LSU-South Carolina, Stanford-Notre Dame Among Battles Between Top 25 Teams This Week in College Football


October 13, 2012

LSU-South Carolina, Stanford-Notre Dame Among Battles Between Top 25 Teams This Week in College FootballWeek 6 of the college football season was full of upsets, with three teams in the Top 5 losing (LSU, Georgia and Florida State). More ranked teams will go down this week, as four Top 25 matchups are on the radar.

Here is a look at the four most important games of the week:

South Carolina Gamecocks at LSU Tigers
Odds: LSU -2.5

This game pits an unbeaten team against a one-loss team, but before the season, pigskin pundits probably felt that South Carolina would be the one-loss team and LSU the unbeaten team. Instead, the roles are reversed.

The Gamecocks are coming off a huge win over Georgia and are riding a wave of confidence. LSU is coming off a 14-6 loss at Florida in which its offense continued to underperform. LSU will be playing this game at home and at night, and anybody who knows the Bayou Bengals knows they very rarely lose home night games.

This will be a tough environment for South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw, who has not yet proven that he can win a road game of this magnitude. How Shaw handles the pressure will very likely determine the outcome.

Stanford Cardinal at Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Odds: Notre Dame -9

In previous seasons, Brian Kelly's Notre Dame squads were under heavy fire for underperforming, but now they're in the conversation for a BCS berth, and a win over Stanford will spark talks of a national championship.

This Saturday, Notre Dame's defense is likely to thrive against a Stanford offense that is weak and unbalanced. Even so, Stanford has a physical defense, which can also contain Notre Dame's offense.

Turnovers are likely to play a central role in this game, and the team that can do more with them will almost surely win. Don't expect very many points in South Bend, Ind., in what should be an old-fashioned, smashmouth kind of game.

Texas Longhorns vs. Oklahoma Sooners
Odds: Oklahoma -3

This is the Red River Rivalry, played on the second weekend of October every year in Dallas, adjacent to the Texas State Fairgrounds. It's a carnival atmosphere in the Lone Star State for this neutral-site rivalry game, one in which the fans of the two teams are seated at the two ends of the Cotton Bowl stadium, brushing up against each other at the 50-yard line.

Texas has given up 84 points in its last two games, conceding 48 of those points to West Virginia at home Saturday night. Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones is a notoriously inconsistent and erratic passer, but when he's dialed in, he's absolutely lethal. This game offers a clear situation in which Texas' defense must rise to the challenge and play with enough physicality to disrupt Jones in the pocket.

If Texas' front four cannot pressure Jones on a consistent basis, Oklahoma's passing game is likely to eviscerate the Longhorns' porous secondary. Since Oklahoma's defense is appreciably strong, Texas simply cannot afford to get involved in a high-scoring game.

That's the kind of game the Longhorns are almost certain to lose. Texas has to keep the score of this game in the 20s. If it can, it has a chance.

Texas A&M Aggies at Louisiana Tech Bulldogs
Odds: Texas A&M -7.5

This is a sneaky-good game and one that deserves to be seen as part of this group of top-shelf tilts for Week 7. It was originally scheduled for Week 1 but then postponed due to hurricane-based weather problems in Louisiana.

Texas A&M is getting used to life under first-year head coach Kevin Sumlin while Louisiana Tech is growing as a possible BCS-buster. They are unbeaten so far.

If Tech wins, it could very possibly be favored in each remaining game it will play this season. The Bulldogs are already ranked in the Top 25, and if they do in fact win out, they could very well be a BCS-buster.

But A&M is going to be a big challenge. Expect the environment to be rocking in Ruston, La., as the Bulldogs prepare for one of the biggest games in school history.

Picked For You