Head coach Kliff Kingsbury of the Texas Tech Red Raiders talks things over with quarterback Davis Webb #7 during game action against the Iowa State Cyclones on October 12, 2013 at AT&T Jones Stadium in Lubbock, Texas. Texas Tech won the game over Iowa State 42-35. (Photo by John Weast/Getty Images) (John Weast / October 23, 2013)
A Big 12 showdown between a fast-paced offense and stout defense headlines this week’s top college gridiron matchups.
Here’s a closer look at the top five college football games to watch this week:
Saturday, 3:30 p.m., ESPN
The Buzz: Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury is somewhat of a quarterback whisperer. His work with Case Keenum (Houston) and Johnny Manziel (Texas A&M) is well-known and now he’s developing two stars with the Red Raiders in Baker Mayfield (1,488/8 TDs) and Davis Webb (1,427/11). Both have been almost interchangeable behind center. Texas Tech is second in the Big 12 in total offense (548 yards per game) and scoring offense (41.1 points per game). The Red Raiders will provide a big test for an Oklahoma team ranked first in the league in total defense (293.4) and second in scoring defense (17.1).
Saturday, 7 p.m., ESPN
The Buzz: The Oregon Ducks landed at the No. 3 spot in the first BCS rankings, mere decimal points behind Florida State at No.2. Oregon comes into this week with the nation’s second-best offense (643.1 yards per game) and quite possibly the top candidate for the Heisman Trophy in Marcus Mariota. The quarterback is second in the Pac-12 in total offense (2,544) and has 28 total touchdowns. UCLA, on the other hand, is coming off its first loss of the season, falling 24-10 to Stanford. The Bruins are one game behind Arizona State in the Pac-12’s South Division and can’t afford to fall too far back if they hope to earn a return trip to the league championship.
Saturday, 7 p.m., ESPN2
The Buzz: In an amazing turn of events, the road to the SEC East crown runs through the Show-me State. Upstart Missouri control its own destiny in the conference title race. A win against South Carolina Saturday, and the Tigers are one step closer to realizing their dreams of playing for a league championship in Atlanta. The Gamecocks enter the game without starting quarterback Connor Show, who was injured during a loss to Tennessee. Missouri has been dealing with its own set of injuries. Redshirt freshman Maty Mauk stepped in for James Franklin at quarterback. Mauk (295 yards/TD) led Mizzou to a 36-17 win over Florida last week.
Saturday, 8 p.m., ABC
The Buzz: Despite having the nation’s longest active win streak at 19 games, Ohio State continues to lose traction in the national rankings. The Buckeyes were ranked No. 4 in the first BCS poll and have seen their national championship hopes dwindle. To help make the case Ohio State deserves to play for a national title, Urban Meyer’s bunch needs to dominate Saturday’s game against the Nittany Lions. Ohio State leads the Big Ten in scoring offense (45) and is ranked third in total offense (493) while Penn State is third in the league in passing offense (283.7). Nittany Lions quarterback Christian Hackenberg leads the league in passing yards per game.
No. 6 Stanford at No. 25 Oregon State
Saturday, 10:30 p.m., ESPN
The Buzz: Perhaps it’s East Coast bias or maybe it’s just because their games are on too late, but it’s taking time for Oregon State to make a move in the rankings. The Beavers are ranked eighth in the country in total offense (515.9) thanks to quarterback Sean Mannion. The junior leads the league in total offense (2,900) with 29 passing touchdowns and is quickly making a name for himself as a dark horse candidate in the Heisman Trophy race. Stanford is fourth in the Pac-12 in total defense (363.4), including sixth in pass defense (247.1)
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