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November 19, 2010
Keep an eye on: What our guys are watching
Each week, Rivals.com's college football experts give fans things to keep an eye on over the course of the weekend. Here are some key things to watch this weekend.
Texas A&M QB Ryan Tannehill. Can Tannehill maintain his streak of passing success against Nebraska's pass defense? Since taking over as the Aggies' quarterback in the second quarter of a victory over Kansas four games ago, Tannehill has passed for more than 1,000 yards, with 10 touchdowns and only three interceptions. Not coincidentally, the Aggies have won all four games. Next up for Tannehill and the Aggies is Nebraska, which features the second-ranked pass defense in the country. This will be the ultimate litmus test for Tannehill. If he passes it, A&M remains in the conference championship picture. - OLIN BUCHANAN
Can Terrelle Pryor throw it well enough to beat Iowa? I think the Hawkeyes will commit to stopping an Ohio State ground game that ranks No. 3 in the Big Ten. And Iowa could have success, considering that it has the top-ranked rush defense in the conference. That means Ohio State's hope of winning could depend on Pryor's right arm. Yes, he is the second-most efficient passer in the Big Ten, but Iowa still will take its chances on Pryor having to throw to win. If Pryor struggles, it could lead to a Buckeyes loss. But what will the Hawkeyes' mind-set be coming off a loss at Northwestern that all but ended their Big Ten title dream?
- TOM DIENHART
"The Big Game." The Pac-10 had quite an eventful week last week, but Oregon and Stanford remained at the top of the standings. What should we make of Cal's defensive performance last week against Oregon? Cal's defense held Oregon to 317 yards and 15 points, but the Bears embarrassed themselves at best or cheated at worst by possibly faking injuries. Stanford had a close call, too, beating Arizona State 17-13 on a touchdown with 5:22 left. (It's worth noting Stanford twice took a knee inside Arizona State's 10, forgoing the opportunity to make the win look more comfortable than it really was.) Since this game is in Berkeley, Cal has a chance. The Bears have been inept on the road but competitive at home. I want to see if Stanford remains a BCS at-large contender in this game. I also want to see what happens if Jeff Tedford tries anything "creative" against Jim Harbaugh.
- DAVID FOX
The ACC division races. The Coastal Division race is all but over, as Virginia Tech just needs to win one of its two remaining games -- against Miami and Virginia -- to capture the crown. From a national perception, though, it probably would be best for the ACC if the Hokies win out; the ACC doesn't want a three- or four-loss team representing the league in the BCS. As for the Atlantic Division title chase, there are two big games involving the three title contenders; Florida State is at Maryland in a must-win game for the Seminoles, and N.C. State takes on Coastal also-ran North Carolina needing a win to stay tied with the FSU-Maryland winner. N.C. State plays Maryland next week.
- MIKE HUGUENIN
Will Denard Robinson bounce back? Robinson, the early season Heisman favorite, has struggled with injuries and inconsistency over the past month. He managed to stay healthy last Saturday but also lost two fumbles, threw two interceptions and briefly was replaced in a 27-16 victory over Purdue. Michigan's good enough to beat the likes of Purdue even if Robinson isn't at peak form, but the Wolverines won't have a chance of winning Saturday against Wisconsin or next week at Ohio State unless he recaptures his September magic.
- STEVE MEGARGEE
Mississippi State NEWS