Auburn Tigers quarterback Nick Marshall (14) passes the ball against the Tennessee Volunteers during the first half at Neyland Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports (Randy Sartin / November 13, 2013)
As we near the end of the college football regular season, the pressure is on teams to perform and lock in BCS bids.
Here’s a look at the top five games to watch this week:
Saturday, 3:30 p.m., CBS
The Buzz: Auburn continues its Phoenix-esque rise from the college football ashes with a major showdown against Georgia. A year removed from winning just three games, the Tigers can wrap up their first double-digit win season since the national championship season in 2010. Much of its success hinges on quarterback Nick Marshall and an offense that puts up close to 320 yards on the ground. Georgia, on the other hand, is led by Aaron Murray, who will go down statistically as one of the best quarterbacks ever to play in the Southeastern Conference.
Saturday, 3:30 p.m., Fox
The Buzz: A short two months ago, Mack Brown’s future at Texas looked bleak. His Longhorns were coming off back-to-back embarrassing losses and fan discontent was at an all-time high in Austin. Flash forward to today and Texas is coming off its sixth straight win and sits atop the Big 12 standings. Oklahoma State is just as hot – winning five straight – and finds itself in the thick of the conference race. While everybody is talking about Baylor’s offense, the Cowboys are second in the league in scoring (40.7 points per game) and lead the Big 12 in turnover margin (+11).
Saturday, 3:30 p.m., ABC/ESPN2
The Buzz: Outside of Columbus, some of the best football in the Big Ten is being played in East Lansing. Michigan State leads the country in total defense (210.2 yards per game) and appears to be headed to a showdown with Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship Game. But before Michigan State can book travel plans to Indianapolis, the Spartans need to get by Nebraska this week. The Huskers have wins against Michigan and Northwestern and can take control of the Legends Division with a win over MSU.
Texas Tech at No. 5 Baylor
Saturday, 7 p.m., Fox
The Buzz: Baylor’s win over Oklahoma Thursday propelled the Bears into the national championship game discussion. With Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, TCU and Texas remaining on the schedule, it’s easy to see how an undefeated finish could bolster the Bears’ argument for a spot in the title tilt. This game features a battle of the top quarterbacks in the Big 12. Baylor’s Bryce Petty (2,775 yards of total offense) and Texas Tech’s Davis Webb (2,300). It also features two of the top three scoring offenses in the league – Baylor (61 points per game) and Texas Tech (37.8) – which could make Saturday’s showdown a high-scoring affair.
Saturday, 8 p.m., ABC
The Buzz: For the second straight week, Stanford finds itself in a highly-touted matchup with BCS implications. However, this time, the Cardinal is looking to avoid a letdown following their emotional win over Oregon last Thursday. USC is looking to salvage a season that has already seen its head coach – Lane Kiffin – fired midseason. Since Ed Orgeron took over as the Trojans interim coach, the team has played with a lot more passion and purpose, winning four of its last five games.
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