It's Friday afternoon, and I write this week coming off one of my best weeks of predictions to date. I got seven out of 10 last week, but it seemed much closer than that. I was only 11 Donald Brown rushing yards, 34 more yards from the Navy offense, and three Boise State scoring drives away from going a perfect 10 for 10.
Okay, so maybe I wasn't that close. But it was close enough, especially after my Week Nine debacle.
For those who haven't read this before, or who maybe have forgotten over the past two weeks, each week I make 10 random predictions for the upcoming weekend of college football.
Sometimes the predictions are stat-based, sometimes results-based, but either way they are designed just to make the weekend a little more fun to watch—especially if you're stuck watching a game you perhaps aren't that interested in.
Before I get to this week's predictions, let's take a look at how I did last week—obviously I got seven, but let's see what they were:
- Ohio State and USC did get back at Illinois and Stanford, respectively, for their losses a year ago. (+1)
- LSU definitely was wishing they played Troy earlier in the season. I said I didn't think Troy would win, but that they "will be a thorn in LSU's side for the better part of this game." I'd say I nailed that one. (+1)
- Despite two successful onside kicks in the last 90 seconds of the game, Navy did not beat Notre Dame, ultimately falling short on the Notre Dame 34-yard line. (-1)
- Shonn Greene rushed for 100 yards. Again. (+1)
- Donald Brown needed 142 yards to reclaim the title of "nation's leading rusher" from Javon Ringer. He only got 131. It didn't matter anyway, because Shonn Greene and his 211 yards vaulted him past both Brown and Ringer. (-1)
- Beanie Wells did indeed become the fifth all-time leading rusher in Ohio State history, and is now only 57 yards away from passing Keith Byars for fourth place. (+1)
- Penn State's win, coupled with Florida State's loss, pushed JoePa's lead over Bobby Bowden in the all-time wins total to two games. (+1)
- Boise State only had seven scoring drives, whereas Idaho miraculously scored 10 points. (-1)
- Yale beat Princeton. I'd say more, but I don't know anything else. I even forget the score. (+1)
- Corso donned the full Rattler suit, almost as if he had read my prediction and said to himself, "How can I make Ned right in the most over-the-top, hilariously excessive way imaginable?" (+1)
So that was last week. Pretty solid, but hopefully I'll improve on it this week and get more than seven. It's rivalry week, so you'll have to pardon the special attention I give to College Football's great rivalries, even if they are pretty meaningless this year (Apple Cup, anyone?).
So, without further ado, here are Ten Things That Will Happen This Weekend.
1. Rich Rodriguez will break the streak.
No, I'm not talking about the four-game losing streak Michigan has against Ohio State. Quite the opposite, in fact.
The last six Michigan head coaches have all beaten Ohio State in their first try. Rich Rodriguez will not continue that trend. Ohio State is a much better football team, and if you read the article I wrote earlier in the week, you will know I do not think Rodriguez has the attitude to win The Game. That poor attitude will be reflected in his team's play.
2. Terrelle Pryor will pick up where Troy Smith left off against Michigan.
In his three games against Michigan, Troy Smith secured his legend at Ohio State by going 3-0 and accumulating 1,151 total yards (fun fact: Michigan accumulated 1,051 yards against Troy Smith's Buckeyes) in The Game.
Now it's Pryor's turn to start writing his name in the Buckeye history book. Forget what Pryor has done in his first seven games as starter this year, even though it is quite impressive. Forget that Pryor is currently first in the Big Ten in passing efficiency.
Ohio State fans remember The Game, and Pryor can take a big step in becoming an iconic Quarterback at Ohio State by stepping up big against Michigan.
My prediction is this: 250+ all-purpose yards and at least two touchdowns from Pryor. Ohio State will hit Michigan early and often with a more-than-healthy dose of Beanie Wells, but Pryor will have a great game.
3. Washington will win!
This is my fourth time predicting a Washington win this year, and despite being 0-3 so far with this team, I'm really feeling it this weekend. I know that's a really weak excuse, but this is like picking an Ivy League game. If nothing else, this should provide a good enough explanation for my pick:
They're playing Washington State.
4. Cal will beat Stanford.
Both teams are limping into "The Big Game," with both teams riding two-game losing streaks into Saturday. There lies a major difference, however, in these two teams. Cal is decent. Stanford really isn't—two of their four wins came against Washington and Wazzu, and there's no way Stanford could beat Oregon State again.
Cal's inconsistent decency prevails over Stanford's consistent ineptitude.
5. The Land Grant Trophy will go home with JoePa.
This is a tough one. Penn State hasn't been the same since the win over Ohio State, but the Spread HD is still lurking and the game is in Happy Valley.
On the other side, Michigan State's offense is set up by Javon Ringer. Unfortunately, that may not get them very far, as the physical season is starting to wear down Ringer. Penn State's defense is 10th in the nation against the run, so it could be a long day for Michigan State.
6. Javon Ringer, Shonn Greene, and Donald Brown will accumulate 425 rushing yards.
You know they are the three leading rushers in College Football, but you may not know only 48 yards separate these three backs on the season. Each man is averaging at least 140 rushing yards per game, and with the end in sight, each looks to finish the season strong.
Javon Ringer looks to have the worst statistical game of the three, against Penn State's defense, or else the prediction would be a little higher.
7. Graham Harrell and Sam Bradford will combine for 800 passing yards.
The Big 12 gave us a week off to collect ourselves, but this Saturday night features another promising Top Five matchup to enjoy. Graham Harrell and the ridiculous Texas Tech offense against Sam Bradford and the ridiculous Oklahoma offense, with the winner likely asserting himself as the Heisman favorite.
On the year, Texas Tech and Oklahoma are averaging 433 and 355 passing yards per game, respectively, and this weekend should be no different.
8. BYU will spoil Utah's season.
For the first half of the season, it looked like BYU would be the BCS spoiler this year. A trip to TCU ended those dreams, and now BYU can upset Utah in The Holy War for a share of the Mountain West title.
9. Joe Tiller will win his last game.
Things have been less than ideal for Purdue, who entered the season with high hopes coming into the season that rested mostly on the shoulders (and arm) of Curtis Painter. Purdue started 2-1 but have lost seven of their last eight since, and Tiller is now one game away from retirement.
Purdue hosts Indiana this weekend, which is fitting, because that is a team Purdue can beat—and a coach like Tiller deserves to go out on a win.
10. Corso will pick Oklahoma.
This is a big game, which means Corso is unusually unpredictable, so this is essentially a coin flip. I'm going with Corso pulling a "not so fast, my friends" to those saying Texas Tech is going to outshoot the Sooners and dramatically revealing a ridiculous Sooner Schooner hat.