Coming off a week in which Alabama and Louisville were upset (in both senses of the word), we have three Top-25 matchups to look forward to in Week 12 of the 2012-13 college football season.
UCLA, on a four-game winning streak, hosts high-powered USC in Pasadena. Two explosive offenses are featured when Texas Tech visits Oklahoma State. Meanwhile, Stanford tries to march into Eugene and upset Oregon.
Here's a breakdown of each game, complete with my predictions.
No. 18 USC at No. 17 UCLA
In what should be a high-scoring shootout, UCLA (37.7 points per game) hosts USC (36.9 points per game) on Saturday.
You need a strong defense to stop USC. Unfortunately for the Bruins, they have allowed 7.0 yards per pass attempt (tied for 57th in the FBS) and 20 passing touchdowns (tied for 93rd) this season, according to CFBStats.com.
While USC doesn't have an elite pass defense itself, it does have a better pass defense than UCLA. The Trojans have notched 18 interceptions this season, tied for second-most in the nation.
The run defenses are both fairly comparable, so I don't see either team distancing itself on the ground.
Prediction: USC 45, UCLA 37
No. 23 Texas Tech at No. 24 Oklahoma State
While both Texas Tech and Oklahoma State come into this matchup with explosive offenses, I'm giving this to the Cowboys based on their improved performance on defense over the past few weeks (key word: "improved").
If Oklahoma State is simply below average and not horrid on defense, it can generally outscore opponents. I could see the 44 points allowed against Kansas State coming, but the 34 points allowed against West Virginia was actually encouraging.
Texas Tech, meanwhile, has given up a combined 120 points in its past three games, including 34 points allowed against Kansas in a 41-34 overtime victory last week.
That was after giving up 53 points to TCU in triple overtime, including 36 points in regulation.
You add the fact that Oklahoma State has gone to a different quarterback in Clint Chelf, who I actually like better than Wes Lunt, and I'm giving this to the Cowboys at home.
Prediction: Oklahoma State 40, Texas Tech 34
No. 13 Stanford at No. 2 Oregon
I had this as one of my overrated Top-25 matchups this week, because I simply don't think anyone can stop Oregon's offensive machine this season (as good as Stanford's defense is) and the Cardinal certainly don't have a high-powered offensive attack.
Stanford will indeed be Oregon's toughest challenge yet (by far), but the Ducks haven't scored fewer than 42 points in any game this season and they are averaging 54.8 points per game, best in the nation.
Freshman quarterback Kevin Hogan will also be making his second career start on Saturday. Although he played better than expected in a 27-23 victory over Oregon State last week, he also tossed two interceptions and the Ducks have notched 18 picks this season, tied for second-most in the nation.
Prediction: Oregon 38, Stanford 27
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