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Tag:Iowa State
Posted on: November 15, 2011 5:02 am
 

Keys to the Game: Iowa State vs. Oklahoma State

Posted by Tom Fornelli

IOWA STATE WILL WIN IF: It plays the game of its season. Though don't think that it's not possible, even if it does sound totally crazy. There are a few factors at play here. First of all, this is the last game on Oklahoma State's schedule before Bedlam, and it wouldn't be the first time a football team got caught looking ahead. Second of all, Iowa State was off last weekend, so it has had an extra week to prepare. The question is will that extra week be enough for the Iowa State defense to figure out how to stop the juggernaut that is the Oklahoma State offense. Well, this Cyclones defense isn't terrible. It's only allowing 392.2 yards per game at home this season, but it's also allowed 28 points per game in those contests. It also hasn't faced an offense of this caliber, so Paul Rhoads' team is going to have its hands full.

OKLAHOMA STATE WILL WIN IF: It gets its mind off of Oklahoma and a national championship and focuses on the task at hand. On paper this Cowboys team is simply better than Iowa State and can overmatch it. Pushing things further in Oklahoma State's favor is the turnover battle. We all know that Oklahoma State has forced more turnovers (34) than any team in the country. Well, do you know which team in the Big 12 has turned the ball over the most? Yep, Iowa State, which has 23 turnovers, or 2.56 turnovers per game. If that continues on Saturday in Ames then Oklahoma State shouldn't have much trouble with the Cyclones.

X-FACTOR: Jared Barnett. Since the freshman quarterback took the starting job from Steele Jantz, he's played reasonably well. He hasn't done a lot of damage with his arm, as he's completing only 49% of his passes and has 1 touchdown pass in three games. What Barnett has done well, however, is use his legs. In his three starts Barnett has averaged 94.33 yards rushing per game. The toughest time the Oklahoma State defense had this season was a few weeks ago against Kansas State and Collin Klein -- a quarterback who is much more dangerous on the ground than through the air. If Barnett and the Cyclones can take a page from Kansas State's book in that contest, it may make this game a lot more interesting than anyone expects it to be.
Posted on: November 14, 2011 12:37 pm
Edited on: November 14, 2011 12:38 pm
 

Tommy Tuberville gets the vote of confidence

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Things have been ugly for Texas Tech football in recent weeks. Ever since the Red Raiders pulled off one of the most surprising upsets of the year by beating Oklahoma, things have fallen apart quickly in Lubbock. Tech followed that win with a 34-point loss to Iowa State, a 32-point loss to Texas and then Saturday's 60-point loss to Oklahoma State.

As you'd expect when a team has lost three straight games by a combined 126 points, some fans are quickly falling into that "fire everybody" zone fans tend to get into. Which isn't good news for Tommy Tuberville. What is good news for Tubs, however, is that his athletic director doesn't seem to be listening to the fans.

“Tommy has our 100 percent support,” Kirby Hocutt told The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. “And he knows how to win at the highest level in the game of college football. His expectations are to win at the highest level and compete for championships. He’s as frustrated as we all are, if not more. We’re going to continue to give him all the support and resources he needs to get our program to the top.

“Tommy continues to have our full support. We’re all frustrated, but there are going to be much better times ahead for the Red Raiders.”

It's the vote of confidence, but I wouldn't call it the dreaded vote of confidence. Tuberville is in only his second season with Texas Tech, and I've always felt that's way too early to fire any head coach. Plus, I know things are ugly right now, but this Texas Tech team is still 5-5 and has two games left on the schedule that it can concievably win.

Though if that's not enough for Texas Tech fans, and you really want Tuberville to lose his job, well, why not hire a PR firm?
Posted on: November 12, 2011 5:35 pm
Edited on: November 12, 2011 6:18 pm
 

QUICK HITS: Michigan State 37, Iowa 21

Posted by Adam Jacobi

MICHIGAN STATE WON. 13th-ranked Michigan State won at Iowa for the first time in over 20 years, weathering a second-half rally to close out a 37-21 victory. Kirk Cousins was stellar in the victory, throwing for 260 yards and three touchdowns to zero interceptions.

WHY MICHIGAN STATE WON: There were two basic factors that MSU took care of and Iowa didn't: line play and turnovers. The Spartans had struggled all year to establish a ground game, but Le'Veon Bell gashed Iowa for 112 yards and a score as the Spartans rushed for 155 yards altogether. Meanwhile, Iowa committed three turnovers to none for MSU; the Spartans turned the first two into first-half touchdowns, while the last was important in its own right (more on that in a bit). All in all, Michigan State played like a division champion, and it's en route to fulfilling that destiny in just two weeks.

WHEN MICHIGAN STATE WON: When Iowa TE Zach Derby fumbled inside the 10-yard line, Iowa's third turnover of the game. Derby had just converted a 3rd and 5 on the play and Iowa was close to scoring and had a chance to make it a one-possession ballgame, but there would be no chance for victory after that last turnover.

WHAT MICHIGAN STATE WON: The Spartans took care of their biggest hurdle to a division title this week, as only games against Indiana and Northwestern remain. Northwestern is feisty in November, so it's not time for Spartan fans to start buying hotel rooms in Indianapolis just yet... but it is probably time to start figuring out a budget for that trip.

WHAT IOWA LOST: The notion of Iowa as a Legends Division contender is now, mercifully, over; the Hawkeyes had been in control of their own destiny with the MSU and Nebraska games yet to play, but any team that loses to Minnesota and Iowa State in the same season probably isn't a worthy contender for a conference championship. So that's done. More than that, with the fourth loss on the books, Iowa probably lost a shot at most of the big-name bowls; don't cry, Hawkeye fans, but this might be a Pizza Pizza Bowl kind of season.

THAT WAS CRAZY: One of the worst-kept secrets in the Big Ten is the disdain Kirk Ferentz and Mark Dantonio have for each other, despite basically being the same exact person. Ferentz calling a reverse pass with a 30-point lead last year has something to do with that. So with a routine field goal cued up and Michigan State leading 31-7 in the third quarter, Dantonio tried to exact revenge, and called a fake field goal of his own. It worked, but MSU would still only get three points out of the drive, and the insult seemed to wake up the Hawkeyes. Iowa responded with two quick touchdowns and a drive into Spartan territory immediately afterwards, and even though Iowa's rally fell short, it was still a reminder that midway through the third quarter is just a little bit early to start calling the proverbial "middle-finger" plays.
Posted on: November 6, 2011 9:11 pm
 

BCS Standings Top 10 Reactions, Week 10



Posted by Eye On College Football


On Sunday night the new BCS standings were released. LSU is now an unquestioned number one, but now the huge story is Alabama falling from No. 2... all the way to No. 3, ahead of not only Boise State but also Stanford. That might not hold up for more than a week, but it's the situation right now.  

You can check out a rundown of the Top 10 below, with some thoughts from our College Football Bloggers. For a full breakdown of the Top 25 teams in the BCS formula, you can check out the comprehensive standings.

1. LSU: LSU is number one, no questions asked, and only a loss could possibly keep the Tigers out of BCS contention -- and even then, LSU would be a major contender for the BCS Title. That's not to say that it doesn't matter if LSU beats Arkansas or not, obviously, but it does demonstrate just how powerful LSU's perch is here atop the BCS standings with three weeks and the conference championships still yet to play out. - Adam Jacobi

2. Oklahoma State: The Cowboys are right where they want to be. It's going to be impossible to pass LSU at this point barring a loss, but whether the #1 or #2 is next to your name in the BCS standings, all that matters is your in line to play for a BCS championship. Still, Oklahoma State has a long way to go with games left against Texas Tech and Iowa State on the road, not to mention Bedlam. - Tom Fornelli

3. Alabama: Losing to the top-ranked team in the nation in overtime might be devastating for fans, but it sure has a nice effect on a team's strength of schedule, which is why we see Alabama staying so high in the polls. Now, this designation of Alabama over Stanford isn't nearly as important as what the BCS decides next week, after Stanford potentially has a win over Oregon on its resume. Then and only then will we get a good sense of how close we are to a Bama-LSU rematch. - AJ

4. Stanford: The Cardinal went up to Oregon State and took care of business but suffered two big blows with the loss of wide receiver Chris Owusu (concussion) and tight end Levine Toilolo (upper body). That could be a big factor this week as Oregon comes to Palo Alto in what is the game of the year West of the Rockies. Stanford still has the best player in college football in Andrew Luck and are looking to solidify their hold on the #2 spot with a win. - Bryan Fischer

5. Boise State: Well, it looks like the Broncos will have to resign themselves to another possible unbeaten season ending in the wrong BCS bowl game. In order for Boise State to reach the top two it needs a lot of teams ahead of it to fall, and considering that Alabama has already lost and is STILL (italicize) two spots ahead of it in the standings, that's not a good sign for the Broncos. The possible good news is that with Georgia now being the favorite in the SEC East and TCU beginning to climb into the rankings, there's a chance Boise's schedule strength could give them a bump. - TF

6. Oklahoma: Some bad news for Oklahoma if they were hoping to be a one-loss team qualifying for the BCS title game: Alabama has a loss and only fell to third. Which means that if Oklahoma wins out it's probably going to need Stanford and maybe Boise State to fall, along with another loss from Alabama. Worse yet, the ACL injury to Ryan Broyles makes beating Oklahoma State at Bedlam even tougher. - TF

7. Oregon: Though they're not the highest ranked one-loss team, that could change with a win on Saturday against Stanford. LaMichael James put together a solid game against Washington as he continues to return from injury but the encouraging sign for Ducks fans had to be the play of the defense. The team hasn't really been tested since the opener but that will change this week in a game that essentially determines the Pac-12 champion. - BF

8: Arkansas: Want to see chaos befall the SEC and BCS system? Watch to see what happens if Arkansas somehow goes into Death Valley and upsets LSU. We'd be at a three-way tie in the SEC West (assuming everybody wins out), and each of the three teams would have a legitimate argument to make for getting to the SEC Championship -- and then, potentially, the BCS Championship. Yes, Arkansas at No. 8 means the Razorbacks would need a lot of help from pollsters ascending this ladder, but again, we're talking about if they win at LSU; voters would certainly take notice. - AJ

9. Clemson: While the Tigers' BCS title hopes were crushed in the loss against Georgia Tech, Clemson still has plenty to play for in the ACC Atlantic Division. Winning out in conference play would lock up the division and give them a shot to claim their first conference championship since 1991. For a team that plays 20+ redshirt or true freshman per game, that would not be a bad building block for the next few seasons. Chip Patterson

10. Virginia TechVirginia Tech is lucky to still be collecting votes after their 14-10 squeaker against Duke two weeks ago. But the off week has given the Hokies a chance to hit the reset button before arguably their biggest game of the season. Virginia Tech will travel to Atlanta on a Thursday, and try to avoid the same trap that caught Clemson. A win should give Virginia Tech control of the ACC Coastal Division, a loss and the Yellow Jackets become part of the picture. - CP
Posted on: November 6, 2011 2:07 pm
 

Big 12 Poll Reaction, Week 10

Posted by Tom Fornelli

This week's polls 
have been released. Here's how the Big 12 fared, from the top of the polls to the bottom, and what it means.

(AP/Coaches)

2/3. Oklahoma State

Oklahoma State moves up a spot in both polls following a narrow victory over Kansas State and Alabama's loss, but it's not all good news. Although Oklahoma State is second in the AP Poll, it's still third in the Coaches Poll behind both LSU and Stanford. The problem for the Cowboys here is that the Coaches Poll is part of the BCS formula while the AP isn't. Though it may not matter because Oklahoma State was behind Stanford in last week's Coaches vote and still finished ahead of the Cardinal in the BCS standings. So odds are that when the BCS does come out on Sunday night, Oklahoma State fans won't be all that worried about their standing with the graduate assistants of the world.

7/7. Oklahoma

Oklahoma doesn't budge an inch in either poll after using a strong second half performance for the second week in a row to put away Texas A&M. This could be somewhat disconcerting for Sooners fans that are hoping their team has a chance to be a one-loss participant in the title game. Texas A&M may not be as good of a team as many thought they were in the preseason, but the Aggies are still somewhat respected. So if a win over the Aggies won't move the needle for Oklahoma with the pollsters, then I don't know how much impact possible wins against Baylor and Iowa State will have. So it seems that Oklahoma's best bet right now is to continue hoping that undefeated teams lose and that Oklahoma State is still unbeaten when the Sooners head to Stillwater to finish the season.

17/22. Kansas State

So I guess the media respects Kansas State's performance against Oklahoma State more than the coaches do. The Wildcats get one of those rare weeks in the AP poll where they lose a game but don't drop at all in the poll, while the coaches knocked Kansas State down three spots. I have to say I agree with what the media thinks on Kansas State more than I do the coaches. This is a team with two losses and both of those losses came against teams ranked in the top ten. Bill Snyder's team still has a chance to climb with games against Texas A&M and Texas the next two weeks. Win those and they'll climb up to the top 15.

21/20. Texas

Their opponents in the last two weeks may not have been the cream of the crop, especially given how terrible Texas Tech has looked since beating Oklahoma, but the Longhorns have been scary in both contest. This isn't a team that's going to win the Big 12 but could surprise some people in the final weeks and continue to climb, setting themselves up for high expectations in 2012.

Others receiving votes

Baylor (3 AP/3 Coaches), Texas A&M (0 AP/6 Coaches) 
Posted on: November 6, 2011 1:13 am
Edited on: November 6, 2011 1:26 am
 

Big 12 Winners and Losers: Week 10



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: Oklahoma State's BCS title dreams

This was here last week as well, but that doesn't change the fact that it's true. Though Kansas State gave Oklahoma State just about everything it could handle on Saturday night the Cowboys still emerged from the scorched earth and rumbling fault line that was Boone Pickens Stadium with a win. Now the Cowboys are 9-0 on the season and will move up in the BCS standings to the second spot after Alabama's loss to LSU.

So as long as Oklahoma State keeps winning -- and there are still three games to go, so nothing is guaranteed -- then it's going to end up in New Orleans. There is no Big 12 title game to get in the way, though a game against Oklahoma will serve as the Big 12 championship, but at least it's played in Stillwater and not Jerry World.

WINNER: Brandon Weeden's Heisman hopes

With Alabama losing that hurts Trent Richardson's chances because voters tend to vote for the best players on the best teams, and since Alabama has a loss now, they won't be considered one of the best teams. It's stupid, but it's reality. Now, Weeden likely won't be able to pass Andrew Luck without Stanford suffering a loss, but he's still the quarterback of the #2 team in the country. That alone is enough to get you consideration these days, let alone the fact that Weeden's now thrown for 3,212 yards this season and 26 touchdowns on one of the best offenses in the country.

LOSER: Ryan Broyles

To be clear, there has never been an injury suffered by any player that I've enjoyed. Every single one of them stinks, but Ryan Broyles' torn ACL on Saturday made me sadder than most. This is a kid that has not only been a great player during his career at Oklahoma, but someone who passed up on the chance to become a millionaire in the NFL last spring so he could return to Norman and play for a national title. Now his season is over and his draft stock is going to plummet. This world has never been fair, but sometimes it's just downright cruel.

LOSER: Preseason expectations

Before this season started Texas A&M was ranked 8th in the AP poll and 9th in the Coaches poll. Well, just in case you needed any more evidence to see why preseason polls are absolutely ridiculous since we're offering opinions on teams before seeing a single down played, just look at Texas A&M. After getting beat soundly by Oklahoma on Saturday the Aggies are now 5-4 and 3-3 in the Big 12 staring at a date in the Alamo or Sun Bowl. Considering that the school is moving to the SEC next year, those preseason expectations may also end up costing Mike Sherman his job.

WINNER: Smashmouth football in Austin

Why should Bryan Harsin even bother calling a pass at this point? Over the last two weeks he's seen his offense rush for 880 yards and 11 touchdowns. After scoring 6 rushing touchdowns against Texas Tech it's the first time the Longhorns have run for at least 5 scores in consecutive games since 2005. Making things even more impressive, the Longhorns didn't even have Malcolm Brown available on Saturday. The combination of Brown and Joe Bergeron over the next few seasons, with some David Ash mixed in, is going to keep defensive coordinators up at night.

LOSER: Justin Tucker

Who is Justin Tucker? I'm glad you asked. Justin Tucker is Texas' punter. He's only had to punt once the last two weeks. Though I suppose that could just as easily make him a winner. Plus, at least he's also the placekicker and gets to kick field goals from time to time. Just to keep his leg from falling asleep.

WINNER: Baylor's offensive virility

Yes Baylor was able to put up a lot of yards in its last two games against Texas A&M and Oklahoma State, but it still wasn't able to put a lot of points on the scoreboard in either matchup. That changed on Saturday night against Missouri when the Bears not only scored 42 points to beat Missouri 42-39, but also picked up a school record of 697 yards of total offense in the process. Robert Griffin was responsible for 470 of those yards and 4 touchdowns while Terrence Ganaway rushed for 186 yards on only 12 carries. 15.5 yards per carry is a pretty good clip.

LOSER: Texas Tech

What the hell has happened, Raiders? Two weeks ago you were ahead of Oklahoma 31-7 in the second half, preparing to shock the world. Since then you've been outscored 124-37. I mean, you lost to Iowa State 41-7 last week and Iowa State was only able to beat Kansas 13-10 on Saturday night. Kansas!

WINNER: Speaking of Iowa State...

Hey, so it wasn't pretty, but the Cyclones picked up a 13-10 win against Kansas on Saturday night. The win improved Paul Rhoads' team to 5-4 on the season, which means it's only one win shy of bowl eligibility. That's great news for the program. Unfortunately, here's the bad news: Iowa State's last three games are against Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Kansas State.

LOSER: Kansas' chances of winning a Big 12 game in 2011

Listen, we all know Kansas is a bad football team. I'm not going to pile on the program even more, but the school's best chance of winning a Big 12 game this season was on Saturday night in Ames, and the Jayhawks fell short 13-10. Now the Jayhawks finish the year with Baylor, Texas A&M and Missouri. Three teams who aren't untouchable by any means, but I'm not liking Kansas' chances in any of them.
Posted on: November 5, 2011 3:34 pm
Edited on: November 5, 2011 3:35 pm
 

QUICK HITS: Texas 52 Texas Tech 20

Posted by Tom Fornelli

TEXAS WON. For the second week in a row the Longhorns looked dominant against an opponent. Last week it was Kansas on the other end of a beatdown, and this week it was Texas Tech's turn. The trio pictured to the right -- Fozzy Whittaker, Joe Bergeron, and D.J. Monroe -- did most of the damage for Texas on Saturday, as the Longhorns rushed for 416 yards and 6 touchdowns, averaging 8.2 yards per carry on the day. 

WHY TEXAS WON. Simply put, Texas Tech just couldn't stop the Texas rushing attack. Bergeron finished with 191 yards and 3 touchdowns, and Whittaker had 83 yards and 2 touchdowns. Hell, even wide receiver Marquis Goodwin picked up 45 yards rushing on 2 carries, as he just wanted to get his hands on the ball considering Texas only threw 9 times in 63 plays on offense.

WHEN TEXAS WON. When Joe Bergeron scored his first touchdown of the day with 1:46 left in the first half to give Texas a 31-6 lead, there was no reason to believe the Red Raiders would mount any kind of comeback in the second half considering they hadn't stopped Texas once in the entire first half.

WHAT TEXAS WON. The respect is coming back. While Texas is not on the same level as either of the Oklahoma schools in the Big 12 -- which their two losses showed -- there's a chance that Texas may be the third best team in the Big 12 conference. In fact, if the Longhorns play like they have the last two weeks on both sides of the ball for the rest of the year, then I wouldn't be shocked to see the Longhorns finish third in the conference and go to the Holiday Bowl. Not a terrible end to the season after what took place in 2010.

WHAT TEXAS TECH LOST. What isn't Texas Tech losing at this point? The program was on a high two weeks ago after beating Oklahoma, but even in that game it had to hold on to dear life after blowing a 31-7 lead. Since then it's been blown out at home by Iowa State and now was manhandled by Texas. Tech is now 5-4 on the season and needs another win to get to a bowl game, but with Oklahoma State, Missouri and Baylor left on the schedule, there's no guarantee they'll get it.

THAT WAS CRAZY. The Texas offense had 10 possessions on Saturday, and scored on 8 of them. The only 2 possessions that Texas didn't score on? Those were stopped by halftime and the end of the game.
Posted on: November 4, 2011 3:04 pm
 

The Saturday Meal Plan: Week 10

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.

Listen, we know what you're planning on having for dinner on Saturday night. The only college football fans who won't be tuning into Alabama and LSU on Saturday night are the ones who have their favorite teams playing at the same time. And even most of those people will be flipping back and forth.

Still, that doesn't mean there aren't plenty of other strong options out there on Saturday. I mean, every main course needs an appetizer or 8, right?

BREAKFAST

Iowa vs. #13 Michigan - ESPN, 12pm ET

Let's face it: it's not very fun to watch games with dynamic performers if those guys get shut down by a defense. Fortunately for Michigan, that's probably not a fate awaiting Denard Robinson against Iowa. The Hawkeye defense has been jarringly bad all season long, and "Shoelace" is likely to get in the end zone several times. What more can you ask for from an early game? - Adam Jacobi

Texas vs. Texas Tech - FX, 12pm ET

The word is that beginning next season these two teams will begin playing on Thanksgiving Day, so this may be the last time you watch this game without a turkey leg in your mouth. Both are looking to make a statement on Saturday, as the Longhorns would like the world to know that they're a good team that has lost to great teams. Texas Tech, meanwhile, would like to prove that the win over Oklahoma wasn't just a fluke and it wants to wash the stench of Iowa State off. - Tom Fornelli

Florida vs. Vanderbilt - SEC Network, 12:21pm ET

Is this the week the Commodores finish the deal? After playing Georgia tough and Arkansas tougher, it would seem the reeling Gators, losers of four straight, would be ripe for the picking. But with John Brantley another week removed from his ankle injury and Will Muschamp's team now in desperation mode, the upset won't come easy. Vandy's struggled on the road, too, having lost their two SEC games away from Nashville (to South Carolina and Alabama) by combined 55-3. Can the Gators rebound? - Jerry Hinnen

LUNCH

Oregon State vs. #4 Stanford - ABC, 3:30pm ET

Let down game? We'll see if Stanford struggles on the road after their big, overtime win at USC last week. Strange things have been known to happen up in Corvallis with highly ranked teams so keep your eye on this one even though it's a complete mismatch in favor of the Cardinal. - Bryan Fischer

#7 Oklahoma vs. Texas A&M - ABC/ESPN2, 3:30pm ET

With its slim hopes of winning the Big 12 dashed last week by Missouri, the Aggies are now resigned to playing the role of spoiler. What better way to say goodbye to Oklahoma than by killing its chances at a Big 12 title as well? Both of these teams have strong offenses, and we could be in store for quite the shootout in Norman on Saturday. - TF

#19 Wisconsin vs. Purdue - ABC/ESPN2, 3:30pm ET

We're not saying this game won't be competitive, but before the third quarter is over, Russell Wilson will probably throw a sword at the press box then scream, "Are you not entertained?! Is this not why you have come out here?!" And then, if we haven't stretched the Gladiator reference past credulity and good taste, the Camp Randall crowd will begin chanting, "Caroliniard!" over and over. - AJ

Air Force vs. Army - CBS, 3:30pm ET

Air Force already withstood an 18-point comeback from Navy before winning 35-34 in overtime, and it would be a huge let down to follow that performance with a loss against Army at home.  The Falcons can capture their 18th outright win for the Commander-In-Chief's Trophy if they can win the ground attack battle against the Black Knights.  Army and Air Force rank 1st and 3rd nationally in rushing offense, and Saturday's battle will be a test of defense and ball control as the two service academies square off in the annual rivalry.  With Air Force starting quarterback Tim Jefferson reportedly playing with a broken nose, I expect senior Asher Clark to step up in the backfield with a big performance at home.  The Falcons are favored to win this nationally televised battle, but in these rivalry games with the service academies you never know what to expect.  - Chip Patterson

DINNER

Pitt vs. #23 Cincinnati - ESPNU, 7pm ET

The Bearcats have quietly made themselves Big East frontrunners, as the only team without a loss in conference play.  Two years ago Cincinnati came from behind to beat Pittsburgh 45-44 on Heinz Field to cap off an undefeated regular season and earn a berth to the Sugar Bowl.  Now with Butch Jones at the helm, they control their own destiny to return to a BCS bowl.  Their five-game home stretch starts with the Panthers, who will be looking to rebound from losing Ray Graham for the season with a knee injury.  Quarterback Tino Sunseri delivered one of his best performances of the season after Graham went down against UConn, and they'll need it again to take down the conference leaders. - CP

#8 Arkansas vs. #10 South Carolina - ESPN, 7:15pm ET 

Believe it or not, there's going to be two matchups of BCS top 10 teams in the SEC Saturday night. The Hogs and Gamecocks might have been able to draw a little more attention away from that other game if Carolina had done anything on offense of late, but -- go figure -- scoring just 28 points in their past two games doesn't seem to have done much to move the national needle. If Tyler Wilson can avoid getting an early shower courtesy of Melvin Ingram and the rest of the outstanding Gamecock pass rush, Carolina should be hard-pressed to keep pace with the Raozrback offense in Fayetteville. - JH

#3 Oklahoma State vs. #17 Kansas State - ABC/ESPN2, 8pm ET

Consider this Kansas State's last stand. The Wildcats were finally starting to gain the respect they deserved for their strong start to the season only to get trounced by Oklahoma last weekend. They either get off the mat and fight back against a very good Oklahoma State team or they'll just be a footnote in the 2011 season. As for Oklahoma State, they've got plenty to play for, as a berth in the BCS title game is very much in play. - TF

#2 Alabama vs. #1 LSU - CBS, 8pm ET

So, is it possible to sum up two solid weeks of previews and thousands and thousands of words in just a couple of sentences? We'll try: if AJ McCarron doesn't hand the Tigers big plays on defense and Rueben Randle doesn't break free for some big plays on offense, Alabama's brutal run game and equally brutal run defense will eventually wear down the Tigers in Tuscaloosa. But if McCarron does get sloppy and Randle does keep the Tide D off-balance, the matchup's close enough that just those handful of plays could swing it. - JH 

LATE NIGHT SNACK

Washington vs. #6 Oregon - Fox Sports, 10:30pm ET

Washington fans hate Oregon. Oregon fans hate Washington. This Northwest rivalry is underrated by many nationally and has been one-sided as of late but this year's game should be very competitive. The Huskies can score some points on the Ducks defense but can UW defensive coordinator Nick Holt stop the fast-paced Oregon attack? - BF 
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com