Qualk Talk: Week Seven College FB Matchups

William QualkinbushSenior Analyst IOctober 12, 2007

Icon Sports MediaAfter Stanford beat USC last week, I was dumbfounded.

The press box at Clemson was a semi-jubilant place—even after a disappointing Tigers loss—simply because the Trojans went down to the seemingly awful Stanford Cardinal.

I have no idea what's going on in college football these days, but the fan in me is loving every minute of it.

Sure, the upsets have created a Top 25 that would make any old-school purist vomit. And if you're one who loves to look at matchups and predict games (which I am), you're experiencing disappointment after costly disappointment.

The new college football landscape—in which any team that goes undefeated has the focus of David (you know, the guy from The Bible) and enough talent to beat at least half the teams in the NFL—has inspired me to start a new weekly feature on five teams that should be on upset alert.

(NOTE: Due to some technical difficulties, this column did not get published this week. Look for it next week.)

For now, let's take a look at the matchups that could shape some of Saturday's action...

Icon Sports MediaTexas' Offense vs. Iowa State Head Coach Gene Chizik

You may be asking, "What in the world is this all about?"

Yes, Iowa State lost to the FCS's Northern Iowa, and has been unable to do just about anything on the field for much of the year.

But watch out for this game.

Mack Brown's offense is reeling. Colt McCoy is either going through his sophomore slump or is really bad at leading his football team.

If that weren't bad enough, McCoy's top target, Limas Sweed, has been informed that his Longhorn career could be over after breaking his wrist.

And who knows this UT team better than its former co-defensive coordinator?

Chizik could benefit from my "Chuck Amato Theory": When a head coach faces the team for which he used to be an assistant, regardless of the talent of the two teams, the coach will win at least half of the time.

This theory has saved Amato's job for about three years, as he repeatedly beat Florida State with less talent.

Texas has lost four-straight conference games and is 0-2 in the Big 12—its worst start in over 50 years. The lack of leadership and character are beginning to show, both on the field and in the police blotter.

Don't be surprised if Chizik's ability to figure out the Longhorns pays off as the Cyclones sneak up on Texas.

Icon Sports MediaKentucky's Andre Woodson vs. LSU's Defense

What a battle of titans! This should be fun to watch.

LSU is first in total defense and second in scoring defense. That's the bottom line: They've shut down everybody and will continue to do so.

Woodson is, by far, the best quarterback to face the vaunted Tigers' D.  And although his team has now lost a game—and may continue to lose due to their defensive deficiencies—he's still a Heisman candidate.

Woodson is second in the SEC in passing efficiency and passing yards per game.

This matchup could be affected by the status of Rafael Little, who's listed as questionable with a thigh injury. Without his top rusher, Woodson may have to throw a little more than usual—which should make LSU's job a little easier.

Wisconsin's PJ Hill vs. Penn State's Front Seven

PJ Hill will have to carry a Badger team that's coming off of its first defeat in over a year. The loss of top receiver Luke Swan has put more of the offensive load—both running the ball and catching passes—on Hill's shoulders.

Not that Hill can't take it all. He's ninth in the nation in rushing yards per game, gaining 125 on average. At the very least, he should be able to control the clock with his punishing style.

He will face a Penn State defense that ranks eighth nationally in rush defense, allowing only 80.5 yards per game on the ground. The Nittany Lions have been good defensively all year long, and facing a shaken Wisconsin team should pad those stats a little bit.

Icon Sports MediaMissouri's Chase Daniel vs. Oklahoma's Defense

Chase Daniel has been sensational, phenomenal, nasty so far.

He's had the quietest great start ever, but that could change with a good performance against an underrated Oklahoma D.

Daniel is third in the country in total offense—gaining about 380 yards per game—and is as much a threat with his feet as he is with his arm. A current Heisman dark horse, Daniel will look to continue his hot play by keeping the OU linebackers honest.

While Sam Bradford and the Sooner offense have garnered all the headlines thus far, the Sooner defense has been incredible as well. They're currently 11th in America in total defense—fifth against the run—and should make life difficult for a Missouri team that seems to shrink in the spotlight.

Arkansas' Casey Dick vs. Auburn's Secondary

We all know that Darren McFadden will do his thing; nobody will be able to stop him from putting up insane stats (again) this weekend.

The real key for Arkansas will be Casey Dick's ability to complete short and intermediate passes and manage the game. The Razorbacks are the 106th-ranked passing team in the country, so it hasn't been a tough decision for opposing defenses to put eight or nine guys in the box to try to slow down McFadden and Felix Jones.

Auburn is 14th in total defense, with fairly similar averages against the run and the pass. In other words, they're able to take away whatever they have to, which could spell trouble for Dick and the Razorbacks.


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