National Preview: Sooners stop Red Raiders’ run to BCS crown

Andrew Simon

#2 Texas Tech (10-0) AT #5 Oklahoma (9-1)

Saturday, Nov. 22, 7 p.m. CT, ABCLine: Oklahoma by 7

It is tough to find an advantage between these two Big 12 South teams heading into their clash. The Sooners rank No. 1 in the nation in scoring offense, the Red Raiders are third. Oklahoma is fourth in total offense, Texas Tech is second. Offensively, these two teams might draw. So in a conference marked this year by its incredibly strong offenses and fantastic quarterbacks, its best game will be determined by who can actually get a stop.

What this game comes down to then, is who can score in the late stages of the game. Don’t think the Sooners have forgotten their loss to the Longhorns earlier this season. But also don’t think Texas Tech can’t repeat its last-minute win over Texas. This game comes down to that one intangible factor the Red Raiders don’t have – home field.

Oklahoma 38, Texas Tech 35

#16 BYU (10-1) AT #8 Utah (11-0)

Saturday, Nov. 22, 5 p.m. CT, The Mtn.Line: Utah by 6.5

In 2004, Utah became the first non-BCS conference team to make a BCS bowl game, knocking off Pittsburgh in the Fiesta Bowl. This season, the Utes are on track for another BCS berth but will have to get past the rival Cougars first. With both teams having outstanding seasons, the stakes are higher than ever for this edition of The Holy War. The teams have split their last 12 meetings.

BYU took last season’s showdown, but Utah has the advantage this time. Quarterback Brian Johnson (2,330 yards, 20 touchdowns) and a stingy defense (14 points allowed or less in three straight games) have kept the Utes undefeated, including a win against No. 15 TCU. The Cougars, however, suffered their only loss of the season against the Horned Frogs. Outside of that game, BYU has been excellent, thanks largely to the play of quarterback Max Hall (3,424 yards, 34 touchdowns). He will keep the game close, but expect Utah’s defense and home-field advantage to make the difference in the end.

Utah 34, Brigham Young 31

#20 Pittsburgh (7-2) AT #19 Cincinnati (8-2)

Saturday, Nov. 22, 6:15 p.m. CT, ESPN2Line: Cincinnati by 6

Not many people predicted before the season that these two teams would be battling for the Big East title and a BCS bowl berth in the season’s final stages. But that’s how it has turned out. Whichever team wins this game will control its own destiny on the way to a potential conference championship.

Cincinnati, despite facing a lot of turmoil at quarterback, has won three straight, including two victories over ranked squads. Pittsburgh has won two in a row after an embarrassing loss to Rutgers in which it gave up 54 points. The Panthers have the superior rushing attack thanks to running back LeSean McCoy (1,043 yards, 16 touchdowns), but the Bearcats have the edge through the air thanks to quarterback Tony Pike (12 touchdowns, 4 interceptions) who is expected to play despite battling injury. Don’t expect Pitt to be affected by the road atmosphere, as the Panthers are 4-0 away from home this year and have three straight victories against ranked opponents.

Pittsburgh 24, Cincinnati 20

Boston College (7-3) AT Wake Forest (6-4)

Saturday, Nov. 22, 2:30 p.m. CT, ABCLine: Wake Forest by 2

It has been a somewhat disappointing season for both the Demon Deacons and the Eagles. But both still have a chance to redeem it and stay in the hunt for an ACC Championship game berth with a victory Saturday. Wake Forest needs a win to stay one game behind division-leading Maryland in the loss column. Boston College needs a little more help, but is a confident team after defeating Florida State last week.Both teams rely on their defense a lot. The Eagles are second in the ACC in scoring defense and yards allowed.

The Demon Deacons, on the other hand, rely more on their defense because their offense is so horrible. Wake Forest is 10th in the conference in total offense, gaining 308.1 yards per game. The team has been able to win games by keeping the score low and by outscoring the poor teams it has played. That will not happen against a hot Boston College team.

Boston College 24, Wake Forest 17

[email protected]@u.northwestern.edu

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