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