Saturday, October 13, 2012

This Weekend in College Football: Week 7

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

11:00: Louisville @ Pittsburgh (ESPNU): Louisville may be the sketchiest 5-0 team in the country, but nonetheless Pitt turned back into early-season Pitt by losing to Syracuse last week. I expect the Cardinals to get their first Big East win and, thus, stay undefeated.

  • Oklahoma vs. Texas (@Dallas, TX; ABC): It's the Red River Shootout! It's kind of nice these two are still playing, since both have lost rivalries in recent years (namely, Nebraska and Texas A&M). As for who will win? Well, I still like the Sooners better overall than the Longhorns, but not by much.
  • Kansas State @ Iowa State (FX): Reminder: Bill Synder is a wizard. Wildcats roll.
  • Iowa @ Michigan State (ESPN): The Big Ten is a trainwreck this year, but fortunately the style of football most of the conference plays makes it rather easy to look away. Anyway, I'll take the team that didn't lose to Central Michigan (read: Michigan State).
  • Northwestern @ Minnesota (ESPN2): Northwestern still has a legit shot at winning the Legends division. You can't make stuff like this up. (Of course, no one in the Big Ten has played more than two conference games, but work with me here.) Anyway, Minnesota got trounced (by Big Ten standards) by previously hapless Iowa last weekend, so I'll take NU.
  • Alabama-Birmingham @ Houston (FSN): Both these teams are terrible at defense and good at throwing the football. I think you can see where this is going. I'll guess that Houston has the ball last.
  • Kent State @ Army (CBSS): A week after losing by 20 to Stony Brook Army beat Boston College. Yeah. I would like Kent State's chances against BC as well, so I'll take them here.
  • Wisconsin @ Purdue (BTN): It took 6 games, but Wisconsin finally looked like Wisconsin last week against Illinois. It would've been hard to say Purdue was going to win, but that makes it even tougher.
  • Auburn @ Mississippi (SEC): This game may be either of these team's only chance to pick up a SEC win this year. No joke. Ole Miss at least seems to have some vague notion of an offense, which is more than the Tigers can say right now.
12:30: Duke @ Virginia Tech (ACC): VPI's trainwreck of a season continued last week unabated as they lost by 14 to UNC. Will they be able to stop shooting themselves in the foot long enough to gain some traction against Duke's defense? Because the Blue Devils will score on offense (though, it should be noted, the only above-average defense they've played so far this year is Stanford's, which held them to a season-low 13 points). It's hard to really pick Duke in this matchup, so I won't, but let's just say I won't be surprised if they escape Blacksburg with a win.

2:30: North Carolina @ Miami (ESPNU): Okay, so maybe a three-game winning streak that included two come-from-behind last-minute victories wasn't really that great after all. Also Miami's defense is awful. I expect Carolina to run all over them en route to a win.

  • Utah @ California-Los Angeles (FOX): Okay, Oregon State made sense, but losing to a previously winless in FBS Cal is one thing. Losing 41-7 to previously winless in FBS is quite another. That said, they should still beat Utah.
  • Maryland @ Virginia (ACC): This game could end 12-9, no joke. I'll take the Cavs at home.
  • Stanford @ Notre Dame (NBC): I think it's fair to say at this point Stanford is probably good this year but not great. However, a win here would put the Irish firmly on the map and possibly vault them into the national title discussion. I think they'll pull it off, at least here (remember, the Irish still go on the road to Norman and Los Angeles).
  • Alabama @ Missouri (CBS): Mizzou only scored 15 against Vanderbilt last weekend. This one's going to be ugly.
  • Oregon State @ Brigham Young (ABC/ESPN): This will be BYU's hardest test so far this year, against the out-of-nowhere #10 Beavers. I'll have to go with the conventional wisdom here.
  • West Virginia @ Texas Tech (ABC): So far this year TTU has lost to the teams they're supposed to and beat everyone else. No exception here.
  • Illinois @ Michigan (ABC/ESPN): The one constant in the Big Ten this year is that Illinois has been awful. I also expect this trend to continue.
  • Oklahoma State @ Kansas (FSN): It's been a mildly disappointing season for OSU this year, but they still have the best offense in the country. KU is 86th in points against. Yeah. The over/under for this game is 110. I was planning to make a "take the over even though KU may not even score a touchdown" but that seems a tad far-fetched. Well, maybe only a tad.
  • Fresno State @ Boise State (NBCS): Boise is ranked this week, just of the heck of it I guess. I don't think they'll beat Fresno.
5:30: Boston College @ Florida State (ESPN2): The clock struck midnight on the FSU potential national title run last week, with the last-minute loss to NC State. However, well, BC is just, well, really bad.

6:00: Florida @ Vanderbilt (ESPNU): File this under the standard "Vandy probably gives a valiant effort and goes into the half still in the game and then some call or bounce of the ball goes against their way late in the 3rd quarter and the game is out of reach by the middle of the 4th" sort of game. That said, Vandy could very well be favored in the rest of their games except maybe Tennessee.

  • Southern California @ Washington (FOX): Washington bore witness the full power of Oregon's fully-operational Death Star of an offense last week. USC is pretty good too, but they're not perfect and it may take awhile for them to get going, but it's hard to pick against the Trojans here.
  • Texas Christian @ Baylor (FSN): TCU will be, by far, the best defense Baylor has faced all year. This isn't really saying much but the Bears aren't putting up 70 in the game. I would like TCU to win but their QB is out of the year, but Baylor is still a bit of a reluctant pick for me.
  • Kentucky @ Arkansas (SEC/FSN): Arkansas I guess?
  • South Carolina @ Louisiana State (ESPN): Yeah, South Carolina also does the defense thing and more than a little of the offense thing. I like the Gamecocks here.
  • Southern Mississippi @ Central Florida (CBSS): Boy howdy USM sure isn't very good this year are they? I guess they'll show up a lot here because they were supposed to be good and had a lot of their games picked up by CBSS? We'll see as the season goes on.
  • Ohio State @ Indiana (BTN): Hey Urban, Akron's not that far away. Terry Bowden can tell you all about having great seasons while not being eligible for anything.
9:00: Tennessee @ Mississippi State (ESPN2): Mississippi State is the least talked about 5-0 team in the history for the SEC, I'd reckon. Of course, their best win is probably, um, Kentucky or maybe even Troy. I suspect they will soon quietly be 6-0.

9:15: Texas Agricultural and Mechanical vs. Louisiana Tech (@Shreveport, LA; ESPNU): There could be some fireworks in this late game (there's a later Pac-12 game but DirecTV hasn't picked up the Pac-12 Network yet), that's for sure, but TAMU's defense should help them take over the game at some point.

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