National title berths, a former Heisman hopeful's last chance to win a big game, possible Pac 10 upsets, and the second greatest coach of all-time on his last legs. This weekend is going to be filled with upsets and controversy across the board, but these five game will be the ones with the biggest impact.
(9) LSU at (3) Alabama
If you’re not going to watch for the 27 different “he led LSU to a national title five years ago, but is now collecting a $4 million paycheck from the state of Alabama” camera angles (which Verne Lunquist always does a great job of making creepy) – you better tune in to check out some of the most talented young players in the country battling for a shot at the national title. Assuming the BCS does its job correctly and keeps one of those lame mid-major conference teams with an undefeated record and key wins over Oregon State/Louisiana Tech out of the national title, it’s not out of the question that LSU could have a shot at the championship if they defeat the Crimson Tide. Both teams are loaded with future NFL first rounders like Mark Ingram, Julio Jones, Brandon LaFell and Patrick Patterson and always bring a level of intensity usually reserved for soccer hooligans and degenerate gamblers. This one’s going to be wild.
Prediction: Remember the name Russell Shepard. He’s the x-factor that will help LSU pull the major upset. LSU wins 20-17.
(16) Ohio State at (11) Penn State
If Iowa ends up tanking towards the end of the season, the winner of this game could have a sincere shot to lose to Oregon in the Rose Bowl by 31 points (fingers crossed, Tressel). Ohio State quarterback Terelle Prior began the year with Vince Young comparisons – though recently he’s looking like the semi-suicidal “We’re already 0-6, so what the hell” NFL version of VY. If Pryor is going to have any sort of future in Columbus, he’s going to need to show the always forgiving Buckeye fans that he has the ability to win a big game.
Prediction: Ohio State pulls the upset 17-10. (I’m feeling like this is going to be a really wacky week.)
(8) Oregon at Stanford
Following their impressive win over a USC team that has to throw out all of their “best one-loss team in the country” bandwagon bumper stickers, Oregon may get caught in a trap game against a Stanford team that has not lost at home all year. The Ducks are the more talented squad in this matchup, but the emotional toll of their Pete Carroll ass kicking may have them come out a little sluggish. If Stanford can start strong like they did against ASU, they may have a shot to pull the upset.
Prediction: Stanford shocks Oregon by taking a lead into halftime, but Oregon pulls out a 35-24 win.
(24) Oklahoma at Nebraska
Say what you will about the Bob Stoops trainwreck, but considering the epic levels of failure (or Karma, if you’re from Texas) spreading throughout Norman – the portly bench boss has done a decent job deflecting the recent “When are you actually going to win something?” questions. If the Sooner nation loses their fourth game of the season this week in front of a Nebraska stadium filled with the loudest lunatics in the country, this could be a serious stain on the Stoops’ legacy and, as Winston Churchill once said "the end of his beginning." (I like to think great moments in history were actually intended for college football. Wars are boring)
Prediction: Stoops finds a way to win 28-10, and has yet another week to come up with a way to make a Holiday Bowl appearance after a National Title Runner-Up season sound "less horrible” to boosters.
Florida State at Clemson
Yes, the ACC does, in fact, still exist. They have uniforms and everything! Granted, they’ve been irrelevant for weeks now, but with the Bobby Bowden saga hitting new levels of insanity, this game might be the one where school officials finally look at the second winningest coach in NCAA football history and ask him to step down. The once dominant Seminoles have looked awful lately, and a blowout loss to the Tigers would put them at 4-5, effectively eliminating them from bowl contention (unless they win their next two games). Clemson is an exciting team loaded with NFL–quality talent that’s ready to put on a nationally televised show.
Prediction: Clemson wins 41-17.
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