USC QB Matt Barkley throws a pass in the fourth quarter of the game against the Oregon Ducks at Autzen Stadium on November 19, 2011 in Eugene, Oregon. That game will be shown later today on ESPNU. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
ESPNU is making me happy today by rolling out four more of the best games of the 2011 college football season.
Yesterday kicked off the top 10 with some memorable contests:
No. 10 - #5 Oregon 45, #10 Wisconsin 38 (Rose Bowl)
It was the highest scoring game in Rose Bowl history. It had the most first half points ever scored in Rose Bowl history. Oregon gained the second-most yards of any team in Rose Bowl history. And it had one of the weirdest fumbles I've ever seen. Yeah, this was a great game. If you missed it, you missed a good look at QB Russell Wilson who could well be the Seahawks' starting QB by week 4 when Seattle comes to St. Louis.
No. 9 - #3 Oklahoma St. 52, #14 Kansas St. 45
At the time, this looked like the toughest challenge for Oklahoma St. to stay undefeated. Things would unravel less than two weeks later when OSU would drop a double overtime thriller to Iowa State (which I still can't believe). On this night, though, it was about two QBs with very different styles. Collin Klein, a dual threat QB in the vein of Tim Tebow, was wildly more successful than anticipated. Against OSU, he threw for 231 yards and ran for 144 more (including three rushing TDs). Klein, however, was bested by Brandon Weeden who picked the Kansas St. defense apart throughout the game, finishing with 502 passing yards. Yay offense.
No. 8 - #17 Michigan St. 33, #16 Georgia 30 (3OT - Outback Bowl)
This was a great game for draftniks looking at Georgia's key 2013 NFL Draft prospects (QB Aaron Murray, WR Tavarres King who set the school record for receiving yards in a game with 205 in this one, and OLB Jarvis Jones who was made largely irrelevant here) as well as MSU's draft offerings (QB Kirk Cousins and DT Jerel Worthy for the '12 draft, DE William Gholston and CB Johnny Adams for next year's draft).
No. 7 - #22 Baylor 45, #5 Oklahoma 38
Baylor had never beaten Oklahoma at football. They were 0-20 in all contests. After this game, that was put to bed and RGIII's Heisman campaign was given a new legitimacy. This was just a perfect, perfect college football game.
After the jump, the first two games which begin at 1pm ET (so a couple minutes ago - you can tune in now).
No. 6 - #3 Oklahoma St. 41, #4 Stanford 38 (OT - Fiesta Bowl)
With the 2012 NFL Draft looming, the top prospects for both teams were spectacular. Andrew Luck carved apart the Cowboys' defense for 347 yards and two TDs. Justin Blackmon exploded for 186 yards and three TDs; his second quarter in this one was everything you could ask for from a WR.
Who will I be watching? Well RB Joseph Randle didn't factor much, carrying the ball just 10 times for a meager 23 yards. CBs Brodrick Brown and Justin Gilbert are both legitimate NFL corner prospects. And while I'll be eager to see the WR corps in 2012 without Justin Blackmon, the three top receivers for OSU in this game are all gone - Justin Blackmon, Josh Cooper and Colton Chelf. On the Cardinal's side, check the linebackers. Shayne Skov and Chase Thomas can both play (Skov got hurt early in the season, so he didn't suit up for this bowl game). Be prepared to hear about DE Ben Gardner in 2012 as well.
No. 5 - USC 38, #4 Oregon 35
By the end of this game, it was obvious that USC was going to be a force in 2012, delivering only Oregon's second loss of the season (the other to LSU in week one). QB Matt Barkley sliced the Oregon defense apart, connecting mostly with freshman stud WR Marqise Lee as well as the more polished WR Robert Woods (more on those two in a sec). And really, the story was set up by the first half with the Trojans holding Oregon's prolific offense to a single touchdown before the halftime whistle.
If you're looking for future NFLers, USC is stacked with them. Obviously QB Matt Barkley is the starting point, being the #1 overall pick in the majority of 2013 mock drafts. For the Rams, yes, both WRs need to be considered. Woods will be a true junior this year, and can really work well underneath and in intermediate spaces. He could use some more weight, but there's time for that. In the interim, he and Lee (an athletic freak and true sophomore in 2012) will continue to terrorize defenses this season. Less fanfare is undeservedly given to USC's other top prospects - FS T.J. Mcdonald, C Khaled Holmes, DE Wes Horton and OLB Dion Bailey.
For the Ducks, DE Dion Jordan will get most of the focus from scouts. FS John Boyett can play as well. And it goes without saying that RBs Kenjon Barner and De'Anthony Thomas can both fly, especially the latter. DT Taylor Hart is someone worth watching as well.