Terry Johnson's Final Thoughts

Posted Nov 9, 2012

Terry Johnson's Final Thoughts before the Week 11 games

By Terry Johnson
Follow me @TPJCollFootball

- Why isn't the Oregon State - Stanford game garnering much national media attention? After all, the winner of this game will move to 6-1 in league play, and would control its own destiny in the Pac 12 North. Isn't a chance to earn a berth in the "Granddaddy of Them All" still important?

- For a Pac 12 matchup, the showdown between the Beavers and Cardinal looks more like a traditional SEC slugfest. Both defenses rank in the top 5 against the run, and allow fewer than 20 points per game. That does not bode well for the offenses, who have both changed starting QBs in the past few weeks.

- The Arizona State - USC tilt is a de facto elimination game in the Pac 12 South, with the loser dropping two games behind UCLA. Don't let the mediocre records fool you: this is one of the top games of the weekend. The epic clash between Sun Devil pass defense, ranked first in the conference, and Heisman Trophy candidate Marquise Lee, who's tormented opposing secondaries all season long, will be the top individual matchup of the weekend.

- Yes, Johnny Manziel can still make it to New York as a Heisman Trophy finalist. Sure, he was less than impressive against Florida and LSU, but if he turns in a solid performance against Alabama it's hard to imagine him finishing outside of the top 5.

- However, that's a big if. After surrendering 435 yards against LSU, expect for the Crimson Tide defense turn it up a notch this week.

- All right, Mississippi State, here's your chance. For the past two weeks, all of the experts have called you a paper tiger with a soft schedule. With a game against a deflated LSU team this week, you have the opportunity to silence those critics permanently.

- A win over the Tigers won't be easy. While everyone thinks of the Bayou Bengals as a running team, QB Zach Mettenberger played his best game of the season last week. The newly discovered aerial attack should prevent the Bulldogs' already porous run defense from loading the box to take away the run.

- Surprisingly, the Wisconsin - Indiana game will determine who represents the Leaders Division in the Big Ten title game. While the Badgers might seem like a lock to win this contest, the Hoosiers are the hottest team in the conference. It will be interesting to see what Cameron Coffman (or Nate Sudfeld if Coffman struggles out of the gate) can do against a UW defense that ranks third in the B1G in total defense.

- Even though everyone is more concerned with the Michigan QB situation, Northwestern's dynamic duo of Venric Mark and Kain Colter poses a much greater threat to the Wolverines season. After all, if it's unable stop the Wildcat ground game, Michigan would need Nebraska to lose twice to have any chance to capture the Legends Division crown.

- Even if Collin Klein can play for Kansas State, the Wildcats should still be on upset alert against TCU. The Horned Frogs have won five of their last seven games against top 10 opponents, including the last three meetings.

- Regardless of who takes the snaps, whoever wins the battle between the K-State offensive line and the TCU front seven will win this contest. This is only fitting since the Wildcats lead the Big 12 in rushing, while TCU leads the league in rushing defense.

- No one's talking about it, but the West Virginia - Oklahoma State contest will be the most fun game of the season. After all, both squads rank in the top 10 in scoring offense, averaging well over 40 points per game. The chess match between Dana Holgorsen and Mike Gundy will be worth the price of admission.

- Looking for an upset this weekend? Keep an eye on the Louisville - Syracuse contest. Make no mistake about it: the Cardinals are clearly the class of the Big East. However, 'Cuse plays like a completely different team in the Carrier Dome, and nearly upset Northwestern in the season opener.