We're at the money end of the college football season, and already we've put up a preview for the rather small game in Tuscaloosa in a month's time. We're pretty excited. You should be too.
Anyway, this week on paper doesn't look that interesting. If we're honest, we see easy wins for Alabama and Oklahoma. We certainly don't see Wisconsin losing at home to Indiana, either. But LSU? How about Oklahoma State, or Baylor, or Michigan?
This week's going to be exciting.....we promise...if nothing for "College Gameday," which got it right by making the decision to go to Eugene, Oregon for the Arizona State-Oregon game, which is going to be a firecracker under the lights. Since the game STARTS at 10.15ET, some of you are going to have had a few beverages before that one comes on.
USC at California
A few years' ago and this would have been a tier one, must-watch game. Now, with USC riddled with NCAA violations and Cal stuck in the shadows of Stanford, this is in the "interesting but not essential" category.
Cal played last Thursday, where they were awesome for one half against Oregon and then sucked it up for the second. USC has Matt Barkley (NFL quarterback of the future) and Robert Woods (definitely NFL wide receiver of the future). We're picking USC, but it's going to be close.
Arizona State at Oregon
Night games in Autzen are always fun, and when this is the potential first of two meetings between these guys this season (the second being the Pac-12 Championship game), it's going to be an interesting piece of prep work for us all.
We won't be seeing LaMichael James because of his elbow injury, but Oregon's offense is fast enough without him. ASU's offense is no slouch either, led by QB Brock Osweiler. And ASU's 'D'? Matt Barkley will tell you what Vontaze Burflict did to him. Of course, people are predicting that ASU have no hope, but it's going to be tighter than you think. PREDICTION: Track meet. Oregon to win by the odd four in 100.
LSU at Tennessee
LSU is a great team, and there's no doubting it. With Tyler Bray out, Matt Simms is going to be taking over the huddle for the Vols. Simms had a great game when he came in for Tennessee against Georgia (we didn't hear one "You Suck!" from the crowd), but will he be able to deal with this very angry LSU defense?
If we're honest, the only thing that might stop LSU on Saturday is the fact that they expect to roll in this one. Could Neyland be the sleeper 'Game of the Week?' PREDICTION: No. LSU by 21.
Michigan at Michigan State
Undoubtedly the biggest game in the Big 10 this week, with an unbeaten Michigan walking into the frostiest of frosty venues in East Lansing. Denard Robinson was awful in the first half against Northwestern, but recovered to be brilliant in the second, but Michigan State's defense was excellent against Ohio State in the Horseshoe the last time out. This is going to be firecracker. PREDICTION: Michigan State by 3.
Oh, and here's Michigan's song the last time they won in Spartan Stadium, 28-24.
Penn State at Purdue
When Penn State beat Iowa for the first time in eons, one fan tweeted: "My God! Penn State could be the worst 8-1 team in history by Hallowe'en!" Let's not get too ahead of ourselves here, but the defense played out of its mind against Beaver, and they will be looking to disrupt Purdue's.
On the other side of the ball, PSU quarterback Matt McGloin will be looking to NOT throw an ill-advised red-zone interception (like he did against Iowa), but instead continue to drive the team downfield in an effective manner (like he sometimes did against Iowa). PREDICTION: Penn State by 3 in a tight one.
Oklahoma State at Texas
A friend of mine's going to this game and said: "I was more excited about going to Austin before the Longhorns got their asses handed to them by Oklahoma". I replied: I would be too. If Texas' young defense couldn't deal with Ryan Broyles and Kenny Stills, we're a bit worried for them: they've got to face Brandon Weedon and Justin Blackmon next. PREDICTION: Oklahoma State by 10.
Baylor at Texas A&M
Robert Griffin III is still a Heisman contender even though we've seen chinks in his armor, while Texas A&M's defense has shown plenty of chinks—and that's why they are 1-2 in close games in the last three games. They've blown (or nearly blown) significant leads in all of them, and the D —and fans—will certainly be panicking when Kendall Wright—or Griffin—will be running at them. Having said that, Ryan Tannehill and Cyrus Gray are going to be worrying Baylor on the other side of the ball. PREDICTION. High-scoring, and fun. Baylor with the upset, winning by 4.
Georgia at Vanderbilt
Vanderbilt on the road has been called a "classic trap game," particularly as James Franklin's got this team firing on all cylinders and excited to play some ball this year. True, last time out they were crunched by Alabama 34-0, but they were stout up to halftime (before Richardson took over), and they aren't the only side to get crunched by the Crimson Tide, either.
For Georgia, their defense was on fire against Tennessee, but they could do with getting less conservative if they have a 10 point lead. Otherwise, it'll backfire on them. PREDICTION: Georgia wins by 6.
Clemson at Maryland
Another classic trap game for Clemson, who has so far happily gone through the season unbeaten. The way this team is going, Dabo Swinney's not only going to get a statue outside Death Valley, he's going to get the stadium named after him, and he might BE the Rock (too far?).
Anyway, we'll be looking out for Tajh Boyd's injury and whether he's 100 percent during the Maryland game. He'll need to be, because the atmosphere in College Park's going to be intense. PREDICTION: Clemson by a field goal.
Ohio State at Illinois
This would be one of the games of the week if Ohio State was any good this year....but they aren't. Illinois is, however, helped by a do-everything QB Nathan Scheelhaase and running back Troy Pollard. And strange for an Illinois team, the defense isn't too shabby either. PREDICTION: Ohio State to win in a squeaker, ruining Ron's unbeaten season.
Stanford at Washington State
I'm pretty much writing this because my buddy Noah Kindler in Stanford's pissed that Stanford's not getting enough respect. True, Noah. They aren't getting enough respect. But when you're playing the likes of this team every week so far this season, do you expect any? PREDICTION: Un-lucky for WSU, Stanford wins by 36.
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