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Posts Tagged ‘Stanford Cardinal’

Unlike many of the expected big college football matchups in 2010, the Alabama-Arkansas game lived up to the hype.  The Razorbacks played quite well in the first half, but a very determined Crimson Tide came out after halftime ready to win.  They gave the ball to Mark Ingram and let him do work.  Meanwhile the defense stepped up and made the plays they needed to win the game.

As we enter the portion of the season where conference play is now the rule instead of the exception, the games become bigger and wins and losses mean more.  The neat thing is that the five games I chose to focus on in week five represent five different conferences.  Here are the five questions I’m looking forward to getting the answers to on Saturday:

Michigan State Coach Mark Dantonio

Will Mark Dantonio lead the Spartans to a victory over the Badgers?

5.  Will the return of coach Mark Dantonio inspire Michigan State to beat Wisconsin at home?

Michigan State is 4-0 after four home games with one good win over Notre Dame.  Less than two weeks after a heart attack, their head coach Mark Dantonio will return, likely coaching from the Spartan Stadium coaching box against Wisconsin.  The Badgers are also 4-0 against a pretty weak slate.  This is an important game for the Spartans if they are going to have a successful season, as they will play Michigan, Iowa and Penn State all on the road.

4.  Is North Carolina State for real?

The Wolfpack looks like they may be the cream of the crop in the ACC.  But that may just mean they are the least rotten egg in the carton.  They have a 4-0 record and are 19th in the nation in passing yardage and scoring.  There’s even been whispers about quarterback Russell Wilson joining the Heisman race.  We’ll have a much better idea of how good N.C. State is when they take on Virginia Tech on Saturday.  Although the Hokies suffered a terrible loss to James Madison, they still may be the most talented program in the conference.

3.  Will Texas make up for last week’s loss by beating Oklahoma?

 Texas football suffered a major reality check last weekend, playing very poorly in losing to UCLA at home.  Now they have to get ready for the Red River Rivalry game with Oklahoma before heading to Nebraska the following week.  The Longhorns should have no trouble getting up for this big rivalry game against the Sooners.  Texas can pay the favor of having their national championship hopes ruined forward by doing the same to Oklahoma.  The Sooners are coming off a way to close two point win over Cincinnati that was proceeded by a three point win over Air Force.  Oklahoma was considered a sleeper national championship contender before the season but they will clearly have to pick their game up to get there.

2.  Can Stanford take control of the Pac-10 by beating the Ducks at Autzen Stadium?

The Cardinal have come out of nowhere and look like a very serious challenger for the Pac-10 crown.  Potential #1 NFL draft pick Andrew Luck has orchestrated the Stanford offense brilliantly, they are fourth in the country in scoring.  On the other side of the ball the defense has been much better than expected and is 12th in points allowed.  But the road to the Pac-10 title goes through Oregon and Stanford will visit Autzen Stadium on Saturday night.  The Ducks have been just as impressive as the Cardinal, leading the nation in scoring and ranking third in points allowed.  Stanford beat Oregon at home last year behind a 223-yard, three touchdown effort by Toby Gerhart.  This could be the game of the year.

1.  Is Florida capable of taking down Alabama?

The Gators started the season on questionable ground but have seemed to settle down over the last two weeks, scoring SEC wins over Tennessee and Kentucky.  Neither of those contests can really be counted as big tests, certainly not to the level of Alabama.  The Crimson Tide have picked up right where they left off last year and are coming off a strong win over Arkansas.  Mark Ingram was back in Heisman form racking up 157 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries against the Razorbacks.  Florida and Alabama have met in the last two SEC Championship Games, with each school getting a win and then going on to win the National Championship.

What matchup are you most looking forward to this weekend?  Who do you like to win the big games?  Let me know in the comments section below.

Photo source: avinashkunnath

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Week four of the college football season has the potential to be huge.  There are a couple of games with national championship implications, as well as several conference battles. 

No more setup is needed.  Let’s get right to the five college football questions I am looking forward to getting the answers to in week four:

Andrew Luck Takes the Snap

With the first pick in the 2011 NFL Draft the Buffalo Bills select...

5.  Will Andrew Luck solidify his NFL Draft footing on the national stage?

Stanford’s quarterback has worked his way up to the top spot on Mel Kiper’s big board.  In the first three games of the season Luck has thrown for 674 yards, 10 touchdowns and no interceptions.  This weekend he and the Cardinal head to South Bend, Indiana to take on the Fighting Irish at Notre Dame Stadium on national television.  Last year he was a solid 14 of 20 for 198 yards but did not throw a touchdown pass against the Irish. 

4.  Can West Virginia earn the Big East some respect in Death Valley?

How daunting is the task for the Mountaineers?  LSU is 52-5 in night games at Tiger Stadium since 2000.  Since bringing on head coach Les Miles the Bayou Bengals are 25-1 in that situation.  Both teams come into the game at 3-0.  If West Virginia can steal a win it will go a long way in earning the Big East respect, but the likelihood of that happening is extremely slim.

3.  Which of the two trendy SEC teams, South Carolina or Auburn, will continue their joy ride?

It may not be the biggest battle in the SEC on Saturday, but make no mistake, the South Carolina-Auburn games is a big one.  The Gamecocks have been riding freshman running back Marcus Lattimore to a 3-0 record and many mentions as a challenger to Florida in the SEC East.  Auburn is coming off a big win over Clemson, bumping their record up to 3-0.  The Tigers are being held up as a challenger to their hated rival, Alabama, in the SEC West.  Whoever wins this game will make a big statement about their intentions.

2.  Will Oregon State derail Boise State’s slim hopes for national championship consideration?

Virginia Tech’s loss to James Madison all but booted the Broncos from national championship contention.  They now need a lot of things to go in their favor to get back into that conversation.  Oregon State has already had a chance to ruin the national championship hopes of a non-BCS contender.  They lost that game on opening weekend to TCU.  Will the outcome be different on Saturday night in Boise?

1.  Can Arkansas end Alabama’s 16 game SEC regular season winning streak?

This is an appointment game – so clear your schedule right now for 3:30 Saturday afternoon.  The Razorbacks have lived up to expectations so far this season going 3-0 on the arm of Heisman front runner Ryan Mallett.  Now comes the ultimate test, #1 ranked Alabama.  Arkansas hopes to rely on Mallett and the home field advantage to get a win over the Crimson Tide.  Alabama got reigning Heisman trophy winner Mark Ingram back last week and he looked stellar.  Arkansas is going to have to play their best defensive game of the year to get the win. 

Did I miss the game you are most looking forward to this weekend?  Do you see these matchups in a different light?  Let me know in the comments section below.

Photo source: Monica’s Dad

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