Oregon's schedule hurting its ranking

Oklahoma fullback Trey Millard's task this week: To try and neutralize monster Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o.
Oklahoma fullback Trey Millard's task this week: To try and neutralize monster Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o. (AP)
Posted: October 27, 2012

Oregon has a November schedule as difficult as any in the country, starting next week at Southern California. Until then, however, the Ducks must watch as teams leapfrog them in the BCS standings, where they currently rank fourth.

Kansas State did it last week. Notre Dame could do it this week with a win over Oklahoma, and a Sooners win would help Kansas State put some distance between it and the Ducks because the Wildcats beat OU.

Oregon's problem is a poor nonconference schedule that has dropped its computer ranking to sixth, a rating that would have been better had Kansas State not canceled a home-and-home series scheduled to start this season.

Wildcat mania

It's been quite a season for Kansas State, which crushed West Virginia last week in Morgantown to move up to No. 3 in the BCS standings. The Wildcats flirted with a berth in the BCS championship game once before in 1998, the first year it was conducted, but blew a 15-point fourth-quarter lead in the Big Twelve title contest and lost in double overtime to Texas A&M.

Asked about it this week on the Big Twelve coaches' conference call, coach Bill Snyder replied: "I'm 73 years old. I don't remember what happened yesterday, let alone 1998." K-State hosts No. 15 Texas Tech on Saturday.

Taking on Te'o

Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops joked this week that the assignment of blocking superstar Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o will go to "whoever draws the unlucky straw." Meet 256-pound junior fullback Trey Millard, who will lead Sooners tailbacks into the line and try to protect them from Te'o, a Heisman Trophy candidate.

"That's definitely a matchup I'm looking forward to," said Millard, who also will be used as a ballcarrier and a receiver out of the backfield. Both teams are ranked in the top 10 - Notre Dame at No. 5, Oklahoma at No. 8.

Quite a history

Notre Dame and Oklahoma have met just nine times but played in one of the most historic games in college football history, when the Fighting Irish broke the Sooners' 47-game winning streak with a 7-0 victory in 1957.

Former Notre Dame end Dick Prendergast told the Associated Press that his team, despite being an 18-point underdog, was fired up in part by a hotel manager in Oklahoma City who refused admittance to the Fighting Irish after seeing they had an African American player, halfback Aubrey Lewis. The Irish's Dick Lynch scored the only touchdown on a fourth-down run with less than four minutes to play.

Keep plugging

Aaron Murray suffered one of the worst days of his life three weeks ago. Georgia's junior quarterback played maybe the poorest game of his career in a 35-7 loss to South Carolina, returned home to find his rented home had been egged by irate fans, and discovered his father had been diagnosed with cancer.

But with his father now doing well, Murray has bounced back and leads the 12th-ranked Bulldogs into their annual duel with No. 3 Florida. Despite a school-record 75 touchdowns and more than 8,000 yards passing, Murray has never defeated a top-10 opponent at Georgia.

Risky business

Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson arguably has been the most dynamic player in the Big Ten for what seems like forever. He enters the game against Nebraska leading the conference in total offense at 309 yards per game. But he took on added duty last week when Wolverines coach Brady Hoke put him back to receive the second-half kickoff against Michigan State (the kick was a touchback).

In raising the possibility he will do it again, Hoke told a local radio show: "The objective is, when you're in championship-game mode every week, to win the game." Robinson is fine with it. "Whatever it takes," he said.

Hot in Chestnut Hill

Boston College (1-6) has not defeated an FBS team this season and still is looking for its initial Atlantic Coast Conference win, and that means the seat under head coach Frank Spaziani is getting mighty hot. "I know what our situation is," Spaziani, who is in his fourth year, said this week. "I know what I'm doing, and I know the problems we have to work through. That's all I'm worried about." The Eagles, who play Maryland Saturday, also started 1-6 last season but won three of their last five.

Expat of the week

Florida owns one of the toughest defenses in the nation, ranking seventh in total yards allowed and 10th against the rush in FBS, and one of the reasons is former George Washington High star Sharrif Floyd. The 6-foot-3, 303-pound junior defensive tackle is second on the team in tackles for loss, with five, and fifth in total tackles.

The Gators will get a severe test from Georgia's tailback tandem of Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall, who have combined for 14 touchdowns and a 158.6-yard rush average.

The Real Top 10

1. Alabama 7-0

2. Oregon 7-0

3. Kansas State 7-0

4. Florida 7-0

5. Notre Dame 7-0

6. Louisiana State 7-1

7. Oregon State 6-0

8. Ohio State 8-0

9. Oklahoma 5-1

10. Southern Cal 6-1

- Joe Juliano

Games of the Week

Top choice

Notre Dame at Oklahoma, 8 p.m., 6ABC, WPEN-FM (97.5): Playing in Norman for the first time since 1966, the Fighting Irish attempt to go to 8-0 for the first time in 10 years. The Sooners have a fine passer in Landry Jones but must find a way to run the ball against a defense that allows 3.4 yards per carry and hasn't given up a rushing touchdown all season.

Pick six

Florida vs. Georgia at Jacksonville, Fla., 3:30 p.m., CBS3: The Gators can clinch a spot in the Southeastern Conference title game with a victory, and you have to like their chances; they're 18-4 in their last 22 games against the Bulldogs.

Texas Tech at Kansas State, 3:30 p.m., Fox29: The Wildcats have to be wary of Tech quarterback Seth Doege, who has thrown 13 touchdown passes the last two weeks against West Virginia and Texas Christian.

Southern California at Arizona, 3:30 p.m., ESPN2: Watch for the Trojans' Matt Barkley to throw early and often against a Wildcats team ranked in the bottom 10 in the nation in pass defense.

Ohio State at Penn State, 5:30 p.m., ESPN: The crowd will be loud and the atmosphere will be electric, but the winner of this game will be the one that is better at keeping its cool.

Michigan at Nebraska, 8 p.m., ESPN2: Two of the Big Ten's most dynamic quarterbacks, the Wolverines' Denard Robinson and the Cornhuskers' Taylor Martinez, will be rolling up yards with their arm and their feet.

Mississippi State at Alabama, 8:30 p.m., ESPN: Crimson Tide quarterback AJ McCarron, who has thrown 239 straight passes without a pick, faces a Bulldogs secondary that has 39 career interceptions. - Joe Juliano

Contact Joe Juliano at or jjuliano@phillynews.com. Follow on Twitter @joejulesinq.

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