'Bama a big hurdle
Los Angeles Times
I can't remember three day-after-Thanksgiving games better than the three we get treated to Friday.
Last year Alabama needed to win at Auburn to get to the national championship game, and this year Auburn has to win in Tuscaloosa. This is by far Auburn's biggest obstacle of the season. Winner: Alabama.
Arizona catches No. 1 Oregon coming off its worst performance of the year, a 15-13 head-scratcher two weeks ago at California. Arizona's problem is catching Oregon in Eugene. The Ducks have averaged 62 points at Autzen Stadium. Winner: Oregon.
Boise State plays the late game in Reno against 10-1 Nevada. If Auburn has lost to Alabama earlier in the day, Boise may be kicking off with a title game bid on the line. Winner: Boise State.
A vote for total chaos
Let's throw the whole BCS world into chaos. My picks: Alabama, Arizona and Nevada.
Sure, the odds of that trifecta are almost zero. And I certainly wouldn't place money on favorites Auburn, Oregon and (especially) Boise State losing, but it could happen. And it would create a mess of epic proportions.
TCU, after it beats 1-10 New Mexico, would be the only undefeated team in college football. The Horned Frogs' opponent in the BCS title game?
Well … all of these teams could have one loss: Oregon, Auburn, Boise State, LSU, Stanford, Wisconsin, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Michigan State and Nevada.
Riiiiiiiiight. Have fun with that one.
Ducks can't be stopped
Los Angeles Times
Alabama, Oregon and Boise State are the picks. The Crimson Tide are a team. Auburn is more of a one-man show, and the Tigers almost never come out successful in a game of this magnitude. Nick Saban has had time to prepare, and the game is in Tuscaloosa.
Oregon is the best team in America with the second-best player, LaMichael James. Arizona isn't going to be able to slow the Oregon offense. The Ducks defense is a little better than people think too.
Folks who haven't seen Boise State and think the Broncos are all about a blue home field and a high-scoring offense might want to look at one of the bigger reasons the Broncos are unbeaten: their defense. It ranks No. 2 in the country, giving up a mere 229.2 yards per game. That's what Nevada faces Friday.
Boise has big incentive
I'm expecting only one upset in the group, and a mild one at that. With all the chaos surrounding the Auburn program, and with the Tigers facing a physical Crimson Tide team, my guess is Alabama hands Auburn its first loss.
If that happens, a Boise State team that is already highly motivated will have more incentive to not just beat but smash Nevada. That could propel the Broncos past TCU and into the BCS championship game.
Oregon is already entrenched in that game, barring an upset loss in the last two weeks — both tough games. But late losses the past couple years should have taught the Ducks their lesson. Look for them to come out fast in both games and force a rematch with Boise State, a team Oregon lost to in the season opener a year ago.