Five things to watch Can TCU beat K-State stay on by seestyle seestyle
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  • 1. ONE AND DONESo this is what it has come to for TCU: win Saturday vs. Kansas State, and earn a spot in the College Football Playoff.Sounds simple, right? Until you look at the totality of the who, and more important, the how.Specifically, how can the Horned Frogs stay in the front of the collective minds of the CFP selection committee without a marquee game in the final four weeks of the season?MORE: | | |Im not Nick Vannett Jersey even sure what beauty points are, says TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin.I can tell you what theyre not: wins over Kansas, Texas and Iowa State to finish the season. No matter what TCU does this weekend against Kansas State, the problem will be the final four weeks of the season where the Horned Frogs not only play three meaningle s Big 12 games theyre also off one of the four weeks.Thats out of sight, out of mind. Thats the selection committee and its human element becoming prisoners of the moment and looking past a team that hasnt played a game that matters for a month when the final vote is taken on Dec. 7.TCU can beat K-State and roll to big wins in the final three games of the season, but its resume will be judged by how well West Virginia, Baylor, Kansas State and Oklahoma finish the season.Of those four teams, Baylor is the major problem. Montravius Adams Jersey If the Bears win out and finish 11-1, gue s who wins the Big 12 no matter what TCU does based on the head-to-head win? Gue s what certain committee places a strong emphasis on conference champions?Bottom line: TCU must win out and hope Baylor loses once and hope the CFP selection committee doesnt forget the team that, with a little luck, could play in the national championship game about 15 miles from its campus.2. THE UGLY ROADWeve heard it all season, and theres all kinds of truth to it: this isn't the same LSU team of years past.But Tiger Stadium at night is the same daunting spot a reality that just might be enough to even out things for LSU against Alabama. On paper, the Tide clearly is the better team on both sides of the ball.LSUs quarterbacks have been average, and its defense has been hit and mi s. But consider this: Alabama has struggled on offense in two of three true road games this fall.NUMBERS THAT MATTER: The Tide offense scored all of 24 points in two of those three games (Ole Mi s, Arkansas), and quarterback Blake Sims looked shaky at times in both games. Lets not forget that Sims still Jameis Winston Jersey is experiencing road games as a starting quarterback for the first time, and is still learning the nuances of big plays in big moments.Is Tiger Stadium alone enough to sidetrack Sims?But an improving LSU defense and noise created by 100,000 fans certainly could distract Sims and make it difficult for the Alabama offense to change plays or make on-field, pre-snap adjustments.3. PROTECTING THE PRIZESo Oregon is all better now, right? If you dont believe it, listen to CFP selection committee chairman Jeff Long, who spoke of injuries on the Ducks offensive line as a contributing factor to its lo s to Arizona and its ability to hold tight among the group of teams battling for the four semifinal spots.Left tackle Jake Fisher returns, and QB Marcus Mariotas world is a beautiful thing again. Fine, now let me introduce Utah DE Nate Orchard.Better yet, let an AFC scout explain: Hes a strong, athletic guy with great explosion off the edge. And hes not a one-move type of rush end. Hes a bear to handle.MORE: | Its not just Orchard; its the entire Utah front four. If Oregon thought Arizona and Washington State were tough to block without Fisher, wait until they try to block Orchard and the Utes front four with a completely healthy line.Orchard leads the nation with 12 sacks, and DE Hunter Dimick has nine. The Utes as a team lead the nation with 39 sacks, and not surprising cover well in the secondary because of all that pre sue.Weve seen time and again this season that if Oregon can protect Mariota, he and the Ducks are nearly impo sible to stop. When the protection breaks down, however, the entire complexion of the Oregon offense changes.This will be the toughest environment Oregon has played in all season: a night game at notoriously raucous Rice-Eccles Stadium and a juiced Utes team poised for a huge upset.Utah DE Nate Orchard and the Utes D-line will be after Marcus Mariota. (Getty Images)4. A DEFENSIVE STOPOhio State gets test No. 1 this weekend at Michigan State, its first realistic gauge of the 2014 season.Its hard enough figuring out a team that has victories over six teams whose total Tyrann Mathieu T Shirts defense rank is no better than 81st in the nation, and ranges from 81 (Rutgers) to 112th (Illinois).BY THE NUMBERS: It gets worse when you realize the two best defenses Ohio State has played this season resulted in a lo s (Virginia Tech, No. 31) and an overtime win (Penn State, No. 3)The difference between Virginia Tech and Penn State and this weeks opponent Michigan State: the Spartans (No. Jordan Miller Jersey 5 in the nation in total defense) also have a balanced offense that will give Ohio State plenty of problems, too.5. BEWARE THE SANDWICHIf l, imagine what a lo s to Kentucky this week could do to Georgia.If you dont think it can happen, consider the circumstances. The Dawgs are coming off their most embarra sing lo s in years under coach Mark Richt (to bitter rival and huge underdog Florida, no le s), and have to turn around and travel to Lexington, Ky., to play an improved Kentucky team that has been winning with defense.Its a cla sic sandwich game, only one Georgia didnt think it would have to deal with a week ago at this time. The lo s to Florida, and the game against rival Auburn next week, make this one against Kentucky all the more dangerous.UK quarterback Patrick Towles is dangerous enough (17 total TDs) to make things dicey for a beat up Georgia defense, and the Wildcats have the most improved defense in the SEC.Crazier things have happened like Florida beating Georgia.

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