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CHAMPIONSHIP WEEK PREVIEW: PART II
November 30, 2005

SCS.com Well, the last week of the season is finally here. All season long there have been the usual upsets and the usual blowouts. USC is still on top of the college football kingdom and have yet to really be tested. After a close encounter with the Ohio State Buckeyes, the Texas Longhorns are right there behind the Trojans ready to make a better effort against them than the Oklahoma Sooners did last year. This next weekend should produce some intense, yet fun moments as some of the nation's elite square off for bragging rights, bowl positioning, or possble BCS Bowl bids.

UCLA vs USC

This game should feature two of the nations top backs in Maurice Drew and Reggie Bush. Although both teams are immensely talented, I feel that UCLA, while a solid team, does not have the horses to run with USC.

UCLA will win if: They can shut down the USC offense. This, however, is easier said than done, as USC is so deep and so talented across the board that they could give the San Francisco 49ers a tough game. If Drew can have a big game and the UCLA defense can stop the Trojan offense, then UCLA might have a chance. That is a big might because stopping the Trojans is like fighting a hydra: chopping of one head is useless when there are three or four more.
USC Will win if: If the Trojans can control the ball, and allow Leinhart and Bush to do their things, then they should overtake the Bruins without much effort. USC is too much for the Bruins to handle and could turn this game into a blowout.

Prediction: USC-42 UCLA-21

ARMY vs NAVY

Arguably the best rivalry in all of college sports, the Army/Navy game has it all. From the parade of cadets to the countless great contests between these programs, this game has been a must-see for years.

Navy will win if: Navy's ground game is one of the nation's best, and if Army wants to have any chance to stop it, they must stop the Navy assault. Navy's defense has done a pretty good job holding offenses in check this season, and that could be because of linebacker Rob Caldwell. A game savvy linebacker, Caldwell is capable of unleashing devastating carnage on anyone who gets in his path. His job this weekend will be to keep the Army ground game, led by tailback Carlton Jones, in check.
Army will win if: Rolling in on a four-game win streak might be something strange for Army, but they have gotten there riding the legs of tailback Carlton Jones. Jones is one of those special athletes that doesn't seem to possess the physical tools needed to make it at the D-1 level, but he makes up for his athletic lacking with heart and determination. With some good blocking from his offensive line, Jones may be able to pile up some yards.

Prediction: Navy-28 Army-21

BIG XII TITLE GAME: TEXAS vs COLORADO

Texas is probably the most dangerous team in the country right now that doesn't play in Los Angeles. They are extremely balanced, and despite some youth at the running back and wide receiver positions, they appear ready to make a strong run at a national title. Colorado, on the other hand, is coming off of a horrific loss to the Nebraska Cornhuskers and somehow still managed to back-door their way into the title game.

Texas will win if: Colorado is not on the Longhorn's level. If Texas can shut down the Buffs' running game, then they should have 'em beat. Texas' secondary is too talented to get beat by the Buffs and should have a field day with hastily thrown passes by a heavily pressured Joel Klatt.
Colorado will win if: Texas forfeits. Outside of forfeiture, I do not see any way in which this far inferior Buffalo squad will beat this Longhorn team. The only hope lies in CU's ability to run the ball. Texas A&M and Oklahoma State both had good success on the ground against the 'Horns, and if Colorado wants to have a chance, they had better pound the ball at the Longhorns, which in turn will open up some play-action passes.

Prediction: Texas-49 Colorado-14

CUSA TITLE GAME: TULSA at UCF

After leaving Georgia Tech to take the Notre Dame job, George O'Leary was in high cotton. That all came crashing down shortly afterward when it was found that he had fraudulent sources on his resume. Now, after a stint with the NFL's Minnesota Vikings, O'Leary is back where he left off, in the big game attempting to lead his Golden Knights to the promised land. Steve Kragthope, on the other hand, is in a place that is becoming more and more common to Golden Hurricane fans. Kragthorpe took over a very, very bad Tulsa team a few years back and has them playing in the conference championship game of a revamped CUSA.

Tulsa will win if: Garrett Mills has a good day. If Paul Smith can get Mills the ball, then the Golden 'Cane might have a field day against the Golden Knights. Throughout the season, Smith has progressed and has gotten better and better, while Mills has been firing on all cylinders. Running back Uril Parrish provides some offensive balance being able to make the big plays when need be.
UCF will win if: If the Golden Knights can stop the Tulsa passing game, then the Hurricane will be forced to beat them on the ground, and while talented, I do not think that Uril Parrish has the ability to control the tempo for an entire game.

Prediction: Tulsa-21 UCF-17

LOUISIANA TECH at FRESNO STATE

After losing last week, Fresno put any hopes of an outright title in the toilet and pushed the flush button. They can, however, finish in a three-way tie for the league title with a win over the LA Tech Bulldogs.

LA Tech will win if: If the Bulldogs backs can break outside containment, then they will have a chance to go all the way. The Fresno State Bulldogs have been atrocious since playing USC, and if lowly Nevada can put it on 'em, watch out for the Bulldogs (LA Tech, that is).
Fresno will win if: They can contain the LA Tech ground game. Although Fresno's rush defense has been less than mediocre this season, the Bulldogs have been about the same on the other side. Without much a ground game, LA Tech could be in a world of hurt in what I predict will be a low scoring affair.

Prediction: Louisiana Tech-21 Fresno-24

 > Talk about it in The College Corner...

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