Johnson Final Thoughts: Upset To Watch For
Posted Nov 22, 2012

Terry Johnson Final Thoughts: The Upset To Watch For

By Terry Johnson
Follow me @TPJCollFootball

First of all, I'd like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.

With the Pac 12 title at stake, you'd think that the Stanford - UCLA game would figure heavily into the national championship picture. Unfortunately, this game has no bearing on the final BCS standings unless the Cardinal loses.

The most interesting battle of the weekend will be the Cardinal's second-ranked run defense against Bruin RB Johnathan Franklin, who's fifth nationally in rushing yards per game.

Let's be honest: the Pac 12 championship game simply can't win this year. It's either a rematch between this week's Stanford - UCLA game or a rematch of last year's conference championship game (Oregon - UCLA).

Which Oregon team will show up in Corvallis -- the team that averaged 54.8 points per game its first ten games, or the one that laid an egg against Stanford last week? Since the Ducks have lost back-to-back games only once during Kelly's tenure (2011 National Championship Game followed by a season-opening loss to LSU last season), expect to see Oregon rebound this weekend.

Conversely, Oregon State has to like its chances in the Civil War. After all, they've already shut down some of nation's most elite running backs this season, including Montee Ball, Johnathan Franklin, and John White.

Yes, Notre Dame needs to be on upset alert this week. Sure, Matt Barkley is out, but Max Whittek is a more-than-adequate replacement. As long as the offensive line can keep him upright, the Trojans have a shot.

It's also worth noting that the Irish average 5.1 yards per carry on the road. USC is 0-3 this year when they allow more than 4.9 yards per carry.

Speaking of highly-ranked teams that need to avoid an upset, keep an eye on the Georgia Tech - Georgia rivalry game. Sure, the Dawgs faced a similar offense by playing against Georgia Southern last week, but Tech is considerably bigger and faster than the Eagles. It will take some time for the UGA defense to adjust to the Tech attack, especially if Paul Johnson continues to rotate QBs Tevin Washington and Vad Lee.

Which team from the Sunshine State deserves to play for the national championship? We'll find out when Florida and Florida State square off on Saturday. Even if Jeff Driskell is 100% healthy, don't expect to see a lot of points in this contest, with both units ranked in the top 4 in total defense.

Clemson can prove that it belongs in a BCS bowl with a win over South Carolina. After dropping a heartbreaker to Florida State, the Tigers have been waiting for a chance to prove that they're a Top 10 team. If Tajh Boyd and company can pull off the upset against the Gamecocks, who lead the SEC in QB sacks, it's tough to envision them missing out on an at-large bid.

There's more than just bragging rights at stake in the latest installment of the Bedlam Series. With a win, Oklahoma will put itself in position to capture an at-large bid to the BCS. On the other hand, a Cowboy win would give Mike Gundy's team a share of the conference title if Texas can upset Kansas State next weekend.

No one's said much about it because Ohio State is on probation, but "The Game" will be one of best contests of the weekend. Although it probably won't win the Legends Division, Michigan would consider the season a huge success if they derailed the Buckeyes' bid for a perfect season.