Can LSU, Wisconsin, Oklahoma State and Stanford Stay Unbeaten?
Four undefeated teams face tough challenges on Saturday.
By: Patrick Snow | 10/21/11, 4:34 PM EDT
There are only ten undefeated teams left in college football. Four of those squads — Stanford, Oklahoma State, LSU and Wisconsin — will face challenging upset bids on Saturday. The Cardinal host Washington, as Huskies quarterback Keith Price has thrown for at least three touchdowns in every game this season. LSU will entertain Auburn without suspended stars Tyrann Mathieu and Spencer Ware. Wisconsin travels to Michigan State, where the Spartans just defeated instate rival Michigan. Oklahoma State heads to Missouri, and the Tigers have won 10 in a row at home in Columbia.
Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
I think Washington has a good chance to knock off Stanford on Saturday. Sure, the Cardinal is undefeated, but their schedule hasn’t exactly been the most difficult in college football. Stanford’s defense has held up well, despite the loss of All-American linebacker Shayne Skov, but Washington will provide a difficult test. The Huskies are struggling on defense, which could hinder their upset chances. However, Washington has the firepower on offense with quarterback Keith Price, running back Chris Polk and receiver Jermaine Kearse. Also, the Huskies are hungry for a marquee win under coach Steve Sarkisian. I am picking Stanford to win, but think this one is much, much closer than some may expect.
Missouri has the best shot at taking down an unbeaten when it hosts Oklahoma State on Saturday. Sophomore quarterback James Franklin has been taking strides forward every week as a dual-threat playmaker — passing for 1,488 yards, 10 TDs and four INTs, while scrambling for another 390 yards and seven TDs on the ground this season. Defensively, tackle Sheldon Richardson has stepped up his game since transferring from junior college. The 6'4", 290-pounder has yet to make a major splash on the Big 12 stage, however. Coach Gary Pinkel's club is capable of hanging around against top competition, with three respectable losses — a 37–30 overtime defeat at Arizona State, a 38–28 loss at Oklahoma and a 24–17 loss at Kansas State. With home-field advantage and an improving roster, Mizzou has a good shot at taking down undefeated O-State.
Braden Gall (@AthlonBraden)
Despite the suspensions, I firmly believe that Auburn won't be able to score enough points to top LSU on the road. I also don't think Washington can slow Andrew Luck (although, they will cover the 20-point spread) on the road. That leaves Michigan State and Mizzou at home against Wisconsin and Oklahoma State respectively. While Michigan State has played well at home against Bucky, the loss of William Gholston along the defensive front against that mammoth UW offensive line makes it hard to call for the upset in East Lansing. That leaves the Tigers of Mizzou, who are looking for on-field respite from conference affiliation talk. The fact that Brandon Weeden has never faced Gary Pinkel might give Missouri just enough of an edge to pull the upset.
Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)
I’m not predicting any of the four unbeaten teams will fall this weekend, but I think the best shot may be Auburn to upset LSU. In the other three games, I don’t see the underdog team stopping the All-America-level quarterbacks — Stanford’s Andrew Luck, Oklahoma State’s Brandon Weeden and Wisconsin’s Russell Wilson. Auburn’s defense has played well recently, and coordinator Ted Roof generally does well against pro-style attacks. LSU should counter that with plenty of Jordan Jefferson runs, but they will miss physical runner Spencer Ware. The LSU defense is solid, but it did give up 27 points to Oregon and 533 total yards to West Virginia. Coordinator Gus Malzahn has a similarly wide-open offense, and Auburn should get top receiver Emory Blake back in the lineup. If Michael Dyer and the AU run game can control the clock, this game could go down to the wire in Baton Rouge.
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