By Josh Kramer
It is no longer a new season of College Football. We are at the midway point of the year, and conference play is in full force. Grab your popcorn because the second half promises to be even more fun than the first half was.
Here are a few things we do know:
-The SEC West is as good as advertised, featuring two major National Championship contenders in LSU and Alabama.
-Andrew Luck was not just lucky in his first couple of seasons under center in Palo Alto. He truly is the real deal.
-The Russell Wilson experiment appears to not only have major Big Ten Championship implications, but possible National Championship Game implications as well.
-Stephen Garcia is one of the biggest knuckleheads ever to play a snap at the Division 1 College Football level.
-The first official set of BCS Rankings will come out on Sunday.
Questions at this time:
-Are the Big Blue, featuring the “Denard Robinson Show” the real deal?
-Does Boise State truly have a shot at making it to Bourbon Street for the National Championship Game?
-Who will emerge from a wide open Pac-12? Oregon or Stanford (or dare I say Arizona State)?
-Will Ohio State make it to a bowl game?
-Who is the Heisman favorite? Robinson, Luck, Wilson, Jones, or Richardson?
Here are the marquee matchups of the week.
Michigan at Michigan State: Wolverines by 7
Headline: “The Denard Robinson Show” claims the state of Michigan in a thrilling comeback.
-It is no secret that both of these teams do not like each other. They both would like to stake their claim as the best football team in the great state of Michigan. In addition, each team still has major hopes of winning the mighty Big Ten Conference and stamping a ticket to the Rose Bowl. Michigan has been in this situation before, but not with new coach Brady Hoke on the sidelines. Michigan State is coming off of a huge win at the Horseshoe, but also is about to begin the most brutal portion of its schedule (Wisconsin then Nebraska in their next two games).
-This matchup is extremely difficult to predict. Neither team has really played too many quality opponents. There does happen to be one common opponent though. And when looking at this one common opponent, who happens to be Notre Dame, one team won a thriller (Michigan), while the other team got blown out (Michigan State). Each team features a great defense. The difference though is that Michigan also features one of the best ground attacks in the country and an offense that can really put up the points. Expect this game to come down to one or two big time plays from the best playmaker in the country, Denard Robinson.
Baylor at Texas A&M: Bears by 3
Headline: And the Robert Griffin Heisman Campaign continues.
-I am sure you have heard someone say at one point or another that teams do not play defense in the Big 12. And though this statement is a bit of a hyperbole, these two teams really do not play much defense. Neither ranks highly in any major defensive category and have lost games strictly due to being unable to stop their opponents from scoring at will. Though neither of these teams has much of a prayer at winning the Big 12 or qualifying for a BCS Game at this point, they both could still make a solid bowl game.
-Baylor is putting up an insane 48 points a game this year thanks in large part to the outstanding play of their junior quarterback, Robert Griffin III. No quarterback in the country, and that includes Mr. Luck, has played as well as this guy has thus far. He has thrown 19 TDs and just 1 INT through 5 games. In addition, he is completing passes at a ridiculous rate of over 80%. Though A&M has a strong offensive attack in their own right, they cannot keep up with the likes of Griffin. In addition, they have lost two times at Kyle Field this year. Well get ready for number three.
Oklahoma State at Texas: Cowboys by 10
Headline: Weeden has a field-day against the youthful Longhorns.
-Texas was undefeated heading into last week’s Red River Rivalry. By 3:30 PM, they not only were 4 and 1, but they were vulnerable. Okahoma State on the other hand put up a 70-spot on Kansas. Talk about two teams that are coming off of different types of games. Historically, the Longhorns are lights out at Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. But they are still in the midst of the rebuilding process at the moment.
-Landry Jones torched the Longhorns secondary for 367 yards last Saturday. You better believe that Brandon Weeden will put up similar numbers. Weeden is the ringleader of the nation’s number one ranked offensive attack, which averages over 51 points per game. Last week demonstrated that Texas still has a way to go before they get back to the pinnacle of College Football. The Longhorns are vastly improved from last year and have a strong core group, but they are not ready to take down a very talented and experienced Cowboys team.
Arizona State at Oregon: Ducks by 3
Headline: Ducks survive a Sun Devil scare.
-Oregon is still considered the team to beat in the Pac-12. Arizona State is an up and comer that has already turned some heads this year. Especially September 24th, when they partied like it was 1999 and laid a merciful beating on Lane Kiffin’s Trojans. Both of these teams are expected to compete for the Pac-12 Championship (along with Stanford). This is a huge game, despite it still being October. The bright lights will be shown on Autzen Stadium in Nikeville, USA.
-At this time, it appears that LaMichael James will be sidelined for this momentous Pac-12 battle. No harm no foul. Despite James being the best running back in all the land, Oregon still has other weapons. They have the always exciting dual-threat QB Darron Thomas that is dangerous to take it to the house on any given play. Plus they have freshman phenom De’Anthony Thomas, who has proven to be a threat both out of the backfield and as a wide receiver. Arizona State will have a legitimate chance to pull off the unthinkable with LaMichael James sidelined, but I would not count on it happening in Nikeville.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.