Two Top-10 Highlight a Great Thursday Night of College Football
Don't want to wait until Saturday for some exciting college football action? You're in luck! Thursday night will feature two top 10 match-ups that will shake up the BCS one way or the other.
#10 Oklahoma at #6 Baylor
First, the 6th-ranked Baylor Bears will look to keep its undefeated season alive when it hosts the 10th-ranked Oklahoma Sooners.
Many are expecting this game to be another Big 12 shootout so it may come down to whoever has the ball last. Baylor's offense, led by quarterback Bryce Petty, has been near-unstoppable this season. The Bears lead the country in total offense (717.3 ypg) and points (63.9 ppg). Petty has been the key to making this offense run, throwing for 2,453 yards along with 18 touchdowns and only one interception.
But this could be the toughest defense Baylor plays all season. Oklahoma's defense comes into the game ranked 9th in the country in pass defense, allowing only 179.5 passing yards per game. The Sooners also only allow fewer than 19 points each contest.
The last two times these two faced each other it was high scoring and we don't expect this one to be much different.
This game will air on Fox Sports 1 at 6:30 CT.
#3 Oregon at #5 Stanford
The other marquee Thursday night matchup is also one of the most highly-anticipated games of the year. The 3rd-ranked Oregon Ducks will travel to Palo Alto to face the 5th-ranked Stanford Cardinal. The biggest question many people are asking is can Stanford derail the Ducks' championship hopes again?
Last season the Cardinal shocked the football world by defeating Oregon on the road 17-14 in overtime. In that game, Stanford's offense held on to the ball for over 37 minutes. Expect the Cardinal offense to try to employ a similar strategy of extended possession.
If Stanford hopes to control the clock, it's going to need to have a big game from its offensive line. This offensive line is very physical and will need to clear the way for running back Tyler Gaffney, who has scored 12 touchdowns this year.
Everyone around the country knows how explosive Oregon's offense can be. The Ducks, which rank second in the country in total offense, are led by quarterback Marcus Mariota. The Heisman front-runner has been stellar this year both with his arm and his legs. He has thrown for 2,281 yards with 20 touchdown passes and rushed for over 500 yards with nine rushing touchdowns.
The most intriguing matchup has to be the running game of Oregon versus the Stanford rush defense. Oregon's offense is in the top 10 in rushing and Stanford's defense is ranked in the top 10 in rush defense. But the Cardinal defense will be without one of its leaders, defensive end Ben Gardner, who suffered a season-ending injury two weeks ago against Oregon State.
A win will put Stanford back in the national championship race while a loss for Oregon will pretty much end its national title hopes. Can the stakes be any bigger?
This game will be on ESPN at 8 CT.