Southern California, Oregon showdown highlight weekend’s pivotal match ups

Zach Anderson

Zach Anderson

After a weekend that featured Nebraska falling from national relevance (eight turnovers in a 9-7 loss to Iowa State) and some more sloppy officiating in the Southeastern Conference (both Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin and Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen have been reprimanded for commenting about poor officiating during their respective games, Tennessee against Alabama and Miss State against Florida), this weekend will feature big time matchups in the Pacific 10 Conference and Big 12.

No. 4 USC vs. No. 10 Oregon

In Eugene, Ore., the stakes will be at an all-time high as the University of Southern California Trojans return seeking revenge after a 24-17 loss in 2007. Oregon is coming off a 43-19 victory over Washington (the team that beat USC earlier this year). Oregon’s only loss this year came to undefeated Boise State. USC is coming off a close 42-36 win over Oregon State. USC’s defense has been surprisingly tame after dominating in early games this season against Ohio State, Cal and Washington State.

Pick: If Oregon can take advantage of USC’s pass defense (589 yards allowed in games against Oregon State and Notre Dame), then they should be able to put up enough points to win. Oregon can upset USC if they avoid turnovers and score as much as possible. Oregon by 13 points.

No. 3 Texas vs. No. 13 Oklahoma State

Zac Robinson will lead the Cowboys still without star receiver Dez Bryant when Texas heads into Stillwater, Okla. Oklahoma State has been without Bryant and injured star running back Kendall Hunter. If Hunter is able to play on his bad ankle, head coach Mike Gundy said it would be in a limited role. Despite those injuries, Robinson has got Oklahoma State off to a 6-1 start (3-0 Big 12 Conference) with solid playing. Texas is undefeated at 7-0 (3-0 Big 12). The Longhorns have receiver Jordan Shipley, who is often the target of Heisman-hopeful Colt McCoy. McCoy will look to keep the Longhorns in contention in the national championship race.

Pick: At home, Oklahoma State has a chance to beat Texas but will need strong play from Robinson to have a chance. Texas has started slow at times this season, and Oklahoma State will need that to happen along with scoring a lot of points. I think Texas is too good of a team, and that they will pull out the win by at least 10 points.

Surprise team of the week: Texas Christian. The Horned Frogs of TCU went to Provo, Utah, and beat a legitimate BYU team 38-7 on Oct. 24. The win boosted TCU to sixth in the BCS and seventh in the Associated Press poll. TCU junior quarterback Andy Dalton was 13 of 24 passing for 241 yards and three touchdowns against the Cougars. The defense, arguably one of TCU’s best strengths, held BYU quarterback Max Hall to 18 of 28 passing for 162 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Up next for TCU is a matchup with 3-5 UNLV. If the Horned Frogs can continue winning and beat Utah on Nov. 14, they will be sitting in a good spot to crash the BCS party.