BCS Rankings: Predicting Potential Shakeup Games in Saturday's Action

Matt Fitzgerald@@MattFitz_geraldCorrespondent IIINovember 15, 2012

STANFORD, CA - NOVEMBER 12:  Jeremy Stewart #34 of the Stanford Cardinal dives in for a touchdown against the Oregon Ducks at Stanford Stadium on November 12, 2011 in Stanford, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

There are an astonishing amount of cupcake games for many of the big-name BCS teams in Week 12 of college football. However, Saturday's action does offer some intriguing games with shakeup potential, particularly to the very top of the rankings.

Here is a look at a trio of high-flying matchups that may even further muddy the BCS bowl picture—and even the projected national championship game.


No. 1 Kansas State Wildcats at Baylor Bears

Yes, we can collectively cringe at the horrific Baylor defense, which is unforgivably awful.

In fact, if the Bears could even play halfway decent football in that phase, the team might warrant consideration in the Big 12 championship picture. Nick Florence is somewhat subtly having a stellar year and adequately replacing reigning Heisman winner Robert Griffin III.

Even though he's had to play from behind so frequently, Florence has managed to make Baylor respectable in what was perceptibly going to be a severely down season.

With a bowl bid now an uncertainty due to a 4-5 record, the huge hosting underdog Bears may be the perfect team to brew an upset special this weekend. After all, the defense has played better in the past three games.

If the Bears only give up 41 points to Oklahoma, perhaps a similar number could be had against the Wildcats?

Maybe not. Collin Klein will be licking his chops to put a firmer hold on the Heisman race in light of Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel's incredible upset over previously top-ranked Alabama.

Klein also has senior RB John Hubert to hand the ball to, and the Kansas State defense is better than any Baylor has faced in 2012. It will be a close and relatively high-scoring affair for a half, but expect the Wildcats to make halftime adjustments and blow the game open after the break.

Final score: Kansas State 52, Baylor 34

No. 13 Stanford Cardinal at No. 2 Oregon Ducks

Not long ago, the Cardinal were just coming off of a narrow escape at home over lowly Washington State. But the following week resulted in a 48-0 blowout of Colorado, and even though the Buffaloes were arguably an even more inferior foe, something clicked.

An emotional 27-23 victory over Oregon State in Stanford Stadium on Senior Day led by newly anointed starter Kevin Hogan gave this Cardinal team added legitimacy. Typical leader Stepfan Taylor ran for 114 yards and a one-yard TD to open the scoring.

Hogan did throw two interceptions, but was extremely accurate in going 22-of-29 for 254 yards and three touchdowns.

For a redshirt freshman to step in and lead the team to such a quality win is not only a testament to the increasing quality of Stanford's program, but also gives the team a huge boost entering Saturday's Pac-12 showdown in Eugene.

As great of a story as Week 11 was for the Cardinal, the Ducks stuck to business as usual in blowing out yet another opponent to rise to the top spot in the latest AP poll.

Clearly Oregon still has something to prove to the sentient computer beings of the BCS rankings, and Chip Kelly will have his team ready to put together a quality performance in front of the home crowd.

The Ducks managed to beat Stanford even when Andrew Luck was under center, and should have a huge advantage in that regard with their own redshirt freshman, Marcus Mariota. Combine him and his mobility with RB Kenjon Barner and the Oregon backfield, and that's too much for Stanford to handle.

An inspired Stanford team will stay within striking distance and prove to be the team that most closely threatens shaking up the national title picture, but it won't be quite enough.

Final score: Oregon 38, Stanford 31 


No. 12 Oklahoma Sooners at West Virginia Mountaineers

It's going to be nearly impossible for the Mountaineers to rally back from five consecutive losses. But with Geno Smith at quarterback, they are technically never out of any game.

As great as the receiver tandem of Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin are, they will need to have transcendent games against Oklahoma for the Mountaineers to get off the schneid.

If West Virginia falls behind early, the Sooners will be able to pin their ears back and get pressure on Smith, which he's struggled against in bigger games. Smith may be a possible No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming NFL draft, but even he won't be able to overcome an early 14-0 hole in Morgantown.

As much as Kansas State's Klein lit up the Mountaineers in a Heisman contending battle, WVU will likely have similar trouble stopping the QB tandem of Landry Jones and Blake Bell of Oklahoma.

Bell will be able to bull his way into the end zone from short range, while Jones will be able to exploit one of the worst secondaries in the nation.

This one will likely get away from the Mountaineers in a hurry, as the Sooners are anxious to prove they belong in the BCS. Their only losses came to the Wildcats and No. 3 Notre Dame.

Final score: Oklahoma 45, West Virginia 28


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