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Things broke right for the Fighting Irish last weekend, when No. 1 Oregon and No. 2 Kansas State both fell, allowing Notre Dame to slip right into the top spot in the BCS standings. The Irish have caught another break this week at USC, as redshirt freshman QB Max Wittek is taking the place of injured starter Matt Barkley (shoulder). Wittek will have to try and find a way to score on a Notre Dame stop unit that has only yielded eight touchdowns all season and allowed an FBS-low 10.1 points per game. The under is 4-1 in their last five meetings.
Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Projected line: Alabama -10
The Crimson Tide backed into the BCS Championship despite losing against Texas A&M. They do deserve to be here as they are the best one-loss team but Alabama is not out of the woods yet with a game against Georgia in the SEC Championship, following its regular season finale against Auburn.
Notre Dame is the last remaining undefeated team and will likely stay that way as the Irish face USC, which is without quarterback Matt Barkley, on the road Saturday. These teams are tight in the power rankings but Alabama would still be a heavy favorite.
Michigan Wolverines: The Wolverines (8-3 straight-up, 5-6 against the spread) would love to improve their own bowl standing and spoil OSU's perfect season with the upset on Saturday. Michigan stopped a 7-game skid in the series with a 40-34 victory in Ann Arbor a year ago as quarterback Denard Robinson accounted for five TDs.
Ohio State Buckeyes: This is the equivalent of a bowl game for the Buckeyes (11-0 SU, 6-5 ATS), who can wrap up an undefeated campaign before sitting the postseason out due to NCAA violations. Ohio State has won the last five vs. Michigan played in Columbus, covered the last five overall and "over" bettors are 5-2 at Ohio State since 1998.
Florida Gators: Lines are still lagging for this game due to the uncertain status of Gators (10-1 SU, 6-5 ATS) QB Jeff Driskel. He is currently listed as probable for the contest, but playing time remains a question mark because of his ankle injury
Florida has covered just five of its last seven trips to Doak Campbell Stadium, and six of the last seven on this field have failed to reach the total.
Florida State Seminoles: The 'Noles (10-1 SU, 4-7 ATS) are also dealing with a banged-up QB, although E.J. Manuel (ankle) is listed as probable for the matchup. Florida State backers have dropped the cash three times in the last four games, though "over" bettors have profited with a 4-1 run in the span. The Seminoles have won and covered the last two meetings with the Gators, including last year's 21-7 triumph that saw the two squads combine for just 279 yards of offense.
ABOUT OREGON (10-1, 7-1 Pac-12): The Ducks have won 15 consecutive road games, the longest active streak in the nation. Senior running back Kenjon Barner has rushed for 1,426 yards, but has failed to hit the century mark in either of the last two games. He had 66 yards against Stanford, one week after having only 65 against California. Redshirt freshman quarterback Marcus Mariota is completing 69.8 percent of his passes and has thrown 29 touchdown passes and only six interceptions. Senior linebacker Michael Clay has a team-best 82 tackles and had a staggering 20 against Stanford. The Ducks have intercepted 20 passes and returned four for touchdowns.
ABOUT OREGON STATE (8-2, 6-2): The Beavers have a stout defense that ranks second in the Pac-12 in scoring defense (18.6) and has intercepted 17 passes. Senior cornerback Jordan Poyer has six picks and 12 over his standout career. Oregon State defense is allowing opponents to convert only 28.9 percent of third-down opportunities. A year ago, Beavers’ opponents converted 47.4 percent. Sophomore quarterback Sean Mannion passed for 325 yards and matched a career-best with four touchdowns passes in a 62-14 dismantling of California. Sophomore Terron Ward rushed for 128 yards and two touchdowns against the Golden Bears.