College Football: Top 25 Preview
The Top 25 preview …
NORMAN, Okla. ó Sam Bradford has all the impressive numbers that go along with a Heisman Trophy campaign: a few dozen touchdown passes, an impeccable quarterback rating and right around two miles worth of passing yards.
Graham Harrell has all that, too, plus a couple of late-season marquee wins to go with it.
When Harrell and No. 2 Texas Tech meet Bradford and No. 5 Oklahoma on Saturday night, the Heisman race ó as well as the national championship chase ó will be center stage.
“A lot of people are talking about that, but it’s probably the last thing that I’m thinking about this week,” said Bradford, who leads the nation with 38 touchdown passes and also has 3,406 yards passing.
“When you start thinking about that, then you get away from what’s really important and that’s winning this football game.”
And it’s a HUGE one.
Texas Tech (10-0, 6-0 Big 12) needs only to beat fifth-ranked Oklahoma (9-1, 5-1) to clinch the Big 12 South and establish itself as the conference’s clear front-runner for the national championship ó and perhaps give Harrell an insurmountable lead in the Heisman race.
The Sooners can spoil it all, just as Tech did three weeks ago against then-No. 1 Texas in another of the Big 12’s round-robin between Heisman caliber quarterbacks.
It all started with Bradford against Texas’ Colt McCoy back in October, with the Longhorns leaving the Cotton Bowl with the Sooners’ top ranking in tow. They defended it against Missouri’s Chase Daniel and Oklahoma State’s Zac Robinson, but Harrell and the Red Raiders ó with a little last-second magic from Michael Crabtree ó pre-empted Texas’ coronation.
Now the Red Raiders are in the Longhorns’ position. Texas Tech finishes a brutal four-game stretch against ranked opponents by facing a highly rated divisional foe on its home field.
The Sooners carry the nation’s longest home winning streak at 23 games.Citadel (4-7) at No. 3 Florida (9-1)Florida can only hope playing The Citadel, a team from the Football Championship Subdivision that has lost six of its last seven, doesn’t hurt too much in the Bowl Championship Series rankings.
No. 17 Michigan State (9-2) at No. 7 Penn State (10-1)
Penn State can clinch a berth in the Rose Bowl and at least a share of the Big Ten title with a victory.
No. 16 BYU (10-1) at No. 8 Utah (11-0)
Even more than usual in the state’s biggest rivalry. Utah is trying to wrap up a perfect regular season, which would just about lock up a guaranteed Bowl Championship Series berth.
No. 9 Boise State (10-0) at Nevada (6-4)Boise State can clinch outright its sixth WAC title in seven years.
Michigan (3-8) at No. 10 Ohio State (9-2)Ohio State needs a win to share the Big Ten title, its fourth in a row. A victory would also put the Buckeyes in position for a possible Bowl Championship Series game or at worst the Capital One Bowl.
Air Force (8-3) at No. 15 TCU (9-2)
Air Force is trying for its second straight nine-win regular season.
Mississippi (6-4) at No. 18 LSU (7-3)At stake is perhaps a berth in the Cotton Bowl.
No. 20 Pittsburgh (7-2) at No. 19 Cincinnati (8-2)Cincinnati can take control of the Big East with a victory over Pitt, which has a much tougher schedule the rest of the way. Cincinnati is 4-1 in the league, while Pittsburgh and West Virginia are 3-1.
No. 21 Oregon State (7-3) at Arizona (6-4)
The Beavers control their own Rose Bowl destiny. Having defeated then-No. 1 USC on Sept. 25, Oregon State will go to Pasadena if it wins its last two games and finishes in a first-place tie with the Trojans.