twice, but stranger things have happened in the world of college football.

WHAT IOWA STATE LOST. Aside from the fact that Paul Rhoads may not know who his quarterback is going to be next week against Texas Tech, his team's chance of getting back to a bowl game this season may have died on Saturday afternoon. The Cyclones are 0-4 in the Big 12 now and need three more wins this year to go bowling. At the moment the only game on Iowa State's remaining schedule in which you could consider the Cyclones a favorite is in two weeks against Kansas.

THAT WAS CRAZY. Paul Rhoads: Angry Dancing Machine.

Posted on: October 14, 2011 3:38 pm
Edited on: October 14, 2011 3:40 pm
 

The Saturday Meal Plan: Week 7

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The Saturday Meal Plan is a helpful guide put together for you to maximize the results of your college football diet.  Just enough to leave you feeling full, but not so much you spend your entire Sunday in the bathroom. 

This week we're offering a menu that is a bit low on carbs. It's not that we don't have plenty of interesting choices to offer you this weekend, but there isn't exactly a must-have on the list. Which I suppose is a good thing considering all the big meals we've all been ingesting the last few weeks and the pounds they've packed on, we could all afford to eat a bit more salad this weekend.

BREAKFAST

#23 Michigan State vs. #11 Michigan - ESPN 12pm ET

This game has it all: rivalry, firepower, and consequence. Michigan State is looking to continue its reign in this series, having won the last 3 in the series. Michigan will need to get Heisman candidate Denard Robinson rolling and light up the scoreboard; that hasn't been much of a problem for UM this year. At stake is probably the best shot at challenging Nebraska for the Legends Division crown; the loser, meanwhile, will need a lot of help in the race. - Adam Jacobi

#21 Texas A&M vs. #20 Baylor - FX 12pm ET

Robert Griffin is appointment television no matter who Baylor is playing, but considering that Texas A&M is statistically the worst passing defense in the country, this one could be really fun. Of course, Texas A&M isn't exactly a slouch either, as Ryan Tannehill, Cyrus Gray and Christine Michael have done a good job of covering up that secondary's mistakes on offense. This one could be a pretty nice shootout to start your day with. - Tom Fornelli

Mississippi State vs. #15 South Carolina - SEC Network 12:21pm ET

Is Connor Shaw for real or not? The Gamecocks' now-unquestioned starting quarterback looked the part against Kentucky, but a veteran Bulldog secondary playing at home in Starkville is a much tougher test. And if Tyler Russell's breakout second half against UAB was more than illusion, State could have put some of their offensive woes behind them as well. Whichever quarterback proves last week's performance wasn't a fluke should come away with the victory. - Jerry Hinnen

LUNCH

Tennessee vs. #1 LSU - CBS 3:30pm ET

For the second week in a row, the Tiger defense gets to face a backup quarterback making his first start of the season. The Vols' Matt Simms has a lot of advantages Florida's Jacoby Brissett didn't, though: he'll be at home; he's a senior who started eight games for Tennessee in 2010; and he saw the LSU defense up close and personal playing against them last year. Too bad the Vols don't have the running game to keep the Tigers from teeing off on Simms all the same. - JH

#22 Texas vs. #6 Oklahoma State - ABC/ESPN 3:30pm ET

Did you know that Mack Brown's Texas teams have never lost a game following the Red River Shootout? That record is likely going to be in serious jeopardy with the Oklahoma State offense coming to town, but if the Longhorns can manage to keep Brandon Weeden in check and pull off a win, it'd be a very large step in returning the program to where it once stood. Or you should watch just to see if Oklahoma State can finally hit the century mark. - TF

Virginia vs. #12 Georgia Tech - ESPNU 3:30pm ET

The last time Virginia took the field, they needed overtime to steal a 21-20 victory over Idaho.  With an off week to get healthy and prepare for the Yellow Jackets' option attack, the Cavs defense will try to live up to their 311.8 yards allowed per game (ranked third in the ACC).  Tech coach Paul Johnson criticized the decision making of quarterback Tevin Washington in last week's 21-16 win over Maryland, and cited a lack of "continuity" as a reason for their uncharacteristically low score.  Look for Georgia Tech to try and use this game to get their methodical attack back on track. It might be more than a young Virginia defense can handle, even with a week to prepare. - Chip Patterson

#16 Illinois vs. Ohio State - ABC/ESPN 3:30pm ET

The Illini look to continue their tear through a stunned and unsuspecting slate of opponents and run their record to 7-0. In Illinois' way is mighty Ohio State, who's got the talent to win the battle up front on both sides of the ball. If OSU doesn't have Braxton Miller at 100% after last week's ankle injury, though, can the vaunted Buckeye rushing attack pick up the slack and turn drives into touchdowns? - AJ

DINNER

Maryland vs. #8 Clemson - ESPNU 6:30pm ET

Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd wasn't wearing hip pads for "swag reasons."  Now he has to shed his hip fashion style in order to protect his strained hip against Maryland.  Boyd may have been carted off the field last week against Boston College, but he'll be lining up under center on Saturday night in Byrd Stadium.  Maryland, on the other hand, won't make a decision regarding their starting quarterback until game time.  Starter Danny O'Brien was benched in the 21-16 loss to Georgia Tech in favor of freshman C.J. Brown, who ran for 124 yards in just one half of action against the Yellow Jackets.  But Brown struggled throwing the ball, so it will be interesting to see what head coach Randy Edsall decides to do.  The last time Maryland played a primetime game at home, they wrapped themselves in the state flag and pulled out a victory.  Tune in to see what fashion statement they make this week. - CP 

#24 Auburn vs. Florida - ESPN 7pm ET

In a matchup of teams with passing games that will be lucky to reach "mediocre" -- the Gators thanks to John Brantley's injury, the Tigers due to Barrett Trotter's ongoing struggles -- the winner should prove to be whichever team can get their pair of star tailbacks on track. With Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey on one side and Michael Dyer and Onterio McCalebb on the other, backfield head-to-heads don't get a whole lot better than this. - JH

Washington State vs. #7 Stanford - FX 7:30pm ET

The Cardinal have the country's best quarterback in Andrew Luck and the conference's toughest defense (just 10.6 points per game allowed) so this should be a relatively easy road trip for the Cardinal. Head coach David Shaw will likely want to establish the running game this week after tilting heavily in favor of the pass last week against Colorado. The question probably isn't if Stanford will win, but by how much. Washington State showed they've got some fight in them last week before coming up short against UCLA. - Bryan Fischer

Kansas vs. #3 Oklahoma - ESPN 2 9:15pm ET

This is a pretty late start for a game that's being played in Kansas, but I have to believe it's some kind of strategy. Maybe the Jayhawks are hoping that by starting the game later, nobody will be watching the Sooners offense destroy a Kansas defense that has been shredded by everybody it's faced this season. This one likely won't be competitive for very long, but who knows? - TF

LATE NIGHT SNACK

#9 Oregon vs. #18 Arizona State - ESPN 10:15pm ET

They're still the conference king until knocked off their perch but Arizona State will present a stiff test for Oregon this weekend. The Ducks are not as good as they were last year on defense and will be missing star running back LaMichael James but Kenjon Barner and freshman DeAnthony Thomas are able replacements for him on offense. The atmosphere at Autzen at night should be a big advantage but expect a tough Sun Devils defense to force a few turnovers and make things interesting. - BF
Posted on: October 11, 2011 11:45 am
 

Keys to the Game: Baylor vs. Texas A&M

Posted by Tom Fornelli

BAYLOR WILL WIN IF: It continues to use a more balanced approach on offense. There's not much more fun that can be had while watching college football than watching Robert Griffin drop back and wing the football all over the field to guys like Kendall Wright and Tevin Reese, but it may be the running game that is most important for Baylor. Simply put, the Baylor defense is not very good, as it is giving up nearly 30 points per game. Facing a Texas A&M defense that is giving up 347.6 yards per game through the air may be very enticing for Baylor this week, but it needs to keep feeding the ball to Terrence Ganaway. This Texas A&M offense is pretty good too, and can hang with Baylor point for point if it has to. The best way to keep that from happening is to keep it off the field. If Baylor goes for the quick strikes, odds are Texas A&M will answer back, and while that will make for a fantastic game to watch, it might not lead to a victory for the Bears.

TEXAS A&M WILL WIN IF: It keeps the Baylor offense off of the field. Texas A&M will be able to put up points on this Baylor defense, but it probably doesn't want to get involved in an old fashioned shootout. With two backs like Cyrus Gray and Christine Michael, along with Ryan Tannehill's ability to tuck the ball and run, there's no reason the Aggies can't dominate the time of possession in this game. So Mike Sherman and the Aggies should use Gray and Michael to sustain long scoring drives and keep Robert Griffin off the field as much as possible. Yes, this is a team that can score 48-50 points if it has to, but it will probably be better served scoring somewhere between 35-40 and keeping its defense rested and ready to get after Griffin.

X-FACTOR: Coryell Judie and Terrence Frederick. The Texas A&M secondary has been torched so far this season, and if that's going to stop anytime soon it will be on the shoulders of Judie and Frederick. Both corners will have their hands full with Kendall Wright on Saturday in Waco, but if they can keep him in check and limit the big plays, then there's no reason that Texas A&M shouldn't go home with a win. 
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com