The Red River shootout is on everyone's mind this week and if Texas wins this game, they're on the fast track toward the National Championship game. Oklahoma has looked vulnerable and hasn't played their best, but with Bradford fully healthy and this being a rivalry game, I'm sure it will be a battle.
Before I get to the picks, I want to apologize to all of you TCU fans for leaving that game off of my Top 25 picks last weekend, but at the same time I want to say you're welcome for having another great week. This week should be no different and here are my picks to help you make some cash.
Last Week's Record: 10-5
Season Record: 35-18
Wednesday, October 14
No. 5 Boise St. (5-0) at Tulsa (4-1)—Line: Boise St. -10
The Broncos come into this game looking to bounce back after a sluggish home win against UC Davis. They still have a lot to prove if they want to be considered for the BCS National Title game this year.
The Golden Hurricanes aren't as potent as they were last year on offense, but they still average almost 33 points a game on the season. They and the Broncos both have very balanced attacks and can get it done either on the ground or through the air.
I think this will be a lot closer than people will predict, but I still pick the Broncos to win, although not convincingly enough to turn heads and make them a legit national title contender.
The Pick: Tulsa +10 Broncos 31 Golden Hurricanes 27
Thursday, October 15
No. 8 Cincinnati (5-0) at No. 21 South Florida (5-0)—Line: Cincinnati -3
Tony Pike has emerged as a star for the Bearcats and has played himself into Heisman contention. The Bulls are the most surprising team in the Big East and have actually gotten better since Matt Grothe has gone down for the season.
The big question is, will the Bearcats be able to score at will against the stingy Bulls defense? I think the Pike to Gilyard combo will be clicking all night and the Bearcats will win this one fairly easily.
The Pick: Cincinnati -3 Bearcats 35 Bulls 20
Saturday, October 16
No. 20 Oklahoma (3-2) vs. No. 3 Texas (5-0)(Neutral Field) —Line: Texas -4
Despite Oklahoma's two losses, they are still a very dangerous team, especially with Sam Bradford back at full strength. He definitely looked uninhibited last week, but still looked like he was working off some rust. Now that the rust is gone, he should play much better, but will it be enough to beat the Horns? I don't think so.
This game looks like it will live up to its name, "The Red River Shootout". I think that's exactly what this will be, a shootout. The Longhorns defense is stout, but Oklahoma is talented offensively. The Horns will get a few big stops late to lead them to the victory and Colt McCoy will get back in the Heisman race.
The Pick: Texas -4 Longhorns 41 Sooners 31
No. 7 Ohio State (5-1) @ Purdue (1-5)—Line: Ohio St -13.5
Purdue may be 1-5, but they're not as bad as their record will indicate. Does this mean they'll beat the Buckeyes? No. But they will hang around for a little while.
The Buckeyes defense should shut down the Boilermaker offense with ease and their offense will score enough to cover. They will dominate the game on the ground with their multi-headed attack of Saine, Herron, and Pryor.
The Pick: Ohio St. -13.5 Buckeyes 35 Boilermakers 10
No. 11 Iowa (6-0) @ Wisconsin (5-1)—Line: Wisconsin -2.5
It seems a bit fishy that an eleventh-ranked Hawkeye team would be an underdog against an unranked opponent. Camp Randall is definitely a tough place to play, but who have the Badgers beaten so far this year? This is a rivalry game, so that makes it more competitive, but I still feel that the Hawkeyes will win this game. My reason for this may not be what you expect.
I think the Hawkeyes win this game throwing the football with Ricky Stanzi and opening up the game from the start. Kirk Ferentz does a great job scheming and this game will prove that yet again. Hawkeyes in a close one.
The Pick: Iowa +2.5 Hawkeyes 31 Badgers 27
No. 23 Houston (4-1) @ Tulane (2-3)—Line: Houston -17
Case Keenum has been brilliant all year. Even in their loss to UTEP, he had a career day. He gets it done with his arm more often than not, but he is also a more than capable runner. He will get it done again both ways against the forgiving Green Wave defense.
I see this game being a blowout early as Houston lights up the scoreboard all night. You'll be hearing "Keenum for Heisman" from the Cougar faithful for the rest of the season, so get used to it.
The Pick: Houston -17 Cougars 52 Green Wave 14
No. 6 USC (4-1) @ No. 25 Notre Dame (4-1)—Line: USC -10
USC has been so good over the last few years that they go into a ranked opponents home and they're still ten-point favorites. This isn't the same USC team of years past, but they're still very talented. Also, this isn't the same Notre Dame team of the last few years and they bring a lot of talent as well, especially on the offensive side of the ball.
This should be a very exciting game and I think Notre Dame's offense will showcase their full abilities and win at home in an upset. Jimmy Clausen will be hoisting the Heisman at the end of the year and Notre Dame will be getting blown out by Florida in the national championship game, but hey, that's an improvement.
The Pick: Notre Dame +10 Fighting Irish 38 Trojans 30
Texas Tech (4-2) @ No. 15 Nebraska (4-1)—Line: Nebraska -11
Nebraska had a huge fourth quarter last week in their comeback win against the Missouri Tigers. The big DT Suh (I'm not even going to try and spell his first name) was all over the field stopping the run, rushing the QB, and even dropping back into pass coverage. He will be a menace again this weekend without a doubt.
This pick has troubled me the most this week, but I feel that the Red Raiders will put up enough points to keep this one close. Mike Leach will have to scheme up something crazy, but he is a mad genius of offense; too bad I can't say the same about his defense.
The Pick: Texas Tech +11 Cornhuskers 36 Red Raiders 27
Minnesota (4-2) @ Penn State (4-1)—Line: Penn St -17
I'll be quick with this one. Evan Royster and the Nittany Lions will shred the Gophers' pathetic run defense and win this one easily in Happy Valley. No need for the White Out or anything else, the Lions are just too talented for the Gophers on both sides of the ball.
The Pick: Penn St. -17 Nittany Lions 42 Golden Gophers 7
Arkansas (3-2) @ No. 1 Florida (5-0)—Line: Florida -24.5
The Gators had a huge win on the road in Baton Rouge last weekend and Tim Tebow appeared to be healthy. I think they'll be a little more cautious this weekend in what looks to be an easier game for the Gators.
This cautious play and the ability of the Razorbacks offense should lead them to a cover in this one. Florida makes a bid to blow them out early, but then they ease the reigns and Arkansas and Ryan Mallet get a cover.
The Pick: Arkansas +24.5 Gators 38 Razorbacks 24
Colorado State (3-3) @ No. 12 TCU (5-0)—Line: TCU -22
I usually go with a team getting 22 points if they're playing a team with a great defense and not such a great offense. This is the exception. I see TCU completely dominating this game after having a close call with Air Force last weekend. They want to make a statement in the Mountain West and this is the week they do it.
They still have huge tests against BYU and Utah coming up, and who knows what will happen in those, but this week their defense dominates and Andy Dalton throws for two scores and runs for another.
The Pick: TCU -22 Horned Frogs 34 Rams 3
No. 18 BYU (5-1) @ San Diego State (2-3)—Line: BYU -17
The Cougars offense and defense will both be on showcase all night as they play one of the weakest all-around teams in the Mountain West conference. This conference has grown into the strongest non-Big Six conference and San Diego State must have lost the memo to follow the other teams. BYU wins big.
The Pick: BYU -17 Cougars 49 Aztecs 14
No. 4 Virginia Tech (5-1) @ No. 19 Georgia Tech (1-5)—Line: VaTech -3
Usually I would think this game would be about defense, but both these offenses have been playing very well lately. This game should be tight throughout, but Beamer-ball should win it on special teams.
I think this game will be a push, but instead I'll say Ryan Williams and the Hokies cover. This is a tough game to pick with Jonathan Dwyer and the option attack coming at the Hokies, but Bud Foster will have the Hokies defense prepared for it.
The Pick: VaTech -3 Hokies 30 Yellow Jackets 24
No. 17 Kansas (5-0) @ Colorado (1-4)—Line: Kansas -9.5
The Jayhawks have one of the best QB to WR combinations in the country with the Reesing to Meier connection (or should I say THE best QB to QB connection since Meier was formerly their starting QB). Their offense is undoubtedly great, but their defense has holes.
Dan Hawkins needs to turn this program around and save his job fast and I think he does that this week. The Buffs have been playing better as of late, and although their record doesn't indicate it, they played both WVU and Texas tough on the road. This week they get some much-needed home cooking and shock the Jayhawks in Boulder.
The Pick: Colorado +9.5 Buffaloes 31 Jayhawks 28
No. 9 Miami (4-1) @ UCF (3-2)—Line: Miami -14.5
The Hurricanes and Jacory Harris had an easy game last week against a bowl sub division team, and this week they play another in-state game against a non-power conference school.
The Knights are much better than the Florida A & M team from a week ago and it will take the U some time to shake off the rust. They will come out slow and fall behind early, but will come back and win the game going away. The sluggish start will allow UCF to cover after Graig Cooper has a big fumble in the red zone going in for a cover-clinching score.
The Pick UCF +14.5 Hurricanes 31 Knights 17
No. 22 South Carolina (5-1) @ No. 2 Alabama (6-0)—Line: Alabama -17
I've doubted the Tide the past two weeks and they've proved me wrong both times. What's the saying? "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times..." Well, I don't think it goes that high, but I'll say fool me three times and I'm an idiot. I won't get fooled again.
The Tide roll and win this one easily. Spurrier teams have been known for playing huge in some games and playing complete stinkers in some, and this week will be a repeat of that.
The Pick: Alabama -17 Crimson Tide 38 Gamecocks 3
Missouri (4-1) @ No. 16 Oklahoma State (4-1)—Line: Oklahoma St -7
I'll say this right now. Kendall Hunter will be back this week and he will run all over the Tigers defense. I don't care that Dez Bryant will be out this week. That makes the offense less potent, but it shouldn't matter in the result of this game.
Hunter is a playmaker and he will finally be able to showcase his abilities and he will have a breakout game on Saturday. Or at least that's what I'm hoping for, since I'm taking them.
The Pick: Oklahoma St. -7 Cowboys 37 Tigers 23
No. 24 Utah (5-1) @ UNLV (2-3)—Line: Utah -16.5
Terrance Cain seems to be coming into his own, and he will lead a potent offense into Vegas to meet the Rebels this weekend. UNLV got manhandled by BYU last week on their home turf and this week will be a repeat performance.
The Utes have played close games all year, but this will be their first blowout and it will be a statement game for them. They are back in the Top 25 and they're there to stay. Utes win easily.
The Pick: Utah -16.5 Utes 45 Rebels 17
Well, there you have it. There should be some great games this weekend, including USC @ ND, Texas vs. Oklahoma, Iowa @ Wisconsin, Virginia Tech @ Georgia Tech, and many others. It will be another exciting weekend around the country, and hopefully a profitable one for you and I. Check back next week to see how I fared.