We know as college football fans that the last two weeks of the college football season save a few upsets for us.
The difficulty, of course, is trying to figure out which team is going be upset in our turkey-induced coma or in our black Friday sleep-deprived state.
As you race between stores and juggle reheating leftovers while battling grandpa for the remote, here is a quick breakdown of which games among the top 20 teams in the country are likely to produce an upset, as well as why those games are not going to produce an upset.
No. 20 Arizona vs. No. 1 Oregon
Why? Arizona has one of the best defenses that Oregon will face all year, and coming off a bye they will have extra time to prepare against the vaunted offense of the Ducks. The Wildcats have the best run defense in the Pac-10.
Why not? Ducks also had a bye and will be playing at home where they have outscored opponents 306-60. You can’t stop what you can’t catch. Arizona’s season peaked in September when they beat Iowa at home.
No. 2 Auburn vs. No. 9 Alabama
Why? This is the Tide’s National Championship game, now that they have two losses and have no real chance to defend their BCS Championship. Additionally, the Iron Bowl is an intense rivalry game and the Alabama fan base will be beyond enthusiastic in their support of the Tide.
Why not? Cam Newton and the cardiac kids of Auburn appear to be able to do no wrong this season, as they have cheated defeat at least three times so far.
No. 3 Boise State vs. No. 19 Nevada
Why? Nevada has a potent offense that is fourth in the nation in putting points on the board. Boise State could be crestfallen knowing that Auburn has beaten Alabama when they take the field against Nevada.
Why not? Boise State is a legitimate BCS Championship contender made up of players who have been in the spotlight and are not riding any emotional rollercoaster. Besides, Boise State knows that both Auburn and Oregon could lose their final game of the season, finally putting them into the BCS Championship game.
No. 4 TCU vs. New Mexico
Not going to happen as the Lobos are 1-10 on the season.
Northwestern vs. No. 5 Wisconsin
Not going to happen as Northwestern is too banged up. Northwestern lost Quarterback Dan Persa two weeks ago and running back Mike Trumpy is going to miss this week’s game.
No. 6 LSU vs. No. 12 Arkansas
Why? Arkansas has played four ranked teams and is averaging slightly more than 35 points against them. Arkansas’ Ryan Mallett may be the best downfield throwing quarterback that LSU faces all year, which may pose problems for the Tigers.
Why not? Arkansas Coach Pettrino has coached too conservatively in too many games this year—the Hogs should have beaten Alabama earlier in the year but became too conservative at halftime. The Mad Hatter has too many trick plays up his sleeve and if the game is close, expect LSU Coach Les Miles to use some gadget plays to shake things up.
Who Will Be No. 1 After This Weekend?
Oregon State vs. No. 7 Stanford
Why? The Beavers are back on track after spanking USC 36-7 last week. Jacquizz Rodgers has quietly put together another solid season with 14 touchdowns and 1,021 yards and could be the difference-maker in the game.
Why not? You can’t count on Oregon State’s defense knocking out the opposition’s quarterback for the second week in a row. Stanford is also a much deeper team than USC, and Oregon State will likely find it much harder to score against the Cardinals.
Michigan vs. No. 8 Ohio State
Why? Michigan Quarterback Denard Robinson is capable of posting ridiculous numbers and he could end up leading Michigan to at least four touchdowns, similar to the touchdown production that Wisconsin had in its 31-18 victory over Ohio State.
Why not? Coach Jim Tressel has owned Michigan and the defense of the Wolverines has not been able to stop any experienced quarterback this entire season. Besides, President Gordon Gee is coming down to give the pre-game speech and we know that he can fire people up.
No. 14 Oklahoma vs. No. 10 Oklahoma State
Why? Oklahoma has won the last seven games in the Bedlam Battle and if the Sooners hope to have any chance for a BCS bowl bid they need to beat the Cowboys. Oklahoma State has a porous defense and the Sooners have an offensive attack that score points if the game becomes a shoot-out.
Why not? This isn’t your dad’s Oklahoma State team from the past, as this game will definitely become a shoot-out. The Cowboys are averaging more than 45 points a game and in the year of the little brother getting the best of their big brother, Oklahoma State should break the seven-game losing streak to Oklahoma.
No. 11 Michigan State vs. Penn State
Why? The Spartans appear to be a team running out of gas. In their last four games, the Spartans were thumped by Iowa 37-6, and while they won the three other games they played, they did trail at halftime in two of those three. Coach Paterno wisely deflected attention away from the issue of whether this game would be his last by saying that he does intend to return next season. Michigan State has not beaten Penn State since the Nittany Lions joined the Big Ten conference.
Why not? The Spartans have the type of ground game with tailbacks Edwin Baker and Le’Veon Bell that will keep Penn State off balance. The Nittany Lions also haven’t been able to stop any of the premier quarterbacks in the Big Ten and Spartans quarterback Kirk Cousins should have a big game.
Virginia vs. No. 13 Virginia Tech
Why? The Cavaliers have already proven this season that they can knock off a top-ranked opponent when they beat No. 22 Miami (Fla) 24-19 on October 30.
Why not? The Hokies are flying under the radar, as they have quietly ran off nine straight quality victories, as only one game was decided by less than 10 points. Don’t panic if the score is close at halftime, as the Hokies have outscored their opponents by 116 points in the second half this season.
Kansas vs. No. 15 Missouri
Why? Missouri didn’t deal with success well this season, dropping two consecutive games after beating then-ranked No. 1 Oklahoma. Nebraska’s loss last week has put the Tigers directly in the spotlight as they are now tied for first in the Big 12 North division.
Why not? Kansas might not score in this game. The Jayhawks have scored only 17 points in their last two games and Missouri just pitched a shutout against Iowa State last week.
Colorado vs. No. 16 Nebraska
Why? The Buffaloes are on a roll after firing their head coach, winning their last two games. The Cornhuskers have a possible controversy brewing between Coach Bo Pelini and quarterback sensation Taylor Martinez, after Pelini berated and humiliated Martinez on the sideline during Nebraska’s 9-6 loss to Texas A & M.
Why not? The Cornhuskers defense has played very well the last two weeks and they could take over this game if the offense struggles early.
No. 18 South Carolina vs. Clemson
Why? Clemson has come to play every week this season despite their 6-5 record. The Tigers have lost their five games by a combined 26 points and one of those losses was a three-point overtime loss to No. 1 Auburn. South Carolina players may be looking ahead to their own game against No. 1 Auburn the following week.
Why not? Coach Steve Spurrier appears to have his team focused as South Carolina imposed a 45 point beatdown on Troy the week after beating then No. 22-ranked Florida to win the SEC East Division crown.