Georgia Versus Appalachain State, Two Marquee Games in Week 11

The Bulldogs Face a Cupcake on Homecoming
Georgia’s homecoming date with the Appalachian State Mountaineers leaves many college football fans looking elsewhere for a Saturday gridiron fix. The Mountaineers are a long way from the squad that shocked the college football world by beating Michigan six years ago.

App State has won two games in 2013. For UGA, the key to success this weekend is to focus on beating the Mountaineers and not look ahead to Auburn next week.

Prediction: Georgia 45, Appalachian State 17.  Now, on to more exciting games.
oregon_stanfordOregon-Stanford
Oregon travels to Stanford Stadium to take on the Cardinal on Thursday night.  The Ducks are favored by 10.5 on the road.  New Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich has helped make the transition from former head man Chip Kelly seamless.  The Ducks are quacking like a well-oiled machine.

Oregon ranks in the top twenty in the nation in passing yards, they average 55.6 points per game, boasting a ground attack averaging more than 300 yards per contest.  The Ducks are 8-0 with no signs of slowing down.

As for Stanford, the Tree has fallen from the ranks of the unbeaten.  The Cardinal has been inconsistent on offense as a result of their struggle to develop a reliable aerial attack. Stanford is currently 96th in the nation in passing, and they lost to an unranked Utah team.

All signs point to Oregon’s speed killing Stanford in week eleven.  The quack attack is out for revenge.  Their loss to Stanford in 2012 knocked them out of national championship contention.

Prediction: Oregon 35, Stanford 24.
alabama_lsu_2013Alabama Faces LSU – Nick Saban Too Damn Old to Coach Anywhere Else

Despite the rumors of Nick Saban’s interest in coaching Texas, the Crimson Tide football program remains focused on their showdown with LSU.  The Bayou Bengals are wounded, having already lost two games.  LSU’s most recent stumble came on the road in Oxford against an Ole Miss team the Tide had already rolled over.  Still, the Tigers would love to spoil Alabama’s undefeated season.

Bama is the two-time defending national champion and the Tide are the number one team in the country.  Even so, the LSU tigers have won two of their last four meetings against coach Saban and company.

The last time a team won three straight national championships was over 80 years ago.  Nick Saban has four national titles to his credit, and is in the conversation of greatest college football coaches ever. Alabama senior quarterback AJ McCarron is the leader on the field for the Crimson Tide.  A third BCS title would certainly etch his name in Alabama lure.

Prediction: Alabama 28, LSU 17.

College Football Outside of the South – Pacific 12

philadelphia_eagles_chip_kelly

Who will be the new face of Oregon football?

College Football Outside of The SEC Bubble
I love Southeastern Conference football.  As a fan, most of what I am invested in takes place within the realm of the SEC.  However, it is healthy to acknowledge that college football is played in other areas of the country as well.  This particular post will focus on college football on the west coast, specifically in the Pacific-12 Conference.

Oregon
It will be fun to see how the most dynamic offense in college football adjusts to having a new head duck. The departure of Chip Kelly to the Philadelphia Eagles sent shock waves throughout football. That is, after he decided to come back to Oregon, then he changed his mind again and left for the city of Brotherly Love. Coach Kelly leaves a legacy of being an offensive guru in Eugene, but he also helped get Oregon put on probation as a parting gift.

Mark Helfrich is now the head coach in Oregon town as he inherits a team that is loaded on offense with eight starters coming back. SB Nation revealed that one of the reasons Chip Kelly decided to try his hand in the NFL is because he knew nothing would change in the Oregon offense under Mark Helfrich, who had been the offensive coordinator for the Ducks since 2009.

Stanford
The fact that Stanford won the 2013 Rose Bowl without former quarterback Andrew Luck speaks volumes about the Cardinal commitment to success.  When the previous Stanford head coach (Jim Harbaugh) left for the National Football League, I assumed that Cardinal Football would go back to dwelling in mediocrity.  I could not have been more wrong.

The 2012 Pac-12 Conference Coach of the Year David Shaw has the fans in Stanford, California dreaming of a national championship. The Cardinal returns seven starters on offense, and a robust ten starters on the defensive side of the ball. Stanford figures to be in a tight battle with the Oregon Ducks all season long. The media gave Oregon the slight edge in their Pac-12 North preseason pick. Even so, I have always been a huge fan of the Stanford Tree.

stanford_tree

The Stanford Tree wreaks of awesomeness.

UCLA
I must admit to having very little interest in Bruins football once the ball is snapped. My curiosity with UCLA is triggered by their current head football coach, “Jim Mora Jr.”  The man born James Lawrence Mora (according to Wikipedia) was the head football coach in Atlanta during the Michael Vick days. His tenure began in 2004 with a bang when the Falcons played for the NFC title at the end of the season, but it ended with him being fired after the thud of back-to-back 8-8 seasons.

I have heard unconfirmed stories that coach Mora can be combative.  I never passed judgement until I was watching ESPN’s The Herd (hosted by Doug Gottlieb who was in for Colin Cowherd) and the following interview unfolded.  Given how poorly he handled the situation, I cannot take Jim Mora Jr. seriously as a leader of young men.



USC
Since leaving the Tennessee Volunteers high and dry in January of 2010, Lane Kiffin has gotten exactly what he deserved.  After leading the Trojans through their probation, USC appeared all set to fight for the college football throne once again. Hell, I picked them to lose to the Georgia Bulldogs in the BCS National Championship Game last year. The University of Southern California proceeded to go 7-6, and fall off the horse before they could even get going. The Trojans DID cap the season off by losing to a team from Georgia, Tech, that is, in the Sun Bowl. USC reportedly broke out into a brawl pitting teammate against teammate, too.

Coming into this season, about the only thing going right for Lane Kiffin is that the Los Angeles Times is reporting that he is not on the hot seat.  If the Trojans do not improve drastically in 2013, the temperature of the head coach’s chair figures to rise considerably.