Johnson's Final Thoughts: Big 12, Big QBs
Posted Nov 16, 2012

Terry Johnson's Final Thoughts & Musings Before Week 12

By Terry Johnson
Follow me @TPJCollFootball

- Yes, Stanford is capable of dethroning Oregon in the Pac 12 North. Sure, the secondary has struggled this season, but thanks to the efforts of the front seven, the Cardinal lead the nation in run defense, tackles for a loss, and QB sacks. As long as they can win the battle at the line of scrimmage, they have a shot.

- On the other hand, the Ducks have to like their chances this week. Marcus Mariota's electrifying 377-yard, 6 TD performance should have answered any questions about what happens if Oregon can't run the ball. That doesn't bode well for a Stanford secondary that struggled against Duke, Washington State, and Arizona.

- Whoever wins the battle between the UCLA offensive line and USC front seven will take home the Pac 12 South championship. After all, the Trojans have surrendered over 4.9 yards per carry in each of their three losses this season. Conversely, the Bruins two losses came when they failed to break the century mark on the ground.

- With that said, watch out for Marqise Lee against the UCLA secondary, which ranks 103rd nationally in passing defense.

- Overrated: Matt Barkley. Underrated: Brett Hundley.

- Did the SEC celebrate Thanksgiving a week early? With half of the teams in the conference playing against FCS opponents, this weekend's action is every bit as exciting as a WNBA preseason game.

- Hopefully, the new playoff system will emphasize strength of schedule to prevent this from happening in the future. After all, shouldn't every game in November have meaning?

- Even though there is nothing but pride at stake, the Ohio State - Wisconsin tilt should be one of the best games of the weekend. After Braxton Miller's last minute heroics ruined the Badgers' dreams of playing in the BCS title game last year, it's only fitting that Wisconsin would want to derail the Buckeyes quest for a perfect season. Expect a very physical contest.

- It's time that Mike Gundy received credit for being one of the game's best QB coaches. Regardless of whether it's Wes Lunt, JW Walsh, or Clint Chelf under center, the Cowboys offense never has any trouble moving the chains. With that type of precision, Texas Tech assistants had better hold on to their visors.

- Overrated: Landry Jones versus Geno Smith. Underrated: Nick Florence versus Collin Klein.

- Since there are literally too many "what if" scenarios in the ACC Coastal Division, let's just say that the Duke - Georgia Tech winner could ultimately play in the conference championship game with the right breaks.

- It will be interesting to see how long Paul Johnson stays with Tevin Washington, given the spark that Vad Lee has brought to the Yellow Jacket offense the past two weeks.

- Whoever takes the snaps will need to take extra care of the ball against a Blue Devil defense that leads the conference in turnover margin.

- Clemson should be on upset alert this weekend. Sure, the Tigers are clearly the second best team in the ACC, but this is exactly the type of game that the Wolfpack are notorious for winning under Tom O'Brien.

- The Utah State - Louisiana Tech matchup might be the third best game on the entire schedule this week. While the Bulldogs might seem like an overwhelming favorite at home, it's worth noting that the Aggies nearly upset Wisconsin on the road earlier in the season.

- Don't be surprised to see some big name schools pursue Gary Andersen, given all of his success as the head coach at Utah State and the defensive coordinator at Utah.