First and foremost, I just wanted to thank Fooch for covering for me last week. You da man Fooch.
This week of college football features very intriguing games. And as expected, as college football always is, there is a lot of things that are unfolding this year that would not have been predicted in the preseason. Who would have thought that just after 6 weeks we would have three teams that are legitimate contenders for that No. 1 spot and are all not showing any signs of slowing down? All three teams are hammering away at the competition like Thor.
Thursday night, USC handled Cal with ease as they cruised to a 30 - 9 victory. Everything was rolling for the Trojans. Matt Barkley looked like a high-round draft pick finally opposed to the late round play he has been churning out week in and week out to this point. The offense was high octane and the defense steam rolled Cal's offense.
The other game Thursday night had San Diego State throwing up 41 points on Air Force who has been on a roller-coaster this year as they struggled to keep up with the SDSU offense coming up short with 27.
There are a bunch of games this weekend of ranked teams facing off against one and other. This week could have a relatively big impact on next weeks rankings. Follow after the jump to find out which games I'll have my eye on today.
No. 11 Michigan vs. No. 23 Michigan State:
The battle of Michigan will give each teams fans bragging rights all the way in to the beginning of next year. Each season, this is probably the biggest game of the year in the state of Michigan. Both teams have great players on both sides of the ball. Denard Robinson may not be the greatest passer in college football but he is perhaps one of the most explosive "playmakers" in the land. This game could breed more Heisman talk for the junior quarterback. The Spartans come in to this game with a pretty good quarterback of their own. Kirk Cousins has been streaky at times this year but when he is on, and hits a rhythm, it can be a long day for the opposition. But this game will be won on defense. Whoever can stop or slow the other the best is going to come out on top.
Key-players for the Wolverines: Denard Robinson (QB), Denard Robinson (RB), Fitzgerald Toussaint (RB), Jeremy Gallon (WR), Junior Hemingway (WR), Cameron Gordon (LB), Mike Jones (LB), Troy Wolkfolk (CB)
Key-players for the Spartans: Kirk Cousins (QB), Edwin Baker (RB), Le'Veon Bell (RB), B.J. Cunningham (WR), Keshawn Martin (WR), Keith Nichol (TE), Anthony White (NT), Jerel Worthy (DT), Isaiah Lewis (S)
No. 20 Baylor vs. No. 21 Texas A&M:
Robert Griffin III, to me, has been the best college football quarterback up to this point. His accuracy is not like anything I have ever seen. The way he works his feet is phenomenal for a player his age which has lead to flawless passes. On top of that, he's been a threat on the ground. I said it once, and I'll say it again, he can be better than Michael Vick once he gets to the NFL. But he still has to take it one game at a time and he'll have quite possibly the biggest test of the year against the Aggies. But he will have a couple of pretty good weapons at his disposal in his favorite target this year at wide receiver, Kendall Wright, as well as senior running back, Terrance Ganaway. His 19 to 1 touchdown to interception ratio is the best in NCAA Football right now.
A&M is stacked on offense as well with quarterback Ryan Tannehill, running back Cyrus Gray, and wide receiver (son of former 49er) 6'4", 215 LB wide receiver Jeff Fuller.
Both teams will be challenges by each others offenses. Look for this one to be a wild shootout in the state of Texas.
Key-players for the Bears: Robert Griffin III (QB), Terrance Ganaway (RB), Kendall Wright (WR), Tevin Reese (WR), Terrance Lloyd (DE), Sam Holl (S)
Key-players for the Aggies: Ryan Tannehill (QB), Cyrus Gray (RB), Christine Michael (RB), Jeff Fuller (WR), Ryan Swope (WR), Uzoma Nwachukwu (WR), Eddie Brown (DT), Trent Hunter (S), Stephen Campbell (S)
No. 6. Oklahoma State vs. No. 22 Texas:
Is it fair that the Cowboys have a quarterback the age of the average NFL quarterback in Brandon Weeden? Why is this guy still in college? He is the Chris Weinke of the midwest. In any case, he still has enough talent to have his team ranked as high as they are. His favorite target, Justin Blackmon has been a bit inconsistent this year as far as catching passes ... and sometimes in crucial situations. This, in and of itself, could possibly be enough to hold him back some. Joseph Randle has done a fine job of handling the rock on the ground as he is closing in on 500 yards. He's averaging 5.8 yards per carry and has 8 touchdowns on the year to this point.
Texas on the other hand is very young. Both younger brothers of Colt McCoy (Case McCoy) and Jordan Shipley (Jaxon Shipley) have taken over Mack Brown's offense and have a lot of time to make the Longhorns contenders again. The defense has some good players as well. Alex Okafor is one of the captians and could have a big impact on the game if he can get after Weeden.
This game will be one to watch and could have an impact on who could wind up in the Big XII Championship game at the end of the year before bowl games begin.
Key-players for the Cowboys: Brandon Weeden (QB), Joseph Randle (RB), Jeremy Smith (RB), Justin Blackmon (WR), Josh Cooper (WR), Anthony Rodgers (DT), Nigel Nicholas, Brodrick Brown (CB), Devin Hedgepeth (CB)
Key-players for the Longhorns: Case McCoy (QB), David Ash (QB), Malcolm Brown (RB), Fozzie Whitaker (RB), Jaxon Shipley (WR), Mike Davis (WR), Alex Okafor (DE), Jackson Jeffcoat (DE), Kheeston Randal (DT), Emmanuel Acho (LB), Adrian Phillips (CB), Blake Gideon (S)
No. 18 Arizona State vs. No. 9 Oregon:
College Gameday for ESPN will be in Eugene, Oregon to cover this matchup as game of the week. Arizona State has been extremely impressive this year. I never thought I would actually be able to say that about an Dennis Erickson lead team. But it's been the play, passion, and fire of quarterback Brock Osweiler that has lit a fire under Sparky and his fans. They have had plenty to cheer about this year. Biggest win of the year to this point came against USC at home in an upset of Matt Barkely and his Trojans.
Vontaze Burfict could perhaps be one of, if not, the best linebacker in college football this year.
Oregon will be without LaMichael James this weekend which could swing the pendulum in favor of the Sun Devils even though they are ranked 9 spots below the Ducks. A lot will fall on the shoulders of of a running back-by-committee lead by Kenjon Barner.
I believe that this game will be a lot closer than what some folks may think. The Sun Devils are a team that is on the rise and the Ducks have taken a step backwards with a few key injuries.
Key-players for the Sun Devils: Brock Osweiler (QB), Cameron Marshall (RB), Mike Willie (WR), Gerrell Robinson (WR), Aaron Pflugrad (WR), Jamaar Jarrett (DE), Davon Coleman (DE), Vontaze Burfict (LB), Alden Darby (CB), Clint Floyd (S)
Key-players for the Ducks: Darron Thomas (QB), Kenjon Barner (RB), De'Anthony Thomas (RB/WR), Lavasier Tuinei (WR), Terrell Turner (DE), Josh Kaddu (LB), Cliff Harris (CB), Troy Hill (CB)
HERE IS THE REST OF TODAY'S SCHEDULED ACTION: