NCAA Football: Week 10
Get your fan gear ready and get your rivalry hats on - this week's college football Saturday is going to be a doozy. Our resident CFB expert James has pulled together some info about the weekend's biggest games, so read on to find out what you absolutely cannot miss:
This first-ever regular season SEC match-up between the #1 and #2 ranked BCS teams should be THE GAME of the year. Whoever wins this game will essentially guarantee a BCS bid, and will control their own destiny to play in this year's National Championship.
Alabama already has three wins over ranked opponents and has yet to surrender more than two touchdowns in a game. LSU has beaten five ranked opponents and has held their opponents to fewer than 11 points in all but two games.
What makes this particular game so intriguing is that it's extremely difficult to handicap whether this will turn into a defensive battle or a shootout - as both teams have completely out-classed everyone they have played thus far. Alabama vs. LSU could be the most hyped regular season college football game since the #1 Ohio State vs. #2 Michigan showdown five years ago in 2006.
Much like that Big Ten classic matchup, tickets to this years "Game of the Century" are hard to come by. There are currently no options that will get you into Bryant-Denny Stadium this Saturday for less than $300 - and the average ticket has sold for $468 to date. Over the last 30 days, as the anticipation for this matchup has reached a fevered pitch, the average ticket price has shot up to nearly $555, which means the collective value of every ticket in Alabama's 101,821 seat stadium for the 11/5 game will be more than $56 million. To put that into perspective, if we assumed that every freshman attending the University of Alabama paid full tuition for their first semester of college ($4,300 for in-state residents; $10,950 for out-of-staters), the collective value of these 5,772 students' education would be just over $39 million.
$56 million for a 3.5 hour football game and $39 million for 15 weeks of classes? Feel free to draw your own conclusions...
The Other Games:
This would be a much more significant game if #14-ranked K-State hadn't been beat by Oklahoma last week. As it is, this Kansas State game is one of two hurdles that #3-ranked Oklahoma State has to jump if they want to play in the BCS National Championship (the other hurdle is their December 3rd faceoff against Oklahoma, which could potentially be huge). However, Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden and their stud wide receiver Justin Blackmon could have a huge game against a K-State secondary that has been exposed in close wins over Baylor and Texas Tech.
If Washington wins this game against #8-ranked Oregon, it would potentially muddle the PAC-12 North standings and introduce some complicated tie-breakers into deciding who will be the division's representative in the PAC-12 Championship Game.
If Oregon wins, it sets up a big showdown vs. #4 Stanford next weekend for the PAC-12 North title, a spot in the PAC-12 Championship Game, a probable Rose Bowl berth and a potential invite to the BCS Championship Game.
Amazingly enough, even after the thrashing #19-ranked Arizona State took at Arizona two weeks ago and the vultures circling over Coach Rick Neuheisals' head, UCLA still has a chance to play in the PAC-12 Championship Game if they can knock off the current South Division Leader, Arizona State, at home this weekend.
You might not see a better pair of wide receivers on the same field than this week's matchup between #7-ranked Arkansas senior Jarius Wright and the #9-ranked Gamecocks' Alshon Jeffery.
South Carolina needs to win this game if they want to win the SEC East and possibly back-door their way into a BCS Bowl Game - despite the season-ending injury to superstar running back Marcus Lattimore.
Arkansas can make themselves viable BCS candidates as well with a win here and a strong showing at LSU in their season finale (Friday, Nov. 25). An Arkansas win will also potentially set up the University of Georgia to represent the SEC East in the SEC Championship on Saturday, Dec. 3 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, which would make that game an even tougher ticket to get.