Top 25 Games to Watch: Week 13

The following 64 teams are bowl eligible, having 6 wins or more: Alabama, Arizona State, Arkansas, Arkansas State, Auburn, Ball State, Baylor, BYU, Boise State, California, Cincinnati, Clemson, Florida, Florida International, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Houston, Illinois, Iowa, Iowa State, Kansas State, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana Tech, Louisville, LSU, Michigan, Michigan State, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, Northern Illinois, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Ohio University, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Penn State, Rutgers, San Diego State, SMU, South Carolina, Southern Miss, Stanford, TCU, Texas, Texas A&M, Temple, Toledo, Tulsa, UCLA, Utah, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, Washington, West Virginia, Western Kentucky, Western Michigan, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

16 teams are a win away from being bowl eligible: Air Force, East Carolina, Eastern Michigan, Kent State, Marshall, Mississippi State, North Carolina State, Pittsburgh, Purdue, South Florida, Syracuse, Tennessee, Texas Tech, UTEP, Utah State, and Vanderbilt.  I’ll preview matchups involving Top 25 teams and try to offer some insight regarding the games to watch. All hype scores are out of 10.

#23 Texas (6-4) (3-4 Big 12) @ Texas A&M (6-5) (4-4 Big 12)

Where to find the game: Thursday, November 24th at 8:00 PM EST on ESPN/ESPN3.

Series: Texas leads 75-37.

Texas: Offense 48th (Rushing 15th; Passing 96th); Defense 10th (Rushing 8th; Passing 32nd).

Texas A&M: Offense 6th (Rushing 18th; Passing 15th); Defense 76th (Rushing 15th; Passing 118th).

This will be the 113th meeting of the Lone Star Showdown. Texas leads the series 8-3 since 2000, but is only 2-3 since 2006. A win over Texas A&M avoids an infamous record for Texas – back-to-back losing seasons in conference play. For Texas A&M Coach Mike Sherman, this is a must win, as cries for the coach’s job have grown louder, in the midst of a season where the Aggies were expected to compete for the Big 12 Title. The Longhorn offense has been led by RBs Malcolm Brown (668 rushing yards, 4.7/carry, and 5 rushing TDs), Joe Bergeron (454 rushing yards, 6.6/carry, and 5 rushing TDs) and Foswhitt Whittaker (386 rushing yards, 5.8/carry, and 6 rushing TDs). The Aggies’s balanced offense has helped keep them in games, led by QB Ryan Tannehill (3191 passing yards, 63.5% completion, 26 passing TDs, but 11 INTs), WR Ryan Swope (1069 receiving yards, 13.7/catch, and 11 receiving TDs), and RB Cyrus Gray (1045 rushing yards, 5.3/carry, and 12 rushing TDs). The home team is 8-6 since 1997, but only 2-4 since 2005. Don’t be surprised to see the home team’s record improve, based on the balanced offensive attack.

Game hype grade: 5.

#8 Houston (11-0) (7-0 C-USA) @ Tulsa (8-3) (7-0 C-USA)

Where to find the game: Friday, November 25th at 12:00 PM EST.

Series: Houston leads 19-17.

Houston: Offense 1st (Rushing 44th; Passing 1st); Defense 57th (Rushing 77th; Passing 46th).

Tulsa: Offense 19th (Rushing 23rd; Passing 39th); Defense 83rd (Rushing 45th; Passing 107th).

While not a rivalry, Houston and Tulsa have been two of the more successful teams in Conference USA in recent years. The winner clinches the West Division. Houston is now two wins away from a BCS bowl game appearance. Don’t sleep on Tulsa, though, as the Golden Hurricane’s only losses have been to top ten teams (Oklahoma State, Boise State, and Oklahoma). Houston is led by Heisman candidate QB Case Keenum (3951 passing yards, 74.2% completion, and 37 passing TDs), RBs Michael Hayes (553 rushing yards, 5.9/carry, and 7 rushing TDs), and Charles Sims (658 rushing yards, 8.8/carry, and 9 rushing TDs), and WRs Patrick Edwards (1277 receiving yards, 20.9/catch, and 14 receiving TDs) and Tyron Carrier (771 receiving yards, 11.2/catch, and 5 receiving TDs). The Golden Hurricane is led QB G.J. Kinne (2683 passing yards, 65.5% completion, 27 total TDs, but 10 INTs), RB Ja’Terian Douglas (853 rushing yards, 8.4/carry, and 4 rushing TDs), RB/WR Willie Carter (826 receiving yards, 14.5/catch, and 6 receiving TDs), and WR Bryan Burnham (707 receiving yards, 15.0/catch, and 8 receiving TDs). This is Houston’s toughest test to date, and on the road. Don’t let Tulsa’s three losses fool you, this should be a close game, if Tulsa can step it up on defense.

Game hype grade: 7.

 

#21 Nebraska (8-3) (4-3 Big Ten) vs. Iowa (7-4) (4-3 Big Ten)

Where to find the game: Friday, November 25th at 12:00 PM EST on ABC.

Series: Nebraska leads 26-12-3.

Nebraska: Offense 58th (Rushing 14th; Passing 104th); Defense 42nd (Rushing 74th; Passing 19th).

Iowa: Offense 60th (Rushing 69th; Passing 50th); Defense 67th (Rushing 63rd; Passing 69th).

Over the summer, officials from Iowa and Nebraska met deciding that their yearly conference game would be played on the day after Thanksgiving and would be named “The Legends Game”. Famous coaches Hayden Fry and Tom Osborne still guide Iowa and Nebraska, respectively. The winner of this game will likely make a January bowl game. QB Taylor Martinez (2627 total yards, 56.0% completion, 20 total TDs, but 7 INTs), RB Rex Burkhead (1108 rushing yards, 5.0/carry, and 14 rushing TDs), and WR Kenny Bell (315 receiving yards, 13.1/catch, and 2 receiving TDs) lead the Nebraska offense. Iowa is led by RB Marcus Coker (1297 rushing yards, 5.0/carry, and 14 rushing TDs), QB James Vandenberg (2624 passing yards, 60.9% completion, and 23 passing TDs) and WR Marvin McNutt (1240 receiving yards, 16.8/catch, and 12 receiving TDs). The major separation in the teams is on the defensive side, specifically pass defense, where Iowa has been torched by the likes of Iowa State, Michigan State, Minnesota, and Northwestern. After Nebraska got destroyed at Michigan last week, this should be a much closer game, with a more favorable result.

Game hype grade: 6.

 

#1 LSU (11-0) (7-0 SEC) vs. #3 Arkansas (10-1) (6-1 SEC)

Where to find the game: Friday, November 25th at 2:30 PM EST on CBS.

Series: LSU leads 34-20-2.

LSU: Offense 75th (Rushing 21st; Passing 103rd); Defense 2nd (Rushing 4th; Passing 5th).

Arkansas: Offense 21st (Rushing 72rd; Passing 10th); Defense 44th (Rushing 70th; Passing 28th).

The Battle for the Golden Boot takes place, generally, the day after Thanksgiving. This year, it takes on a special significance, as the winner could represent the SEC West in the SEC Championship Game, and, possibly, the national title. CB Tyrann Mathieu, the Honey Badger, has led the Tigers defensively, (2 Fumble Recoveries, 2 INTs, 2 TDs), as has CB Morris Claiborne (4 INTs, 462 KR yards, 28.9/return, and 1 KR TD). Offensively, LSU has been led by RBs Spencer Ware (650 rushing yards, 4.1/carry, and 7 rushing TDs), Michael Ford (625 rushing yards, 5.9/carry, and 7 rushing TDs), and Alfred Blue (445 receiving yards, 6.4/carry, and 6 rushing TDs), and WR Rueben Randle (755 receiving yards, 19.4/catch, and 8 receiving TDs). QB Tyler Wilson (3215 passing yards, 63.1% completion, and 25 total TDs) has led the Razorback offense. Wilson has been aided by WRs Jarius Wright (1002 receiving yards, 17.1/catch, and 10 receiving TDs), Cobi Hamilton (441 receiving yards, 15.2/catch, and 3 receiving TDs), and Joe Adams (595 receiving yards, 12.9/catch, and 3 total TDs). LSU’s last home loss was on October 10, 2009, to #1 Florida, 13-3. Since then, the Tigers have won 15 straight home games. The Alabama game presented a tough test in that it was on the road, against a good defense, and a good run offense. Arkansas is much less of a test, but more dangerous through the air, offensively. Expect this one to be close.

Game hype grade: 9.

#9 Oklahoma (8-2) (5-2 Big 12) vs. Iowa State (6-4) (3-4 Big 12)

Where to find the game: Saturday, November 26th at 12:00 PM EST on FX.

Series: Oklahoma leads 68-5-2.

Oklahoma: Offense 4th (Rushing 51st; Passing 3rd); Defense 62nd (Rushing 38th; Passing 93rd).

Iowa State: Offense 44th (Rushing 35th; Passing 67th); Defense 99th (Rushing 95th; Passing 82nd).

With losses by Oklahoma State and Oregon, the Sooners had the opportunity to move up back into contention, with a statement win over Baylor, for the BCS National Championship. Oklahoma went ahead and followed it up with a loss. The Sooners have been led by QB Landry Jones (3796 passing yards, 65.3% completion, 28 passing TDs, but 10 INTs), RB Roy Finch (453 rushing yards, 5.6/carry, and 3 rushing TDs), and WRs Jaz Reynolds (692 receiving yards, 17.7/catch, and 5 receiving TDs), and Kenny Stills (685 receiving yards, 14.6/catch, and 8 receiving TDs). Oklahoma will be without RB Dominique Whaley (627 rushing yards, 5.5/carry, and 9 rushing TDs) and WR Ryan Broyles (1157 receiving yards, 13.9/catch, and 10 receiving TDs) for the rest of the season, lost to injuries. QB Jared Barnett (900 passing yards, 50.6% completion, 4 passing TDs, but 4 INTs) has replaced QB Steele Jantz (1322 passing yards, 53.9% completion, 10 passing TDs, but 9 INTs) under center. RB James White (671 rushing yards, 4.8/carry, and 8 rushing TDs) and WR Darius Reynolds (568 receiving yards, 17.8/catch, and 7 receiving TDs) have led the Cyclone offense. Iowa State is fresh off a win over Oklahoma State, making them bowl eligible. Iowa State, realistically, has nothing to play for now, other than a seventh win. Oklahoma plays Oklahoma State next week, in the Bedlam Game. Oklahoma may be looking ahead, but still should get by Iowa State.

Game hype grade: 3.

#13 Georgia (9-2) (7-1 SEC) @ #23 Georgia Tech (8-3) (5-3 ACC)

Where to find the game: Saturday, November 26th at 12:00 PM EST on ESPN/ESPN3.

Series: Georgia leads 61-39-5.

Georgia: Offense 35th (Rushing 34th; Passing 48th); Defense 4th (Rushing 2nd; Passing 13th).

Georgia Tech: Offense 16th (Rushing 2nd; Passing 112th); Defense 43rd (Rushing 72nd; Passing 23rd).

These teams meet in the annual Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate. Georgia enters the game having won the SEC East Division, with an unimpressive victory over Kentucky. Georgia is led by QB Aaron Murray (2446 passing yards, 60.6% completion, and 28 passing TDs). RB Isaiah Crowell (832 rushing yards, 4.8/carry, and 5 rushing TDs), WR Malcolm Mitchell (549 receiving yards, 17.2/catch, and 4 receiving TDs), and TE Orson Charles (435 receiving yards, 12.4/catch, and 5 receiving TDs). QB Tevin Washington (2330 total yards, 48.0% completion, 24 total TDs, but 6 INTs), RBs Orwin Smith (570 rushing yards, 10.8/carry, and 10 total TDs), David Sims (662 rushing yards, 5.4/carry, and 7 total TDs), and WR Stephen Hill (707 receiving yards, 30.7/catch, and 4 receiving TDs) lead the Jackets. Coach Mark Richt is 9-1 against the Yellow Jackets. The triple option offense is trouble to defense, but expect Georgia’s defense to halt the Georgia Tech rushing game. Georgia should get the win, but rivalry games are always tricky.

Game hype grade: 6.

#14 Michigan State (9-2) (6-1 Big Ten) @ Northwestern (6-5) (3-4 Big Ten)

Where to find the game: Saturday, November 26th at 12:00 PM EST on Big Ten Network.

Series: Michigan State leads 36-15.

Michigan State: Offense 68th (Rushing 80th; Passing 43rd); Defense 3rd (Rushing 10th; Passing 4th).

Northwestern: Offense 31st (Rushing 37th; Passing 37th); Defense 84th (Rushing 94th; Passing 57th).

With a blowout win over Indiana last week, Michigan State sewed up the Legends Division title, clinching a berth in the inaugural Big Ten Championship. Northwestern’s win over Minnesota last week made them bow eligible; the Wildcats have come a long way since a early season loss to Army and a heartbreaking loss to Illinois. Senior QB Kirk Cousins (2521 passing yards, 64.0% completion, 19 passing TDs, but 5 INTs) RBs Edwin Baker (577 rushing yards, 4.1/carry, and 4 rushing TDs) and Le’Veon Bell (708 rushing yards, 5.4/carry, and 9 rushing TDs), and WR BJ Cunningham (1005 receiving yards, 16.5/catch, and 7 receiving TDs) lead the Spartans offensively. QB Dan Persa (1918 passing yards, 74.6% completion, and 15 passing TDs) is now healthy, and won his first game of the season this past week, in Bloomington. All-purpose player/QB Kain Colter (1641 total yards, 67.1% completion, and 16 total TDs) and WR Jeremy Ebert (986 receiving yards, 15.4/catch, and 10 receiving TDs) lead Northwestern. The Spartans have their eyes on the Big Ten Championship and have virtually zero chance at making the BCS National Championship. The game against Northwestern this week does little to help their chances of making their first Rose Bowl since 1988. Michigan State’s defense is good, but with Persa healthy, the Wildcats can give the Spartans a test.

Game hype grade: 3.

Ohio State (6-5) (3-4 Big Ten) @ #15 Michigan (9-2) (5-2 Big Ten)

Where to find the game: Saturday, November 26th at 12:00 PM EST on ABC.

Series: Michigan leads 57-44-6.

Michigan: Offense 34th (Rushing 12th; Passing 83rd); Defense 14th (Rushing 43rd; Passing 14th).

Ohio State: Offense 108th (Rushing 27th; Passing 118th); Defense 16th (Rushing 41st; Passing 16th).

This marks the 108th meeting in The Game. ESPN called this the greatest American sports rivalry. The Game has been played as the last regular season game since 1935, with the exception of three years. QB Denard Robinson (2738 total yards, 53.1% completion, and 29 total TDs, but 14 INTs) still continues to make errors throwing the ball. RBs Fitzgerald Toussaint (811 rushing yards, 5.7/carry, and 7 rushing TDs) and Vincent Smith (282 rushing yards, 6.1/carry, and 2 rushing TDs) lead the Wolverine ground attack. The Buckeyes are led by QB Braxton Miller (762 passing yards, 48.6% completion, 9 passing TDs, but 3 INTs), RB Carlos Hyde (549 rushing yards, 5.4/carry, and 6 rushing TDs), and TE Jake Stoneburner (157 receiving yards, 12.1/catch, and 7 receiving TDs). Michigan has exceeded expectations while the Buckeyes have been somewhat of a disappointment. Vegas favors the Wolverines, but expect this one to be close.

Game hype grade: 8.

#7 Boise State (9-1) (4-1 MWC) vs. Wyoming (7-3) (4-1 MWC)

Where to find the game: Saturday, November 26th at 2:00 PM EST.

Series: Boise State leads 5-0.

Boise State: Offense 14th (Rushing 42nd; Passing 14th); Defense 27th (Rushing 37th; Passing 47th).

Wyoming: Offense 40th (Rushing 32nd; Passing 65th); Defense 96th (Rushing 116th; Passing 33rd).

Despite a home loss to TCU, Boise is primed for another BCS bowl game. First, however, they need to win out. Then, they will need to hope a BCS bowl selects them (assuming TCU wins out or only loses once, Boise State would not have won the Mountain West, no longer making them an automatic qualifier). Boise State has been led by QB Kellen Moore (2915 passing yards, 73.8% completion, and 35 passing TDs), who has targets such as WRs Matt Miller (519 receiving yards, 10.6/catch, and 7 receiving TDs) and Tyler Shoemaker (800 receiving yards, 17.6/catch, and 14 receiving TDs). RBs Doug Martin (885 rushing yards, 4.8/carry, and 11 rushing TDs) and D.J. Harper (490 rushing yards, 5.1/carry, and 8 rushing TDs) help on the ground. QB Brett Smith (2226 passing yards, 60.7% completion, and 25 total TDs), RB Alvester Alexander (582 rushing yards, 4.6/carry, and 5 rushing TDs), and WR Chris McNeill (504 receiving yards, 12.0/catch, and 4 receiving TDs) lead the Cowboys offensively. The Broncos have never lost to Wyoming. While Wyoming has posted a good record, two of the seven wins have come against FCS opponents. Expect Boise to win easy.

Game hype grade: 2.

#2 Alabama (10-1) (6-1 SEC) @ #24 Auburn (7-4) (4-3 SEC)

Where to find the game: Saturday, November 26th at 3:30 PM EST on CBS.

Series: Alabama leads 40-34-1.

Alabama: Offense 32nd (Rushing 16th; Passing 73rd); Defense 1st (Rushing 1st; Passing 1st).

Auburn: Offense 93rd (Rushing 36th; Passing 106th); Defense 81st (Rushing 98th; Passing 48th).

This is the 76th meeting of the Iron Bowl, played every year since 1948 (on the college campuses since 1989 – Auburn – and 2000 – Alabama); the game was previously played in Birmingham at Legion Field, UAB’s home stadium. RBs Trent Richardson (1380 rushing yards, 5.8/carry, and 22 total TDs), and Eddie Lacy (625 rushing yards, 7.8/carry, and 7 rushing TDs) have led the Alabama ground game. QB AJ McCarron’s (2216 passing yards, 65.7% completion, 13 passing TDs, but 5 INTs) connection has been WR Marquis Maze (609 receiving yards, 11.7/catch, and 1 receiving TD). QB Clint Moseley (732 passing yards, 62.8% completion, 5 passing TDs, but 2 INTs) has been leading the offense as of late. RBs Michael Dyer (1194 rushing yards, 5.2/carry, and 10 rushing TDs) and Onterio McCalebb (526 rushing yards, 5.4/carry, and 4 rushing TDs) and WR Emory Blake (505 receiving yards, 16.8/catch, and 5 receiving TDs) have led the Tigers’ offense. Alabama is a three touchdown favorite in this game, a huge margin consider the Tide have struggled offensively since their bye week. Expect this one to be closer than the point spread indicates.

Game hype grade: 6.

#5 Virginia Tech (10-1) (6-1 ACC) @ Virginia (8-3) (5-2 ACC)

Where to find the game: Saturday, November 26th at 3:30 PM EST on ABC/ESPN2/ESPN3.

Series: Virginia Tech leads 50-37-5.

Virginia Tech: Offense 37th (Rushing 26th; Passing 71st); Defense 12th (Rushing 13th; Passing 35th).

Virginia: Offense 42nd (Rushing 40th; Passing 60th); Defense 25th (Rushing 28th; Passing 50th).

The teams meet for the Commonwealth Cup, which originated in 1996; the teams first met in 1895. Virginia Tech has won seven straight and 11 of the last 12 meetings, dating back to 1999. The teams have met every year since 1970. Virginia Tech is led by QB Logan Thomas (2338 passing yards, 60.4% completion, 16 passing TDs, but 7 INTs), RBs David Wilson (1442 rushing yards, 6.2/carry, and 7 rushing TDs) and Josh Oglesby (308 rushing yards, 3.9/carry, and 6 rushing TDs). Virginia’s offense is led by QB Michael Rocco (2148 passing yards, 60.4% completion, 11 passing TDs, but 9 INTs), RBs Perry Jones (870 rushing yards, 5.1/carry, and 5 total TDs) and Kevin Parks (644 rushing yards, 4.8/carry, and 8 rushing TDs), and WRs Kris Burd (710 receiving yards, 13.4/catch, and 1 receiving TD) and Tim Smith (523 receiving yards, 16.9/catch, and 3 receiving TDs). The Coastal Division is on the line here, as the winner will face Clemson in the ACC Championship Game. Virginia has home field advantage, but Virginia Tech has more talent. In the last twelve meetings, only once has the game been decided by a touchdown or less.

Game hype grade: 7.

 

#10 Oregon (9-2) (7-1 PAC-12) vs. Oregon State (3-8) (3-5 PAC-12)

Where to find the game: Saturday, November 26th at 3:30 PM EST on ABC/ESPN2/ESPN3.

Series: Oregon leads 58-46-10.

Oregon: Offense 8th (Rushing 5th; Passing 77th); Defense 69th (Rushing 57th; Passing 85th).

Oregon State: Offense 70th (Rushing 116th; Passing 21st); Defense 66th (Rushing 83rd; Passing 42nd).

This is the seventh oldest college football rivalry, meeting first in 1894. The Civil War has had 114 meetings, with the winner receiving the Platypus Trophy. QB Darron Thomas (1969 passing yards, 61.3% completion, and 23 passing TDs), freshman RB/WR De’Anthony Thomas (472 receiving yards, 15.7/catch, and 13 total TDs), RBs LaMichael James (1285 rushing yards, 7.4/carry, and 13 rushing TDs) and Kenjon Barner (766 rushing yards, 6.8/carry, and 10 rushing TDs) remain the major leaders for Oregon, with WR Lavasier Tuinei (406 receiving yards, 11.6/catch, and 8 receiving TDs) contributing. QB Sean Mannion (3033 passing yards, 64.8% completion, 13 passing TDs, but 16 INTs), including 14 in PAC-12 play, needs to cut down on the turnovers in order to propel Oregon State to victory. RB Malcolm Agnew (423 rushing yards, 4.8/carry, and 5 rushing TDs) and WR Markus Wheaton (947 receiving yards, 13.3/catch, and 1 receiving TD) have contributed for Oregon State. This is a must win game for Oregon; a loss gives Stanford the PAC-12 North crown. Expect Oregon to come out playing, after losing at home to USC last week.

Game hype grade: 3.

 

#19 Penn State (9-2) (6-1 Big Ten) @ #16 Wisconsin (9-2) (5-2 Big Ten)

Where to find the game: Saturday, November 26th at 3:30 PM EST on ESPN/ESPN3.

Series: Wisconsin leads 8-6.

Wisconsin: Offense 12th (Rushing 10th; Passing 57th); Defense 6th (Rushing 44th; Passing 3rd).

Penn State: Offense 89th (Rushing 45th; Passing 95th); Defense 8th (Rushing 34th; Passing 6th).

Not a rivalry game, per say, but the game has taken on a greater importance now that Penn State and Wisconsin are members of the same division. QB Matt McGloin (1474 passing yards, 54.2% completion, 7 passing TDs, but 4 INTs) has been under center for the Lions. Workhorse RB Silas Redd (1122 rushing yards, 5.1/carry, and 7 rushing TDs) and WR Derek Moye (632 receiving yards, 17.1/catch, and 3 receiving TDs) have chipped in offensively. Wisconsin is led by QB Russell Wilson (2506 passing yards, 73.6% completion, and 31 total TDs), RB Montee Ball (1466 rushing yards, 6.6/carry, and 25 rushing TDs), and WRs Jared Abbrederis (656 receiving yards, 16.0/catch, and 5 receiving TDs) and Nick Toon (746 receiving yards, 15.9/catch, and 8 receiving TDs). The winner will face Michigan State in the inaugural Big Ten Championship in Indianapolis next Saturday. Wisconsin hasn’t lost at home since October 7, 2009 (20-10 to Iowa), winning 15 straight, and hasn’t lost to Penn State in Madison since October 11, 2008 (48-7). Penn State has been unbeaten on the road this year, a five game road win streak dating back to November 20, 2010; since 2008, the Nittany Lions are 14-4 on the road. This should be a lot closer than the 14.5-point spread indicates.

Game hype grade: 8.

 

#18 Baylor (7-3) (4-3 Big 12) vs. Texas Tech (5-6) (2-6 Big 12) (@ Arlington, TX)

Where to find the game: Saturday, November 26th at 7:00 PM EST.

Series: Texas Tech leads 36-32-1.

Baylor: Offense 2nd (Rushing 25th; Passing 5th); Defense 114th (Rushing 108th; Passing 94th).

Texas Tech: Offense 15th (Rushing 84th; Passing 8th); Defense 115th (Rushing 119th; Passing 58th).

Texas Tech is Baylor’s most common opponent and the teams have met on a neutral field since 2009. Despite Baylor’s struggles in conference play, until the arrival of Coach Art Briles, the series with Texas Tech has been relatively close. Robert Griffin III (3572 passing yards, 550 rushing yards, 72.9% completion, and 38 total TDs) has led the Baylor offense, with RB Terrence Ganaway (949 rushing yards, 5.8/carry, and 12 rushing TDs) and WR Kendall Wright (1281 receiving yards, 14.4/catch, and 10 receiving TDs). QB Seth Doege (3644 passing yards, 67.8% completion, and 25 passing TDs), WRs Darrin Moore (497 receiving yards, 12.1/catch, and 6 receiving TDs), Eric Ward (649 receiving yards, 9.5/catch, and 9 receiving TDs), and Alex Torres (616 receiving yards, 12.1/catch, and 4 receiving TDs) have led the Red Raider offense. Baylor can improve their bowl position, but Texas Tech is fighting to make a bowl game. Both teams have awful defenses, although the Red Raiders has some assemblance of a pass defense. Expect this one to be an old fashioned shootout.

Game hype grade: 5.

 

#12 South Carolina (9-2) (6-2 SEC) vs. #17 Clemson (9-2) (6-2 ACC)

Where to find the game: Saturday, November 26th at 7:45 PM EST on ESPN/ESPN3.

Series: Clemson leads 65-39-4.

South Carolina: Offense 80th (Rushing 29th; Passing 99th); Defense 5th (Rushing 53rd; Passing 2nd).

Clemson: Offense 18th (Rushing 60th; Passing 12th); Defense 56th (Rushing 86th; Passing 26th).

This is the 109th meeting of The Battle of the Palmetto State, with the first meeting occurring in 1896, with Carolina getting the win, 12-6. The winner receives the Hardee’s Trophy. QB Connor Shaw (1008 passing yards, 64.9% completion, 9 passing TDs, but 6 INTs) leads the Gamecock offense, along with WRs Alshon Jeffrey (585 receiving yards, 13.6/catch, and 6 receiving TDs) and Ace Sanders (331 receiving yards, 13.2/catch, and 2 receiving TDs). Clemson has been led by QB Tajh Boyd (3255 passing yards, 61.5% completion, and 27 passing TDs), WR/KR Sammy Watkins (1034 receiving yards, 15.2/catch, and 10 receiving TDs), and RB Andre Ellington (871 rushing yards, 4.8/carry, and 9 rushing TDs). Clemson has a conference title game to worry about next week; Carolina will be off until their bowl game. Regardless, this game should have both sides fired up – just look to the 2004 meeting if you want proof. Tempers have subsided since that meeting, but the feelings are just as real. Expect a close game.

Game hype grade: 5.

 

#6 Stanford (10-1) (8-1 PAC-12) vs. #22 Notre Dame (8-3)

Where to find the game: Saturday, November 26th at 8:00 PM EST on ABC.

Series: Notre Dame leads 17-8.

Stanford: Offense 10th (Rushing 22nd; Passing 24th); Defense 24th (Rushing 5th; Passing 77th).

Notre Dame: Offense 33rd (Rushing 41st; Passing 35th); Defense 28th (Rushing 54th; Passing 31st).

The two teams battle for the Legends Trophy, which was presented for the first time in 1989; Notre Dame has won the trophy 13 times compared with Stanford’s 7. A win for Stanford likely guarantee’s them a BCS bowl bid (an Oregon loss would put Stanford in the PAC-12 Championship game). Heisman trophy candidate QB Andrew Luck (2937 passing yards, 70.3% completion, and 31 passing TDs) leads the Cardinal. RB Stepfan Taylor (1035 rushing yards, 5.5/carry, and 8 rushing TDs), TE Coby Fleener (551 receiving yards, 19.7/catch, and 8 receiving TDs), and WR Griff Whalen (652 receiving yards, 13.9/catch, and 4 receiving TDs) also lead the Cardinal offensively. The Irish are led by QB Tommy Rees (2648 passing yards, 66.6% completion, 19 passing TDs, but 11 INTs), RB Cierre Wood (1001 rushing yards, 5.4/carry, and 9 rushing TDs), WR Michael Floyd (1014 receiving yards, 11.7/catch, and 7 receiving TDs), and TE Tyler Eifert (634 receiving yards, 12.0/catch, and 5 receiving TDs). Notre Dame will be without RB Jonas Gray (791 rushing yards, 6/9/carry, and 12 rushing TDs) for the rest of the season, due to injury. Absent something odd happening, Notre Dame will accept a big to the Champs Sports Bowl, since they will likely not qualify for a BCS bowl game. While Notre Dame’s fate is likely determined, with the home loss to USC sealing it, this game isn’t. This should be a good matchup between two high-powered offenses.

Game hype grade: 7.

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