(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