Week 14 College Football Preview
by Nate Jacobson | University of Missouri
After a month of chaos, the scenario for the BCS National Championship game is now simple. The first week of November saw the “Game of the Century,” where LSU ousted Alabama 9-6 and neither team found the end zone. Two weeks later, the BCS standings turned upside down when Oklahoma State, Oregon, and Oklahoma all lost. All three of these teams were ranked in the top five at the time, and their misfortune gave Alabama a second shot at the title game.
A week later, No. 1 LSU earned a berth in this weekend’s SEC Championship game. Alabama won the “Iron Bowl” convincingly over Auburn to cement its place as the No. 2 team in the BCS standings. With that win, it is very likely the Crimson Tide have locked up a place in New Orleans next month. Meanwhile, LSU just has one more game to put the finishing touches on an undefeated season. Here are the four must-watch games for the last full weekend of the college football regular season:
#22 Texas @ #17 Baylor – Waco, Texas
Back when the Big 12 had twelve teams, this was the weekend of the conference title game. It seemed like about every other year, Texas would be in this tilt. Instead of playing in a large urban city in Big 12 country, the Longhorns are traveling to Waco, Texas.
Texas is coming off a dramatic 27-25 victory against bitter rival Texas A&M. A last-second field goal by Justin Tucker gave the Longhorns the win in a rivalry game that looks to be overdue as the Aggies move to the SEC. After making a relief appearance at quarterback in College Station, it looks like Case McCoy will be the starter over struggling David Ash.
Baylor looks to cap off a historic regular season and make one last Heisman case for their star quarterback. Robert Griffin III has been the most valuable and best player in the Big 12 this season. He is still a Heisman hopeful, but he did leave last week’s game against Texas Tech with a concussion. Griffin did practice this week, though, and should be ready to go on Saturday afternoon.
#14 Georgia vs. #1 LSU – Atlanta, Georgia
SEC East champion Georgia will make the 70-mile trip to Atlanta with a chance to make the BCS selection show interesting. After losing his first two games of the season, Georgia head coach Mark Richt found himself in the hot seat. Since then, the Bulldogs have pulled off ten straight wins. Sophomore quarterback Aaron Murray is coming off a 252 yard and four touchdown performance over Georgia Tech. Murray will be need to post similar numbers against a top-notch LSU secondary.
After falling behind 14-0 last Friday against Arkansas, LSU stormed back to win 41-17. The comeback was sparked by sophomore cornerback Tyrann Mathieu, who returned a punt for a touchdown and forced a fumble that led to a touchdown on LSU’s next offensive possession. The only recent change in the LSU lineup has been Jordan Jefferson taking over for Jarrett Lee at quarterback. Jefferson can be dynamic at times, and Lee was only a game manager.
#10 Oklahoma @ #3 Oklahoma State
A couple weeks ago, this game was thought to have major National Championship implications. It essentially could’ve been a semi-final for a berth in the BCS title game. Instead each team has lost in the month of November, ending any New Orleans dreams. The game is still meaningful for Big 12 purposes and to settle the score on who’s the best team in Oklahoma.
The Sooners have one of the best offenses in the country, but they haven’t had the same balanced attack since running back Dominique Whaley went down with an injury. Last week quarterback Landry Jones surpassed the 4,000 yard mark on the season. The junior will have an important decision at the end of the regular season on whether or not to enter the NFL Draft.
Oklahoma State suffered a shocking blow two weeks ago, when they were upset by Iowa State in double overtime. The Cowboys may have been looking ahead to the big showdown this weekend and failed to take care of business in Ames. The quarterback battle between Jones and Cowboys’ Brandon Weeden should be a great one to watch. The 28 year-old Oklahoma State signal caller has thrown for 4,111 yards on the season.
#15 Wisconsin vs. #13 Michigan State – Indianapolis, Indiana
The first ever Big Ten Championship game features two teams, either of whom might be able to beat the hometown Indianapolis NFL team. More importantly, this game is a rematch of an instant classic earlier this season in East Lansing, when a Michigan State Hail Mary was caught at the buzzer to end Wisconsin’s undefeated start.
Wisconsin finished the season with a double-digit victoryafter last Saturday’s 45-7 win over Penn State. The champions of the Leaders division are fourth in the country in both points for (44.8) and points against (15.2). Quarterback Russell Wilson threw two of his three total interceptions on the season in the first meeting against Michigan State, but he courageously led the Badgers back to give them a shot to win.
Last week, senior quarterback Kirk Cousins passed Jeff Smoker for the most touchdowns passes in Michigan State history with 62. The Spartans defeated Northwestern 31-17 to reach the ten-win plateau. Wide receiver B.J. Cunningham racked up 120 yards and two touchdowns against the Wildcats. The Cousins to Cunningham connection will have to continue in order to defeat a revenge-minded Wisconsin.Nate Jacobson is a NextGen Journal Sports Correspondent. He is a freshmen at the University of Missouri, majoring in journalism.