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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Sportaholic College Football Weekend Setup 10/14/11

Week 7 marks the beginning of the second half of the college football season. Most teams are now fighting for conference supremacy and getting into bowl position. No marquee match ups this week but a little bit of everything on the schedule should make for an interesting weekend. Michigan travels to the land of Sparty to take on Michigan State in what is always a fevered game. Arizona State takes on Oregon in what could be the preview of the first potential Pac-12 championship game. Oklahoma State vs. Texas sounded like a good game until the Sooners beat down the Longhorns last week.

This is the turning point for most teams this week. Can a few get hot and make a run at contenders, teams like Michigan State, Washington, and Virginia. All these teams have an outside chance of winning their conference but if that is to come true they have to put the pedal to the medal for the rest of the season;. Can the disappointing teams like Florida State, Virginia Tech and Ohio State do anything to salvage their year? We will find out in the second half and hopefully for these teams sake it will be better than the first half.

# 18 Arizona State (5-1) vs. # 9 Oregon (5-1) – Oregon’s offense will be without the services of the nations leading rusher LaMichael James due to his bum elbow but that shouldn’t hamper the high powered offense. Kenjon Barner will take the place of James and shouldn’t be a significant drop off. DeAnthony “Black Mamba” Thomas also has the speed to turn the corner on any defense. The strength of the Sun Devils is their defense with them being ranked in the top 25 nationally. Top ASU LB Vontaze Bufict will have to step up big time against an Oregon offense averaging 312 yards rushing. The Sun Devils only give up 119 a game so something has to give in that department. I think the key to this one will be the play of Ducks QB Darron Thomas. Without James, will Chip Kelly allow Thomas air it out against a Sun Devils team that is stout against the run? Can big Brock Osweiler and the ASU offense give the Sun Devils defense enough points to contend with the Ducks? I think they can and I believe they will spring the upset. The Pick: Arizona State

# 11 Michigan (6-0) vs. # 23 Michigan State (4-1) - The winner of this game will be in sole possession of first place in the Legends Division and have the bragging rights in the physical series of these two in-state rivals. Denard “Shoelaces” Robinson will be a handful for the Spartans as he threw for 327 and ran for another 117 yards, scoring four touchdowns in the process. The Spartans are led by QB Kirk Cousins and their top ranked defense. Sparty is only allowing 173.4 yards per game and 64 rushing this season. B.J Cunningham is 11th in the in the country with 116.4 yards and is Cousins go to guy. Edwin Baker can also get loose at a moment’s notice as evident from his 147 yard outburst against the Wolverines last year. Its boils down to if the Spartans can stop the one man wrecking crew known as Denard Robinson. He is everything to the Wolverines offense and I think he has another big day and leads them to the win. The Pick: Michigan

Florida (3-2) vs. Auburn (3-2) – It just wouldn’t be right to have a college football column without somehow mentioning the SEC. This weekend’s best game is between a couple of 2 loss teams that were dominated in their last game. It was expected from the Gators as they were without starting QB Jeff Brantley and had to start freshman Jacoby Brissett in his place. The Tigers on the other hand were man handled by Arkansas after handing with the Razorbacks early in the game. Florida’s defense is still talented and they have one of the best front seven’s in all of college football. Auburn will have to find a way to generate some offense and after QB Barrett Trotter’s 6-19 performance last week, the call for stud freshman QB Kiehl Frazier will only grow louder. The Gators will attack the Auburn offense especially when they pass with defensive linemen like Shariff Floyd coming after Trotter. Michael Dyer has been the most consistent player offensively for the Tigers, but I think even he may struggle against this Gator defense. Who ever starts for the Gators at QB rather if it’s Brissett or other QB freshman Jeff Driskell, they should be able to put up points on the porous Tiger defense. Florida still has burners Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps so it appears they will just wear down the Tigers. The Pick: Florida

Game of the Week: Arizona State vs. Oregon - This one was a tough decision this week. As I stated above there are really no marquee games of two top 10 tens facing off or anything like that. I will go with Arizona State vs. Oregon because of its potential implications in the Pac-12. This could be the inaugural Pac-12 championship game and it’s a good contrast in styles as the high powered Ducks are a dominant offensive team going up against the ferocious defense of the Sun Devils. They can play a little football out west I guess.

Most intriguing game: #6 Oklahoma State vs. Texas: I guess you could call this one the mini Red River Shootout as the Cowboys travel to Austin and take on the Longhorns. This one is in intriguing because it marks the second straight year that Ok. State will have to go Austin because of the Big 12 shrinking to 10 teams and scheduling conflicts. Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon look to get loose against a vulnerable looking Longhorn secondary that was torched last week by Landry Jones.

Under the radar game – Baylor vs. Texas A&M: The “Lawsuit” bowl as some are billing this one will be an exciting game. The Aggies have given up two leads of over 15 points in their two losses and Baylor’s RG3 is always ready to air it out and show the athleticism that has made him an early Heisman candidate. Kendall Wright will also have a say in this one. I look for an offensive explosion at college station this weekend.

Coach better get it right game: Jimbo Fisher Florida State – Just a few weeks ago we were talking about how the Seminoles are on the cusp of returning to their glory days. A few weeks later and the wheels have fallen off in Tallahassee as the “Noles are now 2-3 after a humiliating loss to Wake Forest. Now I’m not saying Fisher is in the hot seat but he needs to get his team back to winning and change the momentum that they have had over the last few games. No better place to start then against Duke, who you just can’t lose to if you consider yourself a top program. Coach Fisher you have to get it right this game.

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