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

#11 Texas Tech at Texas A&M
(Saturday, 11 am, FSN)
Texas Tech isn’t a top ten team. Half the teams in Division 1-A could go undefeated against the schedule the Red Raiders have played so far. A&M doesn’t look like they’ll be much of a test either. While Mike Sherman has some quality skill players (Mike Goodson and Jerrod Johnson), there are huge holes on the O-Line and on defense. Give him some time and he’ll win games like this, but it won’t happen this year.
J.Pike’s Pick: Texas Tech 52, Texas A&M 36

#12 LSU at South Carolina
(Saturday, 7 pm, ESPN)
The Gamecocks have been so inconsistent this season it’s hard to pick them against a talented LSU team coming off a loss. I like the South Carolina defense, but you never know what you’re going to get out of their offense. Stephen Garcia is finally going to get the start after residing in the doghouse for off-field incidents his first year and a half on campus. If he plays up to his hype, South Carolina will have a good chance to win this game. But again, you never know what you’re going to get. I think LSU’s advantage in the trenches will carry them to a sloppy, low scoring win.
J.Pike’s Pick: LSU 21, South Carolina 17

Colorado State at #13 Utah
(Saturday, 1 pm, The Mtn.)
Brian Johnson will continue to make his case for the Faulk Trophy by piling up numbers against the Rams of Colorado State. The Utes roll to 8-0 as they take over for BYU as the prime BCS-buster candidate.
J.Pike’s Pick: Utah 34, Colorado State 17

Baylor at #15 Oklahoma State
(Saturday, 2 pm)
Coming off their biggest win in recent memory, it’s tempting to think the Oklahoma State Cowboys are prime upset targets – especially with upstart Baylor and their phenom quarterback Robert Griffin coming to town. But the thing that impressed me the most about Okie State’s win over Missouri last week was how level-headed the Pokes were. They went into the game expecting to win and that’s exactly what they did. That leads me to believe they won’t get carried away by the emotions that could lead to a flat performance this week. It will be a closer game than it looks on paper, but the focused Cowboys will stay unbeaten.
J.Pike’s Pick: Oklahoma State 34, Baylor 24

#18 Virginia Tech at Boston College
(Saturday, 7 pm, ESPN 2)
Two of the best defenses in the ACC will take the field Saturday night in the third battle between these two teams in the last calendar year. Last season Va Poly avenged an early season choke job by beating the Eagles in the ACC title game, stealing a BCS berth in the process. This year both teams have vastly different rosters, but I think Virginia Tech has taken a bit more of a step back. BC quarterback Chris Crane got off to a terrible start this season, but he has really come into his own lately thanks to Josh Haden and the surprisingly solid running game. On the other side of the ball, Hokie quarterback Tyrod Taylor and running back Darren Evans are future stars, but this year, against Mark Herzlich and the imposing BC defense, I’m not sure they’ll be able to score enough points to win.
J.Pike’s Pick: Boston College 26, Virginia Tech 22

#19 North Carolina at Virginia
(Saturday, 2:30 pm, ABC/ESPN2)
Be careful Tar Heels. Virginia is one of the hottest teams in the ACC right now, and they are facing North Carolina at the right time. Not only is UNC playing without starting quarterback T.J. Yates right now due to an ankle injury, they also received word earlier this week that their playmaking wide receiver/punt returner Brandon Tate will be out for the rest of the season after tearing up his knee in the first quarter against Notre Dame. But at the end of the day the UNC defense will make the stops necessary to cool the Wahoos off.
J.Pike’s Pick: North Carolina 24, Virginia 13

UTEP at #20 Tulsa
(Saturday, 7 pm, CBS College Sports)
Tulsa is racking up points at an alarming rate in Todd Graham’s offensive scheme. It doesn’t seem to matter who the quarterback is, but it helps when he’s as efficient as senior David Johnson has been. On the flip side, UTEP is starting to play good football now too. Sophomore Trinity HS alum [LINK] Trevor Vittatoe is coming into his own and running back Terrell Jackson is explosive. But can the Miners keep up with the high octane Golden Hurricane? On the road I don’t think they can.
J.Pike’s Pick: Tulsa 48, UTEP 33

#22 California at Arizona
(Saturday, 9 pm, FCS-Pacific)
Apparently Nate Longspare is back in at the starting quarterback for Cal. That’s not a good thing. The young Arizona defense will force him into turnovers by pressuring him from the get go. That will give Willie Tuitama and the offense great field position throughout the game so that the Wildcats can pull the mild upset.
J.Pike’s Pick: Arizona 31, California 27

#23 Georgia Tech at Clemson
(Saturday, 11 am, ESPN)
The Tommy Bowden era at Clemson is now officially over, but will that automatically translate into wins? The talent on the Clemson sideline is more impressive than anywhere else in the ACC, but Georgia Tech under new head coach Paul Johnson is the kind of team that neutralizes talent advantages as well as anybody. Josh Nesbitt is coming back from his injury to lead the triple option offense so you can expect the Bees to lull Clemson to sleep and bust a big run late. Clemson is going to start Willy “Candy” Korn just in time for Halloween. Michael Johnson and the Ramblin’ Wreck defense are licking their chops, ready to spook the freshman early and often as they shut down an inefficient Clemson offense that just fired its coordinator.
J.Pike’s Pick: Georgia Tech 17, Clemson 13

#24 Oregon is idle

#25 Minnesota is idle

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