BCS Rankings: Which Top 25 Teams Will Win?

Thomas ChristianContributor IIINovember 21, 2011

BCS Rankings: Which Top 25 Teams Will Win?

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    It's rivalry week in college football.

    These games prove to be among the toughest of the season, as records fly out the window and teams battle it out for bragging rights.

    Throughout the holiday weekend, teams in the BCS Top 25 will be squaring off with one another or against rivals in what many hope to be an encore of this past weekend's mess.

    We just saw Iowa State and USC upset Oklahoma State and Oregon, respectively.

    Which teams in the BCS Top 25 will fall or come out victoriously in one of the final weeks of the college football season?

No. 25 Texas vs. Texas A&M

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    After starting the season 2-0 and ranked as one of the 10 best teams in the country, Texas A&M experienced a free fall to a 6-5 record, including a 4-5 record over their past nine games.

    The Longhorns haven't been any more consistent lately, as they have lost consecutive games on two separate occasions in 2011.

    The two teams square off in College Station in what is to be the last game of this 117-year-old rivalry.

    Texas A&M hasn't had much trouble putting the ball into the end zone and rank 10th in the country in scoring offense (40.9). 

    Texas will have to keep Cyrus Gray in check, a running back who has five touchdowns over his past two games. 

    Texas A&M should force Case McCoy and David Ash to beat the Aggies with their arms.

    In the end, A&M will keep the Longhorns' rushing attack in check and force David Ash to make some mistakes, which he's been prone to making this season.

    Winner: Texas A&M Aggies

No. 22 Notre Dame vs. No. 6 Stanford

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    Stanford has been shaky as of late. The Cardinal lost to Oregon by 22 at home and proceeded to beat Cal by just three.

    The Cardinal will have a very tough time keeping Michael Floyd under wraps.

    They boast a very good run defense, but Tommy Rees has thrown the ball over 35 times in his last two games. I don't expect that to change this week, and we should see the Fighting Irish get some points through the air.

    A key player in this game for the Cardinal will be Stepfan Taylor, who has rushed for 1,000 yards and eight scores.

    Notre Dame's schedule has favored them, and the last time they faced a Pac-12 team (USC), they were flat-out beaten.

    Hard to go against Andrew Luck in what could be his last game playing in Palo Alto.

    Winner: Stanford Cardinal

Iowa vs. No. 21 Nebraska

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    The first game in Nebraska's and Iowa's new rivalry, dubbed the "Heroes Game," will take place on Black Friday.

    The Hawkeyes are excellent at Kinnick Stadium but unfortunately will be traveling to Memorial Stadium to face a Huskers team that has just one loss at home.

    In comparison, the Hawkeyes have yet to win on the road this season.

    Iowa has a very average rush defense that ranks 63rd nationally. In contrast, the Huskers have a 14th-ranked rush offense that is undefeated under Bo Pelini when running for 200+ yards.

    Nebraska will not have to worry about a Denard Robinson on Iowa but will have to account for Marcus Coker. He has been among the best the Big Ten has to offer in the running game.

    Nebraska also has a suspect run defense that ranks 74th nationally.

    I think Nebraska will eclipse the 200-yard rushing mark on the legs of Taylor Martinez and Rex Burkhead. It doesn't help Iowa's case that they are winless on the road this season, including a loss to lowly Minnesota.

    Winner: Nebraska Cornhuskers

No. 19 Penn State vs. No. 16 Wisconsin

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    Since the firing of Joe Paterno, Penn State is 1-1 with a much-needed victory over Ohio State in Columbus.

    This weekend, they travel to Camp Randall, one of the toughest places in the country to come in and leave with a win at.

    Under Bret Bielema, the Badgers are 39-3 at home and haven't lost a game there since 2009.

    The Badgers have a banged up offensive line, but that didn't stop Montee Ball from running wild against Illinois Saturday.

    This Wisconsin offense can put up points in a hurry, which runs opposite of Penn State.

    It's hard for me to see Penn State handing Wisconsin its fourth loss in Madison under Bielema.

    Winner: Wisconsin Badgers 

Texas Tech vs. No. 18 Baylor

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    Since beating Oklahoma, Texas Tech has been abysmal on defense. In their past four games, they have allowed 190 points for an average of 47.5 points allowed per game.

    This does not bode well for the Red Raiders, who are facing a Baylor team that is averaging almost 50 points per game in Waco.

    For as bad as Texas Tech has been on defense, Baylor hasn't been much better. They rank 111th nationally in points allowed and are 94th against the pass.

    These two teams could combine for almost 100 points. Expect a shootout.

    I'd love to take Texas Tech, but they have been downright awful as of late. Can't go against RGIII under the lights in Waco.

    Winner: Baylor Bears

No. 17 Clemson vs. No. 12 South Carolina

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    The rivalry between these two teams from South Carolina continues another year, this time in Columbia.

    Clemson struggled mightily against NC State Saturday during a 24-point loss. It would have been worse had Clemson not scored a late touchdown.

    It's also hard to get a grip on South Carolina without Marcus Lattimore. The Gamecocks have shown some inconsistencies getting the ball into the end zone.

    Alshon Jeffery has just 134 receiving yards and one score since Lattimore went down and is certainly feeling the effects with increased attention.

    I don't see many points being scored in this game, but I like South Carolina's second-ranked pass defense to force Tahj Boyd into similar mistakes as he made against NC State.

    Winner: South Carolina

Ohio State vs. No. 15 Michigan

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    One of the biggest rivalries in college football will be taking place in Ann Arbor Saturday at between the Ohio State Buckeyes and Michigan Wolverines.

    Michigan sports a 7-0 record at Michigan Stadium, while Ohio State has lost two games in a row to Purdue and Penn State.

    Both teams rely heavily on the running abilities of their quarterbacks, Denard Robinson and Braxton Miller.

    If Ohio State is able to let Boom Herron handle a workload similar to what he had against Wisconsin, they might escape Ann Arbor with a win.

    During Ohio State's two-game losing streak, there has been a shortage of big plays coming from the Buckeyes offense.

    Michigan is predicated on big plays from Denard Robinson.

    I can't see a struggling Ohio State team taking out a Wolverines team that is undefeated at home.

    Winner: Michigan Wolverines

No. 14 Michigan State vs. Northwestern

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    Michigan State bounced back from a 24-3 loss to Nebraska and has won three straight to clinch the Legends division of the Big Ten.

    Northwestern, led by Dan Persa, has won four in a row en route to becoming bowl-eligible.

    These two teams face off in Evanston this weekend in what I believe will be an upset. On paper, Michigan State should be able to handle Northwestern.

    Dan Persa is now in his eighth game back, despite missing much of the Wildcats' upset over the Cornhuskers in Lincoln.

    I think the Wildcats will play inspired ball and strike quickly against a Spartans team that may or may not be all there after clinching the Legends division.

    Winner: Northwestern Wildcats

No. 13 Georgia vs. No. 23 Georgia Tech

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    I have been a critic of Georgia's recent winning streak. They are winning games, but I don't believe we can make much of this Bulldogs squad that has faced just one ranked team, Auburn, that may not even deserve their No. 24 ranking.

    Georgia will face off against in-state rivals Georgia Tech Saturday afternoon in a game that has been given the nickname, "Clean, Old Fashioned Hate."

    After starting 2011 6-0, Georgia Tech quickly fell back down to earth and has lost three of their past five games.

    Despite my critique about Georgia's current winning streak, they are doing what they are supposed to be doing and that is winning. 

    Aaron Murray is finding his stride and Georgia has lost just one game to Georgia Tech since 2002.

    Paul Johnson's option offense won't fool this Dawgs rush defense that ranks second nationally.

    Winner: Georgia Bulldogs

Oregon State vs. No. 10 Oregon

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    This is not the same Oregon State team we have been accustomed to seeing in recent years. This year's team struggles to put points on the board, has no rushing attack and ranks 83rd against the run.

    Oregon will score quickly and often.

    On the flip side, the Beavers' passing attack ranks 21st nationally and should be able to put some points on the board against the Ducks' 85th-ranked passing defense.

    Oregon allowed 28 to Washington State, and Oregon State just put a 38-spot on Washington.

    The Ducks should not take their rivals lightly, but no one can honestly say the Beavers can keep pace with the Ducks for a full game.

    Winner: Oregon Ducks

Iowa State vs. No. 9 Oklahoma

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    Iowa State is fresh off an upset over No. 2 Oklahoma State and heads to Norman to face the Oklahoma Sooners, a team that was just upended by RGIII and Baylor.

    There was no shortage of offense for Oklahoma in their game against Baylor, but it was concerning to see zero touchdowns by Landry Jones following the season-ending injury to Ryan Broyles.

    Iowa State played tremendously last Friday night and deserves all the credit in the world.

    However, this is still a Cyclones team that is 82nd in pass defense nationally and going into one of the toughest venues in the country.

    I don't see a repeat performance in the works, and I think Landry Jones and Kenny Stills will have a big game.

    Winner: Oklahoma Sooners

Tulsa vs. No. 8 Houston

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    Has there been a more impressive offense this year other than Houston? Statistically, no. The Cougars boast one of the best quarterbacks in the history of college football in Case Keenum and raid defenses through the air.

    As a unit, the Cougars currently rank first in total offense and scoring offense. However, Houston has shown vulnerability at times on defense, as they are a modest 46th in passing defense and 76th in rush defense.

    They face a Tulsa team who are currently on a seven-game winning streak and one of the last obstacles in Houston's quest for a BCS game.

    On the downside for Tulsa, they are a measly 107th in pass defense and have been torched by the likes of Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and Boise State, all of whom boast elite quarterbacks.

    Case Keenum is in the same category as those quarterbacks, and it's hard for me to see this Cougars team lose in a shootout.

    Winner: Houston Cougars

Wyoming vs. No. 7 Boise State

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    Wyoming travels to the blue turf Saturday to face Boise State.

    The Cowboys rank 116th in rush defense, and I can't see Wyoming containing Doug Martin.

    Kellen Moore is one of the most steady quarterbacks we have seen in recent years, and his play likely will not falter against Wyoming.

    Boise State has allowed 30+ points in two consecutive games and 20+ in their last four. It's not a trend we are used to seeing from a Chris Pedersen team.

    Brett Smith and the Cowboys will account for at least three touchdowns but simply won't have the defense to keep Boise State under 40.

    Winner: Boise State

No. 5 Virginia Tech vs. Virginia

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    I've been a big fan of Virginia Tech lately and actually picked them to win the ACC. Until I saw Virginia in their past two games.

    By beating Florida State over the weekend, Virginia kept pace with Virginia Tech and will represent the Coastal division in the ACC Championship if they can upend Virginia Tech in Charlottesville.

    The Cavaliers have won four straight and have had a very balanced attack.

    Michael Rocco has thrown for 10 touchdowns and four interceptions in conference play, including 238 yards and a score to help Virginia upend No. 25 Florida State on Saturday.

    If he and the Virginia backfield can control the clock and keep that thin Virginia Tech defense on the field, the Cavs will have a chance at a BCS game.

    Winner: Virginia Cavaliers

No. 2 Alabama vs. No. 24 Auburn

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    Another rivalry game this weekend is the Iron Bowl between Auburn and Alabama.

    Last year's game was remembered most by Cam Newton and the Auburn Tigers staging an amazing second half comeback to beat the Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa.

    This year's contest is at Jordan O'Hare Stadium in Auburn, and Trent Richardson will look to run over the 98th-ranked rush defense in the country.

    Auburn has struggled mightily against ranked opponents since beating No. 10 South Carolina on October 1. Since that win, the Tigers have played three ranked opponents and have been outscored 128-31.

    It's hard to expect this Auburn team to keep up with Alabama on the scoreboard.

    Winner: Alabama Crimson Tide

No. 3 Arkansas vs. No. 1 LSU

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    This weekend's biggest game is between Arkansas and LSU, both of whom have national title dreams on their minds.

    LSU controls its own destiny and at this point seems to be the favorite to reach the BCS National Championship Game.

    Arkansas has a trickier road but still has a realistic shot at also representing the SEC in the national title game.

    The most exciting matchup of this game will be the Arkansas passing offense against the LSU pass defense.

    They are both extremely talented units—the Razorbacks boast the 10th-ranked passing offense in the country and LSU brings in the 4th-ranked pass defense.

    Another crucial aspect to the game will be special teams, where Joe Adams ranks third nationally in punt returns.

    On the other end, LSU ranks fourth in punt return yardage defense, yielding an amazing 0.46 yards per return.

    It's tough for me to see any team in the country, including Arkansas, walk into Tiger Stadium and escape with a win.

    Winner: LSU Tigers