The college football weekend got an early start with two meaningful games for two Florida programs Thursday night. Florida State flexed its muscles with a 38-7 drubbing of Boston College in Chestnut Hill. It was the fourth consecutive blowout win for FSU, showing that the Seminoles have rebounded from a three game losing streak (to #2 Oklahoma, #11 Clemson and Wake Forest). Though their championship hopes have been dashed, Florida State can still finish with a good season and something to grow on for the future.
Meanwhile, the UCF Knights gave more reason to doubt the wisdom of moving up into a BCS conference. Most expect them to be formally accepted into the Big East soon, but after losing at home 24-17 to Tulsa, dropping the team to 4-5 on the season. The defending Conference USA Champions will need to win 2 of their next 3 games just to become bowl eligible.
On Saturday, the two biggest games are both in the SEC. First there is the top-ten matchup of #8 Arkansas at #10 South Carolina. Arkansas has been impressive all year, with their only loss to the Alabama juggernaut. Led by quarterback Tyler Wilson, the Razorbacks have the best passing game in the SEC, but their pass defense ranks near the bottom. South Carolina has had a turbulent season, including the season-ending injury to star running back Marcus Lattimore and the dismissal of quarterback Stephen Garcia. Still, they enter the game at 7-1 and have one of the nation’s best defenses. Their problem has been scoring, as without Lattimore the offense has sputtered. The oddsmakers have a line of Arkansas -5 over South Carolina.
The mammoth game, the one people have been waiting for all year and has been discussed all over the CNN News, is Saturday night. The #1 LSU Tigers head to Tuscaloosa to play the #2 Alabama Crimson Tide in what is the 8th regular season meeting between the BCS top two teams. The game will feature two of the best defenses in the nation, so expect an exciting but low-scoring game. Alabama leads the nation in scoring defense, total defense, rush defense and pass efficiency. LSU ranks in the top 5 in each of those categories. The game may come down to which quarterback, LSU’s Jarrett Lee or Alabama’s AJ McCarron can make some plays without making many mistakes. A game like this is hard to predict, but the Tide have the edge by playing at home. Most oddsmakers favor Alabama by -4.5 over LSU.