Tennessee at #13 Auburn
(Saturday, 2:30 pm, CBS)
The Auburn defense is one of the best in the nation. They’ll have no problem shutting down the woeful Tennessee offense by pressuring quarterback Jonathan Crompton into turnovers. Auburn’s offense is by no means a juggernaut either, but they’ll be good enough in this matchup.
J.Pike’s Pick: Auburn 23, Tennessee 10
#14 South Florida at N.C. State
(Saturday, 6:30 pm, ESPN U)
A week after their upset of #18 East Carolina, N.C. State faces yet another top 20 team in Raleigh. Unfortunately for the Wolfpack they will be without the services of their best offensive and defensive players this time around. Quarterback Russell Wilson, who had a breakout game against the Pirates, and linebacker Nate Irving will both be held out of the game due to injuries suffered a week ago. Harrison Beck, who will start in Wilson’s place at quarterback, is in for a long night. I expect USF DE George Selvie to harass him into a ton of mistakes and turnovers.
J.Pike’s Pick: South Florida 27, N.C. State 10
#15 Texas Tech is Idle
Maryland at #16 Clemson
(Saturday, 11 am, ESPN360.com)
This is a good test for both teams. Is Clemson as good as the preseason hype surrounding them or are they the chumps that barely showed up against Alabama? Is Maryland really as good as they looked against Cal or was that an aberration? Look for this game to be a slugfest decided by mistakes.
J.Pike’s Pick: Clemson 26, Maryland 18
Weber State at #17 Utah
(Saturday, 7 pm)
This matchup has an interesting subtext: Weber State head coach Ron McBride coached the Utes for 12 seasons, compiling an 88-63 record prior to the arrival of Urban Meyer. McBride brings a fairly explosive offense averaging 38.8 points per game in his return to Salt Lake. But Brian Johnson and the current Ute squad are far too much for the Wildcats. Utah must work on committing fewer penalties if they want to compete with BYU in the Mountain West.
J.Pike’s Pick: Utah 43, Weber State 24
#18 Kansas is Idle
Navy at #20 Wake Forest
(Saturday, 2:45 pm, ESPN U)
Wake Forest has quietly compiled a 3-0 record while playing very solid football so far this season. Their defense nearly pitched a shutout against overmatched Florida State last week (never thought I’d say that). The Demon Deacons need to be careful not to overlook Navy though. Navy is coming off a mild upset over Rutgers last week and they finally have quarterback Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada Nahasapeemapetilon back in the fold after he missed the first three games due to injury.
J.Pike’s Pick: Wake Forest 23, Navy 15
#21 Vanderbilt is Idle
Virginia Tech at #22 Nebraska
(Saturday, 7 pm, ABC)
Breakdown can be found here: [LINK]
J.Pike’s Pick: Nebraska 32, Virginia Tech 24
North Carolina at #23 Miami
(Saturday, 11 am, ESPN 2)
This is a game that is only going to get more important over the next few years. Both programs appear to be on the rise and both are playing a number of talented freshmen and sophomores. Don’t be surprised if this is a top 10 matchup in two years. I’ll give Miami the nod this year thanks in large part to their talented freshmen, QB Robert Marve and LB Sean Spence. Also, North Carolina quarterback T.J. Yates will miss the game due to an ankle fracture.
J.Pike’s Pick: Miami 24, North Carolina 14
Houston at #25 East Carolina
(Saturday, 2:30 pm, CBS College Sports)
East Carolina finally lost a game last week, but I still thought they played well. Quarterback Patrick Pinkney continues to impress, and East Carolina still plays as physical as any non-BCS conference team. Houston got beat pretty bad by Colorado State a week ago, so expect ECU to roll here.
J.Pike’s Pick: East Carolina 30, Houston 17