Week 12 doesn't present the most exciting matchups nationally, but considering there's three weeks left in the regular season, I will watch them with a dopey smile on my face.
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Oregon preys on opposing teams' lack of defensive depth. It just so happens that depth is an issue for USC, even though the first stringers are supremely talented. The Trojans may have been able to stay step-for-step with Stanford, but doing so with Oregon is an entirely different endeavor.
USC's major advantage is that their passing game is unbelievable. However, Robert Woods' status is in doubt for Saturday, and if he's not on the field Oregon will have a lot less to worry about. Their number two wideout, Marqise Lee, would be the number one at most schools, but after Lee, the depth drops off. Curtis McNeal should be able to find some room to run, and has averaged over 7.25 yards/carry in the last three games, but again, after him there's not much left on the depth chart due to injuries and transfers.
By now, we all know what Oregon does offensively. They space you out defensively, then get their playmakers moving straight forward with momentum. The difference maker is going to be former USC commit De'Anthony Thomas, who is arguably the most talented player on either team. I think Oregon wins and covers, as USC unfortunately has to play four quarters of football instead of just two.
Worthy Of Your Consideration
The RG3 rule applies here: Watch every game you can where Robert Griffin III is playing, because there's always a chance that something completely batty is going to happen. Don't get any ideas though: Oklahoma should mangle Baylor. The Sooners have superior depth at every single position, and they've already gotten their one stupefying loss of the year out of the way. For Baylor to have a chance, the OU secondary is going to need to catch food poisoning on Friday night.
(7) Clemson Tigers @ N.C. St. Wolfpack (3:30 pm, Saturday)
Line: CU -7.5
So in this matchup, we have a Clemson offense that runs over 80 plays per game, against...
If you look at NC State's season, it doesn't make much sense. Three of their five wins are over teams they should've destroyed (and for the most part didn't), and the other two are over a 7-3 Virginia and 6-4 UNC, who despite their record, has a ton of talent.Actually, the more that I think about it, the more this makes sense. Everyone being within one game of each other is perfectly ACC.
Anyway, getting back to the point, NC State is average or bad at pretty much everything. Clemson, on the other hand, is generally pretty good at most things. Lord knows I get a little nervous betting on Dabo, but Clemson should pull the legs off the Wolfpack like a kid does to a daddy long legs.
We may joke about Virginia Tech, but there's no denying that Blacksburg is a very tough place to play, especially on Thursday nights. It's also hardly the idea scenario for UNC to be walking into, considering their coming off an embarrassing 13-0 loss to NC State. This could be the point where the team packs it in, considering they're playing for an interim coach who most assuredly won't be there next year (Rumors are circulating that Auburn OC Gus Malzahn will be the guy in Chapel Hill next year, but nothing confirmed yet), and no chance to get to a bowl that means much of anything.
Virginia Tech, on the other hand, still has everything to play for. They have a one game lead in the... the... COASTAL! division, and can't afford to slip up. They're at home. And they're going against a rush defense that, while having decent numbers, can be run on. David Wilson and Logan Thomas have become an extremely effective 1-2 punch running the ball, and I'll be surprised if the Heels can stop them.
Fun fact: In the five games since losing to Clemson, Logan Thomas has combined for 17 TDs (run and pass), and only 2 INTs.
Bet every single cent you can on Kansas State. The Wildcat defense may not be great, but Texas' offense is in disarray after losing Fozzy Whittaker last week, and the other two big contributors, Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron, are both A) true freshmen, and B) far from 100% healthy. Combine that with a shaky passing game, and I'm struggling to find where Texas is going to score points. Meanwhile, Colin Klein and the K-State running game just keeps on rumbling along and scoring touchdowns. That shouldn't change this week.
I'm not sure if the sharps are onto something that the rest of us haven't seen, but for the life of me I cannot figure out this line. Money shouldn't seem like it's this free.
Ah yes, your weekly ACC blindly-spin-the-wheel-and-pick game. Gimme UVA here because A) 17.5 is a lot of points, and B) why not?
Avert Your Eyes
Georgia Southern Eagles @ (3) Alabama Crimson Tide (2 pm, Saturday)
Citadel Bulldogs @ (14) South Carolina Gamecocks (Noon, Saturday)