Here are three college football games worth watching in Week 12.
Game of the week: No. 14 Stanford Cardinal (8-2, 6-1 Pac-12) at No. 1 Oregon Ducks (10-0, 7-0 Pac-12), Saturday, 8 p.m., WJET (ABC)
Pregame rant: The Ducks are No. 1 in both national polls and second in the BCS standings, but all that will mean nothing if they fall to Stanford.
They won’t, though. The Cardinal aren’t going into Eugene with a redshirt freshman quarterback and beating the Ducks in their final regular-season home game.
Don’t get me wrong. Kevin Hogan is good. Real good.
He was clutch in last week’s win against Oregon State in his first collegiate start. In addition, Stanford is first in the nation in rushing defense.
The Cardinal are allowing 58.60 yards on the ground. So they’re up to the challenge of stopping Heisman candidate Kenjon Barner, who is second in points with 120 (20 TDs) and fourth in rushing (136 ypg.).
Barner had what looked like a right hand or wrist injury against Cal. He’ll likely play Saturday, but if it keeps him from being the difference maker he is, the Ducks could be in the trouble.
The problem for Stanford is it will have the same problem every other team has had against the Ducks. You fall behind early and can’t go score for score with them.
Say Stanford trails 14-0 or 17-3 or 21-10 by the midway point in the second quarter. It will be down 42-20 going into the fourth.
No one can go score for score with the Ducks. No one.
Game of the week: No. 5 Notre Dame at No. 8 Oklahoma
Final score: Irish 30, Sooners 13
Pregame rant: This is the Irish’s toughest test yet. Oklahoma’s lone loss was to No. 4 Kansas State, which has risen to the top of the Big 12.
It’s a classic match-up. Oklahoma is averaging 488.17 yards and 44.67 points a game. Notre Dame is allowing just 280.71 yards and 9.43 points a game.
Something has to give.
Post-game commentary: The Irish didn’t give.
Oklahoma rushed for just 15 yards on 24 rushing attempts in falling to Notre Dame at home. The Sooners may have given up on the run too early, but they couldn’t have expected the Irish’s offense to hit them so many big plays last week.
Before this game, I thought all the talk about Notre Dame senior linebacker Manti Te’o winning the Heisman Trophy was a bit much.
After seeing how he leads the best defense in the nation outside of Alabama’s, I’m rethinking my votes. He had 11 tackles, a sack and an interception last week. Great player.
Game of the week: No. 10 Clemson Tigers (3-0,0-0 ACC) at No. 4 Florida State Seminoles (3-0, 1-0 ACC), Saturday, 8 p.m. WJET (ABC).
Pregame rant: So much talent on both teams here, but if the Seminoles are a national title contender, they’ll handle the Tigers.
Allowing just 103.33 yard a game and a total of three points, Florida State is first in the nation in total defense and scoring defense, but two of its three wins are against FCS schools Murray State and Savannah State.
Clemson will test that defense with its array of playmakers lead by junior quarterback Tajh Boyd, who is 63-of-86 for 747 yards, six touchdowns and one interception.
Game of the week: No. 24 Boise State Broncos at No. 13 Michigan State Spartans
Final score: Spartans 17, Broncos 13.
Pregame rant: Since stunning Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl, the Broncos have been giant killers. They’ve recently had signature victories against Texas Christian (2010 Fiesta Bowl), Virginia Tech (2010 opener) and Georgia (2011 opener).
What do all four of those wins have in common? They were on a neutral field. With quarterback Kellen Moore now gone, can’t wait to see how Boise State does in East Lansing against the Spartans, who were 7-0 at home last season.
Post-game commentary: This game shows just how important a quarterback is to a mid-major. Last season, Moore wins that game for the Broncos. Junior Joe Southwick was just 15-of-31 for 169 yards, no touchdowns and an interception.
SEC title game – No. 18 Georgia (10-3) vs. No. 1 LSU (13-0)
Pregame rant: Don’t sleep on the Bulldogs here. One, this is in essence a home game for Georgia because the game is in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Two, the Bulldogs have won 10 straight. Three, their two losses are to ranked opponents – No. 9 Boise State and No. 14 South Carolina. With all that being said, LSU is still the favorite, but if Georgia can be within striking distance late, the Tigers could start feeling that pressure to win to reach the BCS title game.
Postgame commentary: Like Arkansas, Georgia made it interesting – for a half – against LSU before getting hammered, 42-10, in the Georgia Dame. Tyrann Mathieu is the real deal for the Tigers. Turned the game around on that punt return for a touchdown. Now the match up is set: No. 1 LSU vs. No. 2 Alabama in the BCS title game. Who will win the rematch?
No. 23 Penn State (9-3, 6-2 Big Ten) at No. 15 Wisconsin (10-2, 6-2 Big Ten)
Pregame rant: Now the NCAA is getting involved in the whole Penn State situation surrounding former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. Playing a game of football has been the best way for Penn State’s players to deal with what’s going on. The Nittany Lions will have to play one of their best games of the season to defeat Wisconsin. The question is can Penn State, which is ranked 106th in scoring offense (20.9 ppg.) score enough points to win?
Postgame commentary: The Nittany Lions couldn’t muster enough points nor stop Wisconsin in their 45-7 loss to the Badgers. Montee Ball ran for 156 yards and four touchdowns. The win puts Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game. As for the Nittany Lions, the focus will remain on the actions off the field. Sad story on a variety of levels.