Saturday morning blitz
Just chilling ...: No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 Oregon, No. 5 Baylor and No. 6 Stanford are off Saturday, but none has been idle. Not with make-or-break games looming.
The fun starts Thursday night, which hasnt offered this much must-see TV since NBC hit us with Seinfeld and Friends.
Oregon travels to Stanford in a game so important that the Ducks need 11 days to prepare for Redemption Week.
It was almost at this point last season when Stanford ruined Oregons BCS dreams. Oregon was 10-0, ranked No. 1 in the AP poll and No. 2 in the BCS, when it hosted then-No. 13 Stanford.
Trailing 14-7, the Cardinal converted a critical 4th and 1 late in the fourth quarter, then forced overtime with a touchdown pass on the next play. After Oregon gained just one yard and missed a 41-yard field goal on its only possession in overtime, Stanfords Jordan Williamson won it with a 37-yard kick for a 17-14 victory that booted the Ducks out of the national title picture. Oregons point total was its lowest since being held to 8 in the 2009 season-opener.
No. 5 Baylor, the highest-scoring team in the land, kicks off Thursdays must-see TV with a 7:30 p.m. date with No. 13 Oklahoma. The Bears seemingly have had all season to prepare. Their toughest test to date was a 10-point win at Kansas State, which is now 3-4. Apologies to Wofford, which is chasing a Southern Conference title, but this is Baylors first shot at a signature win.
No. 1 Alabama and No. 11 LSU are in the middle of a 13-day break as they prepare for their showdown next Saturday in Tuscaloosa.
Worlds Largest Outdoor Pity Party: Thats what theyre calling Saturdays annual Florida-Georgia clash in Jacksonville. Both teams opened in the top 10 before injuries ravaged their title hopes.
Big moment for Rice RB: One-yard gains dont get much attention unless they go for touchdowns. But this wasnt your typical dive play. Or typical running back. Last week Rices Jayson Carter had his Rudy moment. Carter, born with a genetic disorder, is 4-foot-9. After spending three years with the Owls scout team, he made his college debut Saturday, rushing off-tackle for a yard against UTEP.
I did what I was supposed to I didnt get negative yards, Carter told the Houston Chronicle.
Fans gave Carter an ovation. Well deserved, his coach said.
That young man is here every day busting his tail on the scout team. He deserves it, Rice coach David Bailiff told the Chronicle. Im thrilled we got Jayson into a Division I football game.
Teammates had a different reaction.
They asked me why I didnt score, he told the paper.
Tracking the Top 25
Saturdays games ... comments where deserving
No. 3 Florida State (7-0) vs. No. 7 Miami (7-0), 8 p.m.
Seminoles last chance to make a big impression with voters, computers. Doug Fluties Heisman moment came against Miami. Will Jameis?
No. 4 Ohio State (8-0) at Purdue (1-6), Noon
Buckeyes next three opponents are 1-6, 3-4 and 3-4. Hello, 11-0.
No. 8 Auburn (7-1) at Arkansas (3-5), 6 p.m.
Secondary-market tickets to Iron Bowl start at $200. That could look like a bargain if the Tigers keep it going. Bama and Auburn have never met when both needed a win to reach the SEC title game.
No. 9 Clemson (7-1) at Virginia (2-6), 3:30 p.m.
Tigers Tajh Boyd needs 16 yards rushing to become first ACC QB with 10,000 passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards.
No. 10 Missouri (7-1) vs. Tennessee (4-4), 7 p.m.
Dear Vols, I take it all back. The Peyton wisecracks. The UT/Citrus Bowl jokes. Please beat Missouri, your friend, Old Ball Coach.
No. 12 Texas A&M (6-2) vs. UTEP (1-6), 9 p.m.
Johnny Manziel is having a better year than last year and not getting nearly as much attention as he did in the offseason.
No. 14 South Carolina (6-2) vs. Mississippi State (4-3), 12:21 p.m.
If Vols do Spurrier a favor (see above), then as up and down as the Gamecocks have been, they still have a chance to get to Atlanta.
No. 15 Texas Tech (7-1) vs. No. 18 Oklahoma State (6-1), 7 p.m.
No. 16 Fresno State (7-0) vs. Nevada (3-5), 10:30 p.m.
No. 17 UCLA (5-2) vs. Colorado (3-5), 7:30 p.m.
After losing to Stanford and Oregon on consecutive Saturdays, the Bruins deserve a break. Colorado is 3-19 in league play since moving to Pac-12 in 2011.
No. 21 Northern Illinois (8-0) at UMass (1-7), Noon
NIUs Jordan Lynch is fourth in the country in rushing yards (1,031). He ran for 316 two weeks ago. Not bad for a quarterback.
No. 22 Wisconsin (5-2) at Iowa (5-3), Noon
No. 23 Michigan (6-1) at No. 24 Michigan State (7-1), 3:30 p.m.
Michigan has allowed 43 and 47 points in its past two games to teams with a losing record in the Big 10.
Number to know
Interceptions thrown this season by Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota. The Heisman Trophy candidate has tossed 20 touchdown passes for 2,281 yards.
Im not going to go out there and embarrass this game and the integrity of how youve got to play. If thats the way theyre going to do it, they need to re-evaluate. If they cant tell we dominated that game early and put it away I just think thats bad for college football, in my opinion.
FSU coach Jimbo Fisher, explaining why he didnt keep his starters in and try to score more in a 49-17 victory over N.C. State. FSU slipped to No. 3 in the BCS rankings.
Compiled from Associated Press, Los Angeles Times, Houston Chronicle.
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