As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.
- Michigan @ Minnesota (ESPN): After their thrilling loss to the Fightin’ Kafkas last week, I expect a pedestrian beatdown of the Wolverines, whose season, and bowl streak, is shot.
- Ohio State @ Northwestern (ESPN2): Just how good is this Northwestern team? We’re about to find out for sure. Considering the losses to Michigan State and Indiana, my guess is “not very good”. OSU by a few field goals.
- Baylor @ Texas (FSN): I’m looking forward to seeing what Baylor can do next year. Tomorrow? Not so much. Texas by 30 or so.
- Purdue @ Michigan State (BTN): Michigan State continues their pleasure cruise through the Big Ten and a probably Capital One Bowl berth.
- Georgia Tech @ North Carolina (Raycom/Gameplan): Huge game for both teams, though neither currently controls their own destiny in the ACC Coastal. Both teams are still in it, but need VPI and Virginia to lose. The loser of this game is more than likely out of it, period. GT is ahead of every other ACC team in the conference schedule at the moment, with 6 games down and 2 to go. They have an off week which is desperately needed.
And that’s going to be Tech’s biggest problem in this game.
UNC is probably the most competent passing team in the ACC, which is probably not saying much but still. This is bad news for Tech’s banged up secondary. They performed well last week, with freshman safety Cooper Taylor coming up with the now-famous fumble. But he also made a big freshman mistake earlier, where he never turned around and saw the ball on the pass that put FSU within 3. Luckily, we got Dominique Reese back for this game, but we’re still missing senior Jahi Word-Daniels at corner. Expect to see Morgan Burnett (who is Tech’s best defensive back, period) occasionally slide over to corner.
Where Tech is really hurting is on the offensive line. This unit was already thin, but starting left tackle and captain Andrew Gardner is out for the year after surgery to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder. The only Tech player from my high school, RT David Brown (also a senior), is out for a second consecutive game with a spinal condition. Underclassmen are now starting at RG and RT, and freshman stud Nick Claytor is going to start at LT. They are all capable but also young, and the depth behind them is iffy.
Anyway, I cannot stress enough how badly Tech needs a win here, especially going into the bye week. The last visit to Chapel Hill was the 7-0 debacle back in 2006 – while we did clinch a Coastal Division title in that game, it also was a clear signal that perhaps all was not well with that 2006 team. At least it was the beginning of the end of Patrick Nix as OC.
12:30: Georgia @ Kentucky (Raycom/Gameplan): UGA was absolute savaged down in Jacksonville last weekend, much to my delight. While I would love Kentucky to do the same, I’m not holding my breath.
1:30: Iowa State @ Colorado (Versus): CU continues their epic march towards a huge showdown with Nebraska to see who will go 6-6, barring any major upsets.
- Alabama @ Louisiana State (CBS): This really should be a night game. The fact that it is not works very much in Bama’s favor. Also in Alabama’s favor is the fact LSU has wilted in their two games against the other two most competent teams in the SEC so far this year, losing by 30 to Florida and 14 to Georgia. I may regret saying this, but looking over LSU’s schedule gives me no realy indication why they are ranked or perceived as highly as they are this season. So I’m picking Alabama.
- Oklahoma @ Texas Agricultural and Mechanical (ABC/Gameplan): OU hasn’t suffered any apparently ill effects from the Texas game, aside from perhaps a somewhat leaky defense. Is TAMU competent enough to exploit this? Not particularly. OU by a few scores.
- Pennsylvania State @ Iowa (ESPN/ABC): There has been many a drop of ink and bytes of disk space wasted on why Penn State should not be #3 in the BCS right now. If they’re one of 2 undefeated teams from a BCS conference, then sure, they are deserving. But right now, Texas Tech is, from any measure that I can tell, a better football team. I could probably also make arguments for several 1-loss teams, but still.
- Clemson @ Florida State (Gameplan/ESPN/ABC): I tried not to want to rant about this but I guess I failed. GT-UNC is the only matchup this week of two ranked ACC teams, and they’re also the highest ranked ACC teams. Nonetheless, ESPN/ABC decided they wanted Notre Dame-Boston College and this game instead. Clemson is 4-4, has no head coach, and will probably miss a bowl, especially if they lose in Tallahassee. Which they probably will.
- Stanford @ Oregon (FSN): I…I…I have no idea what to make of this game. None. Since it’s at Oregon, I’ll take the Ducks.
- Marshall @ East Carolina (CBSCS): These teams are actually tied for the lead in the C-USA East division. I watched the UCF-ECU game last Sunday and while ECU won, they didn’t really look good doing it. That said, it’s at ECU and Marshall isn’t exactly setting the world on fire, so Pirates in a close one.
7:00: Kansas State @ Missouri (FSN): Kansas State is coachless and, as much as I hate to say it, things look pretty bad out there. Mizzou can probably name their own score for this one.
- California @ Southern California (ABC/Gameplan): It’s Cal! It’s USC! And I don’t care! I’d rather watch OSU-TTU and since Tech was on Raycom this weekend I went ahead and ordered Gameplan for the weekend. Stupid west coast. Oh, and USC by at least a few scores, unless they’ve spent more time moaning about the BCS this week than, you know, on actually playing football. (Dear USC: Maybe you should’ve beaten Oregon State? And perhaps also you realize that unless OSU loses again they will go to the Rose Bowl instead of y’all?)
- Oklahoma State @ Texas Tech (Gameplan/ABC): GAME OF THE DAY. Both these teams love scoring points. But Texas Tech has shown not only do they have the usual bombing-it-out passing game they can run the ball, too. Oh, and play defense, though both these teams do that at least somewhat well. In fact, OSU has the stingiest defense in the Big 12, allowing 102 points in 5 games, to TTU’s 138. Sure, that’s over 20 points per game, but when you’re putting up 40-50 PPG it doesn’t really matter if you give up the occasional 24-spot. At any rate, with another crazy night in Lubbock I expect TTU to emerge victorious again, but I also expect a contest as equally dramatic as last week’s.
- Notre Dame @ Boston College (ESPN): The only common opponent for these two teams is North Carolina, which beat both. BC does lack an embarrassing loss to Pittsburgh, though. In fact, looking at ND’s schedule doesn’t really make me think any of their 5 wins are all that much to write home about. Probably the best team they’ve beaten is Stanford. BC should prevail here.
- Florida @ Vanderbilt (ESPN2): Do I want Vandy to win? Sure. I like rooting for them, and hey, choas is fun. Do I think they will win? No, not so much. Florida by 10-20 points.
- Tulane @ Houston (CBSCS): Tulane: At Least We’re Not SMU. Houston rolls.
Anyway, see y’all Sunday for bowl predictions. And if I get around to it, a basketball preview! See ya then.