WEEK TEN - J&BP Top 25 Preview

#1 Texas @ #8 Texas Tech
(Saturday, 7 pm, ABC)
Since Texas Tech’s last win in this series in 2002, Texas has won by an average score of 48 to 30. These games haven’t been as close as you might think from all the “it’s always tough up there in Lubbock” talk. It’s just Drunk Vince Gill’s clownish offense clouding your memory. Texas is on a roll and the talk of a Texas Tech upset this weekend is just the fuel they need to take the field with a chip on their shoulder in Lubbock. On the field the Longhorns will get it done by actually playing a little defense. Much like the game plan Will Muschamp put together to stifle Missouri’s potent offense, he’ll turn his imposing D-Line loose, send blitzers after Graham Harrell, and hit the quarterback repeatedly until Tech is forced to narrow those wide offensive line splits they are known for. Don’t think for a second Tech’s line will be able to handle Brian Orakpo and Roy Miller – nobody has contained those two all season. The Red Raiders have run the ball a little bit more this year, and that is the X-Factor here. But I haven’t seen enough from Leach’s track record to indicate he’ll actually stick with the run in a big game. Look for Texas to win easily in a relatively low scoring game. Well, low scoring compared to what some are expecting anyway.
J.Pike’s Pick: Texas 42, Texas Tech 28

Arkansas State @ #2 Alabama
(Saturday, 2 pm, ESPN360.com)
Bama had better be careful here. And no, I’m not joking. Arkansas State has a respectable 4-3 record that includes a win over Texas A&M. Quarterback Corey Leonard and running backs Reggie Arnold and Derek Lawson form an unsung trio in the backfield – all three could make a name for themselves with big games against Alabama. Let’s also not forget this is the same Crimson Tide team that lost a game to Louisiana-Monroe late last season. Nick Saban has an extremely physical football team, but he also has an offense that is limited, especially if you can manage to slow down Glen Coffee and the running game. Arkansas State will show up ready to play, and they WILL give Alabama a game. How long will the Red Wolves hang in there? We’ll find out Saturday.
J.Pike’s Pick: Alabama 20, Arkansas State 17

#3 Penn State is IDLE

#7 Florida vs #4 Georgia (@ Jacksonville, FL)
(Saturday, 2:30 pm, CBS)
There’s no shortage of motivation in this rivalry. By now I’m sure everyone has re-lived the moment last year when the entire Georgia team ran on the field to celebrate after scoring their first touchdown. I know Urban Meyer and the Florida Gators remember it, so this might be one of those games where the team that can manage their emotions the best and make fewer stupid mistakes in the heat of battle will win. Georgia has committed their fair share of stupid penalties this year, and that could be what does them in if they lose. Florida is known for their speed and explosive offense, and a lot of prognosticators are expecting the Gators to run Georgia off the field in a blowout. But did you know Georgia is actually averaging 20 more yards per game offensively than Florida this year? Keep in mind that is against a much more challenging schedule too. Meyer’s offense seems to be based more around speed than actual Xs & Os. Georgia’s defense can match Florida’s speed, so will Meyer be able to counter the attacking Bulldog defense with a play more creative than “Hey Tim Tebow, fake like you are going to run then throw a jump pass to the tight end”? We’ll see. Georgia also has not-so-secret weapon Knowshon Moreno in the backfield. The sophomore tailback is easily one of the best players in the nation and he runs with a determination that you have to see to fully appreciate him. He’ll be the key to getting Georgia off to a fast start, and he’ll poke and prod the Florida defenders until they start committing stupid penalties. Georgia gets back in the national title discussion with an impressive win.
J.Pike’s Pick: Georgia 32, Florida 20

Nebraska @ #5 Oklahoma
(Saturday, 7 pm, ESPN)
With Bo Pelini in the fold this rivalry will eventually pick up steam again. The problem is, with the Big XII scheduling the way it is, it will never be the event it once was. Nebraska will play Oklahoma this year and next year during the rebuilding process, but the two won’t be scheduled to play in the regular season in 2010 or 2011. So Pelini will have to squeeze some magic out of this series with an inferior roster for the next two years. Don’t think he can’t do it either. Oklahoma is talented, and I’m sure Sam Bradford is licking his chops to go up against one of the more error-prone secondaries in the nation, but the Sooners are prone to mental breakdowns defensively too. They are also gaining a reputation for not showing up in big games late in the season. Bradford might have his way with the secondary early, but I expect Nebraska to adjust and scratch and claw their way into making this a game in the second half.
J.Pike’s Pick: Oklahoma 34, Nebraska 21

Washington @ #6 USC
(Saturday, 5:30 pm, FSN)
Here’s another opportunity for USC to put up an impressive score against a bad team. All the national pundits will see the big score and gush about how great the Trojans are and how they are “the most dangerous team in the nation right now.” Go ahead and keep inflating their egos – I can’t wait to see them lose to Stanford again.
J.Pike’s Pick: USC 43, Washington 10

#9 Utah @ New Mexico
(Saturday, 8:30 pm, The Mtn.)
See Mountain West Upset Alert [LINK]
J.Pike’s Pick: New Mexico 24, Utah 23

Iowa State @ #10 Oklahoma State
(Saturday, 2:30 pm, ABC)
How will the Cowboys respond to the loss to Texas? Some might say the strong showing against the #1 team in the country gave them confidence, that it confirmed their belief they belong in the top ten. But don’t forget the possibility that the Cowboys put their season on the line in that game and got their hearts ripped out with a close loss. Sometimes that’s the recipe for a huge letdown the following week. Judging by the way Oklahoma State handled their big win over Missouri (no big celebration, they simply walked off the field like a team that just did what they were supposed to do), I think Mike Gundy has his team on an even keel - they won’t get too ‘down’ because they never got too ‘up’. So I expect Kendall Hunter and Brandon Pettigrew to get back to rolling up points against the struggling Cyclones.
J.Pike’s Pick: Oklahoma State 40, Iowa State 17

#11 Boise State @ New Mexico State
(Saturday, 6 pm, ESPN360.com)
Almost four years ago New Mexico State fired their successful head coach Tony Samuel so they could bring in that clown Hal Mumme. Well, a mere 11 wins later that move is looking even more ridiculous than it looked at the time. The Aggies are coming off a loss to lifeless Idaho for goodness sake! I can only imagine how easily Boise State will roll over Mumme and his towel in Las Cruces this weekend.
J.Pike’s Pick: Boise State 34, New Mexico State 13

#12 Ohio State is IDLE

#13 TCU @ UNLV
(Saturday, 7 pm, CBS College Sports)
See Mountain West Upset Alert [LINK]
J.Pike’s Pick: TCU 33, UNLV 16

#14 Tulsa @ Arkansas
(Saturday, 1 pm, ESPN360.com)
This won’t be a pretty football game. Gus Malzahn’s Tulsa offense is averaging 605.6 yards and 55.6 points per game this year. Malzahn happens to be the former offensive coordinator at Arkansas and he played a role in the firestorm that eventually led to the ousting of Houston Nutt. He’ll be looking to show the fans in Fayetteville what his offense can do. But Arkansas still has SEC athletes and with home field advantage and running back Michael Smith they are capable of pulling the upset. I’m not sure the Hog defense, which appears to be frightened by the prospect of tackling at times, is up to the challenge of slowing down the Golden Hurricane attack.
J.Pike’s Pick: Tulsa 38, Arkansas 34

#15 Missouri @ Baylor
(Saturday, 2 pm)
I like the job Art Briles has done at Baylor so far. He has the Bears playing with more fire than I have seen out of that program in quite a while. A big reason for that has been the play of their hugely talented quarterback Robert Griffin. With Griffin at the helm, I guarantee you Baylor makes a bowl game in the near future. But this year is year one on the learning curve. Missouri and Chase Daniel are way ahead of that, and they won’t hesitate to run it up on the upstart Bears. Jeremy Maclin flat out has too much speed to not reach the end zone at least three times on Saturday.
J.Pike’s Pick: Missouri 51, Baylor 21

Wisconsin @ #16 Michigan State
(Saturday, 11 am, ESPN)
The season is quickly getting away from Wisconsin. Not only are the Badgers struggling to get decent play out of the quarterback spot, they just lost their best offensive weapon, tight end Travis Beckum, for the season thanks to a knee injury. And now they have to travel to face one of the best running backs in the nation. Michigan State’s Javon Ringer is the definition of a workhorse: he averages over 33 carries per game and has piled up 1,373 yards and 16 touchdowns so far this season. Even if Wisconsin manages to slow him down, I’m not sure they’ll be able to put many points on the board.
J.Pike’s Pick: Michigan State 23, Wisconsin 17

#17 Florida State @ Georgia Tech
(Saturday, 2:30 pm, ABC/ESPN)
Florida State has rallied around freshman quarterback Christian Ponder and quietly climbed to a 6-1 record. I’m not sure about Ponder though. He’s the kind of quarterback that makes stupid plays for the majority of the game and then stumbles his way into a big play in a key situation. I’m not sure how much of it is skill and how much of it is luck, but my impression from watching him is that these clutch plays aren’t going to be there for him against better competition. Georgia Tech has a pretty good defense and they are led up front by end Michael Johnson and tackle Vance Walker. Those two will make it difficult for Ponder to get in a rhythm. Offensively, Georgia Tech will lull a talented Seminole defense to sleep with their triple option, and eventually bust a long run late to set up the game winning score.
J.Pike’s Pick: Georgia Tech 18, Florida State 16

Tulane @ #18 LSU
(Saturday, 7 pm, ESPN360.com)
It’s time for the annual battle for Louisiana. It’s also time for LSU to take out some frustrations after giving up 50 points for the second time this season a week ago.
J.Pike’s Pick: LSU 34, Tulane 7

Northwestern @ #19 Minnesota
(Saturday, 11 am, ESPN 2)
A season that started out so promising for Northwestern is now falling apart. The Wildcats lost two of their last three games, and must now face top 25 teams Minnesota and Ohio State. Injuries have been the main factor in the sudden dropoff, with quarterback C.J. Bacher and running back Tyrell Sutton each suffering season ending injuries in October. If you tune in to this game, check out Minnesota’s speedy freshman wideout Brandon Green. He broke out with 5 catches for 100 yards a week ago, and showed some excellent speed on a 71-yard reception. He could be a big time player in the Big Ten in the near future.
J.Pike’s Pick: Minnesota 23, Northwestern 16

#20 BYU @ Colorado State
(Saturday, 5 pm, The Mtn.)
See Mountain West Upset Alert [LINK]
J.Pike’s Pick: BYU 34, Colorado State 24

#21 North Carolina is IDLE

#22 Ball State is IDLE

#23 Oregon @ California
(Saturday, 2:30 pm, ABC)
Jeff Tedford is his own worst enemy. After a strong start to the season with Kevin Riley at quarterback, Tedford decided to give Nate Life-long Spare the job. Once again, Longshore proved he has no mettle and can’t hold up under pressure. His awful play was instrumental in the Bears getting destroyed by Arizona. Tedford went back to Riley at QB and the team responded with an easy win over UCLA. With Riley in the fold, Cal has an excellent shot to beat Oregon, whose pass defense is surprisingly shoddy. This game also features the three best running backs in the Pac-10. Sorry USC – five stars next to your name in high school doesn’t make you a good college running back. Oregon’s LeGarrette Blount has been pounding opponents this season with his physical running style (12 tds), and Jeremiah Johnson has one of the best stiff arms you’ll find. But Cal’s Jahvid Best will be the difference maker. His speed and agility is off the charts, and he’s finally healthy again.
J.Pike’s Pick: California 30, Oregon 28

#24 Maryland is IDLE

Kansas State @ #25 Kansas
(Saturday, 11:30 am, FSN)
Here’s a game with shootout potential. Both teams feature potent passing attacks: Kansas quarterback Todd Reesing has Dezmon Briscoe (760 yards, 9 td) and Kerry Meier (63 receptions, 4 td) at his disposal, and Kansas State quarterback Josh Freeman likes to find speedy JC transfer Brandon Banks (813 yards, 20.8 yards per reception). Additionally, both defenses were burned repeatedly through the air a week ago: Kansas State gave up 58 points to Oklahoma and Kansas gave up 63 to Texas Tech. Mark Mangino gets the best of Ron Prince in the coaching matchup though.
J.Pike’s Pick: Kansas 38, Kansas State 32

BP25 Week 9 Better late then never

For speed purposes this week will have a more in depth game breakdown, but here is the 25.

1. Texas
2. Alabama
3. Penn St.
4. Georgia
5. Texas Tech
6. Boise St.
7. Utah
8. Oklahoma
9. Florida
10. USC
11. Oklahoma St.
12. Tulsa
13. Ball St.
14. TCU
15. Ohio St.
16. Minnesota
17. Michigan St.
18. Florida St.
19. Missouri
20. N. Carolina
21. BYU
23. LSU
24. Georgia Tech
25. California

On the Radar in no order:
Northwestern,Maryland, Boston College, W Virginia, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Louisville, USF, Notre Dame, C Michigan, W Wichigan, Air Force, Oregon, Troy, Fresno St., Virginia, Nebraska, Virginia Tech, Duke, Vanderbuilt

WEEK TEN - Preview

West Virginia (-3½) over Connecticut
Connecticut is actually a pretty tough team to beat on their home field. But without their top two quarterbacks the Huskies are vulnerable. West Virginia finally seems to be putting things together, so I expect them to stay hot and win by a touchdown or more.

Michigan (+1½) over Purdue
Purdue stinks. Curtis Painter is injured and might not play, but that doesn’t matter. Michigan has the defense to keep Purdue off the scoreboard and quarterback Steven Threet has improved enough to manufacture enough points to win outright.

Georgia (+5½) over Florida
I’m a little surprised the spread is this much in favor of Florida. Mark Richt wins the coaching battle here, and Knowshon Moreno will carry his team to victory over the speedy Gators. Texas (-6) over Texas Tech Like taking candy from a baby. Texas has won by an average of 18 points in the last five meetings. Texas Tech is the same old Texas Tech, but this might be Mack Brown’s best team yet.

Western Kentucky (-16½) over North Texas High School’s Varsity Football Team
How hilarious is it that a team with exactly zero wins over Division 1-A opponents is favored by 16½ over NTHS? The Hilltoppers are only averaging 10.5 points per game against D1-A competition for goodness sake! Take Western Kentucky anyway - they’ll win by 17.

Other games I like, but don’t feel good enough about to give them “Lock” status:
Central Michigan (+2½) over Indiana
Kansas State (+11½) over Kansas
Arkansas State (+23½) over Alabama
Missouri (-20) over Baylor
Iowa State (+31) over Oklahoma State
Washington (+43) over USC
New Mexico (+7½) over Utah

Tony Pike Update

Playing with a soft cast on his broken left arm, Tony Pike played one of the best games of his career in leading Cincinnati to a 24-10 win over South Florida Thursday night. Despite taking several crushing hits, Pike hung in there and steadied the offense while leading the Bearcats to their 6th win.

The Tony Pike Stat Line
Passing: 20/28 (71.4%) for 281 yards, 2 td, 1 int
Rushing: 2 attempts for -15 yards


WEEK TEN - Preview

With two top ten matchups (Texas at Texas Tech & Florida vs Georgia), one of the best traditional rivalries (Nebraska at Oklahoma), and perhaps the final Spurrier/Fulmer meeting on the docket this weekend it would be easy to overlook the rest of the schedule. But here are three games flying under the radar you should know about. One will be a good old fashioned smashmouth football game with a spotlight on running the football and playing defense; another features a future potential Faulk Trophy winner; and the other is going to be a shootout in which 40 points probably won’t be enough to get the win.

Temple (3-5) @ Navy (5-3)
(Saturday, 2:30 pm, CBS College Sports)
If you’re looking for a good old fashioned smashmouth football game this weekend, you should probably tune in to CBS College Sports at about 2:30 this weekend. Navy will roll out their triple option attack and try to penetrate the solid Temple defense. To give you an idea of how old fashioned this game could be, consider this: Navy didn’t thorw a single pass in their win over SMU a week ago. With quarterback Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada back in the fold, they’ll have at least the threat of a play action pass, but you can still bet on the ball staying on the ground more often than not. That is a direct challenge to a surprisingly stout Temple defense. The veteran Owls, led by Junior Galette, have been terrorizing MAC foes of late. In their five conference games they have limited opponents to 66 rushing yards (2.0 yards per carry!), and 16.2 points per game – not too shabby. But I don’t think Temple has enough offense to pull out a victory.
J.Pike’s Pick: Navy 17, Temple 10

UAB (2-6) @ Southern Miss (2-6)
(Saturday, 7 pm)
Sure, these two teams only have four wins between them this year. But there will be enough young talent on the field that you should pay attention anyway because both of these programs are capable of taking a big step forward in Conference USA next year. New Southern Miss head coach Larry Fedora has a good offensive mind, and he’s got some weapons at his disposal. Junior running back headlines the attack with 969 rushing yards and 7 touchdowns. But freshman wide receiver DeAndre Brown is the player that has Golden Eagle fans excited. At 6-foot-5, Brown is piling up touchdowns at an alarming rate (9 so far) thanks to the mismatches he creates in the red zone. But the Blazers possess possibly the most exciting player you’ve never heard of in junior quarterback Joe Webb. Webb is an excellent athlete that is improving his passing every week. He has the numbers (1,726 yards, 8 td passing; 723 yards 7 td rushing) that will put him in the running for the Faulk Trophy next season if he gets a little more help around him. Look for this game to be close at halftime, but Southern Miss will pull away in the second half as UAB has consistently played poorly after halftime this season.
J.Pike’s Pick: Southern Miss 31, UAB 20

Rice (5-3) @ UTEP (3-4)
(Saturday, 8:05 pm)
I’m not sure why this game isn’t on television because it should be the highest scoring game of the weekend hands down. Rice won last year’s meeting despite giving up 48 points. This year both teams will be without top defensive players this week due to injury, so the Owls might need to score more than 56 this time around to secure the W. Oh yeah, I should also mention that Rice is allowing 36.5 points per game, and last week UTEP gave up 77 points and 791 yards to Tulsa! Each quarterback should have a field day Saturday night. Euless Trinity alum Trevor Vittatoe paces the Miners with his excellent 16-4 TD/INT ratio. Chase Clement is like a mini-Colt McCoy (2,360 yards, 24 td passing; 402 yards, 7 td rushing) and has positioned himself as a serious underdog candidate for the Faulk Trophy. I’ll give the slight edge to Rice here because although they don’t have as much talent as UTEP does on paper, they have played more consistently up to this point.
J.Pike’s Pick: Rice 63, UTEP 51

WEEK TEN - Thursday Night Game

South Florida @ Cincinnati
(Thursday, 6:30 pm, ESPN)
Talk about hobbling into a game. Both of these teams have suffered significant injuries this season. South Florida will be playing without leading rusher Mike Ford and linebacker Brouce Mompremier on Thursday night. Ford is an important cog in the offense because without him the Bulls struggle to get production from the ground game. Mompremier is a solid linebacker and vocal leader on defense. Safety Danny Verpaele, offensive lineman Zach Hermann, and kicker Justin Teachey also are likely to miss the game. Cincinnati is in no better shape as they have gone through several quarterbacks already this year. Dustin Grutza started the season strong but broke his leg in the first half against Oklahoma. Tony Pike took over as the starter and later broke his arm. He attempted to come back last week against UConn but lost feeling in the injured arm and had to be taken out. That leaves freshman Chazz Anderson to man the position, where he’ll face the awesome pass rush abilities of USF defensive end George Selvie. You know Selvie will be coming too because Cincinnati isn’t much of a threat to run the ball. Go ahead and pencil in at least one sack for the All American. Cincinnati won the game last year in Tampa, Florida, but I’ll give the edge to South Florida this year. Cincy isn’t forcing nearly as many turnovers as they did a year ago, therefore they don’t play enough defense to keep Matt Grothe out of the end zone.
J.Pike’s Pick: South Florida 26, Cincinnati 23


Memory Lane

In case you missed it...
Ghost of the Russian Empire

Rumors of a scheduled recording session this winter under a new band name are unconfirmed.

Upeset Alert - Mountain West Edition

The Mountain West Conference has three teams ranked in the J&BP Top 25. This Saturday all three of those teams go on the road to face tough competition, so I’m putting the entire conference on Upset Alert. I predict at least one of the top three (Utah, TCU, BYU) will lose. Here’s a quick preview of the games in order of the likelihood of upset. By the way, if anybody knows what channel “The Mtn.” is, please let me know because for the first time ever I want to tune in to their network.

Utah (8-0) @ New Mexico (4-5)
(Saturday, 8:30 pm, The Mtn.)
Don’t ever count out Rocky Long’s troops. When quarterback Donovan Porterie went down for the season with an injury, the Lobos simply rallied around their potent running game. They are hanging around .500 thanks to the running of Rodney Ferguson. The senior tailback has paced the nation’s 13th ranked rushing attack with 865 yards and 11 touchdowns. Ferguson has his work cut out for him this week because the Utah front seven is one of the best in the Mountain West. Thanks to stars like Paul Kruger, Koa Misi, and Stevenson Sylvester, the Utes have limited opponents to 85.9 rushing yards per game this season (9th nationally). Can they hold up against Ferguson and company? One reason Utah is confident heading into this game is because of the play of their quarterback, Brian Johnson. Johnson has posted solid numbers and displayed impressive leadership skills in leading the Utes to their 8-0 mark. He has been the leading candidate for the Faulk Trophy for the entire season, and I expect him to play like he deserves the award Saturday. The Achilles heel for Utah all season has been their penchant for shooting themselves in the foot. Untimely penalties and turnovers have cropped up, but haven’t yet gotten the best of the Utes. New Mexico is a solid fundamental team that will be able to take advantage of these mistakes. That will get the momentum of the crowd going and give the Lobos an excellent shot at the upset.
J.Pike’s Pick: New Mexico 24, Utah 23

BYU (7-1) @ Colorado State (4-4)
(Saturday, 5 pm, The Mtn.)
Colorado State is looking for their first big win under new head coach Steve Fairchild and a home game against BYU would be the perfect opportunity to get it. If a winless Washington team can come within a blown extra point of taking BYU to overtime, why can’t the Rams do it too? Fairchild is striving for balance offensively with wide receiver Rashaun Greer and running back Gartrell Johnson, but the offensive line isn’t good enough yet for either phase to thrive. Facing an ever-improving BYU front seven that includes standouts David Nixon, Matt Bauman, and Jan Jorgensen doesn’t bode well for that unit. On the other side of the ball, BYU can score points, but they aren’t unstoppable. If you can pressure Max Hall you can knock him out of his rhythm. The problem is that Colorado State is last in the Mountain West with only 6 sacks this season. On emotion alone, the Rams will make this one a game in the second half, but in the end it will be difficult to make clutch stops against the potent BYU offense.
J.Pike’s Pick: BYU 34, Colorado State 24

TCU (8-1) @ UNLV (3-5)
(Saturday, 7 pm, CBS College Sports)
When UNLV knocked off Arizona State earlier this season, it looked like the Rebels were finally going to turn the corner under coach Mike Sanford. Now that we are a little deeper into the season it looks like a win over ASU isn’t quite as impressive as it seemed at the time. But with quarterback Omar Clayton the Rebels will always have a chance to win. The problem is he will have to do it against one of the best defenses in the nation. TCU is in the top two nationally in each of the following categories: scoring defense (10.4 points per game), rushing defense (30.2 yards per game), total defense (218.9 yards per game), sacks (35), and turnover margin (+14). On top of all that, TCU has yet to allow a single point in the fourth quarter this season. So Omar Clayton had better watch his back because Jerry Hughes (12 sacks) and Jason Phillips will be coming after him on Saturday. For UNLV to pull the upset, they’ll need to play their best game and hope for one of those annual TCU choke jobs that tend to trip up the Horned Frogs just when they are gaining some national attention.
J.Pike’s Pick: TCU 33, UNLV 16


JP25 Update

See you later Big East. With league front runners Pittsburgh and South Florida losing this weekend, the league is now without a single team ranked in the JP top 25. West Virginia is on the rise again, but can you really give a team credit for beating Auburn any more? If the Big East doesn't voluntarily give up their slot in the BCS to the Mountain West champion at the end of this season, I'm going to campaign to have them kicked out of the equation altogether. Come on Big East! Get with the program!

Top 25 (last week, record)
1. Texas (1, 8-0)
2. Penn State (2, 9-0)
3. Alabama (3, 8-0)
4. Georgia (5, 7-1)
5. Oklahoma (4, 7-1)
6. USC (6, 6-1)
7. Florida (8, 6-1)
8. Oklahoma State (9, 7-1)
9. Ohio State (7, 7-2)
10. Utah (11, 8-0)
11. Missouri (12, 6-2)
12. Texas Tech (15, 8-0)
13. TCU (14, 8-1)
14. Boise State (16, 7-0)
15. LSU (10, 5-2)
16. Tulsa (17, 8-0)
17. Oregon (24, 6-2)
18. Michigan State (--, 7-2)
19. Florida State (--, 6-1)
20. Maryland (--, 6-2)
21. Kansas (13, 5-3)
22. BYU (22, 7-1)
23. Virginia Tech (21, 5-3)
24. North Carolina (--, 6-2)
25. Minnesota (--, 7-1)

Dropped Out: Georgia Tech (18), Boston College (19), Pittsburgh (20), Arizona (23), South Florida (25)
Just Missed The Cut: California, Virginia, Georgia Tech, West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Arizona, Boston College, South Florida


Week Nine Results


Against The Spread
Midweek Games: 1-2-1 (37.5%)
: 21-24 (46.7%)
Sunday: 1-0 (100%)

Week Nine Total: 23-26-1 (47%)
SEASON TOTAL: 216-203-10 (51.5%)


Straight Up
Midweek Games: 2-1 (66.6%)
Top 25 Picks
: 10-9 (52.6%)
Under the Radar: 3-0 (100%)

Week Nine Total: 15-10 (60%)
SEASON TOTAL: 202-68 (74.8%)

Against The Spread
Locks: 2-4 (3.3%)
Other Picks: 3-4 (42.9%)

Week Nine Total: 5-8 (38.5%)
SEASON TOTAL: 56-51-1 (52.3%)
SEASON TOTAL ("Locks"): 27-17 (61.4%)


7 on 7 Drills

In a week that saw us agree on only three of seven games, Brent was able to close my lead to just one game. My upset pick (Tennessee over Alabama) didn't work out so well, and my vengeance pick (Kansas over Texas Tech) was even worse. At least my Nittany Lions took care of Brent's Buckeyes and knocked them out of the national title race for good.

1. Alabama 29, Tennessee 9
Brent: Alabama
Jason: Tennessee
2. Florida St. 30, Virginia Tech 20
Brent: Florida State
Jason: Virginia Tech
3. USC 17, Arizona 10
Brent: USC
Jason: USC
4. Texas Tech 63, Kansas 21
Brent: Texas Tech
Jason: Kansas
5. Texas 28, Oklahoma State 24
Brent: Texas
Jason: Texas
6. Georgia 52, LSU 38
Brent: Georgia
Jason: Georgia
7. Ohio State 13, Penn State 6
Brent: Ohio State
Jason: Penn State

Brent6-1 (85.7%)
Jason4-3 (57.1%)

Jason41-22 (65.1%)
Brent40-23 (63.5%)

Tony Pike Update

After missing the last two contests with a broken left arm, Tony Pike got the start for Cincinnati on Saturday against Connecticut. Unfortunately his return didn't last long. After leading Cincy to a 13-10 halftime lead, he lost feeling in his left hand and had to sit out the second half. With Pike out of the lineup, the Huskies home field advantage kicked in and UConn reeled off the final 23 points of the game to secure a 40-16 victory.

The Tony Pike Stat Line
Passing: 10/27 (37%) for 136 yards, 1 td, 1 int
Rushing: 3 attempts for -15 yards


Week 9 picks against the spread

Here are my picks for the week:

Ohio +4 vs Temple, TIE

W Virginia -2.5 vs Auburn, WIN
New Mexico +5 vs Air Force, LOSS

San Jose St. +7.5 vs Boise St.

Lousiana Tech +2 @ Army
NC St. +10.5 @ Maryland
Miami(Fla) -2.5 vs Wake Forest
Northwestern -7.5 @ Indiana
Minnesota +1 @ Purdue
Boston College +3 @ N Carolina
Cincinnati -1 @ UCONN
Illinois -2.5 @ Wisconsin
Rutgers +9.5 @ Pittsburgh
Texas A&M +3 @ Iowa St.
Florida -25 vs Kentucky
Arkansas +5 vs Ole Miss
Ball St. -24.5 vs E Michigan
BYU -22 vs UNLV
Vanderbuilt -10.5 vs Duke
Rice -2 @ Tulane
Fresno St. -16 @ Utah St.
SMU +12 @ Navy
Tennessee +6.5 vs Alabama
Arizona St +5 vs Oregon
California -17 vs UCLA
Miami Oh -6.5 vs Kent St.
Georgia Tech -12 vs Virginia
OSU +12.5 @ Texas
Georgia +1.5 @ LSU
Oklahoma -18 @ Kansas St.
Michigan St. -4 @ Michigan
Florida St. -5 vs Virginia Tech
N Illinois -8 vs Bowling Green
N Mexico State -14 @ Idaho
TCU -31 vs Wyoming
C Michigan -3.5 @ Toledo
South Florida -4 vs Louisville
Nebraska -11 vs Baylor
Texas Tech -1 @ Kansas
Missouri -21.5 vs Colorado
Ohio St. -2.5 vs Penn St.
Memphis +5 vs S Mississippi
Notre Dame -10.5 @ Washington
Colorado St. -8.5 @ San Diego St.
USC -16.5 @ Arizona
Nevada -3 @ Hawaii
Miss St. -10 vs Middle Tennessee St.
UL Monroe -2.5 vs Florida Atlantic
Troy -24 @ North Texas

Sunday:(Yep Sunday!)
Tulsa -23.5 vs C Florida


WEEK NINE - Spotlight Game of the Week

#3 Penn State
#4 Ohio State

(Saturday, 7 pm, ABC)

When Penn State has the ball
Penn State holds a huge five letter advantage over Ohio State: S-P-E-E-D. The last four losses suffered by the Buckeyes have all been at the hands of opponents with the speed to take advantage of those slow footed linebackers, and the Nittany Lions definitely have their share of speedsters.

The thing I like about Penn State so much this year is their balance offensively. Not just the fact that they average 234.6 rushing yards and 253.1 passing yards per game, but the number of different styles they can beat you with.

First there’s Bo Jackson Trophy candidate Even Royster in the backfield. He’s a bruiser that wears down defenses as the game goes along, but he also has deceptive speed that has allowed him to run for enough big gains to pad his average all the way up to 7.7 yards per carry! Then when defenses get tired of taking the beating from Royster, freshman Stefphon “Warp Speed” Green comes into the ball game.

Penn State can also spread the field and beat you throwing the football. You won’t find a more veteran trio of receivers in the nation than Jordan Norwood, Deon Butler, and Derrick Williams. All three are seniors with great speed and the smarts to get open in clutch situations. The Ohio State secondary is pretty good, but these guys will be able to get open and make key third down grabs to keep the chains moving. And don’t forget that Williams is one of the most dangerous punt returners in the nation too.

But the most impressive part about this Nittany Lion offense so far this year has been quarterback Darryl Clark. Clark entered the season as an unknown quantity that barely beat out big armed Pat Devlin for the starting job. All he has done is play as well as any quarterback in the Big Ten. Clark is a better than average passer, which makes his scrambling skills even more effective. All in all, he rounds out the offense perfectly.

The Ohio State defense has taken some hits recently, and deservedly so. The blowouts they have suffered at the hands of USC, LSU, and Florida were partly due to the lack of speed on that side of the ball. Penn State has speed and they’ll be able to score when they need to Saturday night.

When Ohio State has the ball
Freshman quarterback Terrelle Pryor has given the Ohio State offense some much needed playmaking ability. With his running ability now a permanent fixture in the offense, defenses aren’t able play vanilla and shut down the Buckeyes.

If there’s one aspect of Pryor’s game that has been a surprise, it’s his passing touch. He has made some very nice throws this year and it’s only a matter of time before he gains consistency and becomes a star.

Unfortunately he doesn’t get much help from the current crop of receivers. Brian Hartline and Brian Robiskie are two non-factors in games like this because they refuse to help their quarterback out. Both of these guys would rather complain to the officials and keep their uniforms clean than actually go up and make a catch in traffic. Against a ballhawking Penn State secondary that includes Anthony Scirrotto, that sort of attitude will lead to interceptions.

That means the onus offensively will be on the Buckeyes running game. Chris Wells entered the season as a Heisman Trophy candidate but has since fallen out of the race after missing several key games early with a toe injury. Wells is almost back to full strength so you can be sure Jim Tressel will use him early and often Saturday night.

Pryor also has excellent athleticism and can make defenders miss in the open field. He’ll need that athleticism because Penn State features one of the best pass rush duos in the nation in ends Aaron Maybin (10 sacks) and Josh Gaines (3.5 sacks). The Penn State defensive line has been so good this year that blitzing is rarely necessary. That has freed up the linebackers to make plays elsewhere, which will come in handy against Ohio State as they will be freed up to track Wells and Pryor.

All in all, there don’t appear to be many advantages for Ohio State on this side of the ball. If Terrelle Pryor isn’t making plays with his feet, points may be few and far between against the Nittany Lion defense.

Final Verdict
In short, I think Penn State is just a much better team than Ohio State right now. That’s not a knock against the Buckeyes, it’s more of a statement about how good Penn State is right now. There also don’t happen to be many matchups in this game that favor Ohio State. Even though it’s in The Horseshoe, Penn State will cruise to an easy victory and stake a claim to not only the Big Ten title, but to a berth in the national championship game as well.

J.Pike’s Pick: Penn State 32, Ohio State 16

WEEK NINE - J.Pike's picks against the spread

I see a lot of games that look good to pick against the spread this week. Here are my locks:

Cincinnati (-1) over Connecticut
Tony Pike is back at quarterback for Cincinnati and UConn is still without their quarterback Tyler Lorenzen.

Central Michigan (-4) over Toledo
The Chippewas are flat out the better team. It won’t matter that the game is in the Glass Bowl.

UNLV (+22½) over BYU
BYU proved themselves to be human in a blowout loss to TCU last week. Now they are more than three touchdown favorites over a solid UNLV team? I think UNLV takes this game down to the wire.

Michigan (+4) over Michigan State
I think Michigan wins this game outright with their defense leading the way.

UCLA (+17) over California
As long as Jeff Tedford stays committed to Nate Longspare at quarterback I’ll stay committed to picking against Cal.

Penn State (-2½) over Ohio State
The Nittany Lions own every individual matchup in this game and have too much speed offensively.

Other games I like, but don’t feel good enough about to give them “Lock” status:
Kansas (-2½) over Texas Tech
Boston College (+3) over North Carolina
Oklahoma (-19½) over Kansas State
Rice (+1½) over Tulane
Virginia Tech (+4½) over Florida State
Tennessee (+6½) over Alabama
Arizona (+16) over USC


WEEK NINE - Top 25 Preview (Part II: Top 10)

#9 Oklahoma State at #1 Texas
(Saturday, 2:30 pm, ABC)
It’s just another week facing a top 10 opponent for the Texas. This time around it’s Oklahoma State’s turn to take a shot at the top ranked Longhorns. The Cowboys are somewhat of an unknown quantity at this point so this game could go any number of different directions. The only thing I know for certain is that if Texas spots Oklahoma State a three touchdown lead as they have in the three of the last four meetings, the Cowboys won’t be as likely to give it up. But I expect Will Muschamp’s defense to jump on Zac Robinson and Kendall Hunter early, which will allow Colt McCoy and the offense to build a lead for a change. The Cowboys fight hard in Austin, but Texas is just too good right now.
J.Pike’s Pick: Texas 34, Oklahoma State 20

#2 Alabama at Tennessee
(Saturday, 6:45 pm, ESPN)
Two words: Eric Berry.
J.Pike’s Pick: Tennessee 21, Alabama 20

#3 Penn State at #4 Ohio State
(Saturday, 7 pm, ABC)
Spotlight Game of the Week [LINK]
J.Pike’s Pick: Penn State 32, Ohio State 16

#5 Oklahoma at Kansas State
(Saturday, 11:30 am, FSN)
No upset potential here. Kansas State is at home and they have an offense that will probably put some points on the board against OU. But that’s where the Wildcat advantages end. The Sooners are a much better all around team. Losing leading receiver Manuel Johnson for the season will only open the door for freshman Ryan Broyles to become a star.
J.Pike’s Pick: Oklahoma 48, Kansas State 28

#6 Georgia at #12 LSU
(Saturday, 2:30 pm, CBS)
LSU hasn’t been very impressive of late. After getting blown out against Florida, the Tigers responded with a flat performance against South Carolina. Georgia hasn’t been all that impressive either, but they have never been a team that blows people out. The injuries have brought the talent level back down to earth, but with a backfield full of playmakers (Knowshon Moreno, Matthew Stafford, and the underrated fullback Brannan Southerland), the Bulldogs are capable of winning every game left on their schedule. Even though this game is in Baton Rouge, I think Georgia shows up on a mission to let everybody know the ‘Dawgs aren’t going away just yet.
J.Pike’s Pick: Georgia 27, LSU 23

#7 Utah is idle

#8 USC at Arizona
(Saturday, 9:15 pm, FSN)
Is this the year Arizona finally gets the best of USC? The way Arizona played last week against Cal you might think so. USC is starting to put it together defensively though, as they have gone 10 quarters without giving up a single point. Combine this with the fact that Arizona is averaging 11.5 points per game against the Trojans in the Mike Stoops era and any hopes for an upset seem a little bit less attainable. The Wildcats will push USC to the fourth quarterback (as they did last season), but Rey Maualuga and the defense will buckle down and deliver a win.
J.Pike’s Pick: USC 31, Arizona 27

Kentucky at #10 Florida
(Saturday, 11:30 am, Raycom/ESPN360.com)
Kentucky usually plays solid defense, but with their top two players on that side of the ball (Myron Pryor and Micah Johnson) hobbled with injuries, Florida’s speed will be too much.
J.Pike’s Pick: Florida 36, Kentucky 13

WEEK NINE - Top 25 Preview (Part I: 11-25)

#11 Texas Tech at #16 Kansas
(Saturday, 11 am, ESPN)
Texas Tech hasn’t played anybody up to this point, and they have been sloppy since entering Big XII play. Kansas is just the kind of team that can knock off the Red Raiders. Not only is Todd Reesing and his excellent (now healthy) receiving corps capable of matching Tech point-for-point, they are also a smart team that will take advantage of all of Mike Leach’s coaching mistakes. The Kansas defense will hold the Red Raiders to their lowest point total and knock them from the ranks of the unbeaten.
J.Pike’s Pick: Kansas 36, Texas Tech 27

Wyoming at #13 TCU
(Saturday, 5 pm, The Mtn.)
The Horned Frog defense should have no problems holding Wyoming under 10 points – four other defenses have done it already this year and TCU might be the best defense the Cowboys have played. Jeremy Kerley is one of the most dangerous offensive weapons in the Mountain west, but TCU won’t even need him to win this one. How did Joe Glenn’s coaching stock fall so far so fast?
J.Pike’s Pick: TCU 35, Wyoming 3

Colorado at #15 Missouri
(Saturday, 5:30 pm, FSN)
Don’t make the mistake of assuming Missouri will bounce right back from their two-game losing streak and destroy Colorado. The Buffaloes are a smart team with some good young players and they are definitely capable of compounding Gary Pinkel’s troubles. But Colorado’s problem is that they often start games aggressively and grab early leads, but then go into safe mode. Missouri will take advantage of that habit and pull out of their nose dive with a win.
J.Pike’s Pick: Missouri 38, Colorado 24

Central Florida at #17 Tulsa
(Sunday, 7 pm, ESPN)
Tulsa boasts one of the most explosive offenses in the nation, but they’ll be facing one of the best defenses in Conference USA here. UCF is still struggling offensively due to a quarterback controversy, but honestly, neither Michael Greco nor freshman Rob Calabrese could really make a difference against Tulsa. David Johnson-to-Brennan Marion will provide the fireworks as they lead the Golden Hurricane to 8-0.
J.Pike’s Pick: Tulsa 41, Central Florida 20

UNLV at #18 BYU
(Saturday, 1 pm, The Mtn.)
How will BYU respond coming off their first loss of the season? UNLV has faded of late, but Frank Summers is still capable of chewing up yards and clock with his running. That means BYU can’t be feeling too sorry for themselves or they could be looking at a second consecutive loss. I expect this one to be a dogfight throughout, but in the end Max Hall will find a way to get the win.
J.Pike’s Pick: BYU 28, UNLV 21

#19 Boston College at North Carolina
(Saturday, 11 am, Raycom/ESPN360.com)
BC quarterback Chris Crane is finally starting to play well. He’s not throwing nearly as many terrible interceptions as he did in the early part of the year, which is allowing him to utilize his strong arm more effectively. The running of freshman Montel Harris has also been a pleasant surprise as he balances out the offense by chipping in an average of 88 yards the last four games. North Carolina lost quarterback T.J. Yates to injury four weeks ago and has been hanging on for dear life ever since. The Tar Heels have a ton of talent, but it’s looking more and more like 2009 will be the year it all comes together. In the mean time, Mark Herzlich and the BC defense will be enough to slow down Carolina’s incocnsistent offense and get the Eagles to 6-1.
J.Pike’s Pick: Boston College 27, North Carolina 17

Virginia at #20 Georgia Tech
(Saturday, 2:30 pm, ESPN U)
Virginia is on a roll. After sputtering to a 1-3 start, the Wahoos are now on a three game winning streak that included victories over Maryland, East Carolina, and North Carolina – all respectable foes. Marc Verica has finally settled in as the quarterback after a revolving door at the position in the early part of the year, but nothing has helped the team more than the healthy return of running back Cedric Peerman. Peerman has invigorated the offense by forcing defenses to worry about the run again instead of pinning their ears back and teeing off on Verica. But Virginia’s winning streak could be in jeopardy against Georgia Tech. Josh Nesbitt is back in the lineup so the triple option offense is once again firing on all cylinders. Paul Johnson’s troops will find a way – as they always seem to do – to douse the flames of a hot Virginia team and continue their climb up the rankings.
J.Pike’s Pick: Georgia Tech 24, Virginia 19

#21 South Florida at Louisville
(Saturday, 2:30 pm)
This matchup pits a USF team that appears to have peaked and is now just treading water against an up-and-coming Louisville team that doesn’t yet have the horses to consistently win games like this – yet. Be patient Louisville fans. If you give Steve Kragthorpe just one more year I guarantee you’ll see Louisville take a big step up in the Big East.
J.Pike’s Pick: South Florida 30, Louisville 24

Rutgers at #22 Pittsburgh
(Saturday, 2:30 pm)
After falling to Bowling Green out of the gate it looked like Pittsburgh was on their way to yet another disappointment-filled season. But since that loss Pitt has won five straight and grabbed an early lead in the Big East race thanks to their victory over South Florida. Now a disappointing Rutgers team comes to town with more talent than their 2-5 record indicates. This is exactly the kind of game Pitt would have blown a year ago, but Rutgers is in a more giving mood this year. The Scarlet Knights will give this game away just as they have been giving games away all year.
J.Pike’s Pick: Pittsburgh 23, Rutgers 18

#23 Virginia Tech at Florida State
(Saturday, 2:30 pm, ABC/ESPN 2)
When was the last time Florida State was 5-1 and unranked? That fact demonstrates just how far the Seminoles have fallen from grace recently. Bobby Bowden is but a figurehead now who doesn’t even seem to pretend to coach anymore. On the other sideline, Frank Beamer has a young team and is struggling with his traditionally strong special teams. But the Hokies have enough on defense to rattle Christian Ponder into turnovers. Virginia Tech quarterback Tyrod Taylor doesn’t get rattled because it’s a rare feet when a defender actually catches him. Hokies win in a defensive struggle.
J.Pike’s Pick: Virginia Tech 18, Florida State 16

#24 Minnesota at Purdue
(Saturday, 11 am, ESPN Classic)
This game will go one of two directions: either Purdue will come together as a team and start playing up to their talent level, or they’ll completely fall apart and throw in the towel for the season. There has been a lot of talking in the press from Kory Sheets and even head coach Joe Tiller about the sub-par play of Curtis Painter so far. Both happen to be right – especially Sheets, who needs to get the ball more for the Purdue offense to be effective. Minnesota has been a pleasant surprise so far this season, but I still think it all depends on which Purdue shows up. If Purdue can Boiler Up, they’ll win. Despite all the bickering and in-fighting, I think that’s exactly what will happen.
J.Pike’s Pick: Purdue 30, Minnesota 27

#25 Michigan State at Michigan
(Saturday, 2:30 pm, ABC/ESPN 2)
Look out Spartans. I know you think this is the year you finally exert your dominance over the state of Michigan football, but think again. Even with the coaching change, Michigan still has the edge in this game. In big games like this, the Michigan State offense can be rather one dimensional. Yeah, Javon Ringer is an excellent one dimension to have, but I think the Michigan defense will more than be up to the challenge of limiting MSU’s scoring opportunities. On the other side of the ball, Michigan quarterback Steven Threet has improved his accuracy enough this year to give the spread offense some balance. Threet will hit enough timely passes to keep drives alive and give Michigan an upset win over their in-state rivals.
J.Pike’s Pick: Michigan 22, Michigan State 20


WEEK NINE - Preview

There is plenty of intrigue in the schedule this week with four matchups featuring top 16 teams. There is also upset potential all over as 13 top 25 teams must play away from home. But here are three games that aren’t on the national radar that have interesting storylines as well.

SMU @ Navy
This is quite the study in contrasting styles. New SMU head coach June Jones obviously likes to let it fly as he proved so often as the architect of Hawaii’s high flying offense the last several years. Navy on the other hand will run the triple option on first, second, AND third down until you stop them. Then they’ll run some more. Jones isn’t earning his $2 million a year yet, and I’m not sure he ever will. Go with the ground game in this one, even if Navy quarterback Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada Nahasapeemapetilon has to miss another game due to his lingering hamstring injury. Running back Shun White (averaging 110 yards per game) will pick up the slack.
J.Pike’s Pick: Navy 30, SMU 20

Ole Miss @ Arkansas
The Nutt Bowl! Despite a successful 8-4 regular season capped by a win over eventual national champion LSU, Houston Nutt was unceremoniously run out of Fayetteville. Arkansas fans have been rewarded with a head coach known more for his disloyalty than his coaching ability, a team that won’t make a bowl game, and a defense that is often allergic to tackling - maybe they should bring in that referee from the South Carolina/LSU game last week! [LINK] That bodes well for Dexter McCluster, the speedy all-purpose threat who will get the ball a number of different ways in this ballgame, including direct snaps at quarterback. Rising freshman running back Enrique Davis should also take advantage of the generous Hogs defense. And keep your eye on Ole Miss defensive end Greg Hardy – he’s an underrated talent that you might know more about if he hadn’t missed so much time early this year due to injury.
J.Pike’s Pick: Ole Miss 28, Arkansas 20

Notre Dame @ Washington
Tyrone Willingham gets to host his former team for what is looking more and more like the last time. At 0-6, the entire state of Washington has basically signed off on his termination at the end of the season. I’m not sure I totally agree with that move, but his record definitely doesn’t help him out. Even without quarterback Jake Locker I still think Washington has some decent young players on the roster, and don’t forget they took BYU down to the wire earlier this year. Notre Dame and Jimmy Clausen seem to finally be growing up, so they should be able to pull out a win in Seattle. But it will be tougher than you might expect.
J.Pike’s Pick: Notre Dame 33, Washington 27

WEEK NINE - Midweek Games

Auburn @ West Virginia
(Thursday, 6:30 pm, ESPN)
Before the season started this was one of the more intriguing games on the schedule. It looked like it would be a top 10 matchup with national title implications, but now that it’s here all this game has to offer is a couple of the most underachieving teams in the land trying to stay afloat. Auburn has suffered a particularly interesting meltdown that included Tommy Tuberville firing his offensive coordinator a couple weeks ago. West Virginia started 1-2, but quietly fought back to respectability by winning three in a row. If Auburn’s defense shows up the way it was playing earlier this season, the Tigers will have a big advantage over West Virginia’s predictable offense and a hobbled Pat White. But if Auburn gives the same effort they gave in a loss to Arkansas you can consider their season over. I’ll give Team Tuberville the benefit of the doubt one last time.
J.Pike’s Pick: Auburn 25, West Virginia 16

New Mexico @ Air Force
(Thursday, 7 pm, CBS College Sports)
New Mexico has seemingly been rejuvenated since the loss of their quarterback Donovan Porterie for the season. In fact, the 70-7 thumping they laid on San Diego State last week sent a message to the rest of the Mountain West not to count the Lobos out. But the Falcons consistently make opponents pay for mistakes, and that will be the difference in this game.
J.Pike’s Pick: Air Force 27, New Mexico 24

#14 Boise State @ San Jose State
(Friday, 8 pm, ESPN 2)
If Boise State is going to lose a game this season, this might be the one. San Jose State quarterback Kyle Reed is dynamic enough to take on a Boise State defense that has only allowed more than 7 points in a game once this season. Reed’s combination of accuracy in the passing game and elusiveness in the pocket will provide the biggest test to Boise’s solid secondary so far this year. They’ll have to cover longer than they’re used to and you never know when Reed will tuck it and run. Reed’s counterpart, Kellen Moore has sparked the Broncos this season whenever they needed it. He passed the first big road test of his career with flying colors when he led Boise State to a big win over Oregon in Autzen earlier this year, so I doubt the 20,000 packing Spartan Stadium will affect him much at all. Moore will lead his team to a hard fought victory as Boise State continues their hunt for another BCS Bowl.
J.Pike’s Pick: Boise State 23, San Jose State 17


News & Notes

*After losing wide receiver Dicky Lyons for the season a week ago, Kentucky received some more bad news. Three of the Wildcats best players are injured and will probably miss the game with Florida this Saturday. Defensive tackle Myron Pryor and linebacker Micah Johnson are hobbled by high ankle sprains, and running back Derrick Locke is out for the season with torn knee ligaments.

*Northwestern senior middle linebacker Malcolm Arrington will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury. Arrington was third on the team in tackles.

*Talented linebacker Brian Toal’s career at Boston College is apparently over. The senior, who redshirted last year due to a shoulder injury, broke his right fibula and will be out for the year. It’s an unfortunate end to an injury plagued career.

*Oklahoma wide receiver Maunel Johnson is out for the season with an apparent arm injury. Johnson was the Sooners leading receiver, and he had scored seven touchdowns in the last three weeks.

*In case the anti-Curtis Painter bandwagon wasn’t full enough already, apparently we can now count Purdue running back Kory Sheets as a member. Here are some of his comments after the loss to Northwestern:

"In my eyes, I need some help. I can't do it all by myself. Everybody's coming up to me, 'Sheets, get the offense going.' I do something good and then something bad happens. I need some help."

"If they want to ask more of me, they just have to put the ball in my hands a little bit more, and they're going to get a lot more out of me. They put the ball in my hands, I feel we'll be a lot more successful."

When asked about Purdue's quarterback situation, since Curtis Painter was yanked in games against Penn State and Northwestern, Sheets said: "You need somebody in there who's going to be consistent. Right now, Painter hasn't been consistent and they're trying to find out if Joey (Elliott) can be consistent, but he got hurt. If they don't have consistency at quarterback, and I'm being real consistent, I think they have to start looking at me for some answers, and giving me the ball and letting me carry the team, instead of keep putting it in Painter's hands."

Finally, when asked if Painter was the guy who can lead this team to victory, Sheets paused and said, "No comment."

I definitely don't condone players airing their grievances to the press, but in this case Sheets is pretty much dead on. Sheets is an underrated, underused talent that could take some heat off the lousy quarterback situation if the coaching staff gave him the chance. I’m just not sure this is the way to go about getting more carries. The only certainty in West Lafayette right now is that Joe Tiller is going to end his career on a losing note.

BP25 Week 8

Well I shuffled up my Top 25 to look at who they have played so far and adjusted accordingly. Here is what I ended up with, enjoy:

#1 Texas Longhorns 7-0
Beat Missouri 56-31
Next up: #7 OSU

#2 Alabama Crimson Tide 7-0
Beat Ole Miss 24-20
Next up: @ Tennessee

#3 Ohio St. Buckeyes 7-1
Beat @ Michigan St. 45-7
Next up: #4 Penn St.

#4 Penn St. Nittany Lions 8-0
Beat Michigan 46-17
Next up: @ #3 Ohio St.

#5 Utah Utes 8-0
Beat Colorado St. 49-16
Next up: IDLE

#6 Oklahoma Sooners 6-1
Beat Kansas 45-31
Next up: @ Kansas St.

#7 Oklahoma St. Cowboys 7-0
Beat Baylor 34-6
Next up: @ #1 Texas

#8 Georgia Bulldogs 6-1
Beat Vanderbuilt 24-14
Next up: @ #14 LSU

#9 Texas Tech Red Raiders 7-0
Beat @ Texas A&M 43-25
Next up: @ #20 Kansas

#10 USC Trojans 5-1
Beat @ Washington St. 69-0
Next up: @ Arizona

#11 TCU Horned Frogs 7-1
Beat BYU 32-7
Next up: Wyoming

#12 Boise St. Broncos 6-0
Beat Hawaii 27-7
Next up: @ San Jose St.

#13 BYU Cougars 6-1
Lost to TCU 7-32
Next up: UNLV

#14 LSU Tigers 5-1
Beat @ S Carolina 24-17
Next up: #8 Georgia

#15 Florida Gators 5-1
Next up: Kentucky

#16 Tulsa Golden Hurricane 7-0
Beat UTEP 77-35
Next up: UCF

#17 South Florida Bulls 6-1
Beat Syracuse 45-13
Next up: @ Louisville

#18 Missouri Tigers 5-2
Lost at Texas 31-56
Next up: Colorado

#19 Boston College Eagles 5-1
Beat Virginia Tech 28-23
Next up: @ N. Carolina

#20 Kansas Jayhawks 5-2
Lost at Oklahoma 31-45
Next up: #9 Texas Tech

#21 Minnesota Golden Gophers 6-1
Next up: @ Purdue

#22 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 6-1
Beat @ Clemson 21-17
Next up: Virginia

#23 Michigan St. Spartans 6-2
Lost to Ohio St. 7-45
Next up: @ Michigan

#24 Northwestern Wildcats 6-1
Beat Purdue 48-26
Next up: @ Indiana

#25 Florida St. Seminoles 5-1
Beat @ NC St. 26-17
Next up: Virginia Tech

The Next 10(Not in any order)
Ball St. 7-0 IDLE Next up: E Michigan
Cincinnati 5-1 IDLE Next up: @ UCONN
Oregon 5-2 IDLE Next up: @ Arizona St.
Troy 4-2 Beat Florida Int 33-23 Next up: @ North Texas
Virginia Tech 5-2 Lost at B.C. 23-28 Next up: @ #25 Florida St.
Pittsburgh 5-1 Beat @ Navy 42-21 Next up: Rutgers
Vanderbuilt 5-2 Lost @ Gerogia 14-24 Next up: Duke
C Michigan 5-2 Beat W Michigan 38-28 Next up: @ Toledo
Kentucky 5-2 Beat Arkansas 21-20 Next up: @ #15 Florida
Air Force 5-2 Beat @ UNLV 29-28 Next up: New Mexico

Other teams on the rise:
California, N. Carolina, Louisville, Notre Dame, Arizona, San Jose St., W Virginia, Fresno St., Wake Forest, Maryland; UCONN, W Michigan, S Carolina, Illinois, Nebraska, Colorado, Miami, Oregon St., Rice