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Friday, September 26, 2008

Games to Watch: Week 5

Had I written this a bit earlier, I wouldn't have included USC at Oregon State. But now I know--if you haven't seen this game yet, to to ESPN360 right now and watch it. You'll learn couple of important things:

1) This wasn't one of those "the better team played crappy and turned the ball over 18 times and lost." Oregon State exposed weaknesses on the USC defensive line and gave defensive coordinators some very good ideas for slowing the Trojan offense down in future weeks.

2) The Rodgers brother are really, really good; Jacquizz was the best player on the field Thursday night.

3) USC has serious problems with injuries. Sanchez's knee is in bad shape and the USC linebacker corp of myth and legend will be lucky to survive through the season.

Alabama (+6.5) at Georgia

Why we care: Alabama and Georgia have gotten to this point by soundly beating the two most over-rated teams in college football (Clemson and Arizona State).

What to watch for: Line play. Georgia is better at every other position on the field, but Alabama is stronger on the lines. Alabama was in this situation earlier in the season and ambushed Clemson. Also watch WR's Julio Jones and AJ Green. Not only are they incredible talents and potential playmakers, but if they do produce they can add that second dimension to their teams and make them many times more explosive.

Misc: If wearing a black uni makes you play harder, you're not really a man. PS-I don't like Nick Saban.

Pick: Alabama by 3

Illinois (+15.5) at Penn State

Why we care: The winner, especially if its Penn State, could be taking their first big step towards getting blown out by USC in the Rose Bowl.

What to watch for: Penn State has a ton of talent on offense, but the defense hasn't been challenged yet. Can Joe Pa's boys contain Juice and Co.?

Misc: No one benefitted more than Penn State from Oregon State's win over USC. Not only does it open one more door towards a shot at the title, but it gives Penn State's 45-14 Beaver beatdown a lot more legitimacy as a meaningful win.

Pick: Penn State by 10

TCU (+18) at Oklahoma

Why we care: OU is the interim #1. If TCU wins this game, we might see a strong put to include a MWC team in the championship game at season's end.

What to watch for: OU has score 57, 52 and 55 while TCU is giving up 7 points a game. Something's got to give--and the giving will be decided at the line of scrimmage. TCU has a legitimately good defense, but they don't have the size to match up on the line against OU's All-American OL. If the DL can free up the linebackers and put some pressure on Bradford this game could get very interesting. If not (the more likely scenario), OU will cover.

Misc: If the new Big XII had brought in TCU instead of Baylor, 1) the Big XII South would be the best division in the history of college football, and 2) this game would be every bit as important as the Alabama/Georgia game.

Pick: OU by 14

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