College Football Predictions for Every Week 9 Game

Alex Callos@@alexcallosCorrespondent IOctober 24, 2012

College Football Predictions for Every Week 9 Game

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    We are now more than halfway through the college football season, and conference races are beginning to heat up.

    Week 9 has some interesting matchups, and, as we all know, a loss this late in the season has a lot more consequence than one earlier in the year.

    This week, there are plenty of conference battles featuring two ranked teams, and a non-conference battle that looks to be the biggest game of the week.

    Here are predictions and analysis of every Week 9 college football game.

    *all rankings are based on the BCS standings/all times are Eastern

Nevada vs. Air Force

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    When: Friday, Oct. 26, at 8:00 p.m.

    Nevada is coming off a tough 39-38 overtime loss to San Diego State, and at 6-2, the Wolf Pack are two points away from being undefeated, as they lost 32-31 to South Florida earlier in the year as well.

    The Wolf Pack love to score points, and they do it by running the football. Junior running back Stefphon Jefferson has carried a huge load, rushing for 1,248 yards and 15 touchdowns so far this season on 251 carries.

    Air Force comes in 4-3 and winners of two straight. Like Nevada, Air Force is also only a few points from being undefeated. The Falcons have lost at Michigan by six, at UNLV by three and in overtime against Navy.

    When Air Force has the ball, it's going to be a steady dose of the run, similar to Nevada.

    The Falcons rank second in the country, averaging 352.7 yards rushing a game, and running back Cody Getz receives the bulk of them. He has rushed for 928 yards and eight touchdowns on 122 carries.

    Pick: Nevada 28, Air Force 27

    Final Score: Air Force 48, Nevada 31

Cincinnati vs. No. 16 Louisville

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    This is one of the most important games of the Big East season, and Louisville comes in with legitimate shot to go undefeated.

    The Cardinals are led by quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who is almost perfect at home. The running back combination of Senorise Perry and Jeremy Wright has already combined for over 1,100 yards and 17 touchdowns.

    Cincinnati is coming off its first loss of the season at Toledo and will need more consistent play from quarterback Munchie Legaux.

    The Bearcats defense has been solid all season, and this game will come down to turnovers and execution on offense for Cincinnati, as the Cardinals come out in a close one.

    Pick: Louisville 23, Cincinnati 20

    Final Score: Louisville 34, Cincinnati 31 (OT)  Check out the recap here.

Iowa vs. Northwestern

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    When: Saturday, Oct. 27, at 12:00 p.m.

    Iowa and Northwestern both come into this game off losses. Northwestern, meanwhile, has lost two of its past three, the latest a devastating 29-28 loss to Nebraska.

    Northwestern doesn't do anything special, and sophomore quarterback Trevor Siemian has received most of the snaps recently, as Kain Colter has slid back over to wide receiver. 

    Iowa, on the other hand, is 4-3 and was manhandled last week at the hands of Penn State.

    The Hawkeyes have questions on offense, particularly at quarterback. Senior James Vandenberg has been awful, with only three touchdowns against five interceptions.

    Pick: Northwestern 24, Iowa 14

    Final Score: Northwestern 28, Iowa 17

Kentucky vs. Missouri

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    When: Saturday, Oct. 27, at 12:00 p.m.

    There is nothing like that first SEC win, and on Saturday, after four straight losses to begin conference play, Missouri should be able to get it against Kentucky.

    The health of quarterback James Franklin continues to be an issue. It is now looking like he is going to be out and Corbin Berkstresser will get the start. The redshirt freshman has seen action in all but one game this season and that experience will prove beneficial. The quarterback play will be key, as Kentucky can shut down a running game.

    Running back Kendial Lawrence is averaging 5.5 yards a carry, but the Wildcats run defense is formidable. Kentucky is 1-7, and, barring a major upset, it's not looking like there's much of a chance to win an SEC game.

    This is not going to be the week that happens, as Kentucky is certain to have a letdown just a week after nearly upsetting Georgia. With Franklin out, however, it might be closer than expected.

    Pick: Missouri 23, Kentucky 13

    Final Score: Missouri 33, Kentucky 10

Temple vs. Pittsburgh

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    When: Saturday, Oct. 27, at 12:00 p.m.

    Pittsburgh comes into this game finally looking like it has hit its stride. The Panthers have won three out of five, trying to overcome an awful start to the season.

    The improving health of Ray Graham has helped in recent weeks, and freshman Rushel Shell has proven he can be a workhorse. The two have combined for nearly 900 yards on the season.

    Temple will be a bit of a challenge, as the Owls have improved in recent weeks. They are coming off a terrible second half in a 35-10 loss against Rutgers, but have won two of three.

    Running back Montel Harris has emerged in recent weeks for the Owls and could play a major factor in this game.

    Pick: Pittsburgh 24, Temple 20

    Final Score: Pittsburgh 47, Temple 17

Ball State vs. Army

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    When: Saturday, Oct. 27, at 12:00 p.m.

    Ball State comes into this one at 5-3, with its three losses coming to teams with a combined record of 19-3.

    The Cardinals are another of the talented MAC schools who can put points on the board. But defense has been an issue for Ball State, which has allowed 35 points a game.

    Army is 1-6 and its only win has been a 34-31 home victory over Boston College. While the Black Knights are first in the country in rushing yards, the defense ranks 113th, allowing 38 points a game.

    If Ball State can slow down the Army rushing attack, this one could get ugly. But if Army can control the time of possession and run the ball effectively, the Black Knights will keep it relatively close.

    Pick: Ball State 33, Army 24

    Final Score: Ball State 30, Army 22

Indiana vs. Illinois

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    When: Saturday, Oct. 27, at 12:00 p.m.

    This game is looking like a battle of the two worst teams in the Big Ten, but squads that might be headed in opposite directions.

    Illinois is falling apart, similar to what happened last season, and has lost four in a row including five out of six. The losses have not been even close.

    Indiana, on the other hand, has lost five in a row, but four of those five were by four points or less. This team still has a long way to go, but is getting close.

    This one could come down to the wire, with the slight edge going to the Illini at home.

    Pick: Illinois 24, Indiana 23

    Final Score: Indiana 31, Illinois 17

No. 23 Texas vs. Kansas

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    When: Saturday, Oct. 27, at 12:00 p.m.

    Texas got a much-needed 56-50 win over Baylor on Saturday, and now finally gets a breather from a daunting Big 12 schedule with a road game in Lawrence.

    The Longhorns still have a lot of question marks, particularly on the defensive side of the ball, but a game against Kansas will be a great chance to figure things out.

    Charlie Weis and the Kansas Jayhawks are likely to lose the rest of their games and are completely overmatched when it comes to conference play.

    This has blowout written all over it, especially with the offense firepower of Texas. 

    Pick: Texas 56, Kansas 17

    Final Score: Texas 21, Kansas 17

Tennessee vs. No. 13 South Carolina

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    When: Saturday, Oct. 27, at 12:00 p.m.

    This game is not a given like some surely have made it out to be. South Carolina has struggled in recent weeks and does not look at all like the team it did three weeks ago.

    The Gamecocks still have one of the best defenses in the country, but if the offense continues to struggle, there will be more losses in SEC play before the season is over.

    Tennessee once again laid an egg against Alabama over the weekend, and still appears to have a long way to go before it is ready to be near the top of the conference again.

    The home-field advantage will be huge for the Gamecocks and is likely to be the difference in this one.

    Pick: South Carolina 23, Tennessee 17

    Final Score: South Carolina 38, Tennessee 35

Northern Illinois vs. Western Michigan

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    When: Saturday, Oct. 27, at 12:00 p.m.

    Northern Illinois is one of three one-loss teams remaining in the MAC.

    The only blemish on the Huskies record is an 18-17 loss to Iowa. Northern Illinois has a solid defense, ranking 22nd in the country and only allowing 18 points a game.

    Western Michigan has struggled so far this season and lost a couple close games to Minnesota and Ball State in overtime.

    The Broncos have no trouble moving the ball, but are allowing over 28 points a night.

    Pick: Northern Illinois 31, Western Michigan 17

    Final Score: Northern Illinois 48, Western Michigan 34

Ole Miss vs. Arkansas

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    When: Saturday, Oct. 27, at 12:21 p.m.

    Arkansas has finally recovered from an awful start and is playing much better in recent weeks. As the Razorbacks continue to get healthier, the wins will pile up.

    Quarterback Tyler Wilson is finding his form and threw for 372 yards with five touchdowns against Kentucky last weekend.

    Ole Miss is 4-3 so far on the year, and has beaten the teams it was supposed to beat. Quarterback Bo Wallace is the key to the Rebels' success.

    If Ole Miss can avoid the turnovers, this one will be close. If not, Arkansas will come out on top.

    Pick: Arkansas 31, Ole Miss 24

    Final Score: Ole Miss 30, Arkansas 27

North Carolina State vs. North Carolina

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    When: Saturday, Oct. 27, at 12:30 p.m.

    North Carolina might have been caught looking ahead to this game, as it fell to Duke last weekend and now comes in at 5-3.

    The Tar Heels are led on offense by running back Giovani Bernard. He has rushed for 795 yards and eight touchdowns, while averaging 7.7 yards a carry.

    North Carolina State quarterback Mike Glennon has been piling up the yards, and the Wolfpack are looking more and more like the team many expected them to be.

    With UNC at home, this game is going to be very close. Stopping Giovani Bernard will be the key for NC State.

    Pick: North Carolina 31, North Carolina State 27

    Final Score: North Carolina 43, North Carolina State 35

Maryland vs. Boston College

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    When: Saturday, Oct. 27 at 1:00 p.m.

    Maryland gets a virtual bye this week taking on Boston College. The Eagles are 1-6 and Maryland comes into the game 4-3.

    The Terrapins are much improved from a season ago, and while the offense has struggled for most of the year, the defense has been there from the start, only allowing 20 points a game.

    Boston College seems to get worse every game and ranks near the bottom of the country in both offense and defense. Quarterback Chase Rettig has been solid all season, but he needs a lot of help around him in all facets of the game.

    Pick: Maryland 30, Boston College 10

    Final Score: Boston College 20, Maryland 17

Southern Miss vs. Rice

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    When: Saturday, Oct. 27, at 1:00 p.m.

    This is a battle of the Conference USA worst; the teams have a combined 2-13 record, and Southern Miss is still looking for its first win of the season.

    The Golden Eagles struggle on both sides of the ball, particularly on defense, where they allow 39 points a game.

    Rice is also a team that struggles defensively, and has only beaten Kansas by a point and UTSA at home.

    With two bad defenses, this has all the potential to be an extremely high-scoring game that will be close throughout.

    Pick: Rice 37, Southern Miss 34

    Final Score: Rice 44, Southern Miss 17 

Utah State vs. UTSA

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    When: Saturday, Oct. 27, at 2:00 p.m.

    Even though both teams come into this game with only two losses, this is a huge mismatch—Utah State just has way too much for UTSA.

    The Aggies are led by quarterback Chuckie Keeton, one of the best from a non-BCS conference. He has already passed for over 2,000 yards this season with 16 touchdowns and only four interceptions.

    UTSA won its first five games, but as the competition has gotten a little stiffer, the losses have started to pile up.

    This one could get ugly real quick. The Roadrunners are overmatched in all facets of the game.

    Pick: Utah State 44, UTSA 17

    Final Score: Utah State 38, UTSA 17

UCLA vs. Arizona State

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    When: Saturday, Oct. 27, at 3:00 p.m.

    This is one of the most intriguing Pac-12 games of the week, as both teams come in 5-2 overall and in need of a victory.

    UCLA has not looked as good in conference play, where it is 2-2 on the year. The Bruins are led by running back Johnathan Franklin, who has already totaled 878 yards, but only four touchdowns.

    Arizona State is coming off an embarrassing loss to Oregon, but that is the team's only blemish in Pac-12 play. The Sun Devils are in good position to challenge USC in the Pac-12 South.

    This game could be very low-scoring and come down to who can control the time of possession.

    Pick: Arizona State 21, UCLA 17

    Final Score: UCLA 45, Arizona State 43 

BYU vs. Georgia Tech

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    When: Saturday, Oct. 27, at 3:00 p.m.

    After a tough loss in South Bend against Notre Dame, BYU will travel south and take on a Georgia Tech team that has been a huge disappointment this season.

    The Yellow Jackets are only 3-4 and have struggled for most of the year. They love to run the football and are likely to have a hard time doing it against a talented BYU defense. 

    One of the main problems for BYU has been on the offensive side of the ball; the Cougars have struggled to score points nearly every game.

    With the challenging schedule BYU has played so far, it is only 4-4, and may be a little better than that record suggests.

    Pick: BYU 23, Georgia Tech 17

    Final Score: BYU 41, Georgia Tech 17 

Colorado vs. No. 4 Oregon

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    When: Saturday, Oct. 27, at 3:00 p.m.

    Oregon is at home against a Colorado team that is certainly the worst in the conference, and this has the potential to be the biggest blowout of the weekend.

    Look for the Ducks to keep their foot on the gas for a little longer this time and for Colorado to take the brunt of an angry Oregon team.

    Colorado is 1-6, with its only win coming by a point at Washington State. Don't look for the Buffaloes to get another one any time soon.

    Oregon could have seven or eight touchdowns by halftime, and this will be out of hand quickly.

    Pick: Oregon 66, Colorado 10

    Final Score: Oregon 70, Colorado 14 

Memphis vs. SMU

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    When: Saturday, Oct. 27, at 3:00 p.m.

    This is a battle of below-average Conference USA teams, and a game that should be dominated by SMU. The Mustangs have a few talented receivers and the ability to score points when they need to.

    Memphis is one of the worst teams in the country and is averaging only 18 points a game. The Tigers have scored 17 points or less in four straight games.

    Pick: SMU 34, Memphis 17

    Final Score: SMU 44, Memphis 13 

No. 9 USC vs. Arizona

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    When: Saturday, Oct. 27, at 3:30 p.m.

    USC is finally turning into the team most thought it would be when the season began. The Trojans are starting to click on the offensive side of the ball, but can't be caught looking ahead to Oregon next weekend.

    Arizona is no pushover, as the Wildcats come into this one with a 4-3 record. After a fast start, Arizona has fallen on hard times in conference play, losing three of four, but all to ranked teams.

    After knocking off Washington last week, the Wildcats appear to be back on track, who are led by talented quarterback Matt Scott. He has already passed for 2,355 yards and 17 touchdowns, versus eight interceptions.

    The USC offense will likely have too much firepower in the end, even if it is on the road.

    Pick: USC 44, Arizona 30

    Final Score: Arizona 39, USC 36  

Duke vs. No. 12 Florida State

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    When: Saturday, Oct. 27, at 3:30 p.m.

    Florida State and Duke come into this one with a combined record of 13-3. The Seminoles, at home, are going to be tough for Duke to handle.

    The Blue Devils are having their best season in recent memory and have already qualified for a bowl game. If Duke has any chance of hanging around in this one, it's going to have to force a few turnovers, similar to what NC State did against Florida State.

    Look for Duke to hang around in the first half and Florida State to pull away toward the end.

    Pick: Florida State 34, Duke 23

    Final Score: Florida State 48, Duke 7

No. 2 Florida vs. No. 10 Georgia

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    When: Saturday, Oct. 27, at 3:30 p.m.

    Georgia is going to have to be able to run the football effectively to have a chance versus Florida, something it could not do last weekend against Kentucky. The only blemish on the Bulldogs' resume is a loss at South Carolina.

    Florida has been the most impressive team in the country so far this season, with one of the most talented defenses in the nation.

    If it can dominate the line of scrimmage, Georgia has enough talent on offense to put some points on the board.

    Pick: Florida 27, Georgia 23

    Final Score: Georgia 17, Florida 9 

Purdue vs. Minnesota

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    When: Saturday, Oct. 27, 3:30 p.m.

    This is a battle of two Big Ten teams in need of a conference victory. Both teams enter 0-3 in conference play and on the verge of falling out of bowl contention with another loss.

    Purdue is certainly the more talented of the two teams and came close to knocking off both Notre Dame and Ohio State this season.

    Minnesota is 4-3, but has no quality wins on its resume, and may not be quite as good as its record indicates.

    This one is going to be close, particularly with Minnesota being the home team.

    Pick: Purdue 24, Minnesota 21

    Final Score: Minnesota 44, Purdue 28

Navy vs. East Carolina

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    When: Saturday, Oct. 27, at 3:30 p.m.

    These are two teams who are relatively equally matched and this contest will go a long way toward determining if either of these two teams will qualify for a bowl game.

    Navy comes into this one 4-3 and winners of three straight. The remaining schedule is relatively easy, so a win here would be huge.

    East Carolina is 5-3 and could finish near the top of Conference USA. The only losses for the Pirates have come at South Carolina, North Carolina and Central Florida.

    The Pirates should be able to control the ball and knock off a game Navy team.

    Pick: East Carolina 34, Navy 27

    Final Score: Navy 56, ECU 28 

Kent State vs. No. 15 Rutgers

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    When: Saturday, Oct. 27, at 3:30 p.m.

    Rutgers is one of college football's pleasant surprises so far this season, and this will be one of the biggest tests on its schedule.

    Kent State comes into the game 6-1, but has not beaten anybody of real significance, and lost to Kentucky, the only BCS school it has faced.

    The Golden Flashes average 33.7 points a game, but are going against a Rutgers squad that has one of the best defenses in the nation.

    The Scarlet Knights are third in the country in allowing only 11.3 points a game. I see Kent State having trouble scoring many points on the talented Rutgers defense.

    Pick: Rutgers 24, Kent State 13

    Final Score: Kent State 35, Rutgers 23 

Fresno State vs. New Mexico

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    When: Saturday, Oct. 27, at 3:30 p.m.

    The Fresno State Bulldogs have much more talent than their 5-3 record shows, having lost to the likes of Oregon, Boise State and by one point against Tulsa.

    New Mexico is 4-4 on the other hand, but may not be as good as its record indicates. The Lobos did hang with Boise State, but do not have the talent Fresno State does, especially on offense.

    With quarterback Derek Carr continuing to improve for the Bulldogs, it is hard to imagine the New Mexico defense keeping him in check for too long.

    Look for Fresno State to put some points on the board, but New Mexico to hang around for a little while.

    Pick: Fresno State 37, New Mexico 28

    Final Score: Fresno State 49, New Mexico 32 

Eastern Michigan vs. Bowling Green

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    When: Saturday, Oct. 27, at 3:30 p.m.

    This is a game that Bowling Green should win easily, as Eastern Michigan is one of the bottom-feeders in the MAC and comes in at 1-6.

    Bowling Green, on the other hand, is 5-3, with all its losses coming against quality competition in Florida, Toledo and Virginia Tech.

    Eastern Michigan only has one win all season, and that came against Army 48-38 last weekend.

    The Eastern Michigan defense has been awful all season, as the group has allowed nearly 40 points a game.

    Pick: Bowling Green 42, Eastern Michigan 17

    Final Score: Bowling Green 24, Eastern Michigan 3 

No. 24 Ohio vs. Miami (OH)

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    When: Saturday, Oct. 27, at 3:30 p.m.

    Ohio remains undefeated and still has a legitimate chance to run the table in the MAC. This week the Bobcats travel to Oxford to take on in-state rival Miami.

    Even though Ohio has won every game, there have been some close calls. Quarterback Tyler Tettleton has not been asked to do as much as in years past, and has thrown for 1,343 yards with 12 touchdowns and only one interception.

    Miami could be a challenge for Ohio at home, as the Redhawks have one of the most talented quarterbacks in the country in Zac Dysert.

    Dysert has passed for 14 touchdowns, versus eight picks, to go along with nearly 2,000 yards. The Redhawks struggle on defense, which will be their downfall against the Bobcats.

    Pick: Ohio 41, Miami 30

    Final Score: Miami (OH) 23, Ohio 20 

TCU vs. Oklahoma State

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    When: Saturday, Oct. 27, at 3:30 p.m.

    This is one of the more intriguing Big 12 games of the week, as both teams come in with two losses and in need of a big win.

    TCU has dealt with a lot this season and has no problem putting points on the board. The offense is averaging 36 points a game.

    Oklahoma State also has an excellent offense, one of the best in the country. The Cowboys are averaging 46 points a game, and scoring on an average TCU defense will be no problem.

    Expect this game to be very high-scoring and extremely close, with the team having the ball last coming out on top.

    Pick: Oklahoma State 45, TCU 42

    Final Score: Oklahoma State 36, TCU 14 

Michigan State vs. No. 25 Wisconsin

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    When: Saturday, Oct. 27, at 3:30 p.m.

    Wisconsin has finally found its form and right now is in as good a position as anybody to win the Big Ten.

    The running back combination of Montee Ball and James White has been playing very well in recent weeks and the offense is clicking on all cylinders.

    Michigan State continues to be one of the biggest disappointments in the country, and at 4-4 is now in bowl-less jeopardy this year. The Spartans have lost four out of their last six games, and offense still continues to be a major struggle.

    Pick: Wisconsin 27, Michigan State 17

    Final Score: Wisconsin 16, Michigan State 13 in OT 

Toledo vs. Buffalo

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    When: Saturday, Oct. 27, at 3:30 p.m.

    Toledo is another of the talented MAC teams and fresh off a 29-23 victory over previously-ranked Cincinnati.

    Of all the teams in the MAC, the Rockets just may be the most talented bunch. With a game at Northern Illinois the only difficult challenge ahead, the Rockets could win 11 games.

    Buffalo is 1-6 and 0-3 in the MAC. The Bulls have only defeated Morgan State and are going to have a lot of trouble stopping the explosive Toledo offense. Another problem for Buffalo has been an offense that is averaging just over 20 points a game.

    Pick: Toledo 39, Buffalo 13

    Final Score: Toledo 25, Buffalo 20 

Akron vs. Central Michigan

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    When: Saturday, Oct. 27, at 3:30 p.m.

    Central Michigan only comes into this game 2-5, but the Chippewas do have a win over Iowa on their resume and have the ability to hang with talented teams.

    Good thing for Central Michigan that Akron is not one of those talented teams. The Zips are 1-7 and have only defeated Morgan State.

    The Zips, however, have played a relatively challenging schedule, with games so far against Central Florida, Tennessee, Ohio and Northern Illinois.

    This game could be close, but with Central Michigan at home, the slight edge will go to the Chippewas.

    Pick: Central Michigan 24, Akron 23

    Final Score: CMU 35, Akron 14 

No. 14 Texas Tech vs. No. 3 Kansas State

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    When: Saturday, Oct. 27, at 3:30 p.m.

    Kansas State has been one of the most impressive teams in the nation, and with the exception of Florida has the best resume in the land.

    Quarterback Collin Klein is a strong Heisman candidate for a reason, totaling 10 touchdowns through the air and 14 on the ground.

    Texas Tech has been very impressive so far as well, averaging nearly 43 points a game. The defense, meanwhile, is allowing less than 22 points a game.

    This might be close for a few quarters, but with K-State at home, the Wildcats will just have too much for the Red Raiders in the end.

    Pick: Kansas State 34, Texas Tech 20

    Final Score: Kansas State 55, Texas Tech 24

North Texas vs. Middle Tennessee

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    When: Saturday, Oct. 27, at 3:30 p.m.

    This is a battle of two average teams from the Sun Belt. Middle Tennessee has played a challenging schedule this year and comes in with slightly more talent.

    The Blue Raiders are coming off a loss at Mississippi State, but do have a win at Georgia Tech.

    North Texas comes in 3-4, but has not yet been able to put together back-to-back wins. The defense is the strength of the team, as the offense is only averaging 21 points a game.

    The Mean Green are very balanced and love to mix the run in with the pass. This game will be close, but the Blue Raiders just have more talent and home field.

    Pick: Middle Tennessee 31, North Texas 21

    Final Score: Middle Tennessee 38, North Texas 21 

UAB vs. Tulane

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    When: Saturday, Oct. 27, at 3:30 p.m.

    There are a lot of teams in Conference USA who have been awful all season and this game is a battle between two of them. UAB and Tulane both come into the game 1-6.

    The only win for UAB came against Southeastern Louisiana, and the Blazers have not had a loss closer than seven points.

    Tulane has an identical record, with its only win being a one-point victory over SMU. The Green Wave, however, seem to be playing better lately, as they nearly knocked off UTEP last Saturday.

    With Tulane being at home, this could be a chance for them to get their second victory of the year. Scoring points will be the problem, as the Green Wave only average 13 a game.

    Pick: Tulane 16, UAB 13

    Final Score: Tulane 55, UAB 45

No. 21 Boise State vs. Wyoming

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    When: Saturday, Oct. 27, at 3:30 p.m.

    It is looking more and more like Boise State has enough talent to run the conference table and have another double-digit win season.

    The Broncos are 6-1 and taking on a Wyoming team that is only 1-6. Boise State has played better the last three weeks, and the key to its success has been the defense. The group ranks sixth in the country, only allowing 13.6 points a game.

    Wyoming does not stand much of a chance against Boise State. The Cowboys beat Idaho in overtime for its only victory of the season and have trouble stopping people, with a defense that ranks near the bottom of the country allowing 34 points a game.

    Pick: Boise State 34, Wyoming 10

    Final Score: Boise State 45, Wyoming 14 

Texas State vs. San Jose State

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    When: Saturday, Oct. 27, at 4:00 p.m.

    San Jose State comes into this one winners of five out of six and playing very good football. Both the offense and the defense rank 42nd in the country in points scored and points allowed.

    Quarterback David Fales has been solid all year, having already passed for 2,146 yards with 15 touchdowns and only three interceptions.

    Texas State is in its first year at the FBS level and so far has done quite well. The Bobcats are 3-3 with wins over Houston and Idaho.

    With the exception of the 48-point loss against Texas Tech, the Bobcats have been competitive with everybody on their schedule. 

    Pick: San Jose State 31, Texas State 20

    Final Score: San Jose State 31, Texas State 20 

UTEP vs. Houston

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    When: Saturday, Oct. 27, at 4:30 p.m.

    This is yet another Conference USA game with two very below average teams. Houston has been able to right the ship lately, and comes into this one 3-4, winners of three out of four.

    The Cougars have been respectable on offense, but the defense is nothing short of disastrous, allowing over 35 points a game. 

    UTEP is one of six Conference USA teams with six or more losses, and its only wins came against Tulane and New Mexico State.

    Unlike Houston, the problem with UTEP has been its offense. The group is only averaging 17 points a game.

    Pick: Houston 33, UTEP 24

    Final Score: Houston 45, UTEP 35

Troy vs. Florida Atlantic

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    When: Saturday, Oct. 27, at 5:00 p.m.

    Troy has been much improved compared to the disappointing 2011, but still only comes into this game 4-3.

    The Trojans have played one team of note, a 30-24 loss against Mississippi State. There is plenty of talent on this team to win enough games to reach a bowl.

    Florida Atlantic has been one of the worst teams in the Sun Belt this season. The Owls are 1-6 with their only win being a 7-3 season-opening victory against Wagner.

    Pick: Troy 34, Florida Atlantic 16

    Final Score: FAU 34, Troy 27 

Ohio State vs. Penn State

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    When: Saturday, Oct. 27, at 5:30 p.m.

    This is a battle of perhaps the two best teams in the Big Ten. Too bad neither of them are bowl eligible. Ohio State takes to the road to play a Penn State team that is 5-2 and has not lost a game since early September.

    The Buckeyes on the other hand are 8-0 and have squeaked out a few close ones, particularly in recent weeks.

    Penn State has a defense that ranks 13th in the country and is only allowing 15.7 points a game. This is going to be close for a while, but Penn State does not have the talent to keep up with the Buckeyes.

    Pick: Ohio State 27, Penn State 13

    Final Score: Ohio State 35, Penn State 23 

Western Kentucky vs. Florida International

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    When: Saturday, Oct. 27, at 6:00 p.m.

    At 5-2 Western Kentucky is a very solid football team, with its only losses coming against Alabama and in overtime against Louisiana-Monroe.

    The Hilltoppers have a talented quarterback in Kawaun Jakes and a solid running back in Antonio Andrews. Those two are the key to the WKU offense.

    As good as Western Kentucky has been, Florida International has been just that bad. At 1-7, the Golden Panthers' only win came against Akron in OT.

    The team has struggled to stop anybody, and defense continues to be a huge concern. That does not bode well with Western Kentucky coming up.

    Pick: Western Kentucky 45, Florida International 24

    Final Score: Western Kentucky 14, FIU 6 

Washington State vs. No. 17 Stanford

42 of 56

    When: Saturday, Oct. 27, at 6:15 p.m.

    Stanford looked impressive in beating rival California last weekend and now sets its sights on a Washington State team that is extremely overmatched.

    For the Cardinal, the key has been the quarterback play of Josh Nunes. He has struggled on the road, but at home has been very impressive.

    Washington State has lost four in a row, and after starting the season 2-1 has not recovered from a surprising 35-34 home loss against Colorado.

    It is not looking like the Cougars are going to win any Pac-12 games this season, and it would be shocking to see them hang around for long in this one.

    Pick: Stanford 34, Washington State 13

    Final Score: Stanford 24, Washington State 17 

No. 20 Texas A&M vs. Auburn

43 of 56

    When: Saturday, Oct. 27, at 7:00 p.m.

    Texas A&M is 5-2, with losses coming to Florida and LSU. Both of those games were extremely close, and the Aggies have been much better than expected so far.

    Freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel has burst onto the scene as one of the most explosive players in the SEC.

    Auburn has been one of the biggest disappointments this season and at 1-6 is a loss away from losing bowl eligibility.

    Head coach Gene Chizik is firmly on the hot seat, and the Tigers need to come up with some huge wins to save Chizik's job. This would be a good start, but it's not likely to happen, even at home.

    Pick: Texas A&M 34, Auburn 20

Hawaii vs. Colorado State

44 of 56

    When: Saturday, Oct. 27, at 7:00 p.m.

    This is another of the seemingly high number of games this week featuring two awful teams.

    The 1-5 Warriors have been dominated every game they have played, with the exception of a 54-2 win against Lamar. The 1-6 Rams have also been dominated for most of the season, with the exception of a five-point season-opening win against Colorado.

    Both of these teams are very bad on both sides of the ball, so this is going to be hard for those forced to watch it. Colorado State may be slightly better, however, and it is at home. 

    Pick: Colorado State 24, Hawaii 17

    Final Score: Colorado State 42, Hawaii 27

Syracuse vs. South Florida

45 of 56

    When: Saturday, Oct. 27, at 7:00 p.m.

    This is a game that could very well go either way, as both teams are very hard to figure out.

    Syracuse comes in at 3-4 overall and has lost some tough games, including by one to Northwestern, 13 against USC, seven against Minnesota and eight against Rutgers.

    South Florida, on the other hand, has a lot of talent, but has still lost five straight (though a lot of those were close losses). If South Florida shows up, this is a game it should win at home.

    Pick: South Florida 24, Syracuse 17

Baylor vs. Iowa State

46 of 56

    When: Saturday, Oct. 27, at 7:00 p.m.

    Baylor comes into the game with perhaps the worst defense in the country, allowing 44 points a game.

    The Bears make up for it with an offense that is scoring 48 points a night, good for third in the nation, and quarterback Nick Florence has already passed for 2,226 yards with 20 touchdowns and 10 picks.

    Iowa State does things a little differently, as the defense allows less than 20 points a game and the offense is only scoring 24 points.

    This is a huge game for both teams—the winner will be in excellent shape for bowl eligibility, and the loser is going to have a lot of work to do.

    Pick: Baylor 34, Iowa State 30

Massachusetts vs. Vanderbilt

47 of 56

    When: Saturday, Oct. 27, at 7:00 p.m.

    It is not uncommon for SEC teams to step out of conference play and battle a cupcake midway through the season. This is that game for Vanderbilt, as it takes on an especially bad Massachusetts squad.

    The Commodores are in need of a win to keep bowl hopes alive and, after struggling at the start of the season, they have started to hit their stride.

    UMass is 0-7 and likely to go winless unless something changes quickly.

    Pick: Vanderbilt 45, Massachusetts 7

    Final Score: Vanderbilt 49, UMass 7

South Alabama vs. Louisiana-Monroe

48 of 56

    When: Saturday, Oct. 27, at 7:00 p.m.

    South Alabama is 2-5 its first year at the FBS level and has a tough road game ahead against a 5-2 Louisiana-Monroe team.

    The Warhawks have had much time in the national spotlight this year after starting off the season with games against Arkansas, Auburn and Baylor.

    The South Alabama Jaguars' two wins come against Nicholls State and Florida Atlantic. Being on the road and in a hostile environment, it will be hard for South Alabama to handle. Look for this to get ugly early.

    Pick: Louisiana-Monroe 42, South Alabama 14

    Final Score: Louisiana-Monroe 38, South Alabama 24

UNLV vs. San Diego State

49 of 56

    When: Saturday, Oct. 27, at 8:00 p.m.

    At 5-3, San Diego State is a solid team that has lost to some quality opponents. A win over Nevada last Saturday was the third straight for the Aztecs, and they are finally hitting their stride.

    Running back Adam Muema has had some outstanding games and has rushed for 749 yards with nine TDs on the year.

    Defense has been the issue for the 1-7 Rebels, as the group has allowed over 35 points a game. The Rebels have seemingly gotten worse every week, and a road game at San Diego State will be no different.

    Pick: San Diego State 37, UNLV 17

    Final Score: San Diego State 24, UNLV 13

No. 22 Michigan vs. Nebraska

50 of 56

    When: Saturday, Oct. 27, at 8:00 p.m.

    This is a huge game with some serious Big Ten title implications on the line. Michigan has not performed well offensively against the better teams on its schedule.

    The Nebraska defense does not offer too much resistance, however, and this game will come down to who can force a few turnovers.

    A home game for Nebraska gives it the slight edge, but the health of running back Rex Burkhead continues to be an issue for the Cornhuskers.

    Pick: Nebraska 24, Michigan 21

    Final Score: Nebraska 23, Michigan 9

Louisiana Tech vs. New Mexico State

51 of 56

    When: Saturday, Oct. 27, at 8:00 p.m.

    There is no team in the country that has scored more points per game than the 56.1 Louisiana Tech is putting up. And against a team like New Mexico State that number is likely to rise. The Bulldogs offense has a chance to put up 50 in the first half here.

    New Mexico State comes in losers of six straight with a defense that ranks 103rd in the country, allowing over 34 points a game. That is not good news as the Louisiana Tech offense comes to town.

    Pick: Louisiana Tech 63, New Mexico State 27

    Final Score: Louisiana Tech 28, New Mexico State 14

No. 5 Notre Dame vs. No. 8 Oklahoma

52 of 56

    When: Saturday, Oct. 27, at 8:00 p.m.

    There is no question that this is the marquee game of the week with national title implications on the line, and this is a chance for Notre Dame to prove itself.

    The Sooners are 5-1 and have been looking like one of the top teams in the country of late.

    The key to this one will be the play of the talented Notre Dame front seven. The Oklahoma offensive line will have to protect quarterback Landry Jones and give him time to throw the football.

    If Jones gets time, Oklahoma will have no trouble scoring against one of the best defenses in the country. If not, this game will be very close.

    Pick: Oklahoma 31, Notre Dame 17

    Final Score: Notre Dame 30, Oklahoma 13

Central Florida vs. Marshall

53 of 56

    When: Saturday, Oct. 27, at 8:00 p.m.

    Central Florida is quite possibly the most talented team in Conference USA and its only two losses have come to Ohio State and Missouri.

    The Knights have a balanced offensive attack and do it with an above-average defense as well. Marshall, on the other hand, is averaging 43 points a game, but allowing nearly 42.

    That is not a good combination with Central Florida coming to town. The Thundering Herd offense, however, will keep it in this one for quite some time.

    Pick: Central Florida 44, Marshall 37

    Final Score: Central Florida 54, Marshall 17

No. 11 Mississippi State vs. No. 1 Alabama

54 of 56

    When: Saturday, Oct. 27, at 8:30 p.m.

    This is one of the most anticipated games of the week. Some consider this the first real test for the Crimson Tide, and many want to see if Mississippi State is for real.

    The Alabama defense is without question the best in the country and is only allowing 8.3 points a contest.

    Mississippi State is going to need to win the turnover battle to hang around in this one, particularly in Tuscaloosa.

    The Bulldogs do have a defense of their own, only allowing 14.4 points a game. Expect this one to be low scoring and still close in the fourth quarter.

    Pick: Alabama 23, Mississippi State 13

    Final Score: Alabama 38, Mississippi State 7

California vs. Utah

55 of 56

    When: Saturday, Oct. 27, at 9:45 p.m.

    There is no question that this is a battle of two hugely disappointing teams. Cal is 3-5 (2-3 in the Pac-12), with its losses coming to the likes of Nevada, Ohio State, USC, Arizona State and Stanford.

    Utah, on the other hand, is 2-5, and has had to suffer through a season of injuries once again. The Utes have yet to win a Pac-12 tilt, but have played a very challenging schedule so far. 

    Utah is at home, which will allow it to hang around, but California has too much talent to lose this one. 

    Pick: California 28, Utah 24

No. 7 Oregon State vs. Washington

56 of 56

    When: Saturday, Oct. 27, at 10:15 p.m.

    There is no question that Oregon State has been one of the biggest surprises this year, and at 6-0 the Beavers have dominated everybody in their way.

    Washington has enough talent to put some points on the board and challenge the Beavers. The Huskies have been a huge disappointment, but at 3-4 still have plenty of talent.

    Look for Washington to limit its mistakes and hang around long enough to get the Beavers worried. An upset could be in store for the night's finale.

    Pick: Washington 23, Oregon State 20