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Major matchups ahead today in college

By Tyler Clifton
Oct. 5, 2012 at 10 p.m.


Judging by the matchups, this could be one of if not the best college football weekends of the regular season.

No. 8 West Virginia (4-0, 1-0 Big 12) at No. 11 Texas (4-0, 1-0)

This is a Top 10 matchup despite the fact the Longhorns enter on the outside looking in. This has been the most debated game of the season so far when discussing it with colleagues.

This is UT's first true test, and its defense is susceptible to the big play in which WVU is famous.

Geno Smith threw for four touchdowns of 39 yards or longer against Baylor in last week's 70-63 slugfest. UT has given up five touchdowns of at least 44 yards, so something has to give. Counterpart David Ash became only the fourth Longhorn QB to pass for 300 yards in consecutive games, but despite Joe Bergeron's performance, the Horns will miss Malcolm Brown more than they realize, and the Mountaineers turn this into a shootout. <em style="bold">Pick. WVU</em>

No. 21 Nebraska (4-1, 1-0 Big 10) at No. 12 Ohio State (5-0, 1-0)

The visiting Cornhuskers are in the midst of a four-game stretch in which they play three times on the road, and a healthy backfield of quarterback Taylor Martinez and former Plano High running back Rex Burkhead will go a long way against the host Buckeyes.

Nebraska is also high after last weekend's come-from-behind win against lackluster Wisconsin in which Martinez accounted for 288 yards of total offense. <em style="bold">Pick: Nebraska</em>

No. 4 LSU (5-0, 1-0 SEC) at No. 10 Florida (4-0, 3-0)

The Tigers have plenty to prove with unimpressive wins against Auburn and Towson, and this is no doubt their toughest task to date in "the Swamp" against a Florida team which has exceeded expectations and can make a major statement to the conference and division with a win.

Zach Mettenberger has shouldered a lot of the blame offensively, but many more factors are involved. <em style="bold">Pick: Florida</em>

No. 5 Georgia (5-0, 3-0 SEC) at No. 6 South Carolina (5-0, 2-0)

This game is usually earmarked for early September, but college football fans received a real treat with it being played one month later.

Georgia lost leading receiver Michael Bennett for the year with a knee injury but still have the SEC's leading rusher Todd Gurley, and quarterback Aaron Murray proved against Tennessee he's got plenty of firepower. He wasn't up against one of the country's top defensive ends in Jadeveon Clowney though, and running back Marcus Lattimore seems to be back to full strength. <em style="bold">Pick: South Carolina</em>

No. 23 Washington (3-1, 1-0 Pac-12) at No. 2 Oregon (5-0, 2-0)

The Huskies are riding high after their upset of eighth-ranked Stanford two Thursdays ago, but it's going to take an even bigger effort at Autzen Stadium, where UO has won 27 of the teams' previous 28 games.

Kenjon Barner is coming off a masterful performance last week in Seattle against Washington State after running 20 times for 195 yards and three touchdowns and showed his big-play ability with an 80-yard scoring run and his good hands with a 30-yard TD reception.

Washington will have to stop him and De'Anthony Thomas (10 yards per carry) – obviously easier said than done. <em style="bold">Pick: Oregon</em>

Last Week 4-0 (Season 13-5)

Tyler's Top 25: 1. LSU; 2. Alabama; 3. Oregon; 4. West Virginia; 5. Georgia; 6. S. Carolina; 7. Florida State; 8. Kansas State; 9. Texas; 10. Florida; 11. TCU; 12. USC; 13. Oklahoma; 14. Notre Dame; 15. Louisville; 16. Ohio State; 17. Clemson; 18. Oregon State; 19. Rutgers; 20. Mississippi State; 21. Nebraska; 22. Stanford; 23. UCLA; 24. Washington; 25. Northwestern.

(Email:tclifton@marshallnewsmessenger.com).

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