College Football Locks for Week 13
Some of college football's elite teams face unranked opposition that shouldn't be too much of a bother in Week 13. But there are other prominent programs vying for position in the BCS picture who face much tougher tests this Saturday.
You can take second-ranked Alabama, No. 3 Georgia and No. 9 Texas A&M to the bank without sweating too much, but that doesn't mean some other SEC teams won't be in trouble.
Here are three ranked teams that are locks for the week and are sure to shake up the BCS.
No. 5 Oregon
The mismatch of offenses will be too much for the 15th-ranked Oregon State Beavers to overcome, even in the friendly confines of Reser Stadium.
Ducks senior Kenjon Barner had a nightmare outing against Stanford, racking up just 66 yards on 21 carries. QB Marcus Mariota didn't play his greatest game from a passing standpoint, either, although he did run fairly well.
This Oregon offense, which averages 313.5 yards rushing and just over 51 points per game, isn't going to be shut down for a second consecutive week. The unit simply has too many weapons, and that will be enough to dispose of the Beavers.
Sean Mannion throws for a lot of yards, but sports an unimpressive 12-to-9 touchdown-to-interception ratio, including games in which he's thrown three and four picks, respectively. That doesn't bode well for Oregon State's chances, and the fact that Mannion is prone to mistakes and doesn't have a stellar running game to back him up could easily result in short fields for the Ducks.
This one could get ugly relatively early on, but even if it doesn't, consider the Ducks a lock to bounce back in Week 13 and oust their in-state rival on the road.
No. 8 Stanford
After the crushing overtime loss at Notre Dame, the Cardinal were rewarded with a trio of relatively easy matchups before a brutal three-game stretch to cap off the 2012 slate. Yet David Shaw's tough-as-nails team has gutted out a home victory over Oregon State and taken down the mighty Oregon Ducks offense, winning in Eugene 17-14 in overtime last week.
Steadier play at quarterback has been one of the keys to the recent success of this team. Redshirt freshman Kevin Hogan took over the starting job in the blowout against Colorado when he came in after two series for typical starter Josh Nunes (h/t the Mercury News).
The 17th-ranked UCLA Bruins are coming off of a huge win over USC and will be enthused in front of a raucous home crowd against their Pac-12 foe.
But the Cardinal have faced such a tougher schedule and consistently risen to the occasion. Look for Stanford to out-muscle the Bruins, who have an electric freshman QB in Brett Hundley themselves to compliment RB Johnathan Franklin.
Senior running back Stepfan Taylor will lead the Cardinal charge, pounding the ball and playing keep-away from the Bruins' offense as Stanford clinches the Pac-12 North—and a rematch with UCLA in the conference championship game.
No. 10 Florida State
Let's just be real: The fourth-ranked Florida Gators have had a suspect offense to say the least, particularly in the past three weeks. Part of that may be due to the injury to QB Jeff Driskel, but even he hasn't played well during that stretch when he's been in the lineup. This Seminoles defense is the best unit Florida will have faced in the past month, and the Gators have such a one-dimensional run-based attack that it will be easy for FSU to stifle.
Obviously the Gators are at a disadvantage on the road as well, but the Seminoles' offense is incredibly balanced, led by the school's most efficient passer ever, EJ Manuel. The junior signal caller is capable of using his feet to make plays—and extend them—and he also has a dynamic running back in Devonta Freeman to turn to, who averages seven yards per carry.
There really isn't anywhere for the Seminoles to go wrong. As an ACC team, they are finally getting the chance to prove their worth against the top-flight competition that the nation's best conference has to offer.
Look for a driven, determined Florida State team to overcome the mettle the Gators have displayed all year and boot their rival out of the national championship picture with a triumph in Tallahassee.
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