College Football's Most Overrated and Underrated Top 25 Clashes of Week 13
After some brilliant clashes in Week 12, we are fast approaching college football's postseason.
Last week, then-No. 13 Stanford stunned Oregon to oust the Ducks from national championship contention, while Oklahoma State destroyed Texas Tech, Utah State shocked Louisiana Tech and Rutgers won a defensive battle against Cincinnati.
What does Week 13 have in store for us?
Glad you asked. Here are my most overrated and underrated clashes involving Top 25 teams this week.
Overrated: No. 12 South Carolina at No. 11 Clemson
If Marcus Lattimore was still in the backfield for South Carolina, I could see this being an interesting game, but I wonder if the Gamecocks will be able to score enough against Clemson with him out.
South Carolina has won three straight games since losing two straight to LSU and Florida. Then again, those wins came against Tennessee, Arkansas and FCS opponent Wofford.
Also, South Carolina's pass defense isn't elite this season. The Gamecocks are allowing 6.7 yards per pass attempt, tied for 38th in the country and tied for fifth in the SEC, per CFBStats.com. They allowed Tennessee's Tyler Bray to pass for 368 yards and four touchdowns (one interception) on Oct. 27.
Clemson is averaging 44.6 points per game this season, fourth in the nation. Tajh Boyd ranks second in the country in yards per pass attempt (9.5), and he's tossed 33 touchdowns (fourth).
Although the Tigers lost to Florida State on Sept. 22, they also poured in 37 points against a defense allowing 13.1 points per game this season.
Underrated: No. 8 Stanford at No. 17 UCLA
Anyone who saw what UCLA did against Matt Barkley and USC last week knows this team is on fire, on both sides of the ball.
In the 38-28 victory, the Bruins forced Barkley to throw two picks and recovered a fumble in the end zone.
Senior running back Johnathan Franklin rushed for 171 yards, and two touchdowns and freshman quarterback Brett Hundley completed 22 of 30 passes for 234 yards and a touchdown.
UCLA is also 5-1 at home this season, with the only loss being a 27-20 defeat to Oregon State.
I still can't see Stanford losing this game based on UCLA's run defense, but I think it will be closer than some people think.
Overrated: No. 1 Notre Dame at USC
Yes, this game is in Los Angeles.
Yes, USC has an explosive offense that has the ability to put up some points against Notre Dame.
Does that mean this will be a nailbiter?
Matt Barkley is out with an AC sprain against Notre Dame (per Gary Klein of the Los Angeles Times), meaning freshman Max Wittek will start.
Notre Dame is not only allowing 5.6 yards per attempt this season (tied for seventh in the FBS, via CFBStats.com), the Irish defense has also notched 14 interceptions (tied for 20th).
Remember what the Fighting Irish did to Landry Jones and Oklahoma on Oct. 27? They would beat USC even with Barkley under center.
Underrated: No. 21 Oklahoma State at No. 13 Oklahoma
OK, this is always a big game in Oklahoma, but when looking at the BCS rankings and the number of points Oklahoma State has given up this season, it may be easy to count the Cowboys out.
But the difference is that Oklahoma State has been playing better in the second half of the season while Oklahoma has been playing worse.
Oklahoma State has gone 5-1 since the five-point loss to Texas on Sept. 29, and the sole loss during that run came to then-No. 2 Kansas State. The Cowboys just routed Texas Tech, 59-21.
Then you look at Oklahoma.
In the past four games, the Sooners have given up 30 points to Notre Dame, 34 points to Baylor and 49 points to West Virginia. The defense that had a nice three-game stretch against Kansas State, Texas Tech and Texas has vanished into thin air.
Sure, Oklahoma has scored a combined 92 points the past two weeks, but that was against the defenses of West Virginia and Baylor, who are among the worst units in the nation.
Oklahoma State held Geno Smith to 6.7 yards per pass attempt two weeks ago, while holding Texas Tech's Seth Doege to 6.4 yards per attempt last week.
I wouldn't be surprised if Oklahoma State pulled this one off.
Underrated: Arizona State at No. 24 Arizona
Arizona can score its fair share of points, but its defense is what worries me, especially against an Arizona State team that can score some points of its own (36.0 per game, 28th in the nation).
The Wildcats have allowed 33.6 points per game this season (103rd in the FBS), including giving up 66 points to UCLA and ceding the most points (31) this season to a team I believe to be the worst in the country, Colorado.
Arizona State just dropped 46 points on Washington State and has an opportunity to surprise Arizona.