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Friday, November 16, 2012

College Football Week 12 Preview: Is Oregon No. 1?

So it looks like I bombed last week with my prediction that Alabama would remain undefeated. And now it appears that rather than the SEC winning another mythical national championship, a more likely scenario has them winning another heisman trophy.

Texas A and M's Johnny Manziel is no Johnny come lately to the college football world, even though he is only a freshman quarterback for the Aggies. Prior to last Saturday's victory over the Crimson Tide, Manziel had passed for more than 2500 yards and run for over 900 yards for the Aggies, who, at 8-2, have surprised almost everyone in the first year in the SEC. It is probably not out of the question that Texas A and M head coach Kevin Sumlin might also be the frontrunner for coach of the year.

But enough about last week, on to week number 12. This week's biggest game features the Oregon Ducks, and their video game-like offense, versus Pac-12 rival Stanford, who is also fighting for a berth in this year's Pac-12 championship. The key to this game, of course, won't be whether the Cardinal can stop Chip Kelly's high powered offense; but it will come down to the play of Stanford's offense, led by senior tailback Stepfan Taylor. If the Cardinal can establish the run early, and keep Oregon's offense off the field, they have a chance.

So, will Saturday mark the second straight week that a top three team falls from the ranks of the unbeaten? As much as I'd like to see it, I just don't think it is going to happen. Chip Kelly runs one of the most efficient offenses in the nation, and quarterback Marcus Mariota might be one of the more underrated players in the game. Not that people in Pac-12 country think that, but you would be hard pressed to find anyone on the East Coast who is mentioning his name for Heisman.

Mariota has quitely passed for 2164 yards and 28 TDs, while only throwing 5 interceptions at the same time. He has also added another 516 yards and 3 TDs on the ground for the Ducks, who should remain undefeated, dispatching of the Cardinal 38-20.

In other top 25 action:

10 Florida State at Maryland: EJ Manuel and company inch one step closer to the ACC Atlantic Divison crown, rolling over the Terps, 54-3.

Iowa at 21 Michigan: Will the real Michigan please stand up? Please stand up? Please stand up? Wolverines let the Hawkeyes stay in this one until the end, winning 27-24.

22 Rutgers at Cincinnati: Butch Jones has once again resurrected a program that Brian Kelly left. Impressive indeed. But can I really root for a team whose starting quarterback is named Munchie? Of course I will. Bearcats, 24-21.

Western Carolina at 4 Alabama: Crimson Tide, still mad their undefeated season is lost, go easy on the Catamounts. If you consider 40-10 going easy on someone. Eddie Lacy runs for almost 250 in the win.

Jacksonville State at  6 Florida: After last week's near embarrassment, Will Muschamp's Gators let Jax State hang around too before pulling away 28-14.

Wofford at 9 South Carolina: Jedevon Clowney 14, Wofford 3. Yeah, I think that's all that needs to be said 'bout this one. Gamecocks roll. Oh, wait, that's the Crimson Tide line. Gamecocks still win big, though.

Georgia Southern at 5 Georgia: Cause I'm already over the powder puff teams the SEC plays this week, Bulldogs win.

25 Washington at Colorado:Do I even need to say it?

18 USC at 17 UCLA: In what could probably turn out to be an even more hotly contested game than Oregon-Stanford, Matt Barkley and the Trojans get the inside track to the Pac-12 South title, 24-17.

Wake Forest at 3 Notre Dame: If only the Irish could mount some offense, they might be dangerous. Notre Dame, 28-10.

Ole Miss at 7 LSU: Tigers win big.

Sam Houston State at 8 Texas A and M: Aggies need another big game from Johnny Football to pull this one out, 42-28.

North Carolina State at 11 Clemson: Tahj Boyd, Sammy Watkins and company come up big against the Wolfpack, but it is not enough to wrest first place in the Atlantic from FSU. Clemson 45-17.

Minnesota at 14 Nebraska: Cornhuskers are going to Rose Bowl. You heard it here first. Nebraska 38-17,

23 Texas Tech at 24 Oklahoma State: Red Raiders win one for Leach. What? He doesn't coach there anymore? Well Red Raiders just win. Texas Tech 35-31.

Ohio State (unranked in BCS, 10 in J-Rod Sportszone's top 10 to be revealed later in this column) at Wisconsin: Buckeyes don't need Miller to Smith heroics this time around, winning 27-17.

Upset special of the week West Virginia (home) over No. 12 Oklahoma: Geno Smith, once frontrunner for the Heisman, puts on one of his better perfomances for the Mountaineer fan base, as Sooners are beat 35-28.

J-Rod's Sportszone's Top 10:

1. Oregon

2. Kansas State

3. Alabama

4.  Georgia

5.  LSU

6. Notre Dame

7. Texas A and M

8.  Clemson

9. South Carolina

10. Ohio State

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