On Wednesday, CBSsportsline.com reported that Jim Mora Jr. said that Marcus Mariota is going to “rip up” the NFL when he moves on to the next level. First, Mariota has to continue to dominate college football and the PAC 12 specifically. Oregon gets their second chance to show dominance in college football’s game of the week.
The first week of the BCS rankings has caused a little controversy to start the stretch run. Oregon has always seemed like a certain title contender, but after Florida State’s huge win over Clemson, the Ducks find themselves the odd team out.
The PAC 12 has another marquee matchup on Saturday in Oregon. After losing to Eastern Washington to start the season, Oregon State has reeled off six wins in a row. By Saturday night, we’ll know just where the Beavers stand.
Here are the top college football games of the week.
UCLA vs. Oregon
The UCLA Bruins have made their mark under second year coach Jim Mora, but they still haven’t earned that marquee victory. The Oregon Ducks have been playing with purpose, yet they must kick it into a new gear in the upcoming week. It’s likely, Nick Aliotti won’t have to worry about playing his third string players in this game. Also, the PAC 12 showdown will showcase two of the best quarterbacks in the country.
Stanford vs. Oregon State
The Stanford Cardinal face a pass happy bunch up in Corvallis on Saturday. It seems all of the PAC 12 is in a dog fight over the next few weeks, and Stanford already took one on the chin. Defensively, they’ll have to deal with Sean Mannion at quarterback. Yet, they have already shut down Brett Hundley and UCLA.
The Miami Hurricane’s survived two scares over the last seven days. Now they can concentrate on the football field. With the lack of sanctions, Miami is in as good a spot as any other program to play for the National title. First, they have to get by a game Wake Forest squad. Stephen Morris has to get out of his doldrums, and start playing better football.
The Florida State fans should shudder as soon as they hear the name North Carolina State on the schedule. The Seminoles have been as dominant as any team this season. They have the likeable Jameis Winston as the unquestioned leader of a prolific offense. They also know how to let the Wolfpack derail their seasons.
The Tigers and the Terrapins get to battle it out in what could be an interesting game if not for serious injuries. There’s no doubt that Clemson needs the victory more, but Maryland is still looking for a program building win. Both teams played Florida State at their peak got destroyed. Maybe both teams showed up, but the Seminoles were just too tough. Personal attacks on Tajh Boyd have been disappointing, but he gets the opportunity to produce once again.
The Minnesota Golden Gophers already have five wins and they are in line for another bowl appearance. They are coming off a huge win at Northwestern, and now they host Nebraska. A win by Nebraska could help earn some separation in the Big 10 Legends division. Will we see Taylor Martinez on Saturday?
Penn State vs. Ohio State
Penn State already knocked off Michigan in a thriller, now they have a chance to defeat the other heavy favorite, Ohio State. Whether it’s Braxton Miller on Kenny Guiton at quarterback, the Buckeyes have been untouched over the last two seasons. Another win, and that will be 20 in a row.
Michigan State vs. Illinois
You have to marvel at the defensive performances by the Michigan State Spartans. They have one of the best units in the country, and possess playmakers on every level. When they get adequate offensive performances, the Spartans are almost unbeatable. Illinois started off strong, but are winless in the Big 10. They’ve given up at least 34 points four times this season.
Oklahoma had one misstep this season and it costs them big time. The Sooners should be vying for a top spot in the BCS rankings, but they have fallen way back in the pecking order. On Saturday, they get a chance to make a huge statement against Texas Tech. The Red Raiders are undefeated and in the top 10. A road win in this spot will surely put Texas Tech on the map.
Texas vs. TCU
The Texas Longhorns have built up a lot of equity over the past few weeks. However, we don’t know if this was the real Texas team or were they just a product of being overlooked. Shockingly, Texas is (4-2) and they are undefeated in the Big 12. TCU has had a disappointing season so far, but they are capable of pulling out a win at home.
Vanderbilt pulled off their biggest win in years. It’s proof that their program is still headed in the right direction. They play tough defense and give it their all. Texas A&M has been let down by their defensive unit. The Aggies haven’t gotten better from week one. It’s time for Johnny Manziel to cut out the turnovers for Texas A&M to win. With this team, every possession truly does count. Texas A&M needs to earn a nice home victory.
Tennessee is the best team Alabama has played in weeks. The Volunteers are only (4-3). There’s no reason to be confident in Tennessee’s offense against Alabama’s defense. They may have a little success, but they aren’t scary offensively. Alabama will run the ball and pass over the top.
South Carolina vs. Missouri
The Missouri Tigers have skyrocketed up the polls and are in position to play for the SEC title. They have one more big game in their division. If they can handle South Carolina, Missouri must collapse down the stretch not to win the division. South Carolina won’t have Connor Shaw on Saturday. The Gamecocks need Mike Davis to carry the load when they visit Missouri. South Carolina has turned their back on the run in the losses.