This weekend marks one of every football fan’s worst nightmares: the dreaded bye week. Fear not, Longhorn nation, there are still a gaggle of games to help you through this tough time. Let’s see what’s on tap this weekend.
No. 2 LSU at No. 16 West Virginia
It may not be the best game after everything is all said and done this weekend, but you wouldn’t think that with the way ESPN is promoting it. One could argue that the Texas A&M/Oklahoma State tilt would have been a better site for Gameday, but the college football gods have spoken.
Defense is the name of the game for the Tigers after quarterback Jordan Jefferson lost his starting job, and all of his shoes, following a bar fight and subsequent arrest earlier this year. Jarrett Lee has finally learned how to throw to his team (for the most part) and has filled in nicely for Jefferson. Lee will also have one more playmaker to get the ball to with the return of suspended receiver Russell Shepard. Tigers head coach Les Miles will try to control this game on the ground with sophomore running back Spencer Ware and a staunch defense that has NFL scouts teeming with excitement.
That defense will have their hands full when they take the field in Morgantown, W.Va. as Mountaineers quarterback Geno Davis expects to continue his stretch of excellent play as of late. Smith has limited his mistakes thus far, having only thrown one interception compared to seven touchdown passes.
If the Tigers don’t pressure Smith and he is able to link up with speedy receivers like Tavon Austin, they could be left in the dust and out of the national title picture.
My prediction- LSU 27, West Virginia 17. The Tigers get it done on the ground and limit big plays from Smith to remain undefeated and potentially move into the No. 1 spot in the nation. Despite the loss, the smell of burning couches still permeates throughout Morgantown.
No. 14 Arkansas at No. 3 Alabama
If the prospect of LSU’s defense has NFL scouts excited, then Alabama’s defensive backfield has them as giddy as schoolgirls.
The Crimson Tide secondary has broken up 26 passes this season which is tops in the nation. The Tide are only giving up a measly six points per game, albeit their only real test came in a 27-11 road victory over then No. 23 Penn State.
The Tide’s defense could have a tough time containing a Razorbacks team that is averaging 47 points per game. The Razorbacks certainly have a chip on their shoulder after holding a two touchdown lead late in last year’s 24-20 loss to Alabama. But this year they have a revamped running game that has yet to reach full steam. Ronnie Wingo heads the Razorbacks rushing attack with 43 attempts and frosh Kody Walker has totaled 5 touchdowns on the ground.
Something’s gotta give in this game, and don’t expect the Tide defense to fold at the hands of an Arkansas offensive line that features three new starters this week.
My prediction- Arkansas 14, Alabama 31. Bama is able to corral Arkansas’ potent offense and even adds a defensive touchdown to spice things up.
No. 7 Oklahoma State at No. 8 Texas A&M
Cowboys quarterback Brandon Weeden continues to torch opposing secondaries but has thrown six interceptions, which is tied for first in the nation. Weeden would be wise to connect with receiver Justin Blackmon early and often in this game. Blackmon and his Aggie counterpart Jeff Fuller are the kind of guys quarterbacks dream of throwing to.
The Cowboys don’t have much pull on defense, and have given up over 30 points twice this year. They will need to seal their leaky secondary if they have any hopes of keeping quarterback Ryan Tannehill from putting on a fireworks display of his own. Tannehill has completed over 70 percent of his passes this season and has become comfortable within the Aggie offense — not good news for the Cowboys.
My prediction- Oklahoma State 44, Texas A&M 41. It’s a trap! A late field goal lifts the Cowboys over the Aggies after an explosive showcase of offensive prowess and a severe lack of defense from both teams.