Stanford Vs Oregon: Ranking Top 10 Must See College Football Games Week 5
College football over the course of the first four weeks has had its share of excitement and surprises to say the least. But, for all intents and purposes, the real action is about to heat up with most conferences starting play this weekend, if they have not already.
In last week's Top 10 games both myself and Danny V made our picks as we will do this week. In our picks last week we both went 7-3 in those games. I saw a close win by Alabama coming, while Danny V saw Les Miles and the Tigers continuing their dominance in Baton Rouge.
Other games of interest:
TEMPLE AT ARMY
NAVY AT AIR FORCE
VIRGINIA TECH AT N.C STATE
MICHIGAN AT INDIANA
This week should again have its share of dandies, and hopefully an upset or two along the way.
Texas A&M Aggies at Oklahoma State Cowboys
Cowboys Quarterback Brandon Weeden. This kid has gone bonkers so far in the season, and if he can keep it up, then this offense will light up a Texas A&M secondary that at this point is subpar at best.
Matchup To Watch
Junior Nick Martinez has taken over for first round NFL draft pick Russell Okung. Bad news for Martinez: He has to deal with the nightmare known as DE/OLB Von Miller who so far only has one sack mainly because he has been dealing with an ankle injury. Expect Miller to show up for the bright lights this weekend.
Why OK State Can Win
The Cowboys have scored 65, 41, 65 respectively in their three games this season. We knew Mike Gundy was a man, but the bigger man so far this season has been the aforementioned Brandon Weeden.
975 yards and 11 TD’s is quite impressive despite the cupcake schedule thus far. Look for him to throw a lot this game to receivers Justin Blackmon, Hubert Anyiam, Tracy Moore, and Josh Cooper who are the primary targets who have had no issues moving the chain in the month of September. Let’s see what October brings to the Pokes.
T. Boone Pickens no doubt has to be happy with his team's offenses thus far, but the real tests lie ahead.
Why Texas A&M Can Win
Jerrod Johnson struggled in his last game due to his average, at best, offensive line. Luckily, his backs Christine Michael and Cyrus Gray have carried most of the load offensively because the passing game has still struggled.
Also luckily, Jeff Fuller is an elite Big 12 wide receiver who is still chalking up yards after the catch and he should have no problem against an absolutely brutal Cowboys pass defense. Expect a crazy Thursday night game that’s comes down to the wire. I am expecting bigger things from the Aggies than I am the Cowboys despite the game being played in Stillwater.
If the defense can prove that the OK State offense is not the best in the nation as they are now, then it could be a very exciting game.
DANNY V'S PICK: TEXAS A&M 30, OKST 28
JFAV's PICK: OKST 48, TEXAS A&M 34
Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Boston College Golden Eagles
Frank Spaziani has already stated that he has relieved Dave Schinzkie as the starting quarterback for Boston College, and they will either go with Mike Marscovetra or true freshman Chase Rettig. Word of the mouth says Mikey M will get the nod since he was the backup.
Regardless, who actually plays the most they need to exploit the Irish secondary which is still a bit of a concern.
Matchup To Watch
Kyle Rudolph vs. Mark Herzlich- Rudolph only had one catch last week against Stanford, he must grab at least half a dozen to make Irish fans feel more comfortable about the passing game.
Whether it is Herzlich, Kuechly or one of the BC’s safeties, Rudolph will be a matchup nightmare for the Eagles secondary.
Look for a bomb a couple times during the game to Mr. Rudolph to break the game open.
Why BC Could Win
BC’s defense has been impressive through a few games so they will probably never trail by more than two TD’s at any point in 2010. Running back Montel Harris is a great player, and can battle for extra yards that will help BC win the battle of field position.
Why ND Could Win
Boston College's wide receiving corp is weak, so they will not exploit the Hokies secondary like Boise did. Also, the Eagles secondary is questionable, so look for Taylor to go over the top to his gifted receivers in this one.
Each of these teams need this game badly. It will be a scratch and pull game to be sure.
DANNY V's PICK: NOTRE DAME 21, BOSTON COLLEGE 13
JFAV's PICK: NOTRE DAME 27, BOSTON COLLEGE 24
Tennessee Volunteers at No. 14 Louisiana State Tigers
Gerald Jones, the receiver for the Vols is the X-factor. Whether running the Wild Vol or just catching the ball down the field, it is imperative that he comes back for this game.
He has missed the past three games with an sprained ankle. Going against the greatest in America aka Patrick Peterson will be the toughest challenge he will face all season long.
Matchup To Watch
LSU CB Patrick Peterson against Vols WR Gerald Jones. We know Peterson is going to be a top pick in the NFL Draft. However, QB Matt Simms needs to find Jones alongside Demetrius Moore and TE Luke Stocker.
Why the Vols Can Win
The Vols have a shot in this game if they can keep Simms clean in the pocket because they have some decent targets to throw to down the field.
It will be an uphigh climb for the Vols to shock the world. They have some of the pieces in place, but it takes a complete team to come into Tiger territory, and punch "Mike the Tiger" in the face.
Why LSU Can Win
Their defense is just filthy, especially at home. Their front seven is a tad undersized but they still have freakish speed, led by LB’s Stefoin Francois and Kelvin Sheppard who both lay the smackdown on their opponents.
Oh yeah, did I mention Patrick Peterson Island out there in Baton Rouge. And, the Richter Scale level of noise always is a factor for LSU home games.
DANNY V's PICK: LSU 30, TENNESSEE 16
JFAV's PICK: LSU 17, TENNESSEE3
Washington Huskies at No. 18 Southern California Trojans
Coming off a game in which he only completed four passes out of the 20 he threw, Jake Locker needs a bounce-back game more than anybody out there. Talk of him being a first-rounder will certainly be gone if he pulls another stinker.
Matchup To Watch
Jermaine Kearse vs. Shareece Wright: Wright has not been targeted much as USC’s top corner is usually not picked on much since the Trojans have plenty of young, unproven players in the back four. However, Kearse is Locker’s number one target and he will be looked at to carry this Huskies team to victory.
Why USC Can Win
The best fullback in the nation is Stanley Havili as he has over 500 yards of offense and four TDs. He really can do it all whether it is blocking for bruising back’s Marc Tyler or Allen Bradford.
Also, if you can rush the passer then you can make Locker look awful. Nick Perry and Wes Horton are solid pass rushers who can make life unpleasant for the former hype machine known as Jake Locker.
Why Washington Can Win
RB Chris Polk is the 43rd leading rusher in the nation averaging 88 YPG. He must rush for over 100 yards in this game to take the pressure off Locker.
Locker is still a threat to run and pass the ball, so do not sleep on what some call the most overrated quarterback in America. He will play like a stud in this primetime Pac-10 game.
DANNY V's PICK: WASHINGTON 27, USC 24
JFAV's PICK: USC 41, WASHINGTON 30
No. 17 Miami Hurricanes at Clemson Tigers
Andre Ellington and Jamie Harper went off against Auburn, both rushing and receiving, and it will be up to these young backs to pick up the slack for a team that lacks a decent wide receiving corp.
This game is an important one, because the ACC has some talented teams, but the favorite to take the conference hasn't shown themselves yet. This game could perhaps show who it could be.
Matchup to Watch
DeAndre McDaniel against Miami WR’s. Clemon’s safety is one bad dude who will lay the wood on Miami’s wideouts. Travis Benjmain, LaRon Byrd, and Leonard Hankerson all can stretch the field and will certainly test this Tigers D.
Why Clemson Might Win
Kyle Parker has the wheels to escape pressure and put the ball on target under duress. Also, their front four is one of the stingiest in the ACC led by all-everything DE Da’Quan Bowers.
Parker needs to play a top notch game for the Tigers to win this one. If not, they will not keep it within ten points.
Why Miami Should Win
Jacory Harris is still a solid QB despite throwing two picks against Pitt last week. He has great playmakers in the backfield to hand the ball off to as well as wideouts running routes down the field.
The "U" has a lot more talent going into this game, but Death Valley will be the place to be, and the fans should keep it somewhat close either way.
JFAV'S PICKS: CLEMSON 24, MIAMI 20
No. 11 Wisconsin Badgers at No. 24 Michigan State Spartans
Nick Toon is expected back for this Big Ten opener in East Lansing. If the Badgers have any chance to win this game and of the Big Ten, they must be able to throw the ball down the field with ease. Nick Toon is their bread and butter outside of tight end Lance Kendricks.
Matchup To Watch
Michigan State has one of the best duo of linebackers in Eric Gordon and Greg Jones who will be going toe to toe with Badgers running back John Clay.
I believe that this game will either show Clay is the real deal, or is the product of his offensive line. Up to this point, I believe it is the ladder. But, come Saturday, we shall have an answer.
Why Wisconsin Can Win
John Clay and the rest of the Badgers backfield is loaded with stars that can carry the rock and TE Lance Kendricks is one America’s finest. The defense was great with Austin Peay (What a joke!) but has only been mediocre so far this season.
This is a very talented Wisconsin team at some positions, but is also extremely flawed at others. This jury is still out that they are the 11th best college football team, but time will tell if it is deserved.
Why Michigan State Can Win
They have a solid group of WR’s that QB Kirk Cousins just loves, but more importantly, they have the running game to help keep the Badgers offense on the sidelines. RB’s LeVeon Bell and Edwin Baker have combined for over 500 yards and six TD’s.
They are surprisingly one of the most productive 1-2 punches in the country. If just one of the two monsters go off, then expect Sparty to come out victorious. Also, Coach D'antonio being in the booth should give Sparty an extra boost to prove they are an elite Big Ten contender.
DANNY V's Pick: MICHIGAN STATE 23, WISCONSIN 17
JFAV's PICK: MICHIGAN STATE 28, WISCONSIN 27
No. 22 Penn State Nittany Lions at No. 17 Iowa Hawkeyes
QB Ricky Stanzi may as well always be the X-factor because he can look like an All-American at times, and then other (see Arizona game) look like just an average cat. He must avoid turning the ball over. If he is successful, he will get the love-hype machine as the Hawkeyes will look to push themselves into the top ten in time for the Michigan game on October 16.
Matchup of the Game
Evan Royster against the Hawkeyes run defense- Royster looked good against the Temple Owls last weekend, but Adrian Clayborn and the Hawkeyes defense is a bit better than Bill Cosby's Owls. The senior back must have a standout performance to lead the Nittany Lions to redemption.
Why Penn State Can Win
Their defense is very sound and they do not commit dumb penalties. Losing their top left tackle in Lou Eliades will surely hurt this team.
QB Robert Bolden needs to play like Drew Brees in this one, going up against arguably the best front four in America. He has some decent WR’s who can exploit the Iowa corners that got ambushed by Arizona just two weeks ago.
They want this one very badly, as the Hawkeyes have knocked them out of the Top 5 rankings in the past two seasons. And, the idea of ruining Iowa's Rose Bowl aspirations sounds excellent to them.
Why Iowa Can Win
Their defense, as a whole, is still one of the finest in America. They just need to tackle in space much better. Their linebackers and corners got exposed against Arizona, so they just need to avoid missing tackles in the open field against a dangerous Penn State team. Regardless, this Iowa team will come to play in a night game.
Adrian Clayborn may not have to have a thrilling blocked punt touchdown like last year, or Daniel Murray will not be counted on to hit a game-winner like two years ago. Look for Derrell Johnson-Koulianos to have a couple big catches.
DANNY V's PICK: IOWA 24, PENN STATE 13
JFAV's PICK: IOWA 37, PENN STATE 7
No. 8 Oklahoma Sooners Vs No. 21 Texas Longhorns
Whether Texas and Oklahoma QB’s can perform under the biggest spotlight will be the X-factor.
The Red River Rivalry! It has been Chris Simms vs. Josh Heupel, Jason White v. Vince Young, Sam Bradford v. Colt McCoy. Now it is time for Jones vs. Gilbert.
Matchup of the Game
CB Aaron Williams against WR Ryan Broyles. This is arguably the best matchup that college football fans can look forward to seeing this weekend.
The Longhorns love to use Williams as the nickel back a lot. However, nether of the Browns (Curtis or Chykie) are big enough to bump him at the line of scrimmage. Williams is one of the few corners in America that can slow down Broyles.
This matchup will determine if the Longhorns stand a chance against the Sooners. It will be the best secondary in the nation (TX) against one of the deepest WR cores (OU) that everybody is waiting to see unfold come Saturday as the Texas State Fair watches on.
Why Texas Can Win
They have a filthy group of corners/safeties that can shut down the Sooners passing game and they still have the playmakers on offense to at least hang with the Boomer Sooners.
If they can create turnovers and control tempo than this is a winnable game coming off the stunning lose to UCLA.
Why Oklahoma Can Win
Freshmen WR Kenny Stills has been simply amazing for a young pup, but forget the passing game. OU will win this game because DeMarco Murray will churn 150 total yards and will come up with the big TD.
DANNY V's PICK: SOONERS 31, LONGHORNS 23
JFAV's PICK: LONGHORNS 24 SOONERS 14
No. 9 Stanford Cardinal at No. 4 Oregon Ducks
Oregon QB Derron Thomas is the X-factor. I apologize to all fans in Eugene in advance (It may be the best college town in America non-SEC). However, I just do not have any confidence in this kid to win the big game.
He is a great runner and has a decent arm, but he did not take advantage against ASU when they turned the ball over seven times. This game is a huge test in his young career.
Matchup of the Game
Stanford tackle Jonathan Martin against Oregon end Kenny Rowe. Stanford has been very impressive in the battle of the trenches, and Jim Harbaugh deserves a lot of credit. However, give these kids some props.
Maybe it was not a fluke they nearly beat Oklahoma last season in the Sun Bowl even without their QB Andrew Luck. I still don’t know how they kept that game close.
Why Oregon Can Win
Kenjon Barner did not get many carries in last week’s game. However, LaMichael James got a heavy load and went bonkers. Barner needs to contribute if the Ducks want to win this game.
They have a solid offensive line that will open holes for both backs, butat the end of the day, their WR’s, led by Jeff Maehl, need to step up and have the game of their lives.
Why Stanford Can Win
QB Andrew Luck has been remarkable, and may very well be the first pick in the NFL Draft. He has the best touch in the country (not named Kellen Moore) and is he is remarkable at getting rid of the ball on time. He truly has been perfect, save the two picks he threw in South Bend.
He even uses his TE’s very well and checks down to his backs with such poise. Stanford is clicking on all cylinders right now so well that their fullback can play linebacker and bring back a pick for six. Owen Marecic is ridiculously good.
DANNY V's Pick: STANFORD 35, OREGON 34
JFAV's Pick: OREGON 42, STANFORD 30
No. 7 Florida Gators at No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide
QB/RB/WR Trey Burton is coming off a six-TD performance and Bama has to be looking for him whenever he is on the field. He is a matchup nightmare because he has the size and speed to play with big boys.
Matchup of the Game
Alabama WR Julio Jones against Gators CB Janoris Jenkins: This matchup will be watched upon by NFL scouts as Jones will try to blow by one of the better corners out there. Jones is just a man child that is impossible to tackle.
Luckily, the Gators have the best pair of safeties in the nation in Ahmad Black and Will Hill. Bama’s WR’s against the Gators secondary will be filthy to watch.
Why Florida Can Win
Because they just may be the fastest team in the nation. Their secondary is getting scary good right now. Kentucky could not squat against them. It is scary when the Gators are getting better because quite frankly, they are not letting up any big plays anymore.
Their linebackers are just pinning their ears back as they are coming after QB’s and taking their heads off in the meantime. If Brantley performs in the spotlight better than Mallett did, then the Gators can walk out of T-town victorious.
Why Alabama Will Win
They are the defending champs and until somebody knocks them off, it becomes hard to pick against them, even with the upcoming schedule that lies before them.
Their defense still is amazing up front and, although their secondary is not that great, they still come up with the big interceptions.
Danny V's Pick: ALABAMA 24, FLORIDA 20
JFAV's Pick: ALABAMA 27, FLORIDA 17