Illinois (5-4) vs Western Michigan (7-2)
(@ Detroit, MI)
(Saturday, 11 am, ESPN360.com)
This is an interesting late season, inter-conference, neutral location matchup. Illinois had high expectations for this season but come in with a disappointing 5-4 record. Western Michigan on the other hand is sitting pretty in the MAC at 7-2. Quarterback Tim Hiller should be able to pile up some stats against a suspect Illinois defense, and I think the underrated Western secondary highlighted by corners E.J. Biggers and Londen Fryar will actually be able to contain the Juice Williams-to-Arrelious Benn combo. Give me the Broncos over the consistently under-performing Illini.
J.Pike’s Pick: Western Michigan 32, Illinois 27
Colorado State (4-5) at Air Force (7-2)
(Saturday, 5 pm, the mtn.)
Colorado State pushed BYU to the limit last weekend before eventually falling to Max Hall and company. Look for the Rams to ride the momentum built by that performance, along with their superior skill to an upset win over the Air Force Academy.
J.Pike’s Pick: Colorado State 30, Air Force 26
UTEP (3-5) at Louisiana-Lafayette (5-3)
(Saturday, 6 pm, ESPN360.com)
Odds are this will be one of those games where the teams combine to go over 1,000 yards. UTEP chooses to move the ball through the air on the strength of Trevor Vittatoe’s arm. Louisiana-Lafayette prefers the ground game. Quarterback Michael Desormeaux and running back Tyrell Fenroy lead a ground attack that averages 301.3 yards per game against a weak Miner defense that allows 208.8 rushing yards per game. Desormeaux and Fenroy will combine to go over 300 yards on the ground and lead the Ragin’ Cajuns to victory in what should be a high scoring, back and forth contest.
J.Pike’s Pick: UL-Lafayette 43, UTEP 37