No. 8 Alabama at No. 3 Georgia
Both teams are coming off blowouts of lower-tier BCS schools. The Crimson Tide rolled over Arkansas last week, and Georgia bulldogged Arizona State in prime time. Georgia running back Knowshon Moreno will attempt to hurdle past an Alabama defense that forced four turnovers and held the Razorbacks to fewer than 100 rushing yards last week. Alabama, on the other hand, would like to show that its offense is legit and doesn’t depend too much on defense and special teams. The Crimson Tide would also like to get a big win against a top-five Georgia team. In the words of Keith Jackson, “Wooooahhhhh, Nelly. This one’s gonna be a dandy.”
Five out of five footballs
No. 13 South Florida at North Carolina State
North Carolina State just busted East Carolina’s BCS hopes, and South Florida has one of the fastest defenses in the country. The Wolfpack want to turn around their largely dormant football program, but the Bulls will have something to say about that. Last week, North Carolina State’s offense scored its first touchdowns against Football Bowl Subdivision competition this year, but who knows if it can continue that success against a better South Florida defense?
Three out of five footballs
Colorado at Florida State
Last week, West Virginia handed Colorado a perfect opportunity, due to Bill Stewart’s atrocious clock management, and took advantage of it with a 17-14 win. Colorado is much improved over last year’s team and features freshman running back Darrell Scott, whom his coach, Dan Hawkins, described as “One Fast Dude.” But Scott has been banged up the past couple of weeks, which has opened the door for fellow freshman Rodney Stewart. Hawkins’ son Cody is the starting quarterback and has completed an impressive 70 percent of his passes this season.
Florida State looks improved over last year, but it suffered a sloppy 12-3 defeat last week to Wake Forest. Seminole quarterback Christian Ponder has been average this year, and Florida State’s kicking game has been subpar, hitting two of six field-goal attempts.
Colorado comes into the game unbeaten and is riding a wave of confidence. Florida State’s defense has been impressive, but there are still questions at quarterback. The x-factor is Florida State’s dual-threat backup quarterback, D’Vontrey Richardson. He leads the team in rushing, and while he’s not the same passer as Ponder, he has been explosive running the ball and added another dimension to Florida State’s offense.
Three out of five footballs
No. 24 Texas Christian at No. 2 Oklahoma
Don’t sleep on TCU. It has won its past two games at Oklahoma, sits at 4-0 and is in the top 25 for the first time in over a year after its 48-7 thrashing of Southern Methodist. The surprising thing about the Horned Frogs is that their defense leads the FBS in total yards against and rushing yards allowed. Their unusual 4-2-5 defense could give Oklahoma some trouble.
Oklahoma’s offense, led by quarterback Sam Bradford, is off to a scorching start and has scored over 50 points in three straight games. Bradford continues to improve on his freshman campaign, throwing for 882 yards and 12 touchdowns so far. Oklahoma has also been impressive on the ground with three running backs who combined for almost five hundred yards rushing and nine touchdowns. The x-factor for this offense is junior tight end Jermaine Gresham, a dynamic talent pro scouts are already salivating over.
The key to this game is whether TCU’s run defense can stop Oklahoma’s trio of running backs. If it does, watch out for an upset here. If the game comes down to a field goal, look out for Oklahoma’s redshirt freshman Jimmy Stevens, who has just one career field goal attempt.
Four out of five footballs