#2 Texas Tech at #7 Oklahoma
(Saturday, 7 pm, ABC)
If this game had been played a week ago it would have been a no-brainer for me. Texas Tech is playing lights out, and honestly, they have been a more impressive team on both sides of the ball than Oklahoma in 2008. Tech brought unmatched fire and desire to their play in the trenches, and Mike Leach's commitment to the running game has given opposing defenses something to think about.
BUT, the week off might have given the Red Raiders too much time to think about their success. Plus, will leaving the friendly confines of Lubbock make all those holding calls magically reappear? Despite being one of the most penalized teams in the Big XII, they seemed to get away with a lot in those two big games against Texas and Oklahoma State.
So how does Oklahoma win this game? Sam Bradford and Gerald McCoy. Bradford will keep up his remarkably consistent high level of play if the Sooner O-Line can keep his shirt clean. Gerald McCoy, one of the best defensive tackles in the nation, will have the exact opposite effect on Graham Harrell.
Oklahoma will jump out to their usual fast start and build a big first half lead, but don't ever count the Red Raiders out. They'll mount a comeback, but come up just short. If the Sooners win, get ready for the national media to go crazy giving them more credit than they deserve.
J.Pike's Pick: Oklahoma 34, Texas Tech 31
The Citadel at #3 Florida
(Saturday, 12:30 pm, Sun Sports PPV)
Gotta love the way these SEC teams schedule. This might end up backfiring on the Gators actually. If the starters play past the first quarter in this game, I think it will kill the momentum they have built up over the last several weeks. Get those backups in early and treat this game like an off week or risk losing your feel for playing against the speed of the SEC.
J.Pike's Pick: Florida 58, The Citadel 7
#4 Texas is IDLE
#5 USC is IDLE
#6 Georgia is IDLE
24 BYU at #8 Utah
(Saturday, 5 pm, The Mtn.)
The Holy War should be a good one this year. BYU has a potentially explosive offense, but will they be able to move the ball against Paul Kruger, Stevenson Sylvester, and the Utah defense? I don't think so. Utah quarterback Brian Johnson will continue the Utes magical season with another solid day, but kicker Louie Sakoda will be the hero.
J.Pike's Pick: Utah 22, BYU 16
#13 Michigan State at #9 Penn State
(Saturday, 2:30 pm, ABC/ESPN 2)
This will be a good old fashioned Big Ten game in the cold. Expect three yards and several clouds of dust because both teams will rely on their running backs to get things done. Penn State is the better team defensively, and I think they'll be able to slow down Javon Ringer.
J.Pike's Pick: Penn State 23, Michigan State 13
Michigan at #10 Ohio State
(Saturday, 11 am, ABC)
Don't get caught up in all the blowout talk. Ohio State is good, and they'll win this game, but that defense is possibly the most overrated unit in the nation. They have some solid players, but there isn't enough speed on that side of the ball to compete on a national level. Michigan has a good enough defense to keep the score down, and I won't be surprised if the Wolverines actually have a chance to take the lead in the fourth quarter.
J.Pike's Pick: Ohio State 20, Michigan 16