We are in the last stretch of the college football season. (I will pause as we all communally sob.) And that means that teams at the top of the college football polls will plummet in the BCS rankings with a loss, probably ruining their chances at making BCS bowls.
No. 1 Oregon vs. Washington, 3:30 p.m.
Oregon is at home, has the nation's best offense. and won't have to face Jake Locker, out for this contest with a rib injury. Washington has three wins this year: one is over Syracuse, and the other two came by single points on pivotal last plays against USC and Oregon State. The Huskies allow 34.1 points and almost 430 yards per game, and haven't held a team under 24 points since that win over Syracuse.
Oregon could make it to 24 in the first quarter.
Chances of Upset: One percent. I'm hedging in case of an alien invasion that takes Chip Kelly back to his home planet.
No. 2 Auburn vs. Chattanooga, 1:00 p.m.
The Mocs have held just one team under 21 points all season. Good luck with Cam Newton, guys!
Chances of Upset: Zero percent. The same alien invasion could try to pick up Newton, too, but he'd probably just break the tackle.
No. 3 Boise State vs. Hawaii, 3:30 p.m.
This is a game featuring a team that plays on blue turf and a team that plays games virtually no one on the East Coast ever sees. Sometimes, college football does showcase the little guys.
Quarterback Bryant Moniz keys a powerful Hawaii attack, one that puts up almost 40 points per game and has scored 40-plus in five of its last six games. Hawaii's defense, though, will be the difference-maker if the Warriors are to win: it permits just 22.4 points per game, and even that number is skewed by a 49-point gouging from USC. Since the beginning of October, Hawaii hasn't allowed more than 27 points in a game.
And yet I just can't see Boise State falling. It will be close — Hawaii will cover easily — but the Broncos will prevail.
Chances of Upset: 15 percent. In the last two years, Boise has stomped Hawaii by an aggregate 81-16.
No. 4 TCU at No. 6 Utah, 3:30 p.m.
In the most important game of the week, TCU is favored by five on the road. The Horned Frogs allow just 8.7 points per game, cancelling out whatever advantage Utah could have gained from a marginally better offense (45.3 points per game to TCU's 40.8). TCU hasn't been challenged since winning its season opener against Oregon State, and hasn't allowed a team to score double digits since September. TCU should win; the Horned Frogs are just a slightly better team, should slow down Utah's running game much as Air Force did, and will probably avoid the turnovers that killed the Falcons.
Chances of Upset: 20 percent. Then again, in two trips to Utah since joining the Mountain West Conference, TCU is 0-2.
No. 5 Alabama at No. 12 LSU, 3:30 p.m.
In case you haven't been paying attention to Alabama since the Crimson Tide was taken down by South Carolina, it hasn't quite been the Alabama of 2009. Sure, the Tide have held Mississippi and Tennessee to 10 points each, and Julio Jones has become even more terrifying with one good hand, but what Mississippi did to Alabama's running game should give LSU hope.
The Rebels limited the Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson-shaped monster to just 2.9 yards per carry. And LSU, before a total meltdown against Auburn, was supposed to have the SEC's best rush defense. If the Tigers can stop a more conventional attack than Auburn's spread-option-sweep assault, we could see a very close one in Baton Rouge.
Chances of Upset: 35 percent. Patrick Peterson will likely be tasked with shadowing Julio Jones. One year after he and LSU were on the wrong side of a bad call against the Tide, it would be some sort of vindication of karma for Peterson to come up big in this game.
All odds provided by OddsShark.