Welcome back! We've got a light schedule in the Top 25 this week, thanks to some good matchups and a number of teams being off:
With that said, I didn't really look for any notable games this week because...well quite frankly I'm short on time. And I don't care about Notre Dame/Boston College.
It's time......for the picks!
(1)Alabama vs. (7)Florida
This is one of 5 games this week pitting two ranked teams. This should be the most high-profile. Alabama and Florida are, to this point, the two best teams in the SEC. Florida is in a bit of a rebuilding phase after losing some stars from last year. Alabama returns almost their whole reigning-National Championship team. Even though on paper Alabama might have the edge, Florida could keep this one close thanks to a rising star who emerged last week. The new do-everything man for the Gators is a Freshman names Trey Burton. If you didn’t see/hear about it, he set the Florida record for touchdowns in a game – besting the mark of Heisman winner Tim Tebow. This game is always closely contested and always a dogfight and this matchup should be no exception. I don’t think the Gators are up to speed yet, but there’s a good chance this could be a precursor to the SEC Championship game. 34-24 Tide.
(2)Ohio State @ Illinois
Ohio State opens up their Big Ten season against the Fighting Illini. Illinois is not supposed to be a contender in the Big Ten, so this should be just another game for Jim Tressel and the Buckeyes. Look for Pryor and the bunch to have yet another field day. 45-17 Buckeyes.
(3)Boise State @ New Mexico State
Boise State continues their march toward the National Championship with yet another cupcake. This is simply my opinion, but the fact that the rest of the Broncos’ schedule looks like this is embarrassing. NMSU is 0-3. This game should not be close. 56-7 Broncos.
(4)Oregon vs. (9)Stanford
Stanford goes into Eugene this week and looks to take down the high-flying Ducks. That is a tall order, this year, as the Ducks are scoring at a rate of a point-per-minute of play. With that being said, Stanford is the best team Oregon will have played. They have a tenacious defense that has the ability to stop a team like Oregon. On the other side of the ball, Andrew Luck is leading a Cardinal offense that is potent in its own right. They breezed by the Irish last week and look to have the same kind of effort and result this week. This is undoubtedly the Cardinal’s toughest challenge to date. In the end, I think the home field for Oregon will be too much for Stanford to overcome. 38-27 Ducks.
(5)TCU @ Colorado State
The high-powered Horned Frogs face a 1-3 Colorado State team and should pretty much obliterate the Rams. Let’s play a game for a second. Ready? (Sing it, you know how this goes) One of these things is not like the others, one of these things just doesn’t belong. Here are CSU’s results thus far: 24-3 loss, 51-6 loss, 31-10 loss, 36-34 win. Notice something odd? Yeah, they scored points last week! Good job, Rams! Well, you won’t score many points this week, sorry. 52-6 TCU.
(8)Oklahoma vs. (21)Texas
The Red River Rivalry rolls into the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas this week. If you’ve never actually watched this game, make a point to. It is truly a festival. And I’m not kidding. It’s at the Texas State Fairgrounds. You’ll see Ferris Wheels and everything. You know what else you’ll see? Two teams beating the living piss out of each other. Texas is coming of an embarrassing home loss to UCLA – their first home loss since 2007. This week might again test the Longhorns. The guy who needs to step up is QB Garrett Gilbert. As the heir to Colt McCoy’s throne, Gilbert has become the second-lowest rated passer in the Big 12. That’s unacceptable. Oklahoma should win this game, but it will be close because of the de facto Texas home crowd and the fact that they should come out angry. 27-21 Sooners.
(10)Auburn vs. Lousiana-Monroe
Cam Newton leads the Tigers against a Louisiana-Monroe team that got destroyed by Arkansas in their first game of the season. This blogger happens to think that Auburn is as-good, if not better than, Arkansas. Therefore, Auburn wins…and wins big. 42-7 Tigers.
(11)Wisconsin @ (24)Michigan State
This will be a big, big measuring stick for the Spartans. Wisconsin is generally considered the second-best team in the Big Ten. MSU wants to prove that they’re for real. They can do it here at home against the Badgers. Coach Mark Dantonio makes his return to the Spartans this week, albeit he’ll be in the coaching booth high above the Spartan Stadium field. That alone should be motivation for the Spartans, though. The Spartan running game has been superb this year, averaging over 200 yards per game. They haven’t played any stingy defenses yet, though, so again…the measuring stick. The passing game really needs to step up this week. No more drops, no more overthrows. Things need to click. The silly season is over, they’re expected to make the plays by now. And we haven’t seen it. This week will tell you whether or not they’re a real dark-horse for the Big Ten title. Wisconsin, on the other hand, just needs to keep doing what it’s been doing. John Clay and Freshman James White lead the Badgers running attack. Their defense has given up no more than 21 points all season, so it will test the MSU offense. MSU has a knack for….gasp….choking in big games. Now would be a good time to get that gorilla of their back. Unfortunately, I really don’t think it will happen here. Something about Wisconsin just scares me. I have a bad feeling that the Spartans will, again, live up to expectations by not living up to expectations in a big game. 31-24 Badgers.
(12)LSU vs. Tennessee
The Tigers welcome the Volunteers to Death Valley this week. So far, in 2 home games, LSU has held opponents to just 21 points. Tennessee has an offense comparable to the other two teams LSU has hosted, so they won’t be scoring much this game. Which brings it down to Tennessee’s defense. Not counting their first-game FCS (Div. 1-AA) opponent, they’ve given up 36 points per game. That tells me the advantage here is for LSU. The Tigers win, 38-14.
(16)Miami (FL) @ Clemson
This game could be closer than it might seem. Miami’s only loss came to Ohio State, but they’ve looked very good since. Clemson is coming off a close loss at the hands of Auburn. Some could make the argument that they should not be unranked. Miami went on the road and smacked around Pitt 31-3, so the road game thing shouldn’t factor much here. 34-27 Canes.
(17)Iowa vs. (22)Penn State
Another big Big Ten opener. Iowa has been lauded as a top team in the Big Ten all year. Penn State’s only loss came to Alabama. This game, like MSU-Wisconsin, will be a barometer for who will be chasing Ohio State for the Big Ten title. Penn State goes on the road and Rob Bolden will get his first taste of Big Ten action. He looked shell-shocked in Tuscaloosa, and he may here too. I still don’t know what to think of Iowa, so I guess I’ll just keep picking them and hope they prove me wrong. 28-24 Hawkeyes.
(18)USC vs. Washington
The Huskies go to L.A. this week. They are not a good team. USC is a good team. This is easy math, people. 38-17 Trojans.
(19)Michigan @ Indiana
Michigan heads down to Indiana with the peace of mind that Denard Robinson is well and will play. They have a good offense, and so does Indiana. Michigan has no defense, but Indiana has some semblance of a defense. That recipe makes me think this will be a high-scoring, close game. I think Michigan wins this game, 31-27.
(23)NC State vs. Virginia Tech
Russell Wilson and the Wolfpack take on the Hokies this week. VT has looked pedestrian all year…even downright embarrassing at times. After 2 despicable non-conference losses, VT is looking to take back the ACC. After shutting out Boston College last week, they can make a huge statement this week that games 1 and 2 were flukes. They’re playing an NC State team that puts points on the board and doesn’t give up very many. This is a tough call and should be a close game. I’m going upset here, 31-27 Hokies.
(25)Nevada @ UNLV
Nevada is the only other team in FBS (aside from Michigan State) that averages over 200 yards rushing per game. UNLV was smashed by both Wisconsin and Utah. Oh, and they allow an average of 165 rushing yards per game. That doesn’t bode well for them. Nevada should run all over the Rebels in this one. 52-21 Wolfpack.
There you have it, folks. Enjoy your weekends of college (and pro, if you so choose) football and tailgating. See you next week.