Post-Gazette sports reporter Paul Zeise blogs about the world of sports, and Pittsburgh sports in particular, with an assist from Seth Rorabaugh and his Morning Links. Follow Paul on Twitter @PaulZeise and Seth @emptynetters.
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Here is a quick preview of college football’s best games today:
No. 18 Louisville (5-0, 2-0 in Big East) at Pitt (2-3, 0-2), 11 AM, ESPNU – The last time a ranked team – Virginia Tech - came to Heinz Field they left humbled by the Panthers and don’t be surprised if the same happens here. Louisville, behind quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, is very good but boy they have struggled at times this year and the Panthers did actually win this game last year. Bridgewater has completed 73 percent of his passes and has thrown eight touchdowns to only three interceptions.
No. 5 West Virginia (5-0, 2-0 in Big 12) at Texas Tech (4-1, 1-1), 3:30 p.m., ABC – This could be a tricky game for the Mountaineers as the Red Raiders are actually a tough out at home. This is also the classic “trap” game for WVU as they are coming off a huge win against Texas and next week face a potential Top Ten showdown with Kansas State. A key for the Mountaineers in this one may be sophomore tailback Andrew Buie, who ran for 207 yards against Texas last week. If he continues to run like that, this offense, with Geno Smith throwing at a scary rate, will become absolutely unstoppable. I think, however, this game will be closer than you think.
Penn State is off.
No. 3 South Carolina (6-0, 4-0 in the SEC) at No. 9 LSU (5-1, 1-1), 8 p.m., ESPN – This is a huge game for both teams. The Gamecocks are starting to dream about an undefeated season while the Tigers need to win in order to remain in contention in the SEC West. But the two teams are trending in opposite directions as South Carolina has gotten better each week while LSU has seemingly gotten worse. The key will be LSU’s offense, which has struggled mightily in recent weeks. If the Tigers can get something going on offense this game could be interesting but if not, the Gamecocks could make it a very long night for the home team in Baton Rouge.
No. 6 Kansas State (5-0, 2-0 in Big 12) at Iowa State (4-1, 1-1), FX, noon – Fresh off an upset of TCU, the Cyclones come home and will look to stake their claim as a legitimate Big 12 contender. But it won’t be easy as the Wildcats are playing as well as anyone right now and all of the sudden can sniff a spot in the national title game as they are closing in on the top five. Iowa State may catch a bit of a break as the Wildcats may get caught looking ahead to the big game in Morgantown next week.
No. 17 Stanford (4-1) at No. 7 Notre Dame (5-0), 3:30 p.m., NBC – Are the Irish for real? I’m starting to think so but this is the kind of game they need to win – they are at home, the Cardinal have proven to be vulnerable. The Cardinal nearly lost last week to Arizona and did lose at Washington the week before so there is no reason to think that they can win at Notre Dame – unless the Irish are a fraud. Notre Dame’s front seven should give Stanford’s offensive line all they can handle but the Cardinal offense can score points in a hurry and if they get on a roll they could win going away.
Texas (4-1, 1-1 in the Big 12) vs. Oklahoma (3-1, 1-1) at Dallas, noon, ABC – The Red River Rivalry is always a good one and this one should be no exception. I expect it to be a high scoring affair as both offenses can score points in a hurry. The winner stays alive in the Big 12 race, the loser is likely out of contention with two conference losses. This is only the second time since 1997 that both teams have at least one conference loss going into this game, so the sense of urgency to win it is probably a little more than normal.
No. 22 Texas A&M (4-1) at Louisiana Tech (5-0, 2-0), 9 p.m., ESPNU – There are two non-BCS Conference teams who have a shot to go undefeated and throw the BCS into chaos – Ohio U., which has already beaten Penn State and will be favored in every game left, and Louisiana Tech. But the Techsters, Bulldogs, Fighting Karl Malones, Fighting Teresa Weatherspoon’s or whatever you want to call them need to win today against the Aggies to keep their hopes alive. That won’t be easy as they are stepping up in class. But the Bulldogs have an offense that can score almost at will as they average 53.2 points per game – good enough for the third best total in NCAA Division I-A. A win here and who knows, they might just be one of the unbeatens still standing at the end of the season.
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