As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.
- Texas Tech @ Texas (FX): Will the real Texas Tech please stand up? Losing to Iowa State 41-7 after knocking off Oklahoma is, just, well, hard to fathom. I think Texas has a pretty good shot to get to bowl eligibility here.
- Michigan @ Iowa (ESPN): Michigan was last seen taking care of business against Purdue, while Iowa was last seen falling asleep on the job and losing to the extremely hapless Golden Gophers. Have to like Denard and Co. here.
- Syracuse @ Connecticut (ESPNU): Depressingly, this game is still extremely important in the race to the Big East’s BCS bid.
- Minnesota @ Michigan State (BTN): Will Minnesota make it two in a row? Almost certainly not.
- Indiana @ Ohio State (BTN): Hapless doesn’t even begin to describe the Hoosiers this year. Ohio State shouldn’t need a last minute TD pass to win this one.
- Vanderbilt @ Florida (SEC): Florida supporters probably feel like it’s the end of the world after losing to UGA. Not that I can blame them, of course. This is a fiesty Vandy team but it’s hard to envision how they could come out of the swamp with a win.
- Virginia @ Maryland (ACC): Boston College looked like the shot in the arm the Terps needed. Instead, it looked like they were shot with a cannonball as BC picked up its first ACC win. I’m not expecting much else out of UMD at this point.
- North Carolina @ North Carolina State (ACC): While it probably won’t be the 34-0 drubbing this received last weekend, it’s hard to see NCSU winning here.
3:00: Duke @ Miami (ACC/FSN): Miami. Probably.
- Army @ Air Force (CBS): Getting blown out by MAC teams isn’t a good sign for this year’s Army squad. Air Force should win easily.
- Stanford @ Oregon State (ABC): Look closely at this ABC coverage map. See that one sliver in southern Florida? That’s the Andrew Luck Effect, which could also refer to what’s about to happen to Oregon State.
- Texas Agricultural and Mechanical @ Oklahoma (ABC/ESPN2): Did you know that Texas A&M has the worst pass defense in the country? I didn’t until earlier today. I don’t think they’ll need to worry about surrendering a 2nd half lead in this one, suffice it to say.
- Purdue @ Wisconsin (ESPN2/ABC): Speaking of blowing 2nd half leads, I don’t think the Badgers have much to worry about this weekend.
- Texas-El Paso @ Rice (FSN): UTEP needs this one to set up the one upset they’ll need to pull to get to bowl eligibility. I think they’ll get it.
- Mississippi @ Kentucky (ESPNU): ESS-EEE-CEE SLAPFIGHT. Technically speaking, Kentucky does have more wins over DI-A competition than Ole Miss (2 to 1). Basically, this is is about as far as you can get from the nightcap on CBS tonight. Both of these teams are really just so awful it’s hard for me to pick one that will be slightly less awful for four hours. I guess I’ll go with Kentucky, because that’ll make it all the more hilarious when Houston Nutt inexplicably beats LSU two weeks from now but gets fired at the end of the year anyway.
- Troy @ Navy (CBSS): I think Navy gets the win here, but the rest of the year is looking pretty lean.
- Northwestern @ Nebraska (BTN): (looks up Big Ten divisional standings) Oh, right, with their win over Sparty last weekend Nebraska is in the driver’s seat for the …(checks again)… yes, right, Legends division. It’s difficult to see how Northwestern stands a chance.
- Missouri @ Baylor (FSN): I HOPE YOU LIKE POINTS because boy howdy you’ll get them in this game. That said, Baylor’s defense is just awful and will probably let them down again. Despair not, Baylor fans – Texas Tech and Kansas remain very beatable.
- Cincinnati @ Pittsburgh (ESPNU): Finally this is the week where the three teams that could win the Big East start to play each other. If Cincy wins they remain the team to beat, where as a Pitt win makes this year’s Backyard Brawl bigger than ever.
- Houston @ Alabama-Birmingham (CBSS): If you don’t follow Alabama college news, there hasn’t been a lot of good news the past couple of weeks for the other two members of the University of Alabama system that aren’t in Tuscaloosa. My hometown school, the University of Alabama in Huntsville, recently got its unique DI hockey program canned (the only DI hockey program in the South) for various dumb reasons. UAB, meanwhile, recently got its bid for an on-campus football stadium canned. I feel less bad about that one because while I realize that Legion Field isn’t all that great these days I’m not really sure what UAB has done to merit an on-campus stadium. Most of what I’ve seen said it would cost around $75 million, which is vastly more than what it takes to run a hockey program. Perhaps that’s not really a fair point, though – after all, I love Tech’s on campus stadium but it’s only a mile and a half from the Georgia Dome. (Of course, the counter to that would be that Tech has been playing football for a very long time and the Bobby Dodd Stadium predates the Dome by decades.)
Anyway, none of that has anything to do with the fact Case Keenum will become the NCAA’s all-time passing leader at Legion Field at some point Saturday night as Houston will almost certainly rout a UAB squad that is 116th in scoring and gives up 35 points a game to teams that aren’t Houston (i.e., the number one team in the country in scoring at 52.3 points per game).
- Middle Tennessee State @ Tennessee (SEC/FSN): And so begins Tennessee’s harrowing quest toward bowl eligibility. Four games to go, one of which is an almost certain loss to Arkansas, but the others are Vandy and Kentucky. Will they make it? Stay tuned.
7:15: South Carolina @ Arkansas (ESPN): Speaking of Arkansas, this is a game that features two SEC in the top-10 mostly because they’re teams from the SEC that only have 1-loss. Arkansas needed a missed chip shot FG to avoid overtime against Vandy last weekend, and South Carolina’s offense has taken a dive since they lost Marcus Lattimore. If one of these teams has a better chance of breaking out of their offensive funk, though, it has to be Arkansas, and so I’ll take the Razorbacks here.
7:30: Arizona State @ California-Los Angeles (Versus): UCLA pulled off an inexplicably upset of Cal last weekend, but I’m not buying it. Arizona State should roll.
- Louisiana State @ Alabama (CBS): We’ve known this was going to be a huge game since the schedules came out at the beginning of the year. We also know that the wise guys like Alabama, but the people like LSU. Expect for their punter being one of the first victims of the NCAA’s new (and dumb) live-ball unsportsmanlike conduct rule, LSU has had a pretty, well, normal season so far, free of any botched end-of-game situations. They’ve even showed signs of actually having an offense which has generally been the thing missing from past LSU teams. The only thing that’s remained the same, it seems, is a very talented defense and Les Miles remaining extremely quotable.
Nick Saban, of course, remains really boring. Nonetheless, if Bama fans had any sense of humor and were less religiously uptight there would probably “SABAN IS GOD” graffiti throughout the state. (I mean, there’s probably plenty of paraphernalia that just about implies Saban is at least a lesser deity along with God and, of course, Bear Bryant.) Anyway, enough blasphemy from me. If LSU’s defense is really good, then what I’ve been saying the last two years is true. 2010 Alabama had a pretty good defense, but it in 2011 it would be back to 2009 levels and so far I have been right. That said, LSU’s defense is only #2 because they played Oregon, who had the audacity to score 27 points on them. LSU also gave up 21 to West Virginia, but outside of that hasn’t given up more than 11 points. The reason why Alabama is #1 is because they haven’t given up more than 14 to anyone, but that is because they haven’t really played anyone with a decent offense other than Arkansas.
The resume so far is the main reason why LSU is #1 in the country in all the polls. They boast a very good win over Oregon, and a decent OOC win over WVU, but won’t play the SEC’s other quality team until they play Arkansas at the end of the year. Alabama, meanwhile, was able to shutdown Arkansas’s offense but frankly holding Penn State and Florida to 11 and 10 points, respectively, isn’t really all that much of an achievement this year. I’m not saying this defense isn’t very good, mind you.
In the end, this will go the way of many SEC heavyweight bouts over the past few years. There will not be a lot of points in this game. So, naturally, my mind turns to “which team is less likely to make mistakes?” If there’s any offense built to minimize mistakes, it’s Alabama’s, which again has an anonymous game-manager QB and a Heisman candidate running back. LSU’s offense has been a revelation this year, which basically means they’ve put up a lot of points against several teams that have sort-of sketchy defenses. And yet, if something weird happens in this game, you have to think that favors the team with The Hat, don’t yet? But nonetheless, if these teams played each other 10 times, I think Alabama would win 7 of those times. I’ll reluctantly take the Tide.
- Notre Dame @ Wake Forest (ABC/ESPN2): I have no idea why you would watch this game. This is a feisty Wake Forest squad but the Domers should punch their ticket for the Champs Sports Bowl (well, or maybe the Pinstripe Bowl).
- Kansas State @ Oklahoma State (ESPN2/ABC): Oklahoma put up 58 on Kansas State. The Wildcats will pickup their second loss, the only question is “by how much?”
- Oregon @ Washington (FSN): It’s time for the nightcaps! This is the most palatable of them, of course. Washington’s been a nice surprise in the Pac-12 North this year (see Big Ten, I didn’t even look that up!) but their previous attempt to have a say in the outcome of the division didn’t go so well with a 65-21 rout in Palo Alto. They’ll try again here, and I think it could be closer but I don’t think it’ll be close enough.
- Louisiana Tech @ Fresno State (ESPNU): Yes, kids, this is a WAC game! Neither of these teams really do anything particularly well, but Fresno’s defense is apparently really bad, so we could have a shootout on our hands. I still like Fresno here though.
- Boise State @ Nevada-Las Vegas (CBSS): UNLV already gives up 40 points a game to teams that aren’t Boise State. This should be a bloodbath.