As we get closer to the end of the regular season, I’ll focus on games that may a bigger impact on bowl selections.
Washington 4-4 at California 3-6 This game is huge for the Huskies! I see it as a must-win to secure a bowl trip to San Francisco or Las Vegas. Compared to last season, Quarterback Keith Price has been a disappointment. He has only completed 60 percent of his passes for eight touchdowns, while tossing nine interceptions compared with last year’s 33TDs and 67 percent completion rate. Making matter worse this week for the Huskies, is the factthe game is in Berkeley and they are 0-3 on the road, with an average loss by 35 points! The Cal Bears have to win out to go to any bowl, and with Oregon and Oregon St, left on the schedule, that looks almost impossible. My gut tells me big changes are on the horizon in the off-season at Cal, but I do believe the Bears get the win. California 26 -Washington 20
No. 16 Texas A&M 6-2 at No.15 Mississippi State 7-1 Freshman Quarterback Johnny Manziel has me convinced he is the real deal. Manziel has passed for 2,216 yards and rushed for another 793 for the Aggies, one of the best balanced offenses in the country. Texas A&M’s two losses have been by a combined eight points to Florida and LSU. Mississippi State comes in off their first loss of the season, losing to Alabama 38-7 in Tuscaloosa. T he Bulldogs are in the middle of a tough stretch as they have LSU, Arkansas,and Mississippi on deck. The Aggies appear to be getting better as the season rolls along and I look for an Aggies victory on the road. A&M 36 – Mississippi State 24
No. 4 Oregon 8-0 at No. 17 USC 6-2 With USC having two losses already, this game lost some of its luster. Matt Barkley has done all he can do, throwing for 2,266 yards and 25 scores. The wide receiver duo of Lee and Woods is as good as it gets, as the two have combined for 1,714 yards receiving and 19 TDs. But but the Trojan “D” has simply not been as advertised, and they face an Oregon squad that leads the nation in scoring offense at 53.4 per game. The Ducks typically only play the starting offense for the first half only, so it’s really hard to tell just how good the Ducks offense is. What we do know is that freshman quarterback Marcus Mariota has completed 69% of his tosses with 18 TDs, and the Ducks running game is third in the country averaging 330 yards per game. The Ducks are going to need to play an entire sixty minutes with the first teamers in this one, and the results should be the same. Ducks 42-Trojans 35
No. 1 Alabama 8-0 at No. 5 LSU 7-1 The rematch of the National Championship game from last year. We all know how that played out, but remember, LSU defeated the Tide in Tuscaloosa last year. Alabama comes in averaging 40.6 PPG and allowing a national best 8.1 PPG, both improvements over last year’s National Championship team. Quaterback A.J. McCarron has been a model of consistency this year, completing 68% of his tosses for 1,684 yards and 18 TDs. Even more impressive is the fact he has NOT thrown an interception. LSU is basically the same team we saw last year. A dominating defense that allows only 14.6 PPG, good for 9th best in the country, and a pedestrian offense. Quarterback Zach Mettenberger is completing 56% of his tosses for 1,419 yards with only seven touchdowns. The Tigers will have to rely on the defense to have a chance. Roll Tide 23-10
Pittsburgh 4-4 at No. 3 Notre Dame 8-0 The Panthers started the season a disappointing 0-2 as they had to learn all new schemes under the first year coach Paul Chryst. Over the last six weeks, the offense has started to gel. Quarterback Tino Sunseri has improved dramatically and is now hitting on 69% of his tosses, and Ray Graham has chipped in 622 yards rushing and seven TDs to help balance the offense. The Panther defense has also improved, allowing only 21.8 PPG. Notre Dame is in the national spotlight and many experts now are calling for the Irish to run the table and finish the season 12-0. The defense has been dominant allowing only 9.9 PPG, good for second in the country! It’s the offense that has me concerned, and I think they will have to improve on their 26.4 average going forward. The last four weeks have seen the Irish play four physical games against the likes of Miami, Stanford, BYU and Oklahoma. At some point you have to expect a letdown and this is the week! Pitt 22-Notre Dame 20