This weekend’s slate of college football games has a few intriguing matchups despite lacking a true marquee event.
Every week is critical, though, and there’s always the chance of an upset. Tuning in will more or less help you see just how far your favorite team has come in this young season.
But there are a couple teams that can gain—or lose—a lot from this weekend’s games. Here’s a look at predictions for every Top-25 team and a look at which schools will end the weekend as the biggest winners or losers.
People are starting to doubt whether or not this Stanford team is up to par when compared to teams of previous seasons. The team’s powerful defense has looked average—at best—while playing cupcake competition to this point.
A strong showing against 23rd-ranked Arizona State, though, will be a huge confidence boost for the Cardinal on their home field. Stanford will ride its defense to help wear down a stout Sun Devils defense throughout the game.
Progress is an interesting concept, especially when the measure of success is so high in a conference like the SEC. Winning three games—Auburn’s total throughout all of 2012—in their first three contests is definitely a sign of such progress. But dropping a primetime matchup against rival LSU would seemingly undo everything Gus Malzahn has done to this point.
It’s just one game, but unless Malzahn has some tricks up his sleeve, his resurgent team is simply outmatched against Les Miles’ bunch. The Death Valley Tigers are 39-2 when playing on Saturday night under Miles. In the end, their new, balanced offense will make this one completely unbalanced in their favor.
Winners: Texas A&M
Nearly completing the comeback of a lifetime last week against top-ranked Alabama, Johnny Manziel and the Texas A&M Aggies are going to take out their frustrations on a SMU team that has no business being on the same field as them.
You want to see a Heisman highlight reel? Tune in to an unusually scheduled 7 p.m. rout that’ll be filled with Manziel poses and big plays. The Aggies might not accomplish much—other than running up the score against an opponent they should beat—but it’ll be an exciting win to prepare them for SEC play.
Getting blown out by high-powered Oregon last week was a significant setback for a team that wants to improve on a horrendous 2012 season in SEC play. The Volunteers’ only conference win came against Kentucky—a team that was winless against SEC competition.
Florida is a team that is ripe for the taking after suffering a disappointing setback against in-state rival Miami two weeks ago. The Gators, though, have had two weeks to prepare and are still a tough team to deal with due to their stout defense.
Tennessee’s best shot to win is to run the ball, something the Gators simply won’t allow in Gainesville.