Games to Watch

Peter Sblendorio

No. 15 Texas A&M vs. No. 1 Alabama
The Crimson Tide need to win its last three games to clinch a third BCS Championship berth in four seasons, but this week presents Alabama with its biggest remaining test. The Aggies have continued to surprise throughout their first season in the SEC, with their only two losses coming to Florida and LSU. Johnny Manziel has led the fourth-best offense in the nation in terms of scoring, as the Aggies have averaged 44.7 points in nine games. They are yet to face a defense like Alabama’s, as the Tide lead the nation in limiting opponents to just 9.1 points per game. Alabama is coming off of a huge win over LSU and has already won three games against ranked opponents. The Crimson Tide face West Carolina and Auburn in its final two contests, making this the biggest remaining hurdle on the way to another trip to the title game.
Game at 2:30 CT on CBS

No. 2 Kansas State vs. TCU
The other team in line for a championship will face its toughest remaining road game of the season, as Kansas State travels to Fort Worth to take on the Horned Frogs. TCU has been solid in its first season as a member of the Big 12, as it is 3-3 in conference play and coming off of an electrifying double-overtime win over West Virginia. The TCU defense has not been as effective as it has been in recent history, with the Horned Frogs giving up 24.1 points per game on average. That might not be enough to stop the dynamic Wildcats offense, led by Heisman favorite Collin Klein. The star quarterback is uncertain to play after leaving last Saturday’s game with a concussion, but coach Bill Snyder has indicated that he is optimistic about the senior’s status. A loss in any of its remaining games would be devastating to Kansas State’s title hopes and TCU will be hungry to play spoiler against its conference rival.
Game at 6:00 CT on FOX

No. 11 Oregon State vs. No. 14 Stanford
This matchup pits two of the Pac-12’s top teams against each other, although both teams will be starting a quarterback without much experience. Cody Vaz will take the field for Oregon State after Sean Mannion struggled returning from injury, while Kevin Hogan gets the nod after Josh Nunes started each of the Cardinal’s first nine games. Neither team relies too heavily on its offense to win games, however, as both boast Top 20 defenses in terms of points allowed. The difference in this one will likely come down to the Beavers’ ability to stop Stepfan Taylor. The running back has led the way for Stanford, rushing for 947 yards and eight scores and catching 26 passes for 137 yards and a touchdown. The winner takes sole possession of second place in the conference behind undefeated Oregon.
Game at 2:00 CT on FOX

No. 21 Mississippi State vs. No. 7 LSU
After beginning the year at 7-0, the Bulldogs are on a two-game losing streak and are still looking for their first win against a ranked opponent. Things will not get any easier for Mississippi State this week, however, as it travels to Baton Rouge to face an LSU team eager to right the ship after falling to No. 1 Alabama. LSU is No. 10 nationally in points allowed per game, but on offense the Tigers have struggled against top-flight defenses. Against ranked teams, LSU has averaged just 17.7 points per game. Conference title hopes for both teams diminished after losses to the Crimson Tide, but LSU and Mississippi State could each improve their chances for a berth in a prominent bowl game with a win in this one.
Game at 6:00 CT on ESPN