#5 Texas vs #1-t Oklahoma
(@ Dallas, TX)
(Saturday, 11 am, ABC)
Spotlight Game of the Week [LINK]
J.Pike’s Pick: Texas 31, Oklahoma 20
#3 Penn State at #21 Wisconsin
(Saturday, 7 pm, ESPN)
Wisconsin desperately needs a win. Playing a night game at home seems like the perfect remedy for a two-game losing streak, but not so fast my friend. Penn State is a team on a mission this year. The Nittany Lions haven’t shown any weaknesses yet, and they’ll take another step toward a potential berth in the National Title Game by defeating a motivated, feisty Badger team.
J.Pike’s Pick: Penn State 27, Wisconsin 19
Oklahoma State at #4 Missouri
(Saturday, 7 pm, ESPN 2)
Shootout. Oklahoma State hasn’t shown themselves to the national media yet, beating up on an easy non-conference schedule. Is their defense really improved? It won’t matter either way because Missouri’s offense is running at peak efficiency. Look for another Heisman caliber effort from Chase Daniel, and I’m sure Jeremy Maclin will chip in a big play or two as well.
J.Pike’s Pick: Missouri 48, Oklahoma State 31
#6 LSU at #12 Florida
(Saturday, 7 pm, CBS)
The past two national title winners square off in a battle that will feature as much talent as any other game on the schedule – including the Texas/Oklahoma game. The Gators offense has been sputtering lately, and the 31 points allowed to Ole Miss a couple weeks ago is troubling. LSU gave up 24 points to Mississippi State a week ago so the Tigers aren’t exactly question-free either. LSU was able to run the ball all over Florida in their win a year ago (247 yards), and with Charles Scott looking like one of the best running backs in the nation this year (133.8 yards per game, 7.5 yards per carry), it looks like they’ll be able to do it again.
J.Pike’s Pick: LSU 28, Florida 21
Tennessee at #7 Georgia
(Saturday, 2:30 pm, CBS)
Coming off the loss to Alabama and a bye week, you can be sure Georgia will be ready to play. I’m not sure Tennessee has been ready to play yet this year. The Volunteers are averaging a paltry 10.3 points over their last three games, and facing the Georgia defense won’t help that number. Nick Stephens will get another opportunity to start at quarterback in place of the highly average Jonathan Crompton, so maybe he can take a step forward and add a little consistency to the offense.
J.Pike’s Pick: Georgia 24, Tennessee 9
Purdue at #8 Ohio State
(Saturday, 2:30 pm, ABC/ESPN)
Purdue quarterback Curtis Painter is apparently on his last leg with head coach Joe Tiller, who criticized the senior’s play in the media this week. Painter has long been overrated, and I doubt he’ll be able to produce much against the Ohio State defense. The Boilermakers trouble at quarterback is especially disappointing considering how well tailback Kory Sheets has played this season.
J.Pike’s Pick: Ohio State 30, Purdue 16
Arizona State at #9 USC
(Saturday, 2:30 pm, ABC)
This game could be a battle of backup quarterbacks due to lingering injuries affecting Mark Sanchez and Rudy Carpenter. That raises a question: is there a team in the Pac-10 that isn’t playing a backup quarterback right now? USC, Arizona State, and Washington are playing second stringers while UCLA, Oregon, and Washington State are all on their third string QBs already. In fact, Washington State had an open tryout on campus this week to find a backup quarterback! Congrats to Peter Roberts on winning a spot on the team.
J.Pike’s Pick: USC 27, Arizona State 17
New Mexico at #10 BYU
(Saturday, 5 pm, The Mtn.)
BYU is the number 10 ranked team in the nation, and New Mexico will have to play without quarterback Donovan Porterie, who is out for the rest of the season with a torn up knee. New Mexico still has some fight in them, but it’s not enough to beat BYU in Provo Utah.
J.Pike’s Pick: BYU 33, New Mexico 10
#11 Utah at Wyoming
(Saturday, 1 pm, The Mtn.)
Quite simply, Utah is one of the top 15 teams in the nation right now, and Wyoming is averaging a nation-worst 9.3 points per game. There’s no way this one is ever close.
J.Pike’s Pick: Utah 37, Wyoming 3
#13 Vanderbilt at Mississippi State
(Saturday, 1:30 pm)
Watch out Commodores. You got lucky last week when Auburn’s totally inept offense handed the game over with a big, silver bow on top. Mississippi State’s offense is equally inept, but they showed some life in scoring 24 points against LSU. Derek Pegues and the defense will play well against a hobbled Chris Nickson and keep the scoring to a minimum. Unlike Auburn, the Bulldogs will actually take advantage of Vandy’s suspect rush defense which means Anthony Dixon and Christian Ducre will grind it out on the ground and bring the Commodores crashing back to earth.
J.Pike’s Pick: Mississippi State 20, Vanderbilt 14
Nebraska at #14 Texas Tech
(Saturday, 2 pm, FSN)
If you’re thinking this one is going to be a flat out blowout because of what Missouri did to Nebraska last weekend you’re wrong. Texas Tech is an entirely different animal than Missouri. Nebraska still has a long way to go in the rebuilding process (we can now officially call it that), but Texas Tech is the kind of team that likes to give opponents opportunites. Mike Leach once again gave Kansas State points last week when he went for it on fourth down deep in his own territory and failed. Nebraska will keep it close, but ultimately Michael Crabtree will have his way with the porous Nebraska secondary.
J.Pike’s Pick: Texas Tech 35, Nebraska 24
Colorado at #15 Kansas
(Saturday, 11:30 am, ESPN 2)
Colorado is an improving team with a growing nucleus of solid young talent. Players like running back Rodney Stewart and wide receiver XYZ Snugglekiss will be productive players in Boulder for the next few years. If the Buffaloes can learn to coach and play aggressively for an entire game instead of just for a quarter or so, they’ll take a step up in the Big XII. But for now, Kansas is the better team. The Jayhawks receiving corps is one of the most underrated in the nation and Todd Reesing knows how to get them the ball.
J.Pike’s Pick: Kansas 30, Colorado 17
#18 Tulsa at SMU
(Saturday, 7 pm)
June Jones isn’t off to the best start in Dallas. His Mustangs are 1-5 and the high powered Tulsa Golden Hurricane attack is coming to town. This one could get ugly since SMU makes no attempt to run the football.
J.Pike’s Pick: Tulsa 54, SMU 17
#19 Boise State at Southern Miss
(Saturday, 7 pm, CBS College Sports)
Boise State freshman Kellen Moore is already looking like a star quarterback in solid performances against Oregon and Louisiana Tech the past two weeks. Pair him with veteran running back Ian Johnson and an aggressive defense and you have one of the more likely BCS-buster candidates. Southern Miss is developing an offense under new head coach Larry Fedora, but they have taken a step back on defense. The more experienced Broncos of Boise State will win a tough road game.
J.Pike’s Pick: Boise State 32, Southern Miss 20
Gardner-Webb at #20 Georgia Tech
(Saturday, 2:30 pm)
Georgia Tech will probably be going with Jaybo Shaw once more at quarterback while Josh Nesbitt heals, but it won’t matter. Georgia Tech’s defense should throw a shutout against 1-AA Gardner-Webb. We’ll find out just how far Paul Johnson has come next week when the Ramblin’ Wreck takes on Clemson.
J.Pike’s Pick: Georgia Tech 31, Gardner-Webb 0
Minnesota at #22 Illinois
(Saturday, 11 am, ESPN)
Illinois is much better than their 3-2 record would lead you to believe. In case I haven’t reminded you enough, their two losses came against teams currently ranked #3 and #4 in the nation. Illinois is much better than the Paper Gophers, and Juice and the gang will prove it Saturday morning.
J.Pike’s Pick: Illinois 34, Minnesota 20
#23 Michigan State at Northwestern
(Saturday, 2:30 pm, ESPN 2)
This year’s Northwestern/Michigan State matchup won’t be nearly as high scoring as it has been the past two seasons (average score: NW 43, MSU 41), but it should be just as exciting. Last year’s game needed overtime to decide a winner, and the season before featured the largest comeback in NCAA history when the Spartans overcame a 38-3 third quarter deficit to steal a win in Evanston. Two of the best running backs in the Big Ten in Javon Ringer and Tyrell Sutton will feature their skills. Mark Dantonio and the Spartans are a team to watch out for the next couple years, but Northwestern is undefeated and riding high as well. Even though the road team has won in the last three meetings, I’ll go with Northwestern. Ringer and Sutton will get their yards, but I think quarterback play will be the deciding factor. C.J. Bacher is better than Brian Hoyer under duress, so Pat Fitzgerald’s Wildcats win and jump into the top 25.
J.Pike’s Pick: Northwestern 21, Michigan State 17
UCLA at #24 Oregon
(Saturday, 9:15 pm, FSN)
After a promising start (the win over Tennessee doesn’t look as good now as it did then), it has been nothing but bad news for Rick Neuheisel. Injuries have once again plagued the Bruins and the offense’s inability to move the ball has hampered a talented defense. Oregon has suffered as many injuries at quarterback as UCLA, but they still have a solid team to support the third stringer. The Duck secondary will make up for their poor performance against USC a week ago by shutting down Kevin Craft.
J.Pike’s Pick: Oregon 30, UCLA 24
Arkansas at #25 Auburn
(Saturday, 4 pm, ESPN360.com)
Tommy Tuberville finally canned Tony Franklin and his inept offense. It’s weird to see a move like that in the middle of the season, but that just goes to show you how much Auburn needed to make the move. My guess is you’ll see a lot more Ben Tate running downhill against an Arkansas defense ranked 104th in the nation at stopping the run. Before the firing I was considering an Arkansas upset, but now I see an easy Auburn victory that will see the Tigers crack the 30-point barrier for only the second time all season.
J.Pike’s Pick: Auburn 31, Arkansas 10