(Thursday, 8 pm, ESPN)
Everybody remembers what happened the last time the Trojans visited Corvalis. The Beavers pulled off the upset, ending USC’s 27-game Pac-10 winning streak. In this matchup, the Rogers brothers bring a lot more speed to the table than Ohio State did two weeks ago, so there could be trouble brewing. Throw in one of the most underrated playmakers in the nation in Sammie Stroughter and you have what could be a recipe for another upset. But Mark Sanchez is no John David Booty, and the young Oregon State defense has struggled in the early going. Oregon State’s speed on offense will make the USC defense will look human for the first time all season – if only for a few series. But overall USC is too good and too prepared to get upset again.
J.Pike’s Pick: USC 34, Oregon State 24
#11 Alabama at #2 Georgia
(Saturday, 6:45 pm, ESPN)
Spotlight Game of the Week [LINK]
J.Pike’s Pick: Georgia 24, Alabama 20
#24 TCU at #3 Oklahoma
(Saturday, 6 pm, FSN)
Here’s another game that featured a landmark upset a couple years ago. When TCU knocked off Oklahoma in the 2005 season opener, it marked the start of the Rhett Bomar era. That was not a pleasant season in Norman. Luckily Bomar the Ballhog is gone, and in his place is the remarkably efficient Sam Bradford. TCU is good defensively, but I don’t think they can contain Oklahoma for four quarters anymore. Oklahoma gets their revenge.
J.Pike’s Pick: Oklahoma 33, TCU 13
Arkansas at #4 Texas
(Saturday, 2:30 pm, ABC)
This game was postponed due to Hurricane Ike a couple weeks ago. The only thing that happened between then and now is that Arkansas played like a JV team against Alabama and got beat 49-14. Arkansas is flat out bad defensively. The offense is semi-capable, but Casey Dick is prone to throwing bad interceptions, so he’ll give Texas’ young secondary a much needed boost of confidence. Colt McCoy is quietly playing as well as anybody right now, and he’ll guide the offense to another big day.
J.Pike’s Pick: Texas 38, Arkansas 21
Ole Miss at #5 Florida
(Saturday, 11:30 am, Raycom/ESPN360.com)
Ole Miss has a history of beating Florida, so don’t be surprised if this game is still in doubt in the fourth quarter. Florida’s offense hasn’t yet hit its stride, but the defense is more than picking up the slack. Ole Miss has been completely rejuvenated thanks to the arrival of Houston Nutt. Quarterback Jevan Snead will play well, but in the fourth quarter the Florida defense will rise up and force him into the mistake that ruins the upset bid.
J.Pike’s Pick: Florida 32, Ole Miss 20
#6 Missouri is Idle
Mississippi State at #7 LSU
(Saturday, 6:30 pm, ESPN 2)
Mississippi State has one of the worst offenses in college football and LSU is coming off a big win at Auburn. The LSU defense could probably win this game by themselves. Put Derek Pegues on offense!
J.Pike’s Pick: LSU 37, Mississippi State 3
#19 Illinois at #8 Penn State
(Saturday, 7 pm, ABC)
Evan Royster, Darryl Clark and the Penn State offense has been fantastic in guiding the Nittany Lions to a 4-0 start. The Illinois defense on the other hand has struggled with tackling in the early going. That doesn’t bode well for the Illini. Throw in the fact that Penn State’s defense, which has been playing as well as anybody this year, could possibly be bolstered by the return of their best defensive lineman, Maurice Evans, from suspension. Juice Williams and Arrelious Benn are good, but I don’t think they have enough help around them.
Watch Evan Royster – he’s good.
J.Pike’s Pick: Penn State 34, Illinois 20
#9 Wisconsin at Michigan
(Saturday, 2:30 pm, ABC/ESPN)
Michigan is going to need their defense to step up if they are going to win any games this season. The offense just isn’t there yet and they will turn the ball over. Wisconsin on the other hand has their running game in high gear already. Hosses P.J. Hill and John Clay have been pounding people to the tune of 518 yards and 7 touchdowns in only three games so far this season. Look for that duo to wear down a feisty Michigan team and win it in the fourth quarter.
J.Pike’s Pick: Wisconsin 20, Michigan 14
Minnesota at #10 Ohio State
(Saturday, 11 am, Big Ten Network)
Don’t let Brent fool you – Minnesota isn’t very good. Sure, they have a 4-0 record, but that’s only because they beat the same cupcakes they managed to lose to a year ago. Ohio State on the other hand has found new life with Terrelle Pryor as the full time quarterback. He brings a new dimension to the offense that Todd Boeckman lacked. Chris “Beanie” Wells is also expected to be back in the lineup after missing the last two games with a toe injury. Look for the Buckeyes to put together their most complete game of the season as they beat up and out-coach the inferior Golden Gophers.
J.Pike’s Pick: Ohio State 37, Minnesota 13