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LSU and Houston Remain Unbeaten Entering Final Matchups

LSU Stands Alone at Top With Arkansas Coming To Baton Rouge

'College Football Monday'
Frank Coyle's Blog Column

Offensive Player of the Week –
QB Matt Barkley - USC

Defensive Player of the Week
LB Terrell Manning - N.C. St.

Photo - QB Matt Barkley - Southern Cal

The top ten in the BCS standings took a major shakeup as four highly ranked clubs, Oklahoma St., Oregon, Oklahoma and Clemson all fell this past weekend. Oklahoma St. got shocked by Iowa St. on Friday night 37-31 in double overtime. Oregon ran into a Trojan buzzsaw named QB Matt Barkley who lead a thrilling Southern Cal 38-35 victory. Oklahoma fell at the hands of Baylor with QB Robert Griffin toasting the Sooners for 479 yards and 4 TD passes. North Carolina St hammered Clemson 37-13, their second loss in three games. The widespread losses among top ten clubs opened up spots for undefeated Houston and Arkansas to move up quickly in the rankings.

Arkansas can throw the BCS quest for #1 into total disarray this Friday when they face top ranked LSU in their season finale. Arkansas unfortunately plays in the SEC West division that also is manned by LSU and Alabama, possibly the best two clubs in the nation. The SEC West division rank #1,2 and 3 this week, a testimony to the incredible talent in the SEC and West division in particular. Arkansas is the hottest team in the country behind QB Tyler Wilson. They have won 7 consecutive games since their September loss to Alabama. Their suspect defense has improved significantly over the past two months and has them competing for a BCS bowl appearance. If LSU wins this Friday they will play Georgia in the SEC title game. Georgia has won nine straight games since losing their first two contests this season. The streak has moved them into the top 15 in every poll with their rivalry game with Georgia Tech their finale prior to the SEC championship game.

The BCS matchup for #1 appears headed for a rematch of LSU and Alabama. That will wait until those team’s finales vs Arkansas and Auburn this week and then the tough SEC title game. LSU prevailed 9-6 earlier this season on the road that earned them a huge lead for the #1 ranking entering the final months. They hold the lead in the SEC West division in the conference that has dominated the national title for five consecutive seasons.

The ranks of the unbeatens fell to just two clubs with Houston finally joining the top ten after another easy CUSA victory over SMU. They finally play a ranked opponent in their finale this week in Tulsa that will be test their perfect season. Stanford, Oklahoma St and Virginia Tech rank in the top 5 clubs in every poll with key finales set for this weekend. The Cardinal meets Notre Dame in a huge intersectional matchup while OSU and Va Tech meets rivals Oklahoma and Virginia that could shakeup the top ten again in tough matchups.

Southern Cal QB Matt Barkley had an impressive performance in the Trojans huge 38-35 win over Oregon. With Southern Cal on NCAA probation for violations the Oregon game was the Trojans unofficial conference title game. At 9-2 this season and only cross town rival UCLA left on the schedule, the Trojans staff has done a great job keeping this club focused on the upcoming matchup. Beating Oregon and Notre Dame were solid victories to build on in the off season. Barkley is only a junior and a player who is capable of taking this program to the elite status. His fast development ranks him just behind Andrew Luck among NFL prospects.

Baylor’s QB Robert Griffin continues to impress in big game situations. Griffin had a huge game in the Bears huge win over Oklahoma. He toasted the Sooners secondary continuously, in addition to key scrambles that had the Oklahoma defense guessing all game. Both Barkley and Griffin earned Heisman Trophy consideration off strong late season games. The Heisman race is interesting this year, as every major candidate has had at least one ordinary game that has kept the award a wide open contest.

This Week’s Top Games
#1 LSU vs #3 Arkansas
#4 Stanford vs #22 Notre Dame
#8 Houston vs #24 Tulsa
#12 South Carolina vs #15 Clemson
#2 Alabama vs Auburn

New Weekly Top 25 Polls Posted every Tuesday

Frank Coyle writes ‘College Football Monday’ weekly during the season. He is a longtime scouting consultant for the Senior Bowl, the nation’s premier postseason All-star game. He is also a member of the FWAA and voter in College team and player awards - Heisman, Outland, Nagurski, Thorpe, etc. He is a voter for weekly Team and Player Awards