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November 5, 2010
Keep an eye on: What our guys are watching
Each week, Rivals.com's college football experts give fans things to keep an eye on over the course of the weekend. Here are some key things to watch this weekend.
Texas A&M's offense vs. Oklahoma. A&M appears rejuvenated now that Ryan Tannehill has taken over at quarterback. Of course, he's put up big numbers against Kansas and Texas Tech, which have soft defenses. He has to prove he can be effective against Oklahoma's defense, too. But aside from a blowout win in '08, Oklahoma often has difficulty at A&M. Except for that game, the Sooners' previous two trips to A&M resulted in wins by a combined eight points. A&M knocked off the top-ranked Sooners in 2002 at Kyle Field and almost did in 2000.
- OLIN BUCHANAN
Can Utah score enough to beat TCU? The Horned Frogs have the nation's No. 1 total defense (217.3 ypg), No. 1 scoring defense (8.7 ppg), No. 1 pass defense (119.0 ypg) and No. 9 rush defense (98.3 ypg). TCU has given up just 10 touchdowns. To have any chance for success, the Utes will have to establish a ground game. Utah has some weapons in an attack that averages 45.3 points, led by QB Jordan Wynn, RBs Eddie Wide and Matt Asiata and WR Jereme Brooks. And the home field will help the Utes, who have won 21 in a row in Rice-Eccles Stadium and beat TCU 13-10 in the Horned Frogs' last visit. Despite all of that, yards and points figure to be at a premium, meaning Utah will have to win the turnover and field-position battles to have a chance to beat TCU, which clobbered Utah 55-28 last season in Fort Worth.
- TOM DIENHART
Arizona QB Nick Foles. Stanford plays host to Arizona in a battle of one-loss teams that technically are alive for a BCS bid. The key is the anticipated return of Foles, Arizona's starting quarterback who has missed the past two games with a knee injury. Foles had one of the best games of his career against Stanford last season, going 40-of-51 for 415 yards and three touchdowns in a 43-38 win. Meanwhile, Stanford is coming off a shutout of Washington in which a hobbled Jake Locker was held to 65 yards of total offense and two interceptions.
- DAVID FOX
LSU's quarterbacks. LSU can beat Alabama in their SEC West showdown, but only if QBs Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee make some plays. If you've seen LSU play, that doesn't seem all that likely. LSU's defense will not get run over, as it did in a loss to Auburn, and Tigers RB Stevan Ridley will have some success. But at some point, Jefferson and/or Lee will have to do some positive things. That idea has to make Alabama happy.
- MIKE HUGUENIN
Can Baylor keep it up? It's time to stop thinking of Baylor as a cuddly upstart and to start considering the Bears legitimate contenders in the Big 12 South. Baylor certainly isn't going to sneak up on anyone now that the Bears have beaten Texas on the road. Baylor doesn't have any time to relax, as the Bears follow that trip to Austin by visiting Oklahoma State. Robert Griffin should put up plenty of points against a suspect Oklahoma State defense, but I don't know if Baylor has enough talent to slow the Cowboys' potent offense. If Baylor wins on the road again, that Nov. 20 showdown with Oklahoma in Waco starts looking very interesting. - STEVE MEGARGEE