There is a layer of smut on top of the college football season.
It’s a thick mucky grime that only a scandal as filthy as the alleged Penn State – Jerry Sandusky Child Abuse horror story, can produce. It’s settled in and covered up all the good news this season from the LSU- Alabama game that lived up to the hype of number one versus two, to the high scoring, never boring Oklahoma State Cowboys putting themselves in line to have a shot at the BCS Championship game.
Next to the obvious of the Sandusky cover-up is the fact its residue isn’t going anywhere for the remainder of this year. However a week removed from the shocker in State College, there are solid games this Saturday that should shine some light on the darkest season in NCAA college football history.
On Saturday night, USC takes on 4th ranked Oregon in Eugene, trying to snap a five game losing streak in the state of Oregon. For the 9-1 Ducks, 7-0 in the Pac-12 there is plenty at stake. After getting mauled alive in their season opener on national television by top-ranked LSU, Oregon is actually back in the picture for a spot in the BCS Championship game and a possible rematch with the Tigers. Only LSU and Oklahoma State remain unbeaten in the college ranks and Oregon is coming off their most impressive win of the season, 53-30 over former number three, Stanford.
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After falling to LSU in week one, The Ducks have averaged 49 points per game, and are still building on a 22-game home win streak at Autzen Stadium. They’ve also handled The Trojans two straight times, outscoring Southern California 100-52. While USC ranks eighth in the nation in stopping the run, stopping LaMichael James has been another story. He’s rushed for 422 yards and four scores in the last two Oregon wins, including 239 yards and three touchdowns in last season’s 53-32 blowout at the Coliseum. He leads the nation with 150 yards per game. The Trojans best defense against the Oregon offense will be the arm of quarterback Matt Barkley.
His accuracy in a controlled USC passing game could have The Ducks defense on the field and the Oregon offense on the bench! He’s completed 66 percent of his passes for 1,663 yards and 19 touchdowns in The Trojans 5-1 run since October 1st. Mix in the run attack from senior Mark Tyler and junior Curtis McNeal who had a career high of 148 yards in last week’s win over Washington and USC just might have not only enough offense to outscore Oregon, but keep James and quarterback Darron Thomas harmlessly watching from the sidelines. As a 15 point underdog however, The Trojans will need their best game of the season by far to keep it close.
The Oklahoma Sooners, like Oregon have put themselves back in the BCS Championship picture but need plenty of help. The one-loss Sooners, are ranked 5th, but there could be danger on the horizon in Waco! Oklahoma heads south where high scoring Baylor could pose the same problems Bob Stoops ran into earlier in the season versus Texas Tech at home. But since that loss to the Red Raiders, Oklahoma was rallied for big wins at Kansas State and then they simply murdered Texas A&M, 45-21 on November 5th. Coming off a bye-week, you’d think they’d be ready to deal with another hostile environment waiting in Waco. If they can get by The Bears, they’ll be in line to deal with BCS number two ranked Oklahoma State at the end of the regular season. It could be the victory they need to find themselves playing for the national title.
But, first things first.
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Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin the third, leads one of the most prolific offenses in college football. The Bears rank number one in the Big-12 in points scored per game at 40 and offensive yards per contest at 567. He completes 74 percent of his passes with 29 touchdowns and only five picks. His favorite target Kendall Wright has hauled in 81 receptions for 1,073 yards and will be hungry for the end zone, as he hasn’t scored in The Bears last three games. Sooners signal caller Landry Jones has performed very well this season himself. Jones has hooked up on 64 percent of his throws for 29 touchdowns against 9 interceptions. While the Sooners sport a spotless record of 20-0 overall against Baylor and 10-0 in Waco, they do have one big problem. OU’s best offense player in wide-receiver Ryan Broyles is done for the year after tearing up his knee in the win against the Aggies. So Jones and company will have to outscore the home team without him. This should be a major offensive show for your viewing pleasure with the team holding the rock on the final possession, set to win the game in a thriller!
In a season where the biggest story has become the worst possible black eye on college football, maybe as more big games are played the focus can get back to what takes place on the field and not what’s happened off of it at Penn State.
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