Let’s get down to business, shall we? As usual, all predictions wrong and all times Eastern.
- North Carolina State @ Georgia Tech (ESPN): Bright and early once again this week, as GT takes on the conference’s best traditional QB by far in Russell Wilson. NC State has looked solid so far this year, though knowing what we know now about this year’s edition of Cincinnati there’s not a particularly solid win on the resume. The same can be said of GT, of course, and the Jackets feature a bad loss as well. Overall, there are probably worries from all corners except for NC State’s offense. While GT’s defense got itself together for the 2nd half last week against UNC, it still need to execute better, especially against a quarterback who actually knows what he’s doing. The GT offense versus the NCSU defense goes both ways, though. NCSU’s defense this year has received an infusion of “TA NOO TA BLITZ” by bringing the man himself onto staff. So GT has to be worried about a crazy, blitzing defenses, while NCSU fans have to be worried because the same defense got torched for like a billion yards at Notre Dame last year when they played Navy.
- Bowling Green @ Michigan (ESPN2): Michigan…. well, probably.
- Florida International @ Maryland (ESPNU): Maryland.
- Austin Peay @ Wisconsin (BTN): Wisconsin.
- Alabama-Birmingham @ Tennessee (SEC/Gameplan): Tennessee.
- Virginia Tech @ Boston College (ACC/Gameplan): Well, this appears to be the only other game on this morning. A very moribund Virginia Tech squad rolls into Boston, who has managed to at least win their patsy games. We don’t otherwise know much else, though. VPI should win, but, I mean, how can you pick them here?
12:30: Central Florida @ Kansas State (FSN): K-State had to rally against… Iowa State. (Fun fact: when ISU was in the lead, I IMed a friend of mine “wow, that’ll be the first conference win in a long time!” And then I remembered that disaster of a game last year against Nebraska that they won 10-9.) So anyway, I think KSU should still win this one.
- Alabama @ Arkansas (CBS): This is probably the biggest game of the day. Well, not probably. After an easy 3-0 start, this is probably the most legit threat to Alabama so far this yea. Can Ryan Mallet throw it over the vaunted Alabama D while not getting himself killed? Probably, but I’m not sure it’s going to be enough.
- Stanford @ Notre Dame (NBC): I actually went to the Stanford-Wake Forest game last weekend. (It was really cheap.) Other than the weirdness of going to a football game somewhere that still has free parking within two miles of the stadium (which I think says a lot about Stanford football), I have to say that: a) their offense is terrifying, b) Jim Harbaugh gives no quarter, and c) Wake Forest is not very good this year. Notre Dame is pretty decent, but I think the Cardinal will prevail in this one.
- Wake Forest @ Florida State (ABC/Gameplan): Oh, yeah, speaking of Wake… yeah, FSU.
- California-Los Angeles @ Texas (ABC/ESPN/Gameplan): Folks keep referencing the late-90’s contest that UCLA won 66-3 in Austin, but as UCLA fans can tell you this isn’t the 90’s anymore. Texas all the way.
- Eastern Michigan @ Ohio State (ABC/ESPN): Ohio State.
- North Carolina @ Rutgers (ESPNU): When I lived in Alabama, we had a saying: “Thank God for Mississippi.” Well, as a fan of an ACC school, I can safely say “Thank God for the Big East.” UNC should roll.
- Tulane @ Houston (CBSCS): Houston is missing Case Keenum. That will probably hurt them later in the year. It will not hurt them against Tulane.
- Temple @ Pennsylvania State (BTN): Penn State is a tad better than UConn, I’m pretty sure.
6:00: Oklahoma @ Cincinnati (ESPN2): Based on the way Cincy has played so far this year, I think the Sooners can pretty much name their own score in this one.
- Kentucky @ Florida (ESPNU): Florida hasn’t lost to Kentucky since 1986. I don’t think is going to change this year.
- Akron @ Indiana (BTN): Thanks Big Ten network! I think Indiana will win this though.
- Georgia @ Mississippi State (SEC/Gameplan): Last week we had Tigers vs. Tigers, so this week we naturally get Bulldogs vs. Bulldogs. Both these sides are coming off two straight losses to other SEC teams, so it’s hard to entirely predict what will transpire. I’ll have to (very) reluctantly take UGA here.
7:45: South Carolina @ Auburn (ESPN): I would consider these two teams solidly in the “second tier” of the SEC this year, where the first is occupied by Alabama, Florida, and for now, Arkansas. South Carolina is hoping that it finally has the chops to break through and get a big SEC win. The problem is that they’re at Auburn, who managed to pull out a tense, overtime win over a decent Clemson squad last weekend. I’ll take South Carolina here, but barely.
- Oregon State @ Boise State (ABC): Seems to be a fair amount of hype around this game, but to be completely honest I don’t really foresee any issues for the Broncos.
- Baylor @ Rice (CBSCS): Rice is pretty awful this year. I realize that’s not saying much in comparison to their recent history but still, Baylor should be able to get halfway to bowl eligibility against them.
8:30: Northern Illinois @ Minnesota (BTN): Why am I even listing all these BTN games? Minnesota.
9:15: West Virginia @ Louisiana State (ESPN2): College football’s two craziest fanbases meet in one liquored up brawl down in Baton Rouge. Again, that was the fans. The game itself is likely to be marked by Les Miles’s insanity versus Bill Stewart’s incompetence. This game will only end in one of two ways: LSU loses due to poor clock management, or WVU loses due to some bizarre coaching decision. Either way, it should be entertaining, in a trainwreck sort of way.
10:30: Oregon @ Arizona State (FSN): And here’s your Pac-10 nightcap. It doesn’t get any easier this week for the Sun Devils, coming off a close loss at Wisconsin determined by a blocked extra point. Good news for QB Steven Threet is that all his body parts seem to be intact, unlike most of ASU’s other recent quarterbacks. Nonetheless, the Ducks should prove too much for ASU in fairly typical “close in the first half, pull away in the second half” fashion.