Games to Watch

Peter Sblendorio

No. 1 Notre Dame vs. USC
Notre Dame is the No. 1 team in the BCS standings for the first time in school history, and it is now one win away from a chance to compete for its first national championship since 1988. The Fighting Irish is the last major unbeaten team, and a victory over a slumping USC squad that will be without quarterback Matt Barkley will likely earn its a berth in the title game. Notre Dame boasts the nation’s top defense, as it has held opponents to just 10.1 points per game. This Notre Dame defense will be difficult for the Trojans to score against, especially with redshirt freshman Max Wittek making his first career start after throwing for 95 yards and a touchdown in limited playing time this season. USC will be hungry to play spoiler in what has been a disappointing season for the Trojans, but the Irish will be just as interested in clinching a trip to the national championship game.
Game at 7:00 CT on ABC

Georgia Tech vs. No. 3 Georgia
Thanks to Saturday’s losses by Kansas State and Oregon, Georgia likely controls its own destiny for a trip to the national title game.Georgia’s already in the SEC Championship and the winner of that game will likely be given the chance to compete for a national championship, putting a huge emphasis on this one for Georgia — if it loses, it doesn’t matter what happens in the SEC Championship. Aaron Murray has had a big year for the Bulldogs, throwing for 2,986 yards and 28 touchdowns against just seven interceptions. His play, coupled with the outstanding Georgia running game, has made the Bulldogs one of the SEC’s most potent offenses. Georgia Tech has been no slouch offensively either, as the Yellow Jackets are third in the nation in averaging 324.9 rushing yards per game. The Yellow Jackets would love to be able to end their rival’s championship aspirations, but they will likely have to be prepared to win in a shootout to do so.
Game at 11:00 CT on ESPN

No. 4 Florida vs. No. 10 Florida State
The door remains open for the Gators to earn a berth in the national championship game, but they need a lot of things to happen. First and foremost: beat the rival Seminoles. Florida is on a three-game win streak after suffering its only loss of the season against the Bulldogs, and it brings in the nation’s third most stringent defense in allowing just 11.7 points per game. The Gators face a tough task, though, as Florida State is seventh in the nation in scoring and fifth in points allowed. EJ Manuel has thrown for 2,785 yards and 21 touchdowns for the Seminoles, and as a team they are averaging 5.6 yards per carry.At the very least, both teams are competing for a bid to a BCS game, and a win in this matchup would solidify either team’s chances.
Game at 2:30 CT on ABC

No. 5 Oregon vs. No. 15 Oregon State
The Ducks will need some serious help in order to clinch a spot in the national championship game following their overtime loss to Stanford last Saturday. In addition to needing losses by several of the top four teams this weekend, Oregon will need a win against the Beavers to keep its title hopes alive. That is easier said than done, as Oregon State has gone 8-2 this season and has won two games against ranked opponents. The Ducks still possess one of the nation’s most dangerous offenses, averaging 51.1 points per game. The Beavers will be eager to hinder the championship aspirations of their in-state rival while improving their own bowl position, while the Ducks will be desperate to come away with an impressive victory and keep their title hopes alive.
Game at 2:00 CT on Pac 12 Network