Philadelphia, PA – Not only did Stanford keep its national overtime victory at USC, but 0. Furthermore, the a span of 14 games.
Stanford put a ton of mental and physical energy into last Saturday's game against USC - both prior and during the contest. In addition, the battle in Los Angeles ended late as the game needed three overtimes to finally be settled.
The Cardinal defense allowed over 400 yards in the game and running back Curtis McNeal was able to rush for 145 of those on just 20 carries. Stanford came into the contest with just six rushing touchdowns allowed but McNeal hit paydirt twice in less than five minutes during the third quarter.
The Trojans have been a key opponent the last few years going back to the monstrous upset in 2007 when the Cardinal defeated USC as a 41-point underdog. Ironically, Stanford has failed to cover the following game each of the last four years.
This time around, David Shaw's club has to go to Corvallis and take on Oregon State. Not only that, the Cardinal will play its most important game of the season the following Saturday against Oregon before taking on Cal and Notre Dame. It's doubtful the Cardinal's upcoming matchup with Oregon State is at the top of the list in terms of important games in November.
The Beavers have had a miserable season so far at 2-6, but they are 2-2 in their last four games, and the fact they were abused this past Saturday by Utah will drive the line even higher.
Turnovers have plagued Oregon State more than anything else. Only five other teams in the country have made more miscues than the Beavers. However, they have gained an average of two per game, so the differential (-5) hasn't been that bad. One other factor that might help them is Stanford is tied for 75th nationally in turnovers gained with 13.
Quarterback Sean Mannion is coming off the worst start of his career against the Utes as the redshirt freshman completed just 55% of his tosses while throwing three interceptions. The last time he threw more than two picks (four against Arizona State) he bounced back and helped Oregon State beat Arizona at home, 37-27.
The Beavers will not stun the country as they did three years ago when they upset USC getting 25 points, but they will keep this one inside the number, especially with Stanford looking ahead to next week's matchup against Oregon.
Take Oregon State plus the points.
OTHER THREE-STAR PLAYS
Baylor played reasonably well against Oklahoma State last week but turnovers and the failure to execute on short yardage prevented the Bears from coming close to covering. Still, they compiled over 600 yards of total offense along with 36 first downs to just 23 for the Cowboys.
This week, they host Missouri, a team that is coming off an incredible overtime road win at Texas A&M. The Tigers defense allowed 500 yards in the game and the team, as a whole, is now just 1-3 away from home.
Look for Baylor to rebound as the Bears weren't as bad as last week's final score while Missouri wasn't as good as its win over the Aggies.
Take Baylor to defeat the Tigers by at least a touchdown.
Georgia came up with a huge win over Florida in a game the Gators led for much of the contest. The favored Bulldogs limited Florida to three points in the final 30 minutes while scoring the game's lone second half touchdown (early in the fourth quarter) to take the lead and eventually the win, 24-20.
It was Georgia's sixth straight victory after starting the season 0-2. The Bulldogs are currently tied with South Carolina at 5-1 in the East Division, but since they lost to the Gamecocks earlier in the year, they need to win out and have South Carolina fall to either Arkansas (on the road) or to Florida in order to play in the SEC Championship Game.
Georgia's final two SEC contests are both at home - against Auburn and Kentucky - but before that, the Dawgs must get up for a non-conference affair against New Mexico State.
The Aggies have played much better this season than in prior years. They are averaging 28 points per game so far after going for 16-12 in DeWayne Walker's first two years as head coach. Unfortunately, the defense has been the same allowing 33 ppg. Still, they have covered five consecutive games and all four of their road matchups in 2011.
Take New Mexico State plus the points.
AFTER NINE WEEKS
The overall eight-week total now stands at 45-66 (6-5 in week eight) with an above .500 record (31-30) over the last four weeks. My Five-Star plays are 4-3, the Three-Star selections are 14-21, the Two-Star plays are 15-25, and the One-Star picks are 12-17.
As a reminder, the Five-Star plays are when my Power Plays and Key Plays coincide. The Three-Star choices are my personal picks, the Two-Star plays are the "power number" picks (games with at least a five-point differential between my line and the actual line), and the One-Star plays are my personal secondary selections.
THIS WEEK'S JEFF FRANK'S "DIRTY DOZEN"
1) Alabama, 111; 2-T) LSU and Stanford, 110; 4-T) Oklahoma State and Oklahoma, 106.5; 6) Boise State, 104.5; 7) Wisconsin, 103.5; 8) Oregon, 103; 9) Florida State, 100; 10) Notre Dame, 99; 11) Arizona State, 97; 12-T) Nebraska and South Carolina, 96.5
(The Top 12 is not a reflection of a given team's won-loss record. It's based purely on power rankings used to predict spreads for the upcoming week. At the beginning of the season, all 120 FBS teams are assigned a power number, which then changes on a week-to-week basis depending on how each team played.)