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So this is the week they talk about. While LSU and Alabama think ahead to Armageddon in Tuscaloosa and Badgers try lick their wounds from last week's tussle in Michigan, the dreamers of the SEC East are thinking cocktails - and a lot of them - as Georgia and Florida go head-to-head in Jacksonville. Michigan State, the conquerors of Wisconsin, go to Nebraska for a none-to-easy game in Lincoln, while Wisconsin travels to The Ohio State University to play a side that's low on respect. And elsewhere, Penn State - who suddenly has their division in their hands - hosts Illinois and Clemson travels to Georgia Tech.
And College Gameday's in Los Angeles (the only bit of good football they'll see in the City of Angels for a while!) for Stanford's visit to USC in what promises to be the battle of two soon-to-be- NFL quarterbacks, Andrew Luck and Matt Barkley. Oh, and this Robert Woods kid's quite good, too.
Who says Week 9's going to be boring? Anyway, we start on Thursday night at The U and Houston...
And since Paul Simon tunes are the soundtrack for tonight, some of these featured games will have a
Paul Simon influence to them.... apologies if this offends you...
Rice vs Houston
7-0 Houston's not only still trying to remain unbeaten, it's dying for some respect. Wins over Rice (which we predict they will), won't do take them to Graceland, but it'll be fun. PREDICTION: Houston by 30.
Virginia at Miami
After Virginia's Week 7 upset of Georgia Tech, this game looked interesting, but after the subsequent week's implosion against NC State's it's once again the game that 'could have been'. Still, Miami's getting better under 'You Can Call Me' Al Golden, and will look to avoid the heartbreaking loss. PREDICTION: A thoroughly entertaining Miami win. By 3.
Stanford at USC
Andrew Luck and Matt Barkley are both Obvious Child-ren to go to the NFL, and so's Barkley's primary wide receiver, Robert Woods. USC fans will be hoping that the Trojans score often and early in the first half, because in the second half, the Cardinal are near unstoppable (and the Trojans are always fairly poor in fourth quarters this season). Oh, we're also praying for lots of shots of Song Girls and that College Gameday's going to be filmed on USC's campus. PREDICTION: Stanford by 14.
Georgia vs Florida
Everyone loves their Cocktail Parties, and this'll be the first for Fat Charlie, Will Muschamp and the Florida Crew. Florida and Georgia fans are going to be their noisy/drunken best at the game, and Georgia fans will be particularly anxious to put one over their hated rivals, particularly as not only are the Dawgs the form team at the moment, but a South Carolina loss at Tennessee gives them control of the East. Watch out for Isaiah Crowell, the running back for Georgia. This kid's good. This is going to be fun PREDICTION: Woof! Woof! UGA by 3.
Clemson at Georgia Tech
This is going to be a dangerous game for the Tigers. Despite losing two in a row, Georgia Tech is still a dangerous team, and Paul Johnson's triple option will score points against a defense that - let's face it - really hasn't got diamonds on the soles of its shoes. But can Tech stop Clemson and Sammy Watkins? We think not. Oh, and this game's always a classic too. If you don't believe us, check out the game on Thursday night a few years' ago. Amazing. PREDICTION: Georgia Tech in a monster upset.
Michigan State at Nebraska
Wow. Games at Lincoln were built for games of this magnitude, although we'd argue that perhaps it shouldn't be played at 12pm (we prefer night ones). The corn-heads will be in their prime at this one, which will show the spirit of America and it's great game of violent ballet. Michigan State may still be on a high after disposing of Wisconsin in the wildest of circumstances, so beware Nebraska. PREDICTION: Nebraska in a tight one.
Illinois at Penn State
Penn State apparently holds the division in its hands, which might not be the greatest news since the Lions have a knack of not playing well when they are favoured. The Illini have lost two in a row (one of them, laughably, was to Purdue), but they are dangerous when no-one thinks of Ron Zook and the Orange and Blue-clad people. PREDICTION: We Crazy Love The Illini in this one. By 3.
Oklahoma at Kansas State
When I told the guy in the bar last week that Kansas State's unbeaten and scoring for fun, and Oklahoma lost to Texas Tech, the guy called the police because he thought I was on drugs. "No sir", said the policeman. "It's all true". Anyway, we love Bill Snyder. We love what he's doing in Manhattan. We don't give him a prayer against an angry Sooners team. PREDICTION: Oklahoma by 21.
Baylor at Oklahoma State
The over/under for this game is around 70 points, because both sides struggle defensively and have fireworks on the other side of the ball. So that's why it'll be a piece of low-scoring melodrama featuring just two of the best quarterbacks in the land. Sound like nonsense? That's because it is. PREDICTION: First one to 41 wins. Oklahoma by 10 in a game that will be billed the manual on "What Not To Do" by defensive co-ordinators for years to come.
Missouri vs Texas A&M
The only funny bit about this game is that both sides might be playing in the SEC next year in a game between two teams that will struggle to keep up with the likes of LSU, Alabama and Florida. The rest of it? Yawn. PREDICTION: A&M by 21.
Washington State at Oregon
If you think this game's going to be close, you're a Boy In A Bubble. PREDICTION: Oregon by 41
Navy at Notre Dame
This has been one of the games to watch almost every season for one reason: It's always entertaining. Notre Dame will have problems against the Navy's triple-option, but can Navy play for 60 minutes? They've been good at losing heartbreakers this season! PREDICTION: Notre Dame! Last second touchdown!
Wisconsin at Ohio State
After losing a game that yours truly is still talking about, Wisconsin is going to have to pick itself up off the carpet for a night visit to what will be a noisy and unforgiving Horseshoe. The good news for Ohio State is that they've sorted their running game out with Dan Herron, the bad news is is that Braxton Miller's still learning. PREDICTION: Wisconsin by 14.