Thursday stole Saturday's thunder by pocketing college football's two biggest games of the weekend. The NCAA must forge through the weekend without four of its premier squads, but that just means other schools must step up on Saturday.
In a duet of monumental showdowns taking center stage on Thursday night, Baylor hammered down Oklahoma with the power of Thor while Oregon's BCS National Championship chances took a debilitating hit against Stanford.
Thursday, I see your powerful matchups with instrumental implications and raise you an SEC clash with the nation's best against an envious rival. We also must make sure Florida State accepts Stanford's gift by remaining undefeated.
The teams involved in these three bouts will do all they can to match Thursday's excitement.
|Away Team||Home Team||Pick|
|No. 13 LSU||No. 1 Alabama||Alabama|
|No. 2 Florida State||Wake Forest||Florida State|
|No. 8 Missouri||Kentucky||Missouri|
|No. 9 Auburn||Tennessee||Auburn|
|Virginia Tech||No. 11 Miami||Virginia Tech|
|Kansas||No. 14 Oklahoma State||Oklahoma State|
|Mississippi St.||No. 15 Texas A&M||Texas A&M|
|No. 16 Fresno St.||Wyoming||Fresno State|
|No. 19 UCLA||Arizona||UCLA|
|Houston||No. 21 UCF||UCF|
|No. 22 Arizona State||Utah||Utah|
|No. 23 Notre Dame||Pittsburgh||Pittsburgh|
|BYU||No. 24 Wisconsin||BYU|
|Kansas St.||No. 25 Texas Tech||Texas Tech|
Kansas State at No. 25 Texas Tech
Hey, where's everyone going? We just got cushy seats on the Texas Tech bandwagon.
The Red Raiders were flying high after a 7-0 start that lifted it up the AP polls every Sunday, but it all came crashing down when some big boppers came to play. Texas Tech suffered its first loss of the season against Oklahoma before Oklahoma State quickly delivered another blow.
After surrendering two straight losses, Texas Tech is hanging on to its Top 25 spot by a thread, and falling to Kansas State should provide the last nail in the coffin.
While Davis Webb and Co. met their match against Big 12 adversaries, Kansas State lost to Baylor and Oklahoma State by a combined 14 points before notching two victories over the past two weeks. With each squad on the opposite path, this game is much more intriguing than anybody would have anticipated a month ago.
The Red Raiders have averaged 37.3 points allowed over the past four games, but Webb's scorching passing assault should fend off the Wildcats in a close call.
Prediction: Texas Tech 40, Kansas State 34
No. 2 Florida State at Wake Forest
Stanford did Florida State's bidding on Thursday, breaking a near stalemate between the Seminoles and Oregon Ducks for the nation's No. 2 spot. All Florida State has to do now is keep winning.
It should not be a problem at Wake Forest, who rank 119th in the FBS with 19.4 points scored per game. It's going to take more than that to edge out Jameis Winston's explosive offense. A lot more.
But excluding a defensive breakdown against Clemson, Wake Forest is solid on that side of the field. The school almost upended the Hurricanes, then ranked No. 7, before squandering a late lead with little time to spare.
If Winston can pound the pedal early and establish a quick lead, the Seminoles should march to a victory over the Demon Deacons.
Prediction: Florida State 44, Wake Forest 13
No. 13 LSU at No. 1 Alabama
Is anyone ever going to beat Alabama?
Just twice in the past three years have the Crimson Tide ended the game on the wrong side of the final score. SEC foe LSU handed them one of those losses in 2011, but Alabama avenged it with a forceful victory during the BCS National Championship.
Which SEC powerhouse will win on Saturday?
Although LSU holds no hopes of assembling another title match at 7-2, each of its two defeats has come by three points. Both of those were against premier SEC clubs (Ole Miss and Georgia), so the Tigers can hang with just about anyone.
Alabama has yet to yield more than 10 points to a team not quarterbacked by Johnny Manziel, but LSU signal-caller Zach Mettenberger is awfully talented himself. He has also, however, thrown five interceptions during his last two games, and it will take a perfect game to knock off the nation's best.
LSU will provide a tougher fight than the rest of Bama's opponents, but expect the Crimson Tide to claw away with a ugly win.
Prediction: Alabama 17, LSU 10