Important Games This Week

LSU and Auburn meet in a battle of undefeated SEC teams.

There are a lot of matchups this weekend that will matter to Sooner fans. We break them down here with reasons that they matter, and a "rooting guide". Any rankings that I use will be BCS rankings, which are available here

Here is the list of games, with a blurb about each one:

2

     
Time:
Location:
Early Line:
8 PM CDT, Thursday
Eugene, Oregon
ORE (-22) favored

Well, this game will probably be a blowout in favor of Oregon, but it matters for the Sooners because Oregon is one of the top teams that are still undefeated. Obviously, Sooner fans will want to be rooting for UCLA in this game. I think that Oregon will probably be a little peeved that they aren't #1 in the BCS and come out firing on all cylinders. I think I would expect Oregon to cover the spread. If Oregon has any kind of hiccup with a close game, then OU could pick up a few more votes in the #1 or #2 spots next week (provided the Sooners win, of course).

7

29

  
Time:
Location:
Early Line:
11 AM CDT, Saturday
Evanston, Illinois
MSU (-5.5) favored

Although I think that Michigan State will pose less of a threat to Oklahoma in the BCS standings if both remain undefeated, you would still like Michigan State to lose this one. In that situation, every Big 10 team will have at least 1 loss. Michigan State is favored, but Northwestern is a fairly solid team, and they are often overlooked in the schedule. Sparty needs to be careful about looking past this game to a critical matchup against Iowa. I think that the type of game this is will be decided in the first quarter. If Northwestern hangs around, then look out. If Michigan State jumps out early, I think they'll cruise.

4

6

  
Time:
Location:
Early Line:
2:30 PM CDT, Saturday
Auburn, Alabama
AUB (-6.0) favored

CBS probably gets the game of the week this time with LSU and Auburn battling to see who has the inside track to the SEC Championship Game. It's really hard to pick a team to root for here. LSU has a slight advantage over Auburn in the computers (#2 vs #3 average), while the human voters are showing Auburn way more love than LSU. I think that an LSU loss would allow Oklahoma a more solid lead in the computers, but could hurt them a bit more in the human polls (Auburn with an impressive victory). Computers value road wins more than home wins, so an LSU win over the computer average #3 team could steal a few computer points from OU. Really, I think that either way this game won't change a whole lot for OU, but an Auburn win probably helps slightly more.

14

16

  
Time:
Location:
Early Line:
2:30 PM CDT, Saturday
Stillwater, Oklahoma
NEB (-5.5) favored

I'm a little surprised that Nebraska is almost a touchdown favorite over Oklahoma State in Stillwater, but Vegas will be Vegas. I wouldn't be surprised to see that line come down a bit in the next few days if a lot of people put their money on OSU to cover. The question remains, who has Oklahoma State played? Certainly, Nebraska will be the best defensive team that they've played, and probably the best overall team that they've played. Since OU isn't guaranteed to play Nebraska, I think you have to pull for Oklahoma State to win this game. It will improve OU's standing to play as "valued" of a team as possible in the last game of the year. However, if Nebraska wins, it wouldn't be the end of the world either.

5

30

  
Time:
Location:
Early Line:
7:00 PM CDT, Saturday
Fort Worth, Texas
TCU (-19.5) favored

You would be hard pressed to find a game that matters more to the Sooners this week other than the game they'll be playing in against Missouri. An Air Force win would undoubtedly put them into the rankings, and it would also vastly improve Oklahoma's advantage in the computer rankings. It would also drop TCU out of national title contention. Finally, it is one of those games that will probably be compared with OU's matchup with Air Force late in the season if both teams are undefeated. Clearly, Sooner fans will be pulling for Air Force here.

So, to recap, you'll probably want to pull for the following teams this weekend: UCLA, Northwestern, Auburn, Oklahoma State, and Air Force. Additionally, it would be nice for Utah State to beat Hawaii, Cincinnati to beat South Florida (on Friday on ESPN2), Purdue to beat Ohio State (Big 10 Network), Baylor to beat Kansas State, Tennessee to beat Alabama (6 PM on ESPN), and Texas A&M to beat Kansas (7 PM on FSN). Although, I would consider all of these games less important overall than the ones listed above.

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