Before our predictions, let me misquote the best Tom Clancy-based movie, Hunt for Red October: “This season will get out of control. This season will get out of control and we’ll be lucky to live through it.”
With USF losing Thursday night in New Jersey, things could open up for the 1-loss teams if there’s some shenanigans down in Baton Rouge tonight. By the way, I think that USF should stay in the top ten – USC didn’t fall that far after suffering a far, far worse loss. But I suspect the humans will put then in the 12-15 range. Whatever.
As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.
- Pennsylvania State @ Indiana (ESPN): Surprising Indiana squad gets a home date with a somewhat disappointing Penn State team. (Note, however, that both are 5-2. Pre-season expectations for the win!) That said, Indiana got blown out last week by the green Spartans, meanwhile Penn State is coming off a huge victory over Wisconsin. Should be interesting, as far as Big Ten games go, tough to tell who’s going to come out on top in this one. I go against my usual instinct to pick the home team in this situation and go with Penn State.
- Iowa @ Purdue (ESPN2): Don’t let their victory over Illinois fool you – Iowa is still terrible. While Purdue has wilted against actual teams, Iowa doesn’t really count. Look for the Boilermakers re-discover how to play offense.
- Army @ Georgia Tech (Raycom/Gameplan): I wouldn’t usually list a game like this, but it’s Tech so it’s going here. This is homecoming for the Jackets, and it was hoped when this game was scheduled it’d be a homecoming for Bobby Ross, but he resigned earlier this year and got inducted into the GT Hall of Fame anyway. I hope we can get up early and practice passing a little, but Army made Boston College leave their starters well into the second half, and as the cliche goes the guys from the military academies usually don’t quit easily.
- Oklahoma @ Iowa State (FSN): Why is this on TV? Really? OU rolls.
- Texas @ Baylor (Versus): (see above, replace “OU” with “Texas”)
- Tennessee @ Alabama (LF/Gameplan): Whoops. The Third Saturday in October rivalry is relegated to the dregs of the SEC TV deal. At the beginning of the year, I would’ve said this’d be on ESPN at the worst, but who knew that Florida-Kentucky would have not only SEC implications, but national ones? Both these teams have multi-game winning streaks, but only Tennessee’s victory over Georgia looks any good. Also, I hate ‘Bama, so I’ll wish I was on “old Rocky Top” and pick the Vols.
- Vanderbilt @ South Carolina (Gameplan): What would upset the machinations of a SEC title game contender more than a loss to Vandy? Unfortunately for the Commodores, South Carolina seems to be winning the games it’s supposed to this year. So I’ll take the Gamecocks. (But go ‘Dores!)
1:00: Wake Forest @ Navy (CSTV): Over/under on pass attempts for this game should be around 30. While Navy is formidable, in the end Wake should win.
- Southern California @ Notre Dame (NBC): Notre Dame seeks to go 2-0 against teams from Los Angeles. Will they succeed? Probably not. Then again, winning by a touchdown against Arizona isn’t really much of a triumph to come off of. But, still, I see little reason to pick ND here.
- Florida @ Kentucky (CBS): CBS returns to Lexington for the second weekend in a row, again with national title implications on the line. Loser here is removed from the picture completely. I don’t even know where to begin to analyze this game. Both these teams are good, good, good. I feel UF brings a slightly better offense than LSU but also a worse defense. All I know is that this will probably make for good TV, considering how evenly matched these two teams were against LSU. Possibly in Florida’s favor is that they’re coming off a bye week, giving them time to re-focus off the LSU loss. If they knock off Kentucky, that puts them in the driver’s seat for the SEC East and a possible (probable) re-match against LSU. So, just to continue the bizarreness of this season, I’ll go with the Gators here.
- Michigan State @ Ohio State (ESPN2/ABC): Of all the bizarre things that have happened this year, this is the most normal. OSU was not highly regarded going into the year but has so far run the table on what has turned out to be a really soft schedule. Much like USC, I don’t really see where they will stumble on their schedule, though, except for maybe their two remaining road tests: @Penn State and @Michigan. Honestly, for Bizarro Year to be truly complete they need to go into the Michigan game undefeated (and then losing, thus making the whole thing come full circle), so I’m going with the Buckeyes here.
- California @ California-Los Angeles (ABC/Gameplan): While I didn’t see Cal’s dumb, dumb loss last week (seriously, what I read about the play at the end makes it sound downright Reggie-esque), I do know that UCLA has two bad losses at this point, including the sole Notre Dame victory. Cal gets back on their feet down in the Rose Bowl.
- Miami @ Florida State (Gameplan/ABC/ESPN2): Ahahahahaha. Ahahahahahahahaha. Thank god this isn’t the special season-opener Monday night game anymore. But, yeah, gotta pick FSU to win here. For starters, we need Miami to pick up more conference losses. But also Miami is just terrible. If FSU can put up a few touchdowns early Miami will be unable to catch up – we caught several breaks last week where Kyle Wright’s “quarterbacking” bailed us out.
- Texas Tech @ Missouri (Gameplan/ABC): Texas Tech – Missouri, now with Fiesta Bowl implications! Both teams need to avoid a second conference loss to stay in the race for their respective divisions. If Mizzou can stop the Texas Tech aerial assault, even a little, they may stand a chance. But I don’t like their chances.
5:45: Kansas @ Colorado (ESPN): I am still trying to comprehend the part of the season where Kansas is a serious contender. USF, I could believe, because I mean, it’s the Big East, Florida is a fertile recruiting ground, etc. Still, Colorado already ruined Oklahoma’s perfect season, can they strike twice? After losing to Kansas State last week, I’m going to say no.
7:30: Oregon @ Washington (FCS Pacific/FSN NW): So, uh, Washington was a little overrated to start the year. Meanwhile, Oregon is still scoring a lot of points, as they come off a 52-7 shellacking of Wazzou last week. I expect more of the same here, though maybe only 30-7 because it’s in Seattle.
- Michigan @ Illinois (ABC): Ugh. I still have a hard time believing that Michigan is a decent football team at all, and Illinois just proved to us that Ron Zook is still, in fact, their coach after losing to probably the 2nd-worst team in the Big Ten last week, scoring only two field goals. The Juice will apparently be back at QB this week. Also, don’t look, but Michigan is 3-0 in conference play. 3-0. Yes, that’s right folks, a trip to the Rose Bowl could be on the line in Ann Arbor next month, the very place where all this craziness began. So, as rationalized above, I think this matchup will be preserved an I’ll take the Wolverines.
- Virginia @ Maryland (ESPN2): Both of Tech’s terrible losses face off in College Park. I’m still not sold on UVA, while Maryland is actually kind-of decent. Also, we need UVA to lose. So go Terps.
9:00: Auburn @ Louisiana State (ESPN): Tigers win! (Sorry.) Anyway, Auburn played down to Arkansas’s level last week and eeked out a 9-7 victory. LSU is coming off a not-exactly debilitating loss last week. I think this will be a great game if Auburn shows up with any semblance of an offense. We know both coaches are willing to take risks, though (and perhaps Tito can correct me on this) it seems to me Tuberville has gotten more conservative in the past few years. (As much as people love to talk about LSU’s fake FG earlier this year, Auburn ran wonderful fakes and play-actions 4 years ago or so.) Meanwhile, Auburn is sitting at one conference loss and still in the SEC West race and could control their own destiny with a win. Will they win, though? I have my doubts. I think LSU is probably the better team here, and playing in Baton Rouge, at night, gives them an edge. (Hopefully Tito scored some tickets and can let us know first hand, also EDSBS’s account of their trip there indicates that it’s just as crazy as you’d think.) So I’m going to pick LSU.
That wraps it up for me, I need to get to bed so I can watch the early games. BCS comes out on Monday until the final week, so except the final version of the bowl predictions then. (Though I may post a sort-of “beta” version late Sunday, we’ll see.)