College football comes early this week with 4 top 10 teams in action on Thursday night. The biggest being 3Oregon at Stanford. This game has huge implications for the BCS Championship. 10Oklahoma also goes to 6Baylor to try to end Baylor’s undefeated season and BCS hopes. Then on Saturday 13LSU heads to 1Alabama to try to end the Tide’s hopes of perfection and a 3-peat. This might be the week we point to for evidence when we learn the rankings at the beginning of December.
Thursday Night Pac-12 Showdown This is a huge game with implications for all of college football. 3Oregon and 5Stanford face off in Palo Alto for what might be a chance at the National Championship. If Oregon is able to beat the Cardinal, they are almost guaranteed to jump Florida State and stay ahead. But if Stanford is able to win, will the rankings really change too much? Could a one loss Stanford team jump an undefeated Ohio State and an undefeated Florida State? Or would Stanford go to 4 and Oregon drop to 5? We can ask these kinds of questions on Friday morning. For now let’s focus on the game at hand. Oregon has one of the most prolific offenses in the county and seems to be able to score on anyone. Stanford has a great defense but hasn’t shown the ability to light up the scoreboard like the Ducks. If Stanford can keep the game low scoring, they have a pretty good chance to win. But if they let Oregon get on a roll, they won’t have a chance. I am going to pick the upset because who doesn’t like to root for the underdog, and also because I picked Stanford to play for the National Championship so I need them to win. I am picking Stanford by less than a TD.
Thursday Night Big 12 Showdown The other game we have on this Thursday night features 10Oklahoma traveling to 6Baylor. If this game were being played at Norman, I think I would give the advantage to the Sooners, but it is in Waco. Baylor has been unstoppable in Waco this season, scoring an average of 70.6 points at home (to a measly 47 point average in their 2 away games). That is a lot of firepower. Oklahoma has played 3 games away from Norman, scoring an average of 30 points and giving up an average of 25 points. Baylor might not have the best defense, but I think they are too explosive for the Sooners. I don’t think the Bears will put up 70, but maybe between 30-50 points. Oklahoma will also score, making this game relatively close. I am picking Baylor by a TD or more.
Can the Tigers Win In Bryant Denny Again? For the first time in 3 meetings, this won’t be the “game of the century.” Alabama has won the last 2 times they have played LSU in the state of Louisiana, and LSU won the last time they were in Tuscaloosa. The last two years have seen these teams play each other 3 times, and if you added up their rankings you would get 12(Bama 2, LSU 1; 2,1; 1,5). This year Alabama is ranked 1 and LSU is ranked 13. I think it will be mostly a close game with either a special teams or defensive TD being the difference. Alabama has shown they are a great team, but haven’t faced any competition since playing Texas A&M in the beginning of the season. LSU’s last two conference games are the reason I am picking the Tide. Florida is not that great of a team and LSU only beat them by 11 at home.I am picking Alabama by between 1 or 2 TDs.
Upset Alert (Again) in Knoxville? This game could go either way. But I give Auburn the edge after seeing Tre Mason in person last weekend. I think Tennessee has a chance to make it a close game for a while but Auburn should tire them out. I don’t see a finish like the Georgia game or the South Carolina game. Tennessee will have to take advantage of every opportunity to beat the Tigers. They will also need a big play from the defense or special teams to swing momentum their way. Even if they do that, I find it hard to pick Tennessee. Auburn is a very good team who is able to score and play defense. I don’t think Tennessee matches up.I am picking Auburn by at least a TD.
Must Win in the Big 10 Nebraska goes to Ann Arbor this weekend to play a Michigan team coming off a major loss to Michigan State. Nebraska, on the other hand, is coming off a huge home win against Northwestern. Star QB Taylor Martinez did not play in that game, and he is not expected to play in this one either. This is why I am picking Michigan in a close game. The Wolverines are looking to redeem themselves after only scoring two FGs in last week’s game. But will Michigan be down because of the loss? Will Nebraska still be riding the high from the hail mary win last week? The team that is able to forget last weekend’s game more effectively will win this game, and I think that team will be Michigan. The crowd in the Big House will help Michigan do what they need to do to get a huge Big 10 win. I am picking Michigan by a TD or less.
Can the Longhorns Make a Statement on the Road? Texas is coming off a win against Kansas last week and West Virginia is coming off an OT win over TCU. West Virginia has not been consistent this season, which makes it very difficult to predict their games. Texas has also been a surprise to me. I have picked against them twice and they have won both of those games. But from what I’ve seen of the Longhorns, they should be able to beat WVU. What is going to make it hard is that the game is being played in Morgantown. The only home game they lost was to Texas Tech. But I think Texas will also be able to get a road win here. If Texas wants to keep their Big 12 hopes alive, they will need to continue their winning streak to 6 games on Saturday. I am picking Texas by a TD.
Can the “Scary” Hogs Shock the Rebels? I say “scary” because that is what Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze called the Razorbacks. But he also said they would be dangerous when they start converting in the red zone. I’ve been saying that all along. The Hogs seem to get momentum going and then turn the ball over after a long drive without scoring. Arkansas’s biggest issue in my opinion has been turnovers. They have had too many and haven’t forced nearly enough. If Arkansas is going to have a chance to win in hostile Oxford, they need to create turnovers, especially in the red zone. Hopefully they can get a rhythm going and at least keep the game close. The Hogs are running out of chances to get that first elusive SEC win in the Bielema era.
2Florida State at Wake Forest
8Missouri at Kentucky
Virginia Tech at 11Miami(FL)
Kansas at 14Oklahoma State
Mississippi State at 15Texas A&M
16Fresno State at Wyoming
19UCLA at Arizona
20Louisville at Connecticut (Friday)
Houston at 21UCF
22Arizona State at Utah
23Notre Dame at Pittsburgh
BYU at 24Wisconsin
Kansas State at 25Texas Tech
Troy at Louisiana-Lafayette (Thursday)
Utah State at UNLV
Vanderbilt at Florida
Penn State at Minnesota
Arkansas State at ULM