College Football's 3 Biggest Games of Week 12: Who Wins Saturday?
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Can you believe it? It's already Week 12 of the college football season. This is the critical time when postseason fates are decided.
It's also when we argue most about the absurdity of the BCS.
Luckily for Bill Hancock, the championship picture was clarified last weekend when Stanford and Boise State were both upset.
Although this week lacks the same number of headliners, there are a few bouts with big implications.
I'm here to give you my top three.
3. Oklahoma Sooners at Baylor Bears
Jones and the Sooners will be tested in Waco
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Oklahoma travels to Waco, TX for a prime time matchup with Baylor.
The Bears are undefeated at home this season and are riding a two-game win streak.
Although its defense has been suspect all season, Baylor's explosive offense is more than enough to scare Bob Stoops and the Sooners.
Quarterback Robert Griffin III leads the Big 12 with a 188.6 passer rating and a 74.2 completion percentage.
What's more, RG3's Vick-like elusiveness in the pocket will allow him to escape the Sooners' fierce pass rush, which includes two future NFL starters in Frank Alexander and Ronnell Lewis.
Another issue for Stoops' D will be containing Kendall Wright. The senior has 81 receptions for 1,073 yards and nine touchdowns on the year.
You saw what Seth Doege and Texas Tech did to this team just three weeks ago. If they couldn't handle the Red Raiders, what will they do against the Big 12's top-ranked offense.
This one will come down to the quarterbacks, both of whom were legitimate Heisman contenders at one point this season.
Griffin and the Bears will keep it close, but the Sooners' defense will make stops down the stretch.
Oklahoma 43, Baylor 34
2. Nebraska Cornhuskers at Michigan Wolverines
The Huskers will need a big day from Burkhead against the Wolverines' stout run defense
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This will be the battle of the over-hyped mobile quarterbacks of the Big Ten. Denard Robinson and Taylor Martinez have both failed to live up to expectations this season.
But who will have the edge Saturday?
Oddly enough, Michigan has the nation's fifth-ranked scoring defense and second best in their conference. This represents a stark contrast from the notoriously bad units of the Rich Rodriguez era.
The Huskers are limited offensively, despite having one of the nation's premier running backs in Rex Burkhead. The burden will fall on T-Magic to regain his explosive form from early 2010.
Michigan is coming off a 31-14 beatdown of Illinois.
This weekend's game is big for the Wolverines, but you have to remember something here—we're talking about Michigan.
There's one game they care about more than anything else, and that's Ohio State on November 26.
Brady Hoke's first year in Ann Arbor has been a success, but even he knows none of it will matter if he doesn't beat the Buckeyes.
The former San Diego State head man is going to overlook the game at hand against a very capable Huskers squad.
Nebraska 18, Michigan 12
1. USC Trojans at Oregon Ducks
Oregon's De'Anthony Thomas is one of Chip Kelly's biggest offensive weapons.
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The nation's third-ranked offense will be pitted against one of college football's best defensive minds in USC's de facto Pac-12 championship game.
Monte Kiffin will have his hands full trying to stop an Oregon team that put up 52 points on the then fourth-ranked Stanford Cardinal.
More impressive for the Ducks, though, was the way they were able to force future No. 1 pick Andrew Luck into arguably one of the worst games of his college career.
Defensive ends Terrell Turner and Brandon Hanna rattled the Heisman front-runner for the first time all season.
While the Trojans forced Luck into mistakes and took the Cardinal to overtime just three weeks ago, their young defense will not be able to handle Chip Kelly's fast-paced attack.
LaMichael James, De'Anthony Thomas, Kenjon Barner. The list goes on.
What can Kiffin do to contain so many weapons? Well, he can't.
The one place where USC has the advantage is at quarterback, where Matt Barkley has developed into a bona fide first rounder. But with Robert Woods—Barkley's top target—doubtful for this game, the Trojans will find it much harder to keep up with the green and yellow.
I'm speaking too soon—the Ducks will probably have some new conglomeration of colors on display this weekend.
New colors or not, the Ducks are fast. Too fast and too skilled for the Trojans.
Lane Kiffin will keep his crew in this one, but I don't see him pulling the upset in Eugene.
Oregon 31, USC 23