There are two games that have grabbed my attention for the third week of the 2012 NCAA Football season and of course both pit top-25 teams squaring off against one another. Honestly, this early in the season, most games that don’t have ranked teams facing each other are usually laughers with the exception of last week’s shocker where then number eight Arkansas was upset by Louisiana Monroe.
This rivalry will be renewed yet again with Michigan State looking to avenge last season’s 31-13 loss to Notre Dame and they have a great shot of doing so in East Lansing Saturday night. The Spartans are coming off of a 41-7 shellacking of Central Michigan last week and have the 10th best defense in terms of points allowed (10 points against per game) seeking to stop the Irish in their tracks. Michigan State’s offense will rely heavily on the legs of junior running back Le’Von Bell who has already rushed for 280 yards and four touchdowns on 62 carries through the first two games of the season. If Bell can have another monster game then it could spell trouble for Notre Dame.
The Irish fresh off of their announcement that they will be leaving the Big East for the ACC in a few years (except for football which will remain independent) look to keep the students, fans and alums buzzing with another upset of their rivals who reside approximately 157 miles north of them. Notre Dame slid by Purdue 20-17 last week and will probably have to do the same again relying on their defense (13.5 point against per game, 28th in the nation) if they want to do the unthinkable again. Their offense will need a big game out of sophomore signal caller Everett Golson who has passed for 433 yards and two touchdowns and one interception while completing 33 of his 49 attempts this season, if they want to put some much need points on the board.
I like Notre Dame to earn a hard fought victory over Michigan State 23-20, after all momentum is everything in sports and right now everyone is buzzing where Touchdown Jesus resides.
Last week, the powerhouse that is USC looked somewhat mortal against a surprisingly good Syracuse team, winning by just 13 points 42-29. If the the Trojans want to remain undefeated they will have to do a much better job on both sides of the ball. USC’s offense is scoring tons of points so far this year (45.5 points per game, 12th in the nation) and look for Heisman candidate Matt Barkley (46-68, 559 yards, 10 TD and INT this year) who is coming off of a career high six passing touchdown game to do more of the same against a Stanford defense that has yet to be tested so far.
Like USC, Stanford also defeated a basketball powerhouse last week when they routed Duke 50-13 but if they want similar results this week they are truly going to have to bring their A-game. The Cardinal’s defense could be a bit overrated (15 points allowed per game, 33rd in the nation) based on the level of competition that they have faced and they are going to have their hands full attempting to keep that low points allowed per game average against the potent USC offense. Junior QB Josh Nunes (32-56, 400 yards, four TD and one INT) is going to have to do his best in order to keep up with Barkley.
No Andrew Luck this year means a tough go at it for Stanford as USC should wipe the floor with them easily, Trojans win 45-24.