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NCAA Football Round-Up; Irish Are for Real

AJ McCarron

McCarron gives the Tide a big advantage at QB over LSU.

At some point, even the most ardent hater of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish has to admit that this team is in fact a damn fine football team. You don’t beat Oklahoma in Norman in any season and not be considered a solid unit. Even so, there are still detractors who will suggest this team had thrived on under-achieving teams like Michigan State, Michigan and Purdue. My own personal thought in the world of college football is that you simply play who is on the schedule and see where the chips fall. Can’t worry about who is good or bad, you just have to go out and win and that’s what the Irish are doing in 2012.

Latest BCS Rankings: 1. Alabama 2. Kansas State 3. Notre Dame 4. Oregon 5. LSU

Games I’m watching this week.

Ole Miss (+17) at Georgia – The Bulldogs must resist the opportunity to catch their breath following a huge upset of rival Florida last week. Despite the victory, it was not an impressive perfromance for the Georgia offense and Aaron Murray. The Rebels are trying to get bowl-eligible at 5-3 but the task isn’t easy. Ole Miss hasn’t beaten the Bulldogs since 1996. I like the Dawgs outright.

Texas Tech

The Red Raiders are breaking out new unis for the Longhorns.

Texas (+2 1/2) at Texas Tech – My how times have changed in the Big 12. The Longhorns barely survived lowly Kansas last week and Texas Tech may have been looking ahead as they were thumped by Kansas State. The Texas’ defense is having one of the worst years in school history and now they have to face a team that has been at the top of the nation in passing most of the season. The good news for Texas? The Red Raiders’ pass defense is nearly dead last in the country so scoring shouldn’t be a problem here. The winner of this game could have an inside track to the Cotton Bowl so I expect big performances from both sides, but I’ll take the Red Raiders at home to cover.

Pitt (+18 1/2) at Notre Dame – While this is not the same Pitt team that started the season 0-2, I’m just not sure they are so improved that they can go into Notre Dame Stadium and pull the upset. Tino Sunseri can be brilliant and he can be downright poor so his play will dictate if the Panthers have a shot. With defense and a running game, the Irish will win this one, but I like Pitt to stay within the number.

Oregon (-6) at USC – If you ask the experts why Oregon is 4th in the BCS despite their complete drubbing of every opponent they’ve faced, they’ll tell you that the Ducks haven’t played anyone yet. Anyone was supposed to be the Trojans but they got caught looking ahead and were beaten by Arizona. While this may indeed be the biggest game in some time for USC, I think the Ducks are ready to put on a show and prove they belong in the top two spots of the BCS. I have every expectation the Oregon will play well and cover the spread.

Alabama (-8) at LSU - Many think the Tide will get the Tigers’ best shot and indeed they will, but I’m not sure it’s going to matter. Alabama is allowing just eight points per game and they will force LSU to throw the ball by putting eight in the box. The problem isn’t as easy for LSU who will need to slow down the ‘Bama rushing attack but A.J. McCarron is a much more proven passer than the Tigers’ Zach Mettenberger. There was a time when you almost never went against the ‘Mad Hatter’ Les Miles but since the beat-down in the BCS title game this year I think Nick Saban has stolen some of that glitter. I think LSU delivers several big blows, but Alabama just has too much talent and a proven winner at QB. Take the Tide to cover.

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