WEEK NINE - Top 25 Preview

#1 Texas at #23 Oklahoma State
If the Longhorns let their heads get too big after their thrashing of Missouri last weekend this game could be trouble. In fact, when Texas plays in Stillwater it is always trouble, and 2009 will be no different. Oklahoma State's underrated offensive and defensive lines will keep them in the game, but Texas is just too overpowering. Colt McCoy will lead a touchdown drive late in the fourth quarter that finally puts away the Pokes for good.
J.Pike's Pick: Texas 30, Oklahoma State 20

#2 Alabama is IDLE

#3 Florida vs Georgia
(@ Jacksonville, FL)
The World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party went from must see tv a year ago to an afterthought. Florida's offense has been playing like absolute garbage all season, but Georgia's defense hasn't been great either. I still give Georgia's defense the advantage in that matchup, but unfortunately the Bulldogs offense won't win the matchup with Florida's defense. The Gators will survive another close one, but they'll look better doing it this week than they have recently.
J.Pike's Pick: Florida 34, Georgia 20

UNLV at #4 TCU
Be careful Horned Frogs. You have a tendency to give away games when everybody starts patting you on the back. It was a big win over BYU on Saturday, and if TCU can keep the level of physicality anywhere near that level this will be an easy win. But if the Frogs let up, it could be upset alert time.
J.Pike's Pick: TCU 33, UNLV 16

Indiana at #5 Iowa
Iowa's hopes of going undefeated suffered another blow this week when they found out yet another starting running back (Adam Robinson) would miss time due to injury. That puts the pressure on Ricky Stanzi and the passing game to pick up the slack against a scrappy Indiana team that doesn't go away easily. It's Halloween and there will be at least one or two crazy upsets today, so why can't the madness begin at 11 am? Because Iowa is too good in the trenches, that's why.
J.Pike's Pick: Iowa 21, Indiana 13

#6 Georgia Tech at Vanderbilt
Georgia Tech's triple option offense just keeps getting better under second year head coach Paul Johnson. The emergence of Anthony Allen as a complement to Jonathan Dwyer in the backfield (actually, Allen might be the more complete back right now - he averages over 10 yards every time he touches the ball) has really put the pressure on opposing defenses to stay disciplined against all three options. After Bobby Johnson's Commodores took some big steps forward in 2007 and 2008, his program has begun to slide back to the bottom of the SEC again in 2009. The Ramblin' Wreck should top the 300 yard mark on the ground yet again as they easily dismiss Vandy.
J.Pike's Pick: Georgia Tech 34, Vanderbilt 12

#7 USC at #12 Oregon
Oregon has been on a roll ever since getting embarrassed by Boise State on opening night. Nobody has really tested the Ducks and all signs point toward this game as the de-facto Pac-10 Championship Game. The pressure is on the USC defense to step up to the plate and shut down Jeremiah Masoli and the Oregon offense, something the Ducks past six opponents have not been able to do. But I think the Trojans are more than up to the challenge. The game is in Autzen, but the Trojans simply own Oregon, so it won't matter. Oregon goes down, and looks ugly in the process.
J.Pike's Pick: USC 27, Oregon 17

North Carolina at #8 Virginia Tech
(Thursday night game)
What happened to Butch Davis' Tar Heels? They looked to be on the verge of breaking through, but 2009 has turned out to be an absolute disaster. The offense can't score points, and the defense - once thought to be the strength of the team - can't hold leads. Carolina heads to Blacksburg for the dreaded Thursday night game on ESPN where Virginia Tech usually trots out their 'A' game. Look for Tyrod Taylor and Ryan Williams to put up yards and points with a balanced offense, while Bud Foster's defense puts the clamps down on T.J. Yates and company. The Hokies will put this one away early as they flush the bad taste in their mouths leftover from the Georgia Tech loss.
J.Pike's Pick: Virginia Tech 37, North Carolina 6

#9 Cincinnati at Syracuse
It looks like Tony Pike will miss another week of action, but no matter. Brian Kelly will just plug another quarterback into the offense and keep firing bullets. Zach Collaros is the guy again this week, and he'll be fine as long as Mardy Gilyard is still suiting up for the Bearcats. Duke point guard Greg Paulus will sport a poor assist-to-turnover ratio yet again.
J.Pike's Pick: Cincinnati 34, Syracuse 20

San Jose State at #10 Boise State
Another week another laugher for Boise. It's too bad the Broncos play in the WAC because I'd really like to see what this team could do against a real schedule.
J.Pike's Pick: Boise State 44, San Jose State 13

#11 Pittsburgh is IDLE

Tulane at #13 LSU
If LSU needed a game to get their offense back on track, this is it. And if they didn't, they're going to get one anyway. Look for Jordan Jefferson to look as good as he's looked all year as the Tigers beat up on their in-state rivals yet again.
J.Pike's Pick: LSU 42, Tulane 17

#14 Penn State at Northwestern
I really want Pat Fitzgerald's Wildcats to do well, but they simply don't appear to be very good. Penn State's defense, on the other hand, is tearing fools apart. Penn State wins easy, despite not scoring very many points.
J.Pike's Pick: Penn State 27, Northwestern 9

New Mexico State at #15 Ohio State
T.P. picks up right where he left off last week - making Ohio State fans look like fickle buffoons by running circles around an outmatched opponent.
J.Pike's Pick: Ohio State 36, New Mexico State 3

#16 Miami at Wake Forest
Under normal circumstances this game would seem like a prime candidate for an upset. But Wake Forest has been on a roller coaster this season. Riley Skinner is about as mediocre as you can get at quarterback, so the Deacs will be hard pressed to move the ball through the air against the Canes. Plus, Navy knocked off The Forest a week ago without attempting even a single forward pass.
J.Pike's Pick: Miami 24, Wake Forest 13

Kansas State at #17 Oklahoma
Kansas State somehow finds themselves atop the Big XII North standings, but must travel to Norman to take on an Oklahoma team still licking their wounds after a 3-3 start. I tend to want to believe the Wildcats will be served a blowout here, but I'm note entirely sure this Oklahoma team is capable of blowing out anybody much better than Tulsa. Kansas State can keep it close - and even win this game - if they can take advantage of Oklahoma's glaring weakness of an offensive line. They'll also need at least 2 scores from the explosive Brandon Banks to complete the feat. But even if that happens, I'm not sure they win this game.
J.Pike's Pick: Oklahoma 23, Kansas State 21

Washington State vs #18 Notre Dame
(@ San Antonio, TX)
I can't for the life of me figure out why this game is being played in San Antonio. Maybe neither team wanted to host what is certain to be a massacre? A massacre it will be. For the first time all season, don't look for Notre Dame to be playing meaningful snaps down to the final minutes, because this one could get ugly real quick.
J.Pike's Pick: Notre Dame 48, Washington State 21

#19 Arizona is IDLE

#20 South Carolina at Tennessee
Lane Kiffin's Vols will finally pull out a close one as the Gamecocks simply don't have enough offense. Montario Hardesty will be a key for Tennessee because you know Eric Norwood is going to be all over the place harassing Jonathan Crompton.
J.Pike's Pick: Tennessee 18, South Carolina 11

#21 Ole Miss at Auburn
My how seasons can turn. Just a month ago Auburn was in the top 25 and looking like a real player in the SEC. Now the Tigers can't move the ball and can't stop anybody from scoring. Funny how you find out what a team is really made of when you turn up the heat. Ole Miss is quietly rebounding from their early season stumbles (again, funny how you find out what a team is made of when you put them against a real opponent), and they are in much better shape right now than Auburn. This will be Houston Nutt's big "screw you" game to Gus Malzahn.
J.Pike's Pick: Ole Miss 33, Auburn 22

Southern Miss at #22 Houston
In Houston's lone loss on the season, they allowed UTEP running back Donald Buckram to pile up 262 yards on the ground. Who better then to take advantage of this apparent weakness than Southern Miss running back Damion Fletcher, owner of nearly 5,000 career rushing yards and 43 touchdowns. Southern Miss can score points, and they definitely have a shot to knock Houston off here. But I like Case Keenum and company to keep their winning streak alive by out-scoring the Golden Eagles.
J.Pike's Pick: Houston 44, Southern Miss 34

#24 West Virginia at South Florida
(Friday night game)
South Florida finds themselves in the midst of their annual mid-season plummet as they host a Friday night game against West Virginia. Not only that, but there has been some chatter in the locker room about the curious play calling in the blowout loss to Pitt a week ago. Even taking all that into account, I still like the Bulls to rally and get the job done here. Much like Southern Miss, I don't entirely trust the Mountaineers yet, and South Florida has enough playmakers on defense (get a load of defensive ends George Selvie and Jason Pierre-Paul) to contain Noel Devine and Jarrett Brown.
J.Pike's Pick: South Florida 32, West Virginia 26

Purdue at #25 Wisconsin
Why did I have to go and rank Wisconsin? All that means is I am stuck picking more god-awful Big Ten games. I have to say: Purdue isn't as bad as people think. They aren't good by any means, but they aren't the worst team in the conference. Illinois' quitting Zooksters have that title wrapped up. If Purdue can get another performance out of its quarterback like they got against Ohio State, Purdue can win this game. But I believe Wisconsin's ground game will win out in the end.
J.Pike's Pick: Wisconsin 27, Purdue 24

JP Top 25

Well, it's been almost two months since we last updated. Oops. I guess getting married and going on vacation can really set you back. Whatever the case we're back now, and it's time for the first and last JP Top 25 for October 2009.

1. Texas (7-0)
2. Alabama (8-0)
3. Florida (7-0)
4. TCU (7-0)
5. Iowa (8-0)
6. Georgia Tech (7-1)
7. USC (6-1)
8. Virginia Tech (5-2)
9. Cincinnati (7-0)
10. Boise State (7-0)
11. Pittsburgh (7-1)
12. Oregon (6-1)
13. LSU (6-1)
14. Penn State (7-1)
15. Ohio State (6-2)
16. Miami (5-2)
17. Oklahoma (4-3)
18. Notre Dame (5-2)
19. Arizona (5-2)
20. South Carolina (6-2)
21. Ole Miss (5-2)
22. Houston (6-1)
23. Oklahoma State (6-1)
24. West Virginia (6-1)
25. Wisconsin (5-2)