In early September, Notre Dame linebacker and Heisman Trophy candidate Manti Te’o—just days after learning of the death of his girlfriend—led the Fighting Irish to an emotional upset of then-#10 Michigan State. However, in one of the most bizarre twists we’ve seen in college football, it now appears that the whole story about a dying girlfriend was a hoax.
Stanford rolls into the Granddaddy of Them All after winning four consecutive games over ranked opponents. Wisconsin is appearing in its third consecutive Rose Bowl, but is seeking its first win since back-to-back victories in 1999-2000.
Terrance Broadway passed for 316 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 108 more plus another score to lead Louisiana-Lafayette to its second consecutive New Orleans Bowl victory. Alonzo Harris added 120 yards and two scores for ULL. The Ragin’ Cajuns jumped out to a 28-7 lead early in the second quarter only to see East Carolina go on a 24-3 run in the next 13 minutes to tie the game at 31
Notre Dame is 11-0 for the first time since 1989 and know they are just one game away from a national-title shot. The Fighting Irish have risen to the top thanks to a defense that is tied with Alabama for first in scoring defense, allowing just 10.1 points per game
The Ducks are riding a school-record 14-game winning streak and can clinch a spot in the Pac-12 title game with a win this weekend. Oregon’s high-powered offense leads the nation in scoring and has become a case of "pick your poison"—running back Kenjon Barner is fourth in the nation in rushing, but when he was knocked out of last week’s game, quarterback Marcus Mariota responded with 377 passing yards and a school-record six touchdowns. They’ll be tested, however, by a Stanford defense that leads the nation in rush defense and is giving up a conference-low 320.7 total yards per game. Stanford’s Kevin Hogan will be making his second career start for the Cardinal after throwing for 254 yards and three touchdowns in last week’s win over then-#13 Oregon State. Oregon has won nine of the last 10 over the Cardinal.
Last year, these two teams gave us the two most anticipated games of the year, and this season isn't much different. Alabama and LSU boast two of the top defenses in the game, ranking first and third, respectively, in total defense. The Crimson Tide have a slight edge on offense, with quarterback A.J. McCarron leading the nation in pass efficiency. However, while Alabama has blown away the opposition by an average of over 37 points per game, they have played just one ranked team and aren't as battle-tested as an LSU squad that is playing its fourth consecutive ranked opponent and has had a bye week to prepare.
This week’s rankings will look very different when the new AP Poll comes out following a Saturday full of upsets. Four Top Ten teams fell this week and five ranked teams suffered their first losses of the season. Meanwhile, Collin Klein and Manti T’eo boosted their Heisman chances while Alabama, Oregon, Kansas State and Notre Dame continued to make their case for a shot in the national title game.
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