College football’s so-called “Game of the Century” will soon descend upon Tuscaloosa, Ala. The Tigers hold the edge in the quarterback comparison, as senior Jarrett Lee has thrown 13 touchdowns to one interception and ranks 13th nationally in pass efficiency. Both defenses are notoriously nasty (LSU hasn’t allowed a team to score more than 11 points since a late September win at West Virginia), but Lee’s poise could boost the Tigers in a close game. And don’t forget backup Jordan Jefferson, who was supposed to be the starter before being suspended for the first four games. He has two passing and two rushing touchdowns since his reinstatement. (Next: @ No. 2 Alabama)
2. Alabama (8-0): Idle
(CU Independent illustration/Kelly Kaoudis & Josh Shettler)
The Crimson Tide has the best defense in the nation. By far. No one is even close to them. Look at the statistics: Alabama is first in the four big defensive categories of rushing, pass efficiency, scoring, and total yards. The unit is allowing less than a touchdown per game, on average, at 6.8 points per outing. Nick Saban’s prized group is not only big (they are all taller than 6 feet), but light-switch fast as well. On offense, running back Trent Richardson can vault himself into first place in the Heisman race with a strong showing against LSU’s dominant front seven. If you weren’t pumped already, watch this well-done hype video below. (Next: vs. No. 1 LSU)
3. Stanford (8-0): Beat USC 56-48 in 3OT
Quarterback Andrew Luck threw a pick six with 3:00 remaning against the Trojans. The architecture major and sure-thing No. 1 pick in April’s NFL Draft was only trying to challenge himself. Down by seven, Luck led the Cardinal on a ten-play drive to take the game into overtime. That drive and three more scoring drives in extra periods saved Stanford’s perfect season even after the defense gave up 432 yards to USC. Luck and company get a tuneup against lowly Oregon State before hosting No. 6 Oregon. (Next: @ Oregon St.)
4. Oklahoma State (8-0): Beat Baylor 59-24
Everyone knows the Cowboys have one of the most sizzling offenses in all of college football, averaging nearly 50 points per game. But don’t overlook a defense that stopped quarterback Robert Griffin and Baylor’s high-powered attack from scoring a touchdown until the fourth quarter. The Cowboys own the best turnover margin in the FBS, having picked off opposing quarterbacks 17 times and recovering 12 fumbles. Neither side has been challenged since a late September win at Texas A&M. Can Bill Snyder’s Wildcats change that or will Okie State continue to run the table? (Next: vs. Kansas St.)
5. Boise State (7-0): Idle
The smurfs had a week to kick up their feet and contemplate another shot at an undefeated season. Actually, this may be Boise’s best shot at making the national championship, even though its schedule is as unimpressive as ever. The only win over a currently ranked opponent remains the season opening victory against Georgia. Though TCU may be the only team left on the schedule that could give the Broncos some trouble, an unblemished 2011 campaign looks inevitable. If anything, a Boise St. versus SEC title game would be entertaining. Give Coach Chris Petersen time to prepare for a bowl game and anything can happen. (Next: at UNLV)
6. Oregon (7-1): Beat Washington St. 43-28
The Ducks have won seven straight since the season-opening letdown to current No. 1 LSU. A win in two weeks against Stanford, CU:I’s No. 3 team, could immediately bolster the Ducks back into contention for the national title game. Think there would be anyone hollering for a playoff if college football had an LSU – Oregon rematch to settle the crown? Yeah, probably just a few people. Chip Kelly’s team travels to play a dangerous 6-2 Washington club in one of the nation’s more inhospitable venues. They just better make sure they aren’t glancing over the schedule to Nov. 12. If so, they’ll be looking from the outside-in on the BCS bowls, just like the Oregon Duck. (Next: @ Washington)
7. Arkansas (7-1): Beat Vanderbilt 31-28
It seems like Arkansas does this every week. Just another late game comeback by Bobby Petrino’s team. The Razorbacks snuck by the Commodores after trailing by eight in the final quarter. Over the last four weeks, Arkansas has trailed in every game, only to come back and win each of them. Those comebacks are made easier with a quarterback like Tyler Wilson, who leads the SEC in total offense. (Next: vs. No. 9 South Carolina)
8. Oklahoma (7-1): Beat Kansas St. 58-17
Quarterback Landry Jones did just as everyone expected after the team’s heartbreaking loss a week ago. The Sooners demolished a previously undefeated Wildcats team, as Jones threw for a school-record 505 yards. Oklahoma still holds its own destiny in winning the Big 12, if they can win out and beat state rival Oklahoma St. on the road. A receiving trio of Ryan Broyles, Kenny Stills, and Jaz Reynolds can keep the Sooners in shootouts. Reynolds, a sophomore, came up big against Kansas St. He only had three catches but two of them went for touchdowns, and the third was beyond ridiculous. (Next: vs. Texas A&M)
9. South Carolina (7-1): Beat Tennessee 14-3
Taking a back seat to the showdown of the SEC’s, and the nation’s, top two teams are South Carolina and Arkansas. The Gamecocks’ only loss of the year came to Auburn, 13-16. Even without star running back LaMarcus Lattimore, who was lost for the season with a torn knee, and quarterback Stephen Garcia, who was kicked off the team, South Carolina continues to win. Since quarterback Connor Shaw stepped in to replace Garcia, the Gamecocks have won three straight SEC games. And since they don’t have to play either Alabama or LSU during the regular season, they can have the inside track to an SEC East crown with a win over Arkansas. (Next @ No. 7 Arkansas)
10. Nebraska (7-1): Beat Michigan St. 24-3
A week after Michigan State’s miracle Hail Mary win over Wisconsin, the Cornhuskers halted the short celebration with defiant execution. Nebraska only allowed 187 yards of total offense and pressured Spartan quarterback Kirk Cousins with four sacks and a key interception. Now the Cornhuskers hold their own fate in the Legends Division of the Big Ten with a 3-1 conference mark. (Next: vs. Northwestern)
Michael William Krumholtz Jr. was born in a suburb of Dayton, Ohio. This is his fifth semester on the CU Independent sports staff.
He has never gotten the chicken pox, became a Connect Four champion by the ripe age of 11, and drinks red wine straight from the bottle.
Don't try to look him up on Facebook. It won't be him
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