Road To The BCS: Three Games This Week

Only three games this to pick from and one is a double-edged sword for the Boise St. Broncos.

No. 3 Alabama Crimson Tide at No. 23 Penn St. Nittany Lions 3:30 p.m. ET (ABC)

This is the biggest game on the schedule that could benefit Boise State and their chances to get into position of the BCS title game. This game is rare for most of the SEC as they rarely travel outside of the South, if at all, and taking on a ranked opponent from a BCS league in out of conference play is even more rare. Alabama's defense is their strength and will be a stiff challenge for Penn State and whoever their starting quarterback is.

Currently on the Penn State depth chart they list the starter being Robert Bolden or Matt McGloin. Penn State themselves will provide a stiff non-conference test for Alabama's offense because they are also split on who will be the starting quarterback. They will probably play both AJ McCarronn and Phillip Sims on Saturday. Both teams will need to establish the run and whoever can find a groove in the rushing attack they will be on their way to victory.

What they are saying:

Establishing the run will be critical for both teams. Outside of Charles Robinson reserving a hotel room near your campus, there can be no greater recipe for disaster than placing an inexperienced quarterback in a hostile environment, handing him a wet football, and telling him to put the offense on his shoulders and win the game through the air against a sound defense. It's difficult to see Alabama coming home victorious tomorrow afternoon without controlling the line of scrimmage, and even with the home crowd behind them, Penn State figures to face much of the same reality. The ability to alleviate pressure on the quarterback by consistently and successfully running the football figures to be a key to victory for both teams. -- Roll 'Bama Roll.

What they are saying:

Joe Paterno had little interest in giving away free information about the quarterback derby at his press conferences, and the news cycles have been so dominated by flooding and parking woes that the situation has simmered neatly on the burner all week. What will be interesting is the criteria used to alternate between Bolden and McGloin, especially going from a game in which a touchdown was expected on every drive to one in which stitching together a few first downs is a brag-worthy accomplishment.

Unfortunately, we're now in a situation where both guys are simultaneously looking over their shoulder and looking to separate themselves by making a big play. Bad combination. Whoever the quarterback is, the coaches need to be patient with him. -- Black Shoes Diaries.

Pick: Alabama

Nevada Wolfpack at No. 13 Oregon Ducks 3:30 p.m. ET (FX)

This game is here and it most likely be an Oregon win, but they did not look good against LSU. An Oregon loss here will essentially remove them from BCS title consideration, but a one-loss team that would include a win over Stanford and possibly a ranked Utah or Arizona State in the Pac-12 title game most likely push the Ducks over Oregon.

We will see how the Oregon defense does against the pistol offense that Nevada will run, it is a shame that these two teams last year could not play because it would have been a display of yards and points in a back-and-forth affair. This is Nevada's opener so they have had ample time to prepare and they are trotting out Colin Kaepernick's replacement in senior Tyler Lantrip to orchestrate the offense.

What they are saying:

Against Nevada, the Ducks have the advantage at just about every single point on the field. Oregon's offensive line is better than Nevada's defensive line, and should give Oregon's wide receivers a chance to make plays in one-on-one coverage. Darron Thomas should have more time to throw, and LMJ should have bigger holes to run through.

Defensively, the Ducks have a ton of talent. While I think that Nevada will be a stiffer test than last week, the Ducks looked really good last week against one of the top offensive lines in the country. The secondary (even without Cliff Harris) should be able to handle the Nevada receivers, though they'll likely make some plays throughout the game.

This isn't to discount Nevada's chances. They are a solid football team that will take advantage of opportunities handed to them. If Oregon doesn't play well, Nevada will make a game of this. They have plenty of experience, and one of the best coaches in college football. -- Addicted to Quack.

Pick: Oregon

No. 12 South Carolina Gamecocks at Georgia Bulldogs 4:30 p.m. ET (ESPN/ESPN3.com)

This game doesn't really help Boise State in any way, because if Georgia is 0-2 then the Boise State win diminishes their victory over Georgia. If South Carolina wins they will be a team that will move up in the polls and inch closer to Boise State and being in the SEC even a one-loss team will most likely be ranked ahead of an undefeated Boise State team.

I assume that Steve Spurrier will start Stephen Garcia at quarterback and not pull the yo-yo trick if he has a bad series, but we never know with the a Spurrier coached team. Last week, South Carolina started slow against East Carolina and fell to a 21-0 deficit early on and then roared back to a convincing victory.

What they are saying:

Whatever the results of our good faith efforts to determine the reasons why, the fact is that Georgia is bad at stuff. More specifically, our defense is injury-prone and has not matured, whereas our offense is simply a mess. It's no wonder AuditDawg has little faith. At the end of the day, the South Carolina Gamecocks were better than the Georgia Bulldogs in 2010, both on the day the two teams played and over the course of the entire season, so, in order for the Red and Black to beat the Garnet and Black on Saturday, it will be necessary that the Palmetto State Poultry have gotten worse, the Classic City Canines have gotten better, or (preferably) both. I see no evidence to suggest either that the ‘Cocks are worse or that the ‘Dawgs are better, and, therefore, I expect the Athenians to lose. -- Dawg Sports.

What they are saying:

If not for an 80-yard end-around by Brandon Boykin, Georgia would have tallied only 90 yards rushing on the evening against Boise. Isaiah Crowell looked pretty good, but he was not quite a gamebreaker. Granted, Marcus Lattimore didn't have a breakout performance against Southern Miss. last year, and perhaps Crowell, too, will find his groove in the second week. However, there is a big differences between the two situations: Carolina didn't need Lattimore to do anything particularly special against USM. After his first-half performance, I remember thinking that Lattimore could have had a big second half if the coaches had fed him the ball frequently.

However, up with a comfortable lead and wanting to get a good look at the QBs, they chose to milk the passing game instead, and by the final quarter, most of the backups were in. Georgia, on the other hand, needed Crowell to play big against Boise; if you didn't see it in that matchup, why do you expect anything different this week? All of that said, I do expect Crowell to get more touches this week. It sounds like Richard Samuel is on his way out at tailback for the Dawgs, who needs Samuel at linebacker and should be giving his touches to Crowell, regardless. Crowell may have a nice game against Carolina. Based on what I saw from him last week, though, and based on how well our defensive interior played, I like Carolina to keep him from having a serious impact on the game. -- Garnet and Black Attack.

Pick: South Carolina

Yes, I am going with all chalk this week, but it does not mean I am not going to be rooting for Penn State, Nevada or Georgia to win.

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