Buffalo 42, Ball State 24
Congratulations to Turner Gill and Buffalo. The Bulls defense forced five turnovers and returned two fumbles for touchdowns late in the third quarter. Ball State suffered their first loss of the season thanks in large part to the Buffalo pass/catch duo of quarterback Drew Willy and wide receiver Naaman "The President" Roosevelt. I hope all the schools with head coaching vacancies took note: Turner Gill deserves a good job in a BCS conference. If Syracuse isn't falling all over themselves to get to Gill, they don't deserve to win another game ever.

East Carolina (8-4) at Tulsa (10-2)
(Saturday, 11 am, ESPN 2)
East Carolina started the season with a bang, earning victories over preseason top 25 teams Virginia Tech and West Virginia. But injuries began to take their toll over the course of the season (not to mention an ill-advised quarterback switch in mid-season that has since been rectified), and the Pirates managed to compile four losses. Tulsa isn't nearly as good as their statistics indicate (49 points and 579 yards per game), as evidenced by consecutive losses to Arkansas and Houston in early November by a combined score of 100-53. Todd Graham's Golden Hurrican are still potent offensively, though, and have the advantage of playing the title game on their home field. Quarterback David Johnson and receiver Brennan Marrion will hook up for at least two long touchdowns today.
J.Pike's Pick: Tulsa 42, East Carolina 27

Boston College (9-3) vs Virginia Tech (8-4)
@ Tampa, FL
(Saturday, noon, ABC)
Well well well, whaddya know. After all the chaos and upsets and parity in the ACC this year, BC and Virginia Tech, the same two teams that played for the title last year, will meet in a rematch. All the so-called "experts" picked Boston College to finish in the bottom two of the Coastal Division because of the loss of Matt Ryan. But if you were paying attention to Pikes Picks [LINK], you would have known better. Much like in 2007, Boston College won the regular season matchup, but the Hokies have the advantage here. BC quarterback Chris Crane broke his collarbone two weeks ago, and the offense is limited without him. Dominique Davis will be a fine quarterback in the future, but he's still young and doesn't have the same feel for the offense Crane did. I love the Boston College defense, and Mark Herzlich in particular. But Virginia Tech quarterback Tyrod Taylor is arguably the most elusive quarterback in the nation. He'll be able to pick up first downs off scrambles and keep the chains moving in what should be a low scoring affair.
J.Pike's Pick: Virginia Tech 14, Boston College 10

Alabama (12-0) vs Florida (11-1)
@ Atlanta, GA
(Saturday, 3 pm, CBS)
This is the big one. The winner here probably gets a shot to play for the national championship. Nick Saban has rejeuvinated Roll Tide more quickly than anybody expected. How he got a team that lost to Louisiana-Monroe last last year to play as well as they have this year is a coaching feat that is unmatched in 2008. However, Bama must face their stiffest challenge of the season in Urban Meyer's Florida Gators. The Gators bring a ton of speed to the Georgia Dome, probably as much collective speed that turf has ever hosted. Alabama has become the new Nebraska in that they are easily the most physical team in the nation. I think their physical nature will neutralize Florida's team speed and allow the Tide to control the trenches on both sides of the ball. Florida is a heavy favorite in Las Vegas, but that's because even the gamblers have forgotten that football is ultimately won in the trenches.
J.Pike's Picks: Alabama 30, Florida 17

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