College football games of the week: Top 4 picks for Week 11
It was a great weekend of footballing, wasn’t it? Washington State slid into the abyss and Mike Leach is back to his sideshow nonsense. Heisman frontrunner Collin Klein was hurt and removed from the K State vs. Oklahoma State game, but Bill Snyder barely even confirmed it happened, and Kentucky fired Joker Phillips.
There are some fun games this week, too. Let’s take a look.
No. 15 Texas A&M Aggies at No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide: 2:30 p.m. on CBS
My main man Kirk Bohls thinks the Aggies are going to Tuscaloosa and winning this game. I think that is insane for two reasons: 1) It’s Bama at home, and 2) I hate the Aggies. That’s plenty of reason for that not to happen, am I right? Right? All kidding aside, I hate them. Bama might be a touch hungover, but they win this game after settling down and rolling to 10-0. Please, please move to 10-0. Bama 34, Ags 17.
No. 11 Oregon State Beavers at No. 14 Stanford Cardinal: 2 p.m. on FOX
I think most people haven’t seen either one of these teams play, so this will be the national debut for both. Both teams are physical and play very good defense, but I think the Beavers throw the ball much, much better than most people realize and new starter Cody Vaz was excellent in relief against Washington and went 14-33 for 267 yards and three scores (and one interception) last week against ASU. I expect Beaver passing to be the difference in this game and I just don’t think Stanford has enough offense to keep up with Oregon State. The wrong team is favored! Beavers 27, Cardinal 24.
No. 21 Mississippi State Bulldogs at No. 7 LSU Tigers: 6 p.m. on ESPN
I have to put this in here because it’s two ranked teams. I don’t think this will be that close, however. Cow Bells got exposed last week when the Aggies showed how alarmingly slow the Bulldogs were. LSU is faster than A&M and that effort last week was at home in Starkville. This is in Death Valley where the LSU fans and team are clearly angry about letting that one slip away against Bama. LSU is a two-touchdown favorite. Expect Zach Mettenberger to look sensational against this defense. Tigers cover. LSU 37, Cow Bells 14.
Most Intriguing Game of the Week
No. 18 UCLA Bruins at Washington State Cougars: 9:30 p.m. on ESPN
I’m changing the criteria this week because I don’t think this will be the worst game of the week, but I’m watching it for the worst reasons. Make sense? This is like Honey Boo Boo-entertaining. You don’t want to like it, you think it’s awful and you actually don't like, but you still watch it (well, some of you do).
The carnival of distraction that seems to follow Mike Leach around is in full swing in Pullman: his only really good player quit/was suspended (depending on who you believe) and Leach's body language and comments tell me he didn’t fully realize just how bad they were when he took this job. Conversely, UCLA beat No. 22 Arizona 66-10 last week and it could have been worse had they wanted it to be. It will be that bad again this week as, from outside, it looks like Wazzu might have quit on The Pirate. Maybe not. Or maybe so. Bruins 48, Wazzu 13.
No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide at No. 6 LSU Tigers
Why it was included: Top 10 matchup, National Title implications.
Prediction: Tide 27, LSU 14. It won’t be as boring as last year’s regular season matchup. Bama wins because LSU can’t pass.
Reality: Tide 21, LSU 17. It wasn’t as boring as last year’s regular season matchup. Bama wins, but LSU could pass. Stunning final drive for Alabama.
For most of the game it looked like LSU had it, but the Tide found a way. Outplayed by Zach Mettenberger the entire night, AJ McCarron took over with 1:34 to play after a missed LSU field goal. He drove Bama 72 yards in five plays, going 4-5 for all 72 yards including a perfect read and an even better screen pass into a blitz and running back TJ Yeldon raced into the end zone for the 21-17 lead. LSU could muster nothing after that and surely is regretting some decisions and missed opportunities: a disastrous fake field goal on 4th and 12, a botched onside kick and two missed field goals. So close, but so far away. Excellent win by Bama. Everybody get off McCarron’s back for crying. We aren't going to hug it out or anything, but enough already.
No. 4 Oregon Ducks at No. 17 USC Trojans
Why is was included: Two top 20 teams, lots of offense and the uniforms!
Prediction: Oregon 41, USC 24. Oregon runs all over USC, Matty Trojan keeps it close, Ducks move on.
Reality: Oregon 62, USC 51. Oregon ran all over USC, Matt Trojan kept it close, Ducks move on.
Wow, can Oregon move the ball or what? I thought Kenjon Barner was on the way to a big day when I wrote that last week, but I didn’t realize it would be a historic day. The Oregon tailback from So Cal rushed for 321 yards (a school record) and five touchdowns and quarterback Marcus Mariota threw for 304 yards and four touchdown passes as the Ducks did whatever they wanted offensively, amassing 730 yards. USC wasn’t far behind, totaling 615 yards as Matt Barkley threw for 484 with five scores and two picks. No one really seems to care about defense as far as Heisman polling goes, so expect Barner to be at the top of the list next week. I like the all white unis. Very sharp.
No. 16 Texas A&M Aggies at No. 15 Mississippi State Wildcats
Why it was included: Top 20 matchup, hickness and maroon abound.
Prediction: MSU 30, Ags 24.Aggies are clearly better, but I don’t like them and that should be enough.
Reality: Ags 38, MSU 13.Aggies were clearly better, I don’t like them and that was nowhere close to enough.
Beat down. I don’t think it was even that close as it was 31-0 before the Bulldogs could mount any sort of a drive. Cow Bells got fat statistically on some bad teams and now the step up in competition is revealing that. The Ags are playing really, really well and the notion that a spread offense will not work in the SEC is proving to be utter nonsense if you have the right coach and right quarterback (and a good defense) to run it. Jerks.
Worst Game of the Week
Illinois Illini at Ohio State Buckeyes
Why it was included: Illinois is terrible, Ohio State is not.
Prediction: Ugly early.
Reality: Buckeyes 52, Illini 22. Ugly, but not quite as early.
It started slow but snowballed quickly as Ohio State scored 31 straight after leading 7-6 in the first quarter. The Buckeyes amassed 567 yards and held Illinois to just 170 total yards. Urb is now 10-0 at Ohio State with only two games remaining. They have to travel to Wisconsin and then the finale with Michigan. They could go undefeated and win their division, even though they are ineligible for post-season play… See how bad Illinois is and how bad this game was? I stopped talking about them and it half way through the recap. That bad, and clearly the worst game of the day.
That’s it for this week. See you next week.
For more nonsense follow me on Twitter @TreyMcLean.