Thursday, November 14, 2013

Best Games for 11/16

Noon Game
None. Sleep in and work off the hangover.

Afternoon Game
No. 12 Oklahoma State Cowboys @ No. 24 Texas Longhorns (3:30 on FOX)
How about the job Mack Brown is doing since some ugly, early season losses. Everyone figured that he could be canned mid-season, but right now he has his team tied for first in the Big12. The defense still hasn't totally come together, but the offense has picked up the slack and is averaging 35 points a game. The running backs are getting carries at a very even rate, keeping them fresh and taking pressure off of David Ash. But I think this is where their streak comes to an end. So far, they haven't played a team that has the balance on offense like the Cowboys possess. Not only that, Oklahoma State has one of the better defenses in the Big12, ranking 20th in the nation at just under 20 points per game allowed. This game has huge implications as each of these teams gets to play Baylor, who is currently undefeated, before the season's end. This game could pave the way for a dramatic finish in the last three weeks of the Big12. I got Oklahoma State 42-33.

Evening Game
Florida Gators @ No. 12 South Carolina Gamecocks (7:00 on ESPN2)
I'm definitely reaching here, but who knows. Muschamp and his Gators turned in a dominating performance last year against the Gamecocks, destroying them 44-11. Not only have the wheels come off for Florida since then, but the car's gas tank has ignited and the driver is getting ready to bail out. Their offense has been anemic this year, ranking 99th in passing, 87th in rushing, and 107th (!!) in points for. Thankfully, their defense is still very powerful and has the potential to hold opponents to under 20 any given weekend. South Carolina has a more potent offense, but there have been times this year where they too have underwhelmed. But the fact that this game is being played in Columbia definitely gives them a clear advantage.

Night Game
No. 4 Stanford Cardinal @ USC Trojans (8:00 on ABC)
I never thought I'd be putting the Trojans in a marquee game this season. They have really turned their season around after firing Kiffin, dropping only a single game at Notre Dame by four points. While Cody Kessler is still learning the system, he is finding Nelson Agholor and Marqise Lee more frequently for bigger plays. The defense has come together as well, holding the last five opponents to an average of 18 points per game. Yet they are going to have their hands full with Stanford who is coming off of an absolute beatdown of Oregon. Stanford has the physicality on both sides of the ball to completely dictate the tempo of any game. The front seven of USC is definitely better than the front seven for Oregon, so Cardinal QB Kevin Hogan is probably going to be asked to throw more than 13 times this game. If USC can pressure him and force him into even a single pick, the direction of this game can change very quickly. Even when Stanford had a great team with Andrew Luck at the helm, they went to multiple overtimes in LA. Look for the Trojans to get good field position with Agholor returning punts (he returned two to the houe last week against Cal) and try to play to Stanford's style of clock control. I still have a hard time seeing an upset though and I think Stanford inches closer to another Rose Bowl in this game, 30-14.

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