As more and more teams are stripped of their undefeated status, the jockeying at the top of the polls continues to change. The top 10 gets some serious battles this weekend.
Let’s take a look at this week’s picks.
As always, Thursday delivers a quality game. Hopefully Jesse Palmer’s tie will be in good standing for the second week in a row.
Clemson at Wake Forest (Thursday night)
This was supposed to be a key matchup of two unbeatens. Instead, both teams are hungry for wins after suffering surprising losses.
A Clemson loss would be devastating, bringing their conference record to 1-2. A Wake Forest win would all but guarantee the Atlantic crown for the Demon Deacons.
The nightmare for Clemson continues...
Winner: Wake Forest, 23-20
Colorado at Kansas
Kansas overcame a 20-point deficit and four turnovers last week in Ames. Meanwhile, Colorado has given up 39 and 38 points in its last two games.
Kansas takes advantage of what has all of a sudden become a porous Buffalo defense.
Winner: Kansas, 40-27
South Carolina at Kentucky
South Carolina found some life offensively last week, but Kentucky showed that its defense is for real when it limited Alabama to only 10 offensive points last week.
Since Carolina’s defense is as stout as ever, look for a defensive struggle.
Back in August, I wrote that Kentucky would win this game by three. But I’m feeling the Gamecock love.
Winner: South Carolina, 20-17
Nebraska at Texas Tech
I would love to pick the upset here, but Nebraska’s defense simply isn’t there yet.
More highlight reel stuff for Crabtree and the Red Raiders.
Winner: Texas Tech, 42-27
Arizona State at USC
After a sluggish first quarter last weekend, the Trojans exploded for 24 points in the second quarter. Arizona State has 24 points in its last two games and is backpedaling through a three-game losing streak—and might not even have Rudy.
Doesn’t take a scholar to do the math...
Winner: USC, 45-10
Tennessee at Georgia
Tennessee is simply a mess right now. While the Vols have done well against Georgia in recent years, last week’s 13-9 win over Northern Illinois was wrong on so many levels.
Tennessee will put up a fight early, but it won’t be enough. Georgia gets some payback, and Tennessee assumes the cellar dweller spot in the East.
Winner: Georgia, 34-17
Notre Dame at North Carolina
UNC continues to impress, and last week’s pasting of UConn has to give them even more confidence.
UNC’s defense proves too tough for Clausen and the boys to handle.
Winner: North Carolina, 27-21
Michigan State at Northwestern
Last week’s game against Iowa showed that the bad luck Spartans might have turned the corner. At least that’s what I’m banking on.
Northwestern’s bubble is burst.
Winner: Michigan State, 24-21
Oklahoma State at Missouri
Once again, defense is optional. First team to 50 wins.
The Cowboys gave up 13 to Missouri State a few weeks back. They’ll give up a bit more than that this week.
Winner: Missouri, 52-35
Penn State at Wisconsin
Penn State looked average last week at Purdue but should rebound with a strong performance.
Badgers lose their third in a row, as they can’t keep up with the Nittany Lions’ offense.
Winner: Penn State, 30-20
LSU at Florida
8 PM in the Swamp would appear to be much more daunting if Jarrett Lee hadn’t gone into Jordan-Hare at night and worked some serious magic in the second half against a hated rival. Even though Auburn is clearly overrated, Lee still picked up some nice confidence from that game.
Then again, Lee won’t be defending a Florida offense that appears to be coming to life, although still very ugly at times.
Florida gets a defensive or special teams score to give them the cushion for the win in a tight game.
Winner: Florida, 31-27
Arkansas at Auburn (Upset Special)
With the way Arkansas has moved the ball (minus the whole “scoring” thing), coupled with injuries to key Auburn defensive players—Jerraud Powers and Sen’Derrick Marks—the Hogs finally find the end zone a few times.
Petrino gets his first big win, and Tuberville has to swallow two embarrassing losses in a row.
Since Arkansas has been destroyed by every decent team this year, this pick makes no sense at all, but neither does Auburn’s offense.
There might be a riot after this one.
Winner: Arkansas, 24-23
Texas at Oklahoma (Game of the Week)
The Red River Shootout is back.
McCoy and Bradford will both look great, but Bradford gets the last word in a back and forth game.
It’s difficult to beat OU without forcing a turnover, and Bradford is just too good to give up a big play to an untested Texas defense. McCoy, on the other hand, will try to make too much out of nothing—and that will spell doom.
The Sooners pull away late.
Winner: Oklahoma, 37-27