College Football Week 10 Predictions: Picking the Winner of Every Game
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Every college football fan has had Nov. 3 circled on his or her calendar since January, as we've been eagerly anticipating the two marquee matchups of the 2012 season—Alabama at LSU and Oregon at USC.
The two games have lost a bit of their luster since both the Tigers and the Trojans have already suffered losses this year. However, they're still clearly two of the biggest games of the season.
While those may be the two most talked-about games of the weekend, there are also other intriguing Week 10 games that pit ranked teams against each other, such as Oklahoma State at Kansas State, Texas A&M at Mississippi State and Texas at Texas Tech.
Here's a look at the predictions for all 56 games in Week 10.
Alabama Crimson Tide at LSU Tigers
Neither of last year's two meetings between LSU and Alabama lived up to the hype, but Saturday's game may just end up being as good as advertised. You can make the argument that these are the two most talented teams in the country and most NFL scouts would probably agree.
The big key will be which quarterback steps up and plays the most efficient game and takes care of the ball.
Right now, if you had to choose between Alabama's AJ McCarron and LSU's Zach Mettenberger, McCarron would be the obvious choice. The junior signal-caller currently has a 182.4 passer rating, which is the highest in the country, and he has yet to throw an interception this season.
Yes, Death Valley at night may be a hostile environment. However, if there's any quarterback that should be able to handle it, it's McCarron. The Tide's offensive leader has the chance to make a huge statement to Heisman voters with a big performance on the national stage.
Prediction: Alabama 36, LSU 23
Final: Alabama 21, LSU 17
Oklahoma State Cowboys at Kansas State Wildcats
If you're looking for an offensive shootout this weekend, then make sure to tune into the Oklahoma State-Kansas State game on Saturday night.
The Cowboys and the Wildcats have two of the most powerful and productive offensive attacks in the country. The two teams are both averaging 44 points per game.
Kansas State QB Collin Klein and Oklahoma State RB Joseph Randle are two of college football's premier playmakers, and they should both put on a wildly entertaining show.
In the end, Klein will likely be the one who makes the key play to lead the Wildcats to victory at home.
Prediction: Kansas State 55, Oklahoma State 51
Final: Kansas State 44, Oklahoma State 30
Pittsburgh Panthers at Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Notre Dame is coming off a huge road win at Oklahoma last weekend. This week, Brian Kelly has the tough task of keeping his team focused. Kelly has to make sure his players don't get distracted by all the talk about how the team has an inside track to the BCS National Championship Game.
Pittsburgh may only be 4-4, but the Panthers are a tricky team that could cause the Irish some problems if they don't come into the game fully prepared and motivated.
Paul Chryst's squad has some serious talent at the offensive skill positions with running backs Ray Graham and Russel Shell and receivers Devin Street and Mike Shanahan. However, in the end, QB Tino Sunseri will just be too overwhelmed by LB Manti Te'o, DE Stephon Tuitt and the rest of Notre Dame's dominant defense, and he won't be able to make enough plays to pull off an upset.
Prediction: Notre Dame 30, Pittsburgh 20
Final: Notre Dame 29, Pittsburgh 26
Oregon Ducks at USC Trojans
As far as just pure talent is concerned, these two teams are just about even, and USC might even have the slight advantage. The Trojans are loaded as always with players who will be playing on Sundays some day soon.
The big deciding difference, however, is the disparity between the two head coaches.
Chip Kelly has earned his title of offensive guru, as he has turned the Oregon offense into an almost unstoppable force. Kelly's counterpart on the opposite sideline, Lane Kiffin, may be a great recruiter, but he's nowhere near as good of a game day coach as the Ducks' head man is.
There may be concerns about how freshman QB Marcus Mariota will fare in the Coliseum, since this will be just his third ever start away from Autzen Stadium. However, Mariota is no ordinary freshman. He, along with Oregon's dangerous and dynamic running back duo of Kenjon Barner and De'Anthony Thomas, should rise to the occasion and thrive in the pressure-packed situation.
Prediction: Oregon 50, USC 34
Final: Oregon 62, USC 51
Ole Miss Rebels at Georgia Bulldogs
Georgia is coming off a hard-fought and physically draining 17-9 win over division rival Florida last week, which helped put the Bulldogs in the driver's seat in the SEC East.
Given how big that game was, it's possible that we could see a letdown on Saturday when they host a surprisingly dangerous Ole Miss team. The Rebels have quieted all the doubters who said they would finish in the basement of the conference once again in 2012, as they're now just one win away from bowl eligibility.
QB Bo Wallace and Ole Miss could put a scare into a Georgia team that may already be thinking about the SEC Championship Game. However, ultimately QB Aaron Murray, RB Todd Gurley and the rest of the Bulldogs will find a way to come up with a critical conference victory at home.
Prediction: Georgia 23, Ole Miss 17
Final: Georgia 37, Ole Miss 10
Missouri Tigers at Florida Gators
Everyone seems to be talking about how Florida is going to get revenge and redemption after last week's loss to Georgia and take out its frustrations by beating up on a mediocre Missouri team. However, the Gators may end up getting a much tougher challenge than many are expecting.
Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel gave the Tigers' dangerous dual-threat quarterback James Franklin a blueprint for how to attack the Florida defense. If he can replicate what Manziel did, Franklin could cause a lot of problems for the Gators.
So far this season, Missouri hasn't looked like it's ready for the SEC. Gary Pinkel's squad has been embarrassed by Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama. But the Tigers may finally step up and pull off a statement win on Saturday against a Florida team that's still reeling from a devastating loss in Week 9.
Prediction: Missouri 24, Florida 19
Final Score: Florida 14, Missouri 7
Temple Owls at Louisville Cardinals
Louisville has been living on the edge this season. The Cardinals have won five of their last six games by just a touchdown or less. But the bottom line is—they've won, and they're now 8-0.
Charlie Strong's squad should be able to finally win comfortably this weekend when Temple pays a visit to Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. The Owls rank last in the Big East in both total offense and total defense, and they've been outproduced by an average of 113 yards per game.
Prediction: Louisville 40, Temple 13
Final: Louisville 45, Temple 17
Arizona State Sun Devils at Oregon State Beavers
Oregon State's perfect record was tarnished last week when the Beavers were upset by Washington, losing on the road 20-17.
QB Sean Mannion struggled mightily in his first game after returning from a knee injury. as he completed just 18 of his 34 passes and threw four interceptions. It will be interesting to see how Mannion's replacement, Cody Vaz, fares against an Arizona State secondary that currently ranks third in the country in pass defense.
Vaz has played well in the team's last three games, and he should be able to find similar success against the Sun Devils on Saturday.
Prediction: Oregon State 31, Arizona State 20
Oklahoma Sooners at Iowa State Cyclones
Iowa State pulled off a huge upset over Oklahoma State last season. Now, the Cyclones are in a prime position to pull off an upset over Oklahoma this year.
The Sooners showed zero heart in their disappointing loss to Notre Dame at home last weekend, and now they'll have to go on the road to battle a tough and gritty Iowa State team.
The Cyclones may not have as many playmakers and elite athletes as Bob Stoops' squad does. However, they have the type of players who always bring 100 percent effort to the table, which is something that can't be said about Oklahoma's players.
Prediction: Iowa State 28, Oklahoma 24
Final Score: Oklahoma 35, Iowa State 20
Clemson Tigers at Duke Blue Devils
Since losing to Florida State back in Week 4 and giving up control of the ACC Atlantic division, Clemson has quietly been lurking and taking care of business. Dabo Swinney's squad is now 7-1 and ranked 13th in the latest BCS standings. The Tigers are still definitely in play for a possible at-large BCS bowl bid even if the Seminoles go on to win the division.
Clemson will face a tricky road test this weekend against a 6-3 Duke team that definitely can't be taken lightly.
The Blue Devils have the talent to keep this one interesting deep into the second half. But in the end, the Tigers just have too much speed on offense with Andre Ellington, Sammy Watkins and DeAndre Hopkins for the Duke defense to handle.
Prediction: Clemson 38, Duke 28
Final: Clemson 56, Duke 20
Stanford Cardinal at Colorado Buffaloes
Stanford's offense was very sloppy and ineffective in a 24-17 win over Washington State last weekend. Luckily, the Cardinal defense really stepped up once again and collected a whopping 10 sacks against the Cougars.
This weekend, the offense should be able to get back on track when it faces a Colorado defense that ranks 121st in the country in total defense.
Prediction: Stanford 44, Colorado 7
Final: Stanford 48, Colorado 0
Texas A&M Aggies at Mississippi State Bulldogs
Mississippi State started the season 7-0, but that record may soon turn to 7-3 now that the Bulldogs have to face the top teams in the SEC West.
Dan Mullen's team is in the middle of a brutal three-game stretch that includes matchups with Alabama, Texas A&M and LSU. After getting manhandled by the Tide last weekend, Mississippi State won't have an easy time trying to rebound against an Aggies team that is starting to hit on all cylinders.
Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel is the most exciting freshman in the country this season. The dual-threat quarterback will cause a ton of problems for a Bulldogs defense that has struggled against strong passing attacks this year.
Prediction: Texas A&M 35, Mississippi State 27
Final: Texas A&M 38, Mississippi State 13
Texas Longhorns at Texas Tech Red Raiders
This Lone Star State showdown is one of the toughest games to call this weekend. Both Texas and Texas Tech have had games in which they've looked great, and then they've also had games in which they've gotten run off the field by superior competition.
The Longhorns may be 6-2 at this point in the season, but they have some serious issues at quarterback and on defense right now.
If David Ash turns in another performance like the one we saw from him against Kansas last week, Texas Tech QB Seth Doege and the Red Raiders should be able to take advantage and put up enough points to pick up a big victory at home.
Prediction: Texas Tech 43, Texas 37
Final: Texas 31- Texas Tech 22
San Diego State Aztecs at Boise State Broncos
Boise State hasn't played many quality opponents this season, but San Diego State is certainly the type of team that has the talent to give the Broncos a true test. The Aztecs are 6-3 and they've got one of the best defenses in the Mountain West conference.
Chris Petersen's team hasn't played many close games at home in recent years, but the Broncos better be ready for a battle on the blue turf on Saturday.
Ultimately, Boise State should get enough key plays from RB D.J. Harper and WR Matt Miller to pick up another critical conference victory.
Prediction: Boise State 26, San Diego State 20
Final: San Diego State 21, Boise State 19
Nebraska Cornhuskers at Michigan State Spartans
Michigan State picked up a must-have win over Wisconsin on the road last week, which helped the Spartans climb back into the race in the Big Ten Legends division. Now, they'll have the chance to knock off the division leader, Nebraska, when they host the Cornhuskers on Saturday.
The Spartans had a letdown performance in Lincoln last year after a thrilling last-second win over Wisconsin the week before. But this time around, they should be ready to play.
The Michigan State defense, which currently ranks fifth in the nation in total defense and 10th in scoring defense, should be able to keep Nebraska QB Taylor Martinez and the rest of the Cornhuskers offense bottled up.
Prediction: Michigan State 24, Nebraska 20
Final: Nebraska 28 - Michigan State 24
TCU Horned Frogs at West Virginia Mountaineers
West Virginia had a well-timed bye week to regroup after suffering embarrassing losses to Texas Tech and Kansas State in consecutive weeks.
The Mountaineers offense should come out looking re-energized at home against TCU on Saturday.
QB Geno Smith and his explosive receiver duo of Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey should be able to create some big plays against a Horned Frogs defense that has given up 17 plays of 30 yards or more this season.
If the West Virginia defense can get consistent pressure on freshman QB Trevone Boykin, the Mountaineers should be able to contain the TCU offense enough to come away with the victory.
Prediction: West Virginia 42 - TCU 31
Final: TCU 39 - WVU 38
Arizona Wildcats at UCLA Bruins
Last week, Arizona picked up arguably the program's biggest win since the turn of the millennium when the Wildcats pulled off a shocking 39-36 upset of USC.
Following such a huge victory, an emotional letdown has to be expected this week, especially since Rich Rodriguez's squad has to travel to Los Angeles to play a dangerous UCLA team.
The Wildcats' offense will likely lack the energy to keep up with QB Brett Hundley, RB Johnathan Franklin and the rest of the Bruins in the Rose Bowl.
Prediction: UCLA 38, Arizona 27
Final: UCLA 10, Arizona 66
UTSA Roadrunners at Louisiana Tech Bulldogs
Louisiana Tech currently ranks second in the nation in both scoring offense and total offense, averaging 52 points and 575 yards per game. The Bulldogs should once again put together another impressive offensive assault this weekend when UTSA comes to town.
The Roadrunners have given up an average of 44.7 points in their last three games.
They simply won't be able to slow down QB Colby Cameron, WR Quinton Patton and the rest of Louisiana Tech's explosive offensive attack.
Prediction: Louisiana Tech 62, UTSA 21
Final: Louisiana Tech 51, UTSA 27
Vanderbilt Commodores at Kentucky Wildcats
Vanderbilt is 4-4 and flirting with bowl eligibility, while Kentucky has suffered through a miserable 1-8 campaign this season. The Wildcats aren't actually as bad as their record would make it seem, as they've had to play one of the most grueling schedules in college football.
Kentucky may be out of the running for a bowl game already, but the team should still be motivated to win at home against a Commodores team that is certainly beatable.
Prediction: Kentucky 24, Vanderbilt 16
Final: Vanderbilt 40, Kentucky 0
Michigan Wolverines at Minnesota Golden Gophers
Michigan's offense looked completely lost when QB Denard Robinson went down with an injury against Nebraska last week. However, luckily for the Wolverines, Robinson will be back in the lineup when the team makes the trip to Minnesota this weekend.
After falling to the Cornhuskers last week, Brady Hoke and his players know that they need to win this weekend to keep pace in the race to win the Big Ten Legends Division.
The Gophers are a better team than they were last year, but Michigan still has a clear talent advantage.
Prediction: Michigan 40, Minnesota 21
Final: Michigan 35, Minnesota 13
Houston Cougars at East Carolina Panthers
Houston has rebounded after a rough 0-3 start and gone on to win four of its last five games. The Cougars are now 3-1 in league play, and they are a legitimate threat in the Conference USA West Division.
The offense certainly isn't as powerful as it was when Case Keenum was running it, but Houston still has enough playmakers to go on the road and pick up an important conference victory over East Carolina.
Prediction: Houston 56, East Carolina 45
Final: Houston 48, East Carolina 28
Air Force Falcons at Army Black Knights
Army may only be 1-7 this season, but that has a lot to do with the Knights playing a very tough schedule that includes quality opponents such as San Diego State, Northern Illinois, Wake Forest and Kent State.
They are definitely a more competitive team than their record would indicate and they should prove that against Air Force on Saturday.
The Falcons have won the last six meetings between these two teams, but Army may be able to finally snap that streak if the Knights can hold steady on defense and catch a few key breaks.
Prediction: Army 23, Air Force 21
Final: Army 41, Air Force 21
Miami (Ohio) RedHawks at Buffalo Bulls
Miami (Ohio) picked up a huge win over Ohio last weekend. However, the RedHawks may have a tough time regaining their focus, as they head out on the road to play a tricky Buffalo squad.
The Bulls may only be 1-7 this year, but they have one of the best offensive players in the MAC, RB Branden Oliver, as well as one of the best defensive players in the league, LB Khalil Mack.
The RedHawks' Zac Dysert may be one of the most underrated quarterbacks in the country, but he may be in store for a long afternoon against a Buffalo defense that has shown major improvement over the course of the season.
Prediction: Buffalo 27, Miami (Ohio) 16
Fianl: Buffalo 27, Miami (Ohio) 24
Syracuse Orange at Cincinnati Bearcats
Cincinnati QB Munchie Legaux is one of the worst passers that you’ll find in a BCS conference this year. However, the Bearcats have enough talent on both sides of the ball to make up for his shortcomings.
If Legaux can take care of the ball and show improved decision-making against Syracuse on Saturday, Cincinnati should be able to dispose of the Orange and get back on track after losing two straight games.
Prediction: Cincinnati 37, Syracuse 33
Final: Cincinnati 35, Syracuse 24
Troy Trojans at Tennessee Volunteers
Beating Troy isn't going to make up for the fact that Tennessee is 0-5 against SEC opponents this season. However, it would certainly be a step in the right direction, given that the Volunteers have lost four straight games.
Derek Dooley likely realizes that he's probably coaching for his job at this point, and any victory he can add to his resume would certainly help, no matter who the opponent may be.
Prediction: Tennessee 43, Troy 30
Final: Tennessee 55, Troy 48
Tulsa Golden Hurricane at Arkansas Razorbacks
Remember back in the offseason when some were touting Arkansas as a legitimate contender in the SEC West?
Obviously, that seems like an eternity ago now that the Razorbacks have struggled to a 3-5 record.
Following Arkansas' loss to Ole Miss last week, it's doubtful that the team will be able to make it to a bowl this season, considering it still has LSU, Mississippi State and South Carolina on the schedule.
Still, Tyler Wilson and the rest of the crew in Fayetteville should be able to pick up a win over Tulsa this weekend, even though the Golden Hurricane are leading the Conference USA West Division.
Prediction: Arkansas 38, Tulsa 34
Final: Arkansas 19, Tulsa 15
New Mexico State Aggies at Auburn Tigers
Auburn has suffered through a miserable season this year. The Tigers have dropped seven of their first eight games, and they've been a mess on both sides of the ball. Fortunately, this weekend, they'll face a team, New Mexico State, that has played even worse in 2012 than they have.
Beating the Aggies may not be enough to save Gene Chizik's job, but at this point, Auburn will take any win it can get.
Prediction: Auburn 45, New Mexico State 14
Final: Auburn 42, New Mexico State 7
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Maryland Terrapins
After being decimated by injuries at quarterback, Maryland will be forced to start true freshman quarterback Shawn Petty against Georgia Tech.
That sounds pretty bad, but given the way Georgia Tech's Tevin Washington has played this season, Petty may just end up being the best quarterback on the field on Saturday.
If the inexperienced signal-caller doesn't turn the ball over, and if he lets fellow freshmen WR Stefon Diggs and RB Wes Brown do the heavy lifting for the offense, the Terrapins actually have a good chance to pull out a win at home.
Prediction: Maryland 16, Georgia Tech 13
Final: Maryland 33, Georgia Tech 13
Virginia Cavaliers at N.C. State Wolfpack
N.C. State still has to be feeling the sting of letting in-state rival North Carolina come back and win 43-35 last week. It will be interesting to see how the Wolfpack respond at home after back-to-back road trips.
Luckily, they'll have the opportunity to bounce back against a 2-6 Virginia team that has been allergic to the end zone this season.
If QB Mike Glennon brings his "A" game, N.C. State shouldn't have much trouble outscoring the Cavaliers at home.
Prediction: N.C. State 34, Virginia 19
Final: Virginia 33, N.C. State 6
Western Michigan Broncos at Central Michigan Chippewas
Western Michigan ended Central Michigan's five-game winning streak in this rivalry series with a 44-14 victory last year.
The Broncos won't have an easy time making it two wins in a row, but they should still find a way to get the job done on the road on Saturday.
Prediction: Western Michigan 43, Central Michigan 27
Final: Western Michigan 42, Central Michigan 31
Memphis Tigers at Marshall Thundering Herd
Marshall loves to throw the football, which is evident by the team's 424 total pass attempts, which ranks second in the country.
The Thundering Herd are much better at passing than their opponent this weekend, Memphis, which is averaging just 146 yards through the air per game.
The Tigers simply don't have the offensive firepower needed to keep up with Marshall's aerial assault.
Prediction: Marshall 51, Memphis 21
Final: Marshall 51, Memphis 21
Akron Zips at Kent State Golden Flashes
Kent State pulled off a huge upset win at Rutgers last week to improve to 7-1.
Usually, you would expect a letdown performance in the game following such a big win. However, since the Golden Flashes will be facing Akron, which is one of the worst FBS teams in the country, there will certainly be no letdown this weekend.
Prediction: Kent State 44, Akron 14
Final: Kent State 35, Akron 24
Washington State Cougars at Utah Utes
Both of these teams have been big disappointments this season. But at least Utah has the excuse of losing its starting quarterback early in the season.
Washington State, on the other hand, has just looked flat-out bad in every phase of the game. The Cougars haven't come close to making the type of improvement that many were expecting them to make under new head coach Mike Leach.
If the Utes can get a good effort out of their defense and a solid performance from freshman quarterback Travis Wilson, they should win this game rather easily.
Prediction: Utah 40, Washington State 20
Final: Utah 49, Washington State 6
Texas State Bobcats at Utah State Aggies
Since Utah State plays in the WAC, the Aggies haven't got much attention this season. However, they're truly one of the most underrated and underappreciated teams in college football.
Gary Andersen's team has gone 7-2 this season, and the only two losses it experienced were on the road to Wisconsin and BYU by a combined five points.
Utah State's efficient offensive attack, led by QB Chuckie Keeton and RB Kerwynn Williams, will overwhelm Texas State's defense on Saturday.
Prediction: Utah State 35, Texas State 24
Final Utah State 38, Texas State 7
FIU Golden Panthers at South Alabama Jaguars
Mario Cristobal probably really regrets bypassing an offer to become the head coach at Rutgers this past offseason to stay at FIU considering the Golden Panthers have gone just 1-8 this season.
Now, Cristobal won't have to worry about declining offers from BCS schools. Instead, he'll have to worry about about just keeping the job he has now.
Cristobal knows that the heat is on, and luckily for him and his team, FIU has a decent chance at finally break its losing streak against a 2-6 South Alabama team on Saturday.
Prediction: FIU 27, South Alabama 20
Final: FIU 28, South Alabama 20
Iowa Hawkeyes at Indiana Hoosiers
Indiana is one of the most interesting teams in the Big Ten this season. The Hoosiers are only 3-5, but four of their losses have been by four points or less. They gave both Michigan State and Ohio State a scare at home.
Now, Iowa comes to town this weekend with an offense that has been struggling to find consistency this season.
If the Hoosiers can get some explosive plays from their dangerous playmakers, RB Stephen Houston and WR Kofi Hughes, they should be able to pull off a big victory over the Hawkeyes at home.
Prediction: Indiana 31, Iowa 20
Final: Indiana 24, Iowa 21
Boston College Eagles at Wake Forest Demon Deacons
There's nothing particularly special about either of these two ACC also-rans. Boston College and Wake Forest have two of the weakest offenses in the conference. However, it wouldn't be surprising if this game actually turns into a shootout, since their defenses aren't all that great either.
Given the way Frank Spaziani's tenure has gone at Boston College, it would be almost fitting if the Eagles went on the road, actually played a good game and lost by just a point.
Prediction: Wake Forest 38, Boston College 37
Final: Wake Forest 38, Boston College 37
Illinois Fighting Illini at Ohio State Buckeyes
Illinois has experienced blowout losses in its past five games, and it's likely that streak will continue this weekend against Ohio State.
The Buckeyes are playing with something to prove this season, and they've got one of the most dynamic playmakers in the country, QB Braxton Miller, leading the way on offense.
Miller has garnered legitimate Heisman buzz this season, and he'll be looking to make another statement to voters with another outstanding performance on Saturday.
Prediction: Ohio State 41, Illinois 21
Final: Ohio State 52, Illinois 22
Kansas Jayhawks at Baylor Bears
Kansas nearly pulled off one of the most shocking upsets of the season when it came close to stunning Texas last week.
The Jayhawks won't be able to put that same type of scare into Baylor on Saturday, though.
The Bears offense, which features one of the best wide receiver trios in the country comprised of future first-round NFL draft pick Terrance Williams, Tevin Reese and Lanear Sampson, will be too much for the Kansas secondary to handle.
Prediction: Baylor 49, Kansas 17
Final: Baylor 41, Kansas 14
Florida Atlantic Owls at Navy Midshipmen
After suffering through a 1-3 start, Navy has rebounded to win its last four games. Now, the Midshipmen are one win away from clinching bowl eligibility.
They'll get that win this week when Florida Atlantic comes to town.
The Owls picked up their first win over an FBS team last weekend, when they beat Troy 34-27, but they won't be able to win a second in a row.
Prediction: Navy 34, Florida Atlantic 14
Final: Navy 24, Florida Atlantic 17
Massachusetts Minutemen at Northern Illinois Huskies
Everything we've seen from these two teams so far this season would seemingly indicate that this game should be one of the biggest blowouts of the weekend.
Northern Illinois is 8-1 this season and it has one of the most potent offenses in the country.
Massachusetts, on the other hand, is 0-8 and it ranks dead last in the country in total offense.
Prediction: Northern Illinois 45, Massachusetts 14
Final: Northern Illinois 63, Massachusetts 0
Penn State Nittany Lions at Purdue Boilermakers
Penn State deserves a lot of credit for winning five of its first eight games. However, the Nittany Lions have now entered the part of their schedule where their lack of overall depth could really start catching up to them.
Purdue's defense has not played as well as expected this season. However, it still won't be easy for Bill O'Brien's squad to go on the road and pick up a win over a Boilermakers team that will be itching to snap a four-game losing streak.
Prediction: Purdue 26, Penn State 17
Final: Purdue 34, Penn State 9
Rice Owls at Tulane Green Wave
Both of these teams had big offensive outputs last weekend. Rice scored 44 points in a win over Southern Miss, while Tulane scored 55 points in a win over UAB.
We may not see those same type of offensive fireworks on Saturday, but there should still be plenty of points scored in the Superdome.
Ultimately, it could come down to which quarterback can make the most plays through the air, and Tulane's Ryan Griffin seems like he has a good chance to win that battle.
Prediction: Tulane 34, Rice 28
Final: Rice 49, Tulane 47
Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin Cajuns at UL-Monroe Warhawks
Louisiana-Lafayette has won the "Battle on the Bayou" the last four years. However, the Ragin Cajuns' streak looks like it's in serious jeopardy. Louisiana-Monroe comes into this game with a 6-2 record and a perfect 4-0 mark against Sun Belt competition.
The Warhawks have the most explosive offense in the conference, averaging 39 points and 464 yards per game.
The last three meetings between these teams have been decided by a total of six points, and this year's game should be another close affair.
Prediction: Louisiana-Monroe 38, Louisiana-Lafayette 30
Final: Louisiana-Lafayette 40, Louisiana-Monroe 24
New Mexico Lobos at UNLV Rebels
Former Notre Dame head coach Bob Davie deserves some respect and recognition for turning around a New Mexico team that won just one game in each of the three seasons before his arrival.
The Lobos are now 4-5, but you have to take into account that those four victories came against Southern, New Mexico State, Texas State and Hawaii.
On paper, UNLV, which is only 1-8 this season, matches up very well with Davie's squad.
The Rebels have played a lot of quality teams this year. It seems like they're due for a win, and they should finally get it on homecoming weekend.
Prediction: UNLV 41, New Mexico 35
Final: UNLV 35, New Mexico 7
Colorado State Rams at Wyoming Cowboys
Following an encouraging 8-4 regular season that resulted in a bowl berth last year, Wyoming has had everything go wrong in 2012, as it has struggled to a 1-7 record. The play of Cowboys QB Brett Smith has been one of the few bright spots, as he has continued to impress after a huge freshman season.
Smith should be able to out-duel Colorado State's freshman quarterback Conner Smith, who is making just his third collegiate start on Saturday.
Prediction: Wyoming 37, Colorado State 24
Final: Wyoming 45, Colorado State 31
San Jose State Spartans at Idaho Vandals
Idaho is simply a mess of a team right now. The Vandals are 1-7. They have the second-worst scoring offense in the country and the fifth-worst scoring defense. As if that wasn't bad enough, they just fired head coach Robb Akey and kicked starting quarterback Dominique Blackman off the team after he failed a drug test.
Obviously, it's not a good time to welcome to town a 6-2 San Jose State team, which is playing with the motivation of winning a WAC championship. The Spartans also have revenge on their minds, since they've lost their three previous games against the Vandals.
Prediction: San Jose State 48, Idaho 20
Final: San Jose State 42, Idaho 13
Arkansas State Red Wolves at North Texas Mean Green
Arkansas State has recently rebounded after a rough 2-3 start. The Red Wolves have won three straight games and gotten right back in the hunt to win the Sun Belt championship. However, they could run into some trouble at North Texas on Saturday.
The Mean Green are just 3-5 this season, but four of those losses occurred away from home.
Dan McCarney's squad should fare much better in the friendly confines of Apogee Stadium.
Prediction: North Texas 34, Arkansas State 24
Final: Arkansas State 37 North Texas 19
Connecticut Huskies at South Florida Bulls
These teams have combined to win just five games this season, and both seemed to have thrown in the towel a few weeks ago.
Connecticut and South Florida have usually played grind-it-out, low-scoring games in recent years, and this year's game should be no different.
Bulls QB B.J. Daniels has been wildly inconsistent this season, but he should be motivated enough to make up for his many mistakes in 2012 with a solid effort on Saturday.
Prediction: South Florida 21, Connecticut 13
Prediction: South Florida 13, Connecticut 6
Hawaii Warriors at Fresno State Bulldogs
Fresno State won last year's meeting between these two teams by just three points. However, this year's game won't be nearly as close.
The Bulldogs have the second-best scoring offense in the Mountain West, averaging 37 points per game, while Hawaii has the worst scoring defense in the league, giving up an average of 42 points per game.
Prediction: Fresno State 59, Hawaii 17
Final: Fresno State 45, Hawaii 3
SMU Mustangs at UCF Knights
Both of these teams are right in the hunt to win their respective divisions in Conference USA and whoever wins this game will get a big boost in the race to make it to the conference championship game.
UCF and SMU are both relatively evenly matched teams, and they have two of the top defenses in the conference. Ultimately, you have to trust the Knights at home, given that they're 8-2 at Bright House Networks Stadium since the start of the 2011 season.
Prediction: UCF 35, SMU 31
Final: UCF 42, SMU 17
UAB Blazers at Southern Miss Golden Eagles
Last year, Southern Miss went 12-2 and won a Conference USA championship. This season, the Golden Eagles have gone in the complete opposite direction, losing their first eight games during coach Ellis Johnson's first year.
Luckily, Johnson's squad has a great chance at to finally getting off the schneid against 1-7 UAB on Saturday.
Prediction: Southern Miss 27, UAB 21
Final: Southern Miss 19, UAB 14
Washington Huskies at California Golden Bears
California has a disappointing 3-6 record. However, the Golden Bears have lost to a lot of respectable teams such as Nevada, Ohio State, USC, Arizona State and Stanford. Now, they'll have the chance to pick up an important win over a quality Pac-12 foe when Washington visits Berkeley.
The Huskies have picked up some big upset wins at home over Stanford and Oregon State, but they've gotten destroyed in all three road games they've played.
Prediction: California 37, Washington 27
Final: Washington 21, Cal 13
Virginia Tech Hokies at Miami Hurricanes
This battle of 4-4 teams could very well decide the ACC Coastal division winner. Virginia Tech has been a massive disappointment this season, while Miami has come back down to earth in recent weeks, losing its last three games after a 4-1 start.
Both teams have had bye weeks to prepare for this game, and both teams should be ready to battle.
This game will likely come down to what type of performance Virginia Tech QB Logan Thomas has. Thomas is one of the most gifted players in the country, but he has been extremely erratic and inconsistent this season.
Luckily for Thomas, Miami's defense has plenty of holes that he can exploit.
Prediction: Virginia Tech 30, Miami 17
Final: Miami 30, Virginia Tech 12
Eastern Michigan Eagles at Ohio Bobcats
Ohio blew its chance at a perfect season by losing 23-20 on the road to Miami (Ohio) last week.
Now, the Bobcats will be looking to take out their frustrations on a 1-7 Eastern Michigan team.
Six of the Eagles' losses this year have been by more than double digits, and Ohio will hand them another double-digit defeat.
Prediction: Ohio 38, Eastern Michigan 17
Final: Ohio 45, EMU 14
Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders at Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
The Blue Raiders and Hilltoppers are both 3-1 in conference play and they're both in the thick of the Sun Belt race.
On paper, they're both pretty even. However, the difference could be that the Hilltoppers should get a big boost from playing at home, where they've won their past six games.
Prediction: Western Kentucky 31, Middle Tennessee State 23
Final: Middle Tennessee 34, Western Kentucky 29