As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.
- Mississippi @ Tennessee (CBS): It’s a battle for SEC East vs. West supremacy! Well, supremacy for the worst team in the conference, at least. These two teams are a combined 1-9 in SEC play. The winner has a decidedly better shot at getting to a bowl, as Tennessee needs to win out to make it to 6-6, and it’s only worth mentioning that because the other two opponents are Kentucky and Vanderbilt. Ole Miss has a harder road and would have to upset LSU or Miss State. Anyway, I’ll take Tennessee here, for no apparent reason. I mean, you would at least think that if CBS was going to use one of their finite numbers of double headers they’d at least pick two teams with winning records, like, say, Alabama-Miss State or South Carolina-Florida.
- Iowa @ Northwestern (ESPN): It would sure be easier to figure out who’s going to win the Big Ten if Iowa would just drop a game or two. Probably won’t happen here though.
- Indiana @ Wisconsin (ESPN2): Indiana is 4-0 in OOC play and oh-fer in Big Ten play. I suspect this trend will continue. (Wow, what a dreadful set of noon games so far. And frankly it’s not getting much better.)
- South Florida @ Louisville (ESPNU): Who wants to win the Big East? I mean, seriously. No one has stepped up so far. Both these teams are 2-2 in conference and are certainly as likely as anyone else to win the damn thing at this point. I like USF better overall, and plus they play Pitt next week, so hey, it could happen.
- Southern Mississippi @ Central Florida (CBSCS): UCF has simply been the class of Conference USA this year. 5-0 in conference play and 7-2 overall (featuring close losses to NCSU and Kansas State), UCF has shown an ability to take care of business against the dregs of the conference and outpace the other good teams. Overtime loss to UAB notwithstanding, USM is one of C-USA’s better teams but it would be difficult to pick against UCF at this point.
- Michigan @ Purdue (BTN): Michigan has gotten bowl eligible after last week’s triple overtime thriller, which is good because both of the last two games they could win without it really being termed a “massive upset” were not slam dunks. That scenario is here again this week, as the Boilermakers don’t really have an answer for the Big Ten’s other good offenses but have scored enough against bad defenses. That said, Purdue is down to, like, its sixth string QB and is looking for answers at this point to make a desperate thrust at bowl eligibility (with a game remaining against Indiana, this isn’t impossible, either). I have to go with Michigan here.
- Vanderbilt @ Kentucky (SEC): This has been a lost season for the Commodores, which aren’t exactly used to winning football or anything but they haven’t really even being doing that “keep it close in the first half and then fade away in the second half” thing that they were known for in the past either. Wildcats should win easily.
- Miami @ Georgia Tech (ACC): It’s the battle of the backup quarterbacks! Stephen Morris went 18/30 and threw a TD, but he still continued Jacory Harris’s legacy of interceptions by throwing two picks. Nonetheless, that TD was the game winner with 37 seconds to go, so that’s some poise as well. Tevin Washington will be the starter for GT, and after spending most of his first few drives getting used to game speed he led GT on the tying scoring drive late in the fourth quarter, and very nearly did it again at the end of regulation before throwing the game ending interception. Nonetheless, the future is now in Atlanta, and it should be fun to watch.
On another note, Georgia Tech will be be celebrating the 20th anniversary of its national title at the game, including appearances from as many members of the team as they could find and Bobby Ross himself. I had hoped at the beginning of the year that this game would also be a wonderful chance to clinch the Coastal coming off an early November upset in Virginia (paralleling the way Tech beating then #1 Virginia in Charlottesville propelled them, ultimately, to the national title). Suffice it to say, that didn’t quite happen. Still plenty to play for, though, and hopefully we make the most of it.
12:30: Kansas State @ Missouri (FSN): So are the wheels coming off for Mizzou? Losing to Nebraska is one thing, but losing to a moribund-at-best Texas Tech team is inexplicable. So now we have a matchup of two teams that I’m not quite sure what to make of. For now, I’ll say that the wheels aren’t coming off, but they’re definitely getting kind of wobbly.
2:30: Utah @ Notre Dame (NBC): Sure, Utah got ground into a pulp at home against their conference rivals. But they’re probably still better than Notre Dame at this point/
- Georgia @ Auburn (CBS): Okay, against this edition of UGA Auburn should win either way. I don’t really know what to make of the Cam Newton scandal at this point but in a lot of ways, I’m almost tempted to say that as long as they think they can avoid major sanctions for doing so (other than what they already would face) they should just play him and hope everything works out. You’ve already played 10 games, so there’s not really any turning back now, is there?
- Pennsylvania State @ Ohio State (ABC/ESPN): I think the Buckeyes should roll here, honestly. With the Penn State quarterback situation far from solid, the usual Buckeye defense should be able to do its thing as long as the offense can hold up its end of the bargain, as it has in two post-Wisconsin beatdowns put on Purdue and Minnesota.
- Texas Tech @ Oklahoma (ABC): OU just looked all out of sorts last week against Texas Tech, in what turned out to be an extremely chaotic weekend in the Big 12. Since I’m not sure what to make of this, I’ll take the easy way out and go with trends. OU hasn’t lost a home game since 2005 and has won 6 straight against TTU at home. So there you go.
- Virginia Tech @ North Carolina (ABC/ESPN): If Butch Davis weren’t likely to get fired for the scandal, he probably deserves Coach of the Year for what he’s done with a depleted defense and a questionable offense. They pulled off an upset against former ACC frontrunner FSU last weekend, but I don’t think they’ll be able to do it again to the Hokies.
- Syracuse @ Rutgers (ESPNU): Both these teams can still win the Big East! (Hint: that applies to any Big East team right now.) That said, despite the luster coming off the Orange’s season somewhat I still like them over Rutgers.
- Central Michigan @ Navy (CBSCS): Central Michigan is pretty awful this year. Navy shouldn’t have many issues.
4:00: San Diego State @ Texas Christian (Versus): SDSU is 7-2 and their head coach may find himself at another job very soon due to his quick resurrection of a team that was routinely one of the worst in football. Despite that, unless TCU has gotten too fat and happy off its beatdown of Utah last week I expect a similar performance here.
- Texas Agricultural and Mechanical @ Baylor (FSN): Screw logic and reason, I still like Baylor here.
- Texas-El Paso @ Arkansas (ESPNU): UTEP may be one of the most maddeningly difficult teams in college football to quantify (along with Cal) but it shouldn’t be an issue here, unless the Razorbacks are caught looking forward two weeks to the LSU game.
- South Carolina @ Florida (ESPN): Spurrier’s back, but that hasn’t really worked out well for him in any of the past few seasons. In general, the back end of the SEC schedule hasn’t been kind to the Visor since his return. The question here is, is Florida’s rejuvenated offense enough to overcome one of the best defenses in the SEC (despite the 41-20 loss last week)? That said, the main problem last week is that South Carolina came up flat and didn’t do anything on offense despite having the human personification of a freight train at running back. I don’t think they will again here, but I also think Florida will win anyway.
- Mississippi State @ Alabama (ESPN2): This another matchup of an interesting offense against a high-flying defense. But there’s a lot less uncertainty here for me. Bama should win.
7:30: Oregon @ California (Versus): Right on schedule, it’s time for Cal to lose again. It may get ugly against the nation’s best offense, though.
- Southern California @ Arizona (ABC): Arizona is ranked for three reasons: they only have two losses, those losses were to teams that were ranked, and they have a good win over Iowa. That’s it. Don’t get me wrong, I still think they’ll beat USC, but I won’t exactly be shocked if they lose.
- Clemson @ Florida State (ABC): Did someone at ABC forget that there are no Bowdens in the this matchup anymore? That’s the only explanation I have for this one. FSU should win though.
- Oklahoma State @ Texas (ABC): Okay, it doesn’t exactly look like Texas will remember “hey wait, almost everyone one our roster would start at almost every other school in the country” but hey, it could happen. But it probably won’t. What’s supposed to be appealing about any of these ABC 8:00 PM games again?
- Tulsa @ Houston (CBSCS): Houston has coped well with the early loss of their all-everything QB. Better than I thought they would, actually. Also, I hope you like points, because this game is going to feature a lot of them. That said, I like Tulsa in the end simply because they can run and pass the football.
10:30: Nevada @ Fresno State (ESPNU): It’s the battle of “the other two respectable teams in the WAC”! Actually, this is probably worth watching, if for no other reason than because this is probably more interesting than the inevitable pummeling they’ll take when they play Boise. I concede that it is possible for Nevada to put a similar pummeling on Fresno, though. That said, I think this will be a close, high scoring affair, perfect for wrapping up a long day of college football. Nevada should win, though.