The top line is great this week.
Below, not so much.
- Cincinnati vs. South Florida: I would’ve picked the Bulls. I’m not sure I’m picking them again this year, now that Bad Grothe has reared his head, because this is currently a bad team.
- Michigan State vs. Wisconsin: Michigan State has a legitimate chance to upset Penn State. Wisconsin has no chance to beat the Spartans. None at all.
- Minnesota vs. Northwestern: I know Northwestern failed, inexplicably, to beat Indiana last week, and I know Minnesota’s a one-loss team with an outside shot at the BCS if Ohio State should lose again. But I’m taking the Wildcats to spoil that this week, based purely on instinct.
- Arkansas vs. Tulsa: It’s the Gus Malzahn Bowl, which doesn’t have any ring to it at all, but I’ve got a feeling the Golden Hurricane is/are going to ring up 50 on the Hogs. There’s no way that this one ends in an Arkansas blowout, but Tulsa could win big, win small, or lose small.
- Alabama vs. Arkansas State: The late-season cupcake of choice game for the Crimson Tide. If Arkansas State scores, it’s a moral victory.
- Baylor vs. Missouri: The Next Vince Young, Robert Griffin III, could make himself cooler by calling himself Trey. Chase Daniel could make himself cooler by going from a chain like Pizza Hut to something where he would, I don’t know, wait tables. Daniel delivers another Tigers win here, and it’s clear that I’m running out of jokes on him.
- Oklahoma State vs. Iowa State: The Big 12 North, ACC, Big East, and the bottom four teams in the Big Ten and Pac-10 should have some sort of tournament, with relegation to the MAC as a threat. The Cowboys win.
- Georgia Tech vs. Florida State: You know, this is exactly the kind of game Florida State has lost the last five or six years: young team, getting some buzz, goes on the road, and falls flat. For the Seminoles, this year will be different.
- California vs. Oregon: Both teams have a quarterback shuffle of sorts going on, so I’m taking the Ducks, whose running back hasn’t vomited on the field this year. (Yeah, that’s my reasoning.)
- Florida vs. Georgia: If Tim Tebow’s been hurt and is now healthy, the initial reaction should be shuddering fear: Tebow wasn’t at 100 percent in the stompings of LSU and Kentucky? What monster is this? But the more interesting Tebow injury happened last year. Pete Thamel reports: “Tebow is fired up for the Georgia game because he was not healthy in a loss to the Bulldogs last season. He said he did not practice before that game because of a separated joint in his right (nonthrowing) shoulder. ‘I couldn’t lift my arm above my shoulder,’ he said.” You know who else hasn’t been able to do that? John McCain. And we all know now how feeble and limited a person looks with that affliction behind a dais; Tebow was facing last year’s brutal Georgia defense. This year, with Georgia giving up 41 to Alabama at home and 38 to LSU when the Dawgs could have stuck a hobnailed boot somewhere, it’s clearly a different team; with the Gators loosing vengeance against every foe since their Ole Miss debacle, they’re my pick this week, and by three touchdowns.
- Colorado State vs. BYU: Colorado State was supposed to be rancid this year. The Rams aren’t, but, in good news for the Cougars, the boys from Fort Collins aren’t far removed.
- USC vs. Washington: Is Washington worse than Washington State? Will the Apple Cup be Saw VI a year early? Is Pete Carroll going to explode with excitement? (Trojans roll.)
- New Mexico State vs. Boise State: This is your yearly reminder that Hal Mumme is the head coach at New Mexico State, and that his pupil, Tim Couch, was the first player selected in an NFL Draft. No, I can’t believe it either. Broncos win going away.
- LSU vs. Tulane: This is a rivalry, Tulane played ‘Bama close earlier this year, LSU’s got no discernable secondary, and the Tigers still win by 30. I make picks, not sense of this.
- Oklahoma vs. Nebraska: Nebraska has, this year, lost to Virginia Tech, Missouri, and Texas Tech. Oklahoma’s arguably better than all of those three teams, and the Sooners continue to put distance between themselves and a time when Eric Crouch could catch touchdown passes on flanker reverses.
- UNLV vs. TCU: The boys from Texas Christian rain holy hell on the UNLV offense in the City of Sin. Bet on the Horned Frogs winning, and whatever you can get on the Rebels losing a couple of players to injury against the stifling TCU defense; remember, this team has only lost to Oklahoma this year.
- New Mexico vs. Utah: Yeah, I moved this one to put the juicier matchup below it. I expect a piece of paper with a strongly-worded condemnation of this blog quite soon. It’s not like the Utes are going to lose this one, anyway.
- Texas Tech vs. Texas: It’s the biggest game of the week, maybe of the year, and that’s because of the process of elimination. The winner of this game is the last remaining undefeated team in the Big 12, a title that comes with a shot at the championship if said team continues its winning ways. That’s going to be a lot harder for Tech, which has Oklahoma State and Oklahoma at Norman to go, than Texas, which, depending on the Big 12 North champ, might not play another ranked team, but it suffices to say that this is the biggest game in Tech’s history, the last high hurdle before a BCS Championship Game for Texas, and a fantastic matchup of two excellent teams beneath the Texas moon. Texas Tech’s given up three sacks all year, and Texas’ young secondary, despite shutting down Chase Daniel, has been beaten for stretches of games by UTEP, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State. Texas Tech has a better passing offense than that, and if the offensive line can give Graham Harrell time to throw and Mike Leach the draw as an option, this one will have over 70 points combined. Colt McCoy is the best pure college quarterback we’ve seen since perhaps Matt Leinart or Ken Dorsey, and he’s going to have a great game, but Tech’s defense shut down a savvy, veteran Kansas attack last week, and an early stop or two coupled with some offensive success would put the Longhorns in a hole against an offense that will put up points. With all that written, Jordan Shipley’s special teams prowess factored in, the unlikely event that a running game determines this result considered, and scant attention paid to the fatigue Texas is facing at this point after three full-tilt outings, I’m taking the Red Raiders because of the Lubbock voodoo, 34-24.
The Wild Guess
Jeff Demps has more yards rushing than Knowshon Moreno on Saturday.
The Hedged Bet
If Notre Dame can score 14 points or more against Pittsburgh in the first half, they win.
South Carolina beats Tennessee in the Disarray Bowl.
The Under-the-Radar Treat
Air Force is at Army in one of the always fun games between military schools. Air Force is the better team, but Army, which still has Caleb Campbell on its ESPN page, has as many wins over FCS teams this year, three, as it has had in any year since 2005, which, coincidentally, was the last time the Black Knights beat the Falcons. And this one’s at West Point.
The Guy Who Becomes “The Guy”
Donald Brown, who opens eyes in Connecticut’s win against West Virginia.
The Quick Hits
Iowa beats Illinois; Duke beats Wake Forest; Sam Bradford has six TDs against Nebraska’s woeful pass defense; Tim Tebow deserves some Heisman hype after this Saturday; Colt McCoy has two or more combined turnovers; Washington stays within 10 of USC at the end of the first half; East Carolina and UCF play on Sunday night and four people watch.
See you Saturday.Posted in College Football, The Saturday Speculator