As usual, all times Eastern and almost all predictions wrong.
- Wisconsin at Illinois (ESPN): The 4-1 Fightin’ Zooks will see one of the tamest 5-0 teams in the country roll into Urbana-Champaign this weekend. I recall seeing somewhere Illinois was favored here, thus reflecting my perceptions of the Badgers. In the end, I have a hard time picking the Zookinator, so I’ll go with the Badgers here.
- Miami (FL) at North Carolina (ESPN2): Hot, hot ACC Coastal action. (Note: I still don’t remember who’s in which division, I just know who’s not in a division with the other. Damn screwy ACC divisions.) I’m not entirely sure why this is more worthy of being televised nationally than our game, but whatever. I don’t think Miami is really that much better than UNC is this year, even after the recovery victory against TAMU. I will say it’s a good bet the Patrick Nix Experience will put up more points in Chapel Hill this time around than it did last year, and will probably also still escape with a victory.
- Kansas at Kansas State (FSN): Sure, KU is 4-0, but they’ve beaten nobody. Meanwhile, Kansas State just beat Texas. I’m going with KSU here.
- Georgia Tech at Maryland (Raycom/Gameplan): Hopefully no 4th-quarter heroics will be necessary here. (Also, I really want to finish the feature I’m doing on Micheal Johnson’s performance in the clutch tonight.) There are questions in College Park of who the starting quarterback will be, and I think either answer is okay for us. My main worry is concentrated in the straight-up-the-middle rushing attack Maryland, a key component in their “upset” over Rutgers last week.
Once again, Tech really needs to win the remainder of its ACC schedule. They brought the focus and the pain against Clemson last week, and I don’t think this Maryland team is significantly better than Clemson is. (Of course, I don’t think Virginia is, either.) While the defense was spectacular against Clemson, the offense was not. Bennett put up some Reggie-esque numbers, including a bad interception. Outside of the interception, though, he seemed more comfortable than he has in past weeks in the pocket. The problem is, our receivers couldn’t catch a cold last week – there were at least 4 easy passes dropped. We need at least a 50% passing day from Taylor and another 100+ yard day from Choice, who is hopefully more healthy than he was last week. (He admitted after the game last week he’d been lying about his condition all week and was probably about 80%.) That said, Grant looked good in his limited carries, so we have options if Tashard is still not 100%.
Once again, we need a lot of things to go right for us again. At the very least, I’m reasonably sure Maryland won’t be returning any kickoffs for touchdowns this year. Tech’s special team are downright great this year – we all know Brooks as well, but Travis Bell is showing the kind of promise he did early in his career. But the kickoff coverage is a breath of fresh air this year.
As the article mentions, they also want to work in our freshman QB into the offense a little more this week. They tried last week, but Nesbitt fumbled a shotgun snap and that was that. I’m in favor of this – it’s obvious Nesbitt is the QB of the future for us, and this also helps deflect criticism in the past of the backup QB not seeing enough playing time.
Anyway, I’m going to have to get up early once again for this thing. So hopefully it’ll turn out better than the UVA game.
12:30: Vanderbilt at Auburn (LF/Gameplan): Oh, Auburn. People love to give Tech crap about inconsistency but how many teams lose to Mississippi State and beat Florida in the same season? I feel your pain, Auburn fans. Anyway, AU should win here, though Vandy will probably make it exciting for awhile.
- Georgia at Tennessee (CBS): (Hums “Rocky Top”) I’m not a huge fan of Tennessee or anything. But I do really hate Georgia. It’s tough to get a read on the Vols, though. At 2-2, they’ve lost to to two really good teams and beat two really bad ones. However, both those losses were away. Georgia’s resume does precious little to impress me as well. Since it’s in Knoxville, I have to give a slight edge to the Vols here.
- Oklahoma vs. Texas (ABC/Gameplan): After the events of last weekend (whoops!), this is now more of a pillow-fight than a shootout. The winner still has a shot at getting to the Big 12 title game, and I have to say I kinda like Texas here. They have better victories and their loss is arguably better, whereas Oklahoma’s resume is just bleak, despite all the points.
- Iowa at Penn State (ESPN2/ABC): Iowa is terrible. Penn State isn’t great, but they have home field advantage. I’m not sure why this is worthy of a national telecast. Anyway, let’s move one.
- North Carolina State at Florida State (Gameplan/ESPN2/ABC): Battle in the ACC Atlantic! Well, more a cripple fight. FSU still isn’t great or anything, but NCSU is downright terrible. FSU should easily pick up their first conference win.
6:00: Virginia Tech at Clemson (ESPN): I read somewhere (forgot where) that Clemson is going to let Virginia Tech run down their hill. First, I think the whole “running down the hill and touching the rock” thing is pretty silly. I think it’s even sillier to let Virginia Tech do it because of what happened earlier this year. At any rate, Clemson wants to avoid the dreaded second conference loss and Virginia Tech wants to stay in a position to control their own destiny in the Coastal. The real Tech (i.e., us) really needs Clemson to win here, and I don’t think they’re as terrible as they showed last week. The key here is: can Clemson get their two-headed monster rushing attack back on the tracks? That would be a stunning reversal of what happened last year when they played the two Techs back-to-back. (They ran for over 300 on us last year, and then went to Blacksburg and lost big.) If VPI can contain them like we did, then look for another low scoring contest like last week, which will hinge on whether or not Clemson can kick their field goals. Since it’s at Clemson, I’ll give them a slight edge here and say that it’s unlikely Davis and Spiller will be contained for a second week in a row.
7:30: Oklahoma State at Texas Agricultural and Mechanical (FSN): Why is this on TV? Because there’s a lack of decent Big 12 games to broadcast, I guess. TAMU should win, despite their bad loss to Da U last week – OSU is just bad, even at 3-2.
- Florida at Louisiana State (CBS): This game is somewhat reduced in stature after Florida’s loss last week. It is still immensely important. If LSU wins, that’s one more obstacle out of their path to the national title game. If UF wins, it’s the sort of thing that can catapult them back into the nebulous area near the top. But with the game in Baton Rouge and LSU just that good, I have to take the Tigers here.
- Notre Dame at California-Los Angeles (ABC/Gameplan): Screw you, ABC. Let’s pick up the national broadcast of a 4-1 team that lost to Utah against a, frankly, terrible, Notre Dame team that UCLA should beat by at least a few touchdowns. Ugh.
- Ohio State at Purdue (Gameplan/ABC): This the game I actually want to be national and in beautiful HD as we figure out if the Boilermakers are for real or not in this clash of 5-0 teams. Purdue has been scoring a ton of points this year, but Ohio State is far and away the best team they’ve played so far. I’ll have to give an edge to the Buckeyes here, even though I want Purdue to win.
- Cincinnati at Rutgers (ESPN2): Rutgers had their first real test and failed last week, and now Cincy has theirs. Neither team has beaten anyone competent, but I still think the State University of New Jersey is a little better and hands Cincy their first loss of the year.
9:15: Nebraska at Missouri (ESPN): Finally. I don’t know what to think about this game, and frankly I don’t care. Neither team has beaten anyone, so I’m going to go with the home team and get some lunch.
Have a good Saturday, everyone!