WEEK FOURTEEN - Top 25 Preview (Part I)

#6 Penn State
(11-1) is IDLE
NEXT: BCS Bowl game (completed regular season)

#8 Utah (12-0) is IDLE
NEXT: BCS Bowl game (completed regular season)

#17 Georgia Tech (8-3) at #9 Georgia (9-2)
(Saturday, 11 am, CBS)
The Peach State rivalry wasn't expected to be this up in the air. Georgia was the preseason #1 team in the land and Georgia Tech was supposed to suffer the growing pains that go along with breaking in a new head coach. Now it looks like Georgia Tech is the team on the rise and Georgia is the program treading water. Georgia has a couple elements that give them the edge here though. One is obviously running back Knowshon Moreno. Moreno is the antidote to Georgia Tech's excellent defensive line, and I think he'll eventually get the better of that matchup. The second is the speed and experience the Bulldogs possess on the defensive side of the ball. Whereas Miami struggled to stay disciplined against Paul Johnson's triple option attack, Rennie Curran and company will be in the right place at the right time to slow down Josh Nesbitt and Jonathan Dwyer.
J.Pike's Pick: Georgia 28, Georgia Tech 24

#10 Ohio State (10-2) is IDLE
NEXT: Bowl game (completed regular season)

#12 TCU (10-2) is IDLE
NEXT: Bowl game (completed regular season)

Kansas (6-5) vs #13 Missouri (9-2)
@Kansas City, MO
(Saturday, 11:30 am, FSN)
There isn't nearly as much pizzazz in this matchup as there was a year ago when a tickets to both the Big XII and National Title games were on the line for both teams. To put it quite simply, Kansas isn't as good as they were a year ago. Without players like Aqib Talib and Brandon McAnderson, the Jayhaks are without any legitimate weapons. Missouri has proven themselves to be overrated as well, but with Chase Daniel and Jeremy Maclin there is still enough firepower on hand to score points in a hurry.
J.Pike's Pick: Missouri 38, Kansas 27

Fresno State (7-4) at #14 Boise State (11-0)
(Friday, 5 pm, ESPN 2)
Boise's perfect season is on the line against Fresno State. The defense fell apart down the stretch against Nevada last week - nearly blowing second half leads of 31-10 and 41-24. Now that a BCS Bowl berth looks unlikely for the Broncos (Utah will likely take their spot), how much do they have to play for? Fortunately for Boise, Fresno State quarterback Tom Brandstater has been playing poorly all season and doesn't appear to be capable of leading an upset charge.
J.Pike's Pick: Boise State 30, Fresno State 27

#23 Oregon (8-3) at #15 Oregon State (8-3)
(Saturday, 6 pm, Versus)
If you can believe it, the Pac-10 title is on the line north of the California border Saturday night. The Oregon State Beavers hold the tie breaker advantage over USC thanks to their head-to-head win early in the season. So if Mike Riley's troops can win this game, the Beavers - not the Trojans - will be getting the automatic BCS bid. Mighty Mite freshman Jacquizz Rodgers is questionable for the game, but I don't care. Oregon State is fired up and still has plenty of speed to spare in James Rodgers and Sammie Stroughter.
J.Pike's Pick: Oregon State 35, Oregon 28

Syracuse (3-8) at #16 Cincinnati (9-2)
(Saturday, 11 am, ESPN360.com)
Tony Pike and the Bearcats can clinch the Big East title and a BCS bowl berth with a win over Syracuse Saturday. Pike has Heisman eyes watching, so expect him to take full advantage of an outmanned Syracuse team and put up another 300-yards passing.
J.Pike's Pick: Cincinnati 27, Syracuse 13

Maryland (7-4) at #18 Boston College (8-3)
(Saturday, 2:30 pm, ABC/ESPN 2)
Welcome to the ACC where chaos reins supreme. Boston College enters this contest ranked and favored - which means you can count on Maryland for the win. Quarterback Chris Crane is out for the season with a broken collarbone, which means Dominique Davis will get the starting nod. Davis led the game winning drive against Wake Forest a week ago and brings a lot more athleticism to the position. But he doesn't have the same grasp of the offense that Crane developed over the course of the season, so the playbook will be limited. Maryland quarterback Chris Turner generally plays his best against ranked opponents, so look for the Terps to make up for their poor showing against Florida State last weekend with a win on the road over the Eagles.
J. Pike's Pick: Maryland 20, Boston College 14

#19 California (7-4) is IDLE
NEXT: vs. Washington (0-11)

#21 Michigan State (9-3) is IDLE
NEXT: Bowl game (completed regular season)

#22 West Virginia (7-3) at Pittsburgh (7-3)
(Friday, 11 am, ABC)
West Virginia's national title dreams were squashed by a Pitt in an upset last year. This year there won't be nearly as many national viewers because neither team is really all that good. Mountaineer speed, in the form of Pat White and Noel Devine, will get their revenge though.
J.Pike's Pick: West Virginia 27, Pittsburgh 24

Mississippi State (4-7) at #24 Ole Miss (7-4)
(Friday, 11:30 am, Raycom)
The Egg Bowl is an underrated rivalry. It's not always the best football, but for some reason I still watch it. Houston Nutt has Ole Miss on the rise in the SEC, and they have a lot more offensive firepower than Mississippi State will be able to muster.
J.Pike's Pick: Ole Miss 24, Mississippi State 13

#25 Ball State (12-0) is IDLE
NEXT: MAC Championship Game vs. Buffalo (7-4)

No comments: