The focus of the college football world has shifted from the Deep South to the Great Plains. With four teams in the nation’s top 10, the Big 12 has emerged as the cream of the college football crop this year. This weekend offers another slate of exciting matchups.

But the Deep South won’t cede that title lightly. Alabama has a legitimate case to be the No. 1, Georgia could get back in the BCS picture and Vanderbilt is one of the biggest surprises this year. And all three of those teams are in big games this weekend.

#11 Missouri vs. #1 Texas:

Expect a high scoring affair with both teams boasting top-five scoring offenses in the nation.

A good performance could put Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel back in the Heisman race after throwing three interceptions last week against Oklahoma State. If Missouri loses, Daniel will most likely say good bye to the Heisman and the Tigers could say hello to the Holiday Bowl. Texas quarterback Colt McCoy, a preseason Heisman longshot, could be the unanimous front runner if the Longhorns beat a ranked Big 12 foe two weeks in a row.

Stakes are high for both teams. Texas has its eyes on the national title, while Missouri is looking for redemption after last week’s loss to Oklahoma State.

Five out of five footballs

#22 Vanderbilt vs. #10 Georgia:

Vanderbilt looks to rebound from a disappointing loss to Mississippi State last week, while Georgia hopes to kick off a three-game stretch against ranked opponents with a win. The winner will be tied with Florida atop of the SEC East. The loser will probably be doomed for mediocrity and a non-BCS bowl.

Quarterback Mackenzi Adams leads a revamped Commodore offense that has been clutch all season. On the other side of the ball, Georgia running back Knowshon Moreno looks to stay near the front of the Heisman pack.

If Vanderbilt wins it has a chance at the SEC Championship — something that seemed almost impossible at the beginning of the year. For Georgia, a win over a ranked team would go a long way to put the Bulldogs back in the national championship picture.

Four out of five footballs

Mississippi at No. 2 Alabama:

The Rebels are just two weeks removed from upsetting Florida in The Swamp, and Alabama is coming off a bye week that may have cost it the top spot in the polls. In spite of the big win against the Gators, Mississippi has struggled defensively, giving up more than 20 points in five of six games this season. Meanwhile, the Crimson Tide defense has given up more than 14 points just once. Even more, Alabama is enjoying the comforts of a great running tandem, Glen Coffee and Mark Ingram. They both average five yards per carry and have five touchdowns apiece this season. Their efforts would make legendary coach Paul “Bear” Bryant proud.

Three out of five footballs.

No. 16 Kansas at No. 4 Oklahoma:

Move over, SEC. The Big 12 might be the most competitive conference. Kansas is 5-1, but that loss came against South Florida — the only ranked team the Jayhawks have faced thus far. The Sooners, on the other hand, just lost their top spot to Texas after a loss in the Red River Shootout. Both teams have something to prove, as Kansas wants to show that last year’s Orange Bowl run was no fluke, and Oklahoma wants to keep its BCS Championship Game hopes alive. In a season where it seems that anything can happen, a game like this could factor heavily in the championship race.

Four out of five footballs.

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