Friday, November 16, 2012

Weekend Football Preview - 11/17-11/18

Greetings! Let's preview the gridiron action from the upcoming weekend. As a new wrinkle, we'll take everything in purely chronological order as sort of a viewing guide...

  • Noon - #10 FSU @ Maryland - ESPNU - Yes, you read that correctly. This is the worst early slate of games of the entire year, and I wouldn't watch this game, but since it's the "best" of it, I'll recommend it. Both top teams that play in this time slot (Georgia and Alabama) are playing no one as UGA plays 1-AA Georgia Southern, and Bama takes on the 1-9 Western Carolina squad. Yikes. At least we can watch a converted linebacker play QB for Maryland.
  • 3:05 - #18 USC @ #17 UCLA - I think I'm the only one that still believes that USC is good. I also don't trust UCLA ever. Give me the Trojans and Matt Barkley throws for 500 yards here.
  • 3:30 - Wake Forest @ #3 Notre Dame - Wake isn't great (5-5), but Notre Dame's offense allows people to stick around, so they are an every-week threat to lose. 
  • 3:30 - Ole Miss @ #7 LSU - Ole Miss is better than you think, and this is an old-time rivalry. LSU should win going away, but worth a look. 
  • 3:30 - #23 Texas Tech @ #24 Oklahoma State - The Vegas over/under on this game is 72 and both teams are ranked. Offense!
  • 7:00 - #12 Oklahoma @ West Virginia - Remember when West Virginia was a fringe national title contender and Geno Smith was the Heisman favorite? Well, the wheels are off, but there's no questioning the fact that they could beat Oklahoma if that offense is clicking. WV stands in the way of a potential BCS At-large for Oklahoma.
  • 8:00 - #1 Kansas State @ Baylor - The second-best chance for an unbeaten to lose this week.... but that isn't saying much. Baylor is 4-5 and kind of a mess, but at least the game is on the road for KSU. 
  • 8:00 - #13 Stanford @ #2 Oregon - By far the game of the day, and the best chance for an unbeaten to lose. The Oregon offense is an absolute juggernaut, so look for Stanford to try to take the air out of the ball (figuratively, not literally for you Lane Kiffin fans) with the run game. Marcus Mariota has been out-of-this-world good recently, and that should continue here. I think Oregon wins the game, but Stanford is well-coached and if they can run that ball-control offense, and not settle for field goals (ever), they have a chance.
  • 1:00 - Cardinals @ Falcons - FOX - Atlanta is fresh off of a loss for the first time this season, and I expect a solid, angry effort from the dirty birds. Lots of Matt Ryan. Lots of Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez (with Julio if he's out there). And a defense playing angry after getting carved up by Brees and company. Falcons 34, Cardinals 14.
  • 1:00 - Packers @ Lions - FOX (except in Atlanta) - Detroit is all but dead, but a win here over Green Bay could spark some life. I'm firmly in the camp of thinking that Green Bay is still a very dangerous contender, and I think they can take advantage of a porous Detroit defense and get a win.
  • 4:25 - Colts @ Patriots - CBS - Renewing an old rivalry with a new face. I'm all-in on the Andrew Luck era... but Tom Brady still exists, and that's my guy to the end. If this game was in Indy, I'd give them more of a chance here, but I think the Pats offense is too good, and they'll hold serve. Luck is going to throw for 300+ against that awful Pats secondary, but it won't be enough.
  • 8:20 - Ravens @ Steelers - NBC - The best rivalry in the NFL today. This one is taking a hit with the absence of Ben Roethlisberger, but it's still compelling. I'm giving the Steelers a chance because a) I'm a Byron Leftwich homer, b) the game is in Pittsburgh, and c) Joe Flacco and Cam Cameron are involved. The first two are self-explanatory, but don't rule out the epic Joe Flacco disaster game coupled with Cameron's seeming unwillingness to give his best player (Ray Rice) the ball. Baltimore should still win this game in the absence of Ben, but it's a must-watch. 
Enjoy the slate!

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