KSU-Baylor Game Could Shake Up BCS, Heisman Races
Even though Kansas State and Oregon are 1-2 in the BCS standings - with the order reversed in the human polls - the Bovada odds don't favor a Wildcats-Ducks BCS National Championship matchup on January 7, 2013, at Sun Life Stadium in Miami.
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Presumably if both teams win out they would meet, with Notre Dame at No. 3 the only other unbeaten team in the land. Oregon has the advantage of playing by far the toughest remaining schedule, which will boost the Ducks' computer ranking.
In fact, Oregon could jump KSU as early as Saturday as the Ducks host No. 13 Stanford and the Wildcats visit 4-5 Baylor. Oregon also visits ranked Oregon State next Saturday and would play either UCLA or USC (both currently ranked) in the Pac-12 Championship Game should the Ducks beat Stanford. Kansas State won't play in a conference title game and closes the regular season at home against current No. 15 Texas. Notre Dame will get no computer boost this week by hosting Wake Forest but should next week when the Irish visit Southern Cal.
Currently Oregon is even-money at the book to win the school's first national title, with Kansas State at 17/10 and the Irish at 6/1. The SEC Championship winner between Alabama (17/2) and Georgia (20/1) is ready to slide into one of the top two BCS spots should two of Oregon, KSU or Notre Dame lose in the next few weeks. As of now, Oregon and KSU being the title matchup is a +120 underdog, with some other matchup at -150.
The Kansas State-Baylor game Saturday will be one of the live betting options at the book. Wildcats quarterback Collin Klein remains the Heisman Trophy favorite at the book at 2/5. Klein's numbers have dipped the past few weeks, but could be poised for a huge game against the Bears, who have lost five of six. Baylor's defense ranks No. 118 in the nation in points allowed per game at 39.4.
West Virginia's Geno Smith stamped himself the early-season Heisman favorite with an incredible 656-yard, eight-touchdown day in a 70-63 win over Baylor on September 29. That would be the high point of Smith's season and he's no longer a Heisman candidate. Baylor also has allowed 23 rushing touchdowns in 2012 and Klein is tied for second in the country with 19 rushing scores.
Baylor is a 13-point dog at Bovada but can be dangerous, at least on offense, although the school is 0-11-1 all-time versus No. 1 teams. Behind QB Nick Florence, who has done a more than respectable job replacing 2011 Heisman winner Robert Griffin III, the Bears rank No. 2 in the nation in passing and No. 7 in scoring (41.7 ppg). They have 28 touchdown drives this season of two minutes or less. Baylor also has won 10 of its last 11 games at home, averaging nearly 564 yards of total offense there this season.
Last year, Baylor lost 36-35 at Kansas State. A costly RG3 fourth-quarter interception led to the game-winning KSU field goal with 3:10 remaining. Klein had 259 total yards and three touchdowns (two passing, one receiving).
Should Klein or KSU falter this week, Texas A&M freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel is poised to overtake Klein as the Heisman favorite and become the first-ever freshman winner of college football's top award. Only three freshmen have been Heisman finalists: Georgia running back Herschel Walker, Virginia Tech quarterback Michael Vick and Oklahoma running back Adrian Peterson.
Manziel is a lock to become the fourth freshman finalist. Last week he led the Aggies to a stunning upset at Alabama by finishing with 345 total yards, two touchdowns and no turnovers against the nation's top defense. "Johnny Football" is third in the SEC in passing (2,780), first in rushing (1,014) and has 33 total touchdowns. He's the second freshman in Football Bowl Subdivision history to rush for 1,000 yards and pass for 2,000 yards in a single season.
Manziel is now the 5/2 second-favorite to win the Heisman, but he won't find himself with a national spotlight the rest of the regular season as Texas A&M closes at home against FCS school Sam Houston State and next week versus unranked Missouri.
Can USU Maintain ATS Perfection?
Saturday's Utah State-Louisiana Tech game might fly under the national radar, but it shouldn't. The No. 20 Bulldogs are hoping to crash a BCS bowl, which is a possibility because they could finish ahead of the Big Ten or Big East champion in the final BCS standings.
Louisiana Tech (9-1) must first win the WAC title, which it would do with a victory this week against Utah State and next week versus San Jose State. However, the Bulldogs are 3.5-point home dogs to USU.
Should Tech win the WAC, a conference that ceases to exist after this season, it could earn an automatic BCS bowl bid by finishing in the Top 12 of the final BCS standings. It could also earn a berth if it finishes in the Top 16 and has a ranking higher than a champion of a conference that has an annual automatic berth in one of the BCS bowls. Currently, the Bulldogs are ahead of every Big Ten team but Nebraska. They also are ahead of every Big East team other than Louisville, which is at No. 19.
Utah State (8-2), meanwhile, would win the WAC by beating Louisiana Tech on Saturday. No team has been better in the nation this year than the Aggies as they are the only school without an against the spread loss. No major college football team finished last season without an ATS loss.
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