#15 Virginia Tech at East Carolina
After getting surprised a week ago at home on Thursday night against North Carolina, Virginia Tech must go on the road to face another directional Carolina. I have to admit that I have been half-way on the ECU bandwagon since they knocked off Va Poly and Westy Virginny at the beginning of last season. Patrick Pinkney is a dangerous senior quarterback and all purpose threat Dwayne Harris (3 receiving tds, 4 rushing tds, 2 kick return tds) make this a tough matchup for a hurting Hokie team. But you can't keep Frank Beamer's team down for long. Look for the Hokies to bounce back onto the winning track, even if this is a much closer, much uglier game than it should be.
J.Pike's Pick: Virginia Tech 22, East Carolina 19
Friday, November 6th
#7 Boise State at Louisiana Tech
Another week another easy game for the Broncos. Kellen Moore has only thrown two interceptions all season long to go with his 24 touchdown passes. Don't expect Boise to all of a sudden start turning the ball over and making mistakes just because they go on the road to play one of the "tougher" teams in the WAC.
J.Pike's Pick: Boise State 37, Louisiana Tech 13
Saturday, November 7th
#25 Wisconsin at Indiana
Indiana has been giving opposing Big Ten teams fits all season long. Just last week they pushed #5 ranked Iowa deep into the fourth quarter before giving up an explosion of points and losing. This week the Hoosiers host Wisconsin, and I expect them to play another solid game. Wisconsin has John Clay, though, and he'll make sure the Badgers win the time of possession battle and the game.
J.Pike's Pick: Wisconsin 27, Indiana 20
Northwestern at #5 Iowa
Iowa keeps finding ways to win close games. I feel like the cardiac kids will get a break this week and win a fairly easy game against the struggling Wildcats.
J.Pike's Pick: Iowa 30, Northwestern 16
Central Florida at #1 Texas
The surging Longhorns look to maintain their streak of dominating performances against George O'Leary's Knights of Central Florida. In a rare late season non-conference game, I wouldn't be surprised to see Texas revert to their early season form and look sluggish in the first quarter. But there's absolutely no reason this should be a close game heading into the fourth quarter. Colt McCoy will continue to play well as he claws his way back into Heisman contention.
J.Pike's Pick: Texas 42, Central Florida 21
Syracuse at #11 Pittsburgh
Bill Stull and Dion Lewis have Pittsburgh quietly playing about as well as anybody in the country right now. The backfield duo has been putting points on the board at a rate not previously seen in Dave Wannstedt's tenure. Against a struggling Syracuse team that just had it's best player (Mike Williams - a legit stud at wide receiver) quit the team. First year coach Doug Marrone is going through his first real rough patch as a head coach, and facing a hot Panthers team isn't a good recipe to make things any better.
J.Pike's Pick: Pittsburgh 38, Syracuse 11
Virginia at #16 Miami
Upset alert. I know I keep calling for Virginia to be an upset candidate, but this is the week I think they finally pull off the feat. Miami is struggling right now, and even though they have showed guts down the stretch in games (see their fourth quarter win against Wake Forest last week), they definitely aren't playing their best ball of the season. Look for Virginia to use about three different players at quarterback, and find a way to manufacture enough points to pull the upset. Remember, this is the ACC - it gets crazier every week.
J.Pike's Pick: Virginia 26, Miami 21
Navy at #18 Notre Dame
Navy finally got one over on the Irish and their Special Ed coach two seasons ago. But coming off a loss to Temple, I don't see it happening again. Quarterback Ricky Dobbs will do his part to keep the Middies in it, though.
J.Pike's Pick: Notre Dame 33, Navy 24
Washington State at #19 Arizona
Poor Washington State. The Cougs can't get to that UCLA game (their only shot at a conference win) soon enough.
J.Pike's Pick: Arizona 44, Washington State 14
#23 Oklahoma State at Iowa State
Austin Arnaud is back at quarterback for Iowa State. I like what Paul Rhodes is doing in Ames so far, so getting his best offensive weapon back is a plus, especially against a vulnerable Cowboy team. On paper Okie State should hand the Cyclones, but after that beatdown last week (by Texas and the officials), how will Gundy's squad react? If they don't bounce back and focus their full attention on Iowa State they might find themselves in the middle of a losing streak.
J.Pike's Pick: Oklahoma State 31, Iowa State 21
#14 Ohio State at #13 Penn State
In one of just two games featuring two ranked opponents this week, Jim Tressel brings his Buckeyes to Happy Valley to take on Joe Paterno's Nittany Lions. Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor has played his best ball of the season over the past two weeks, and will need to bring that edge into this game because Penn State's defensive front has more than enough fire power to collapse the under-performing Buckeye offensive line whenever they choose to. Expect to hear the name Ollie Ogbu a lot in this game.
On the other side of the ball, talented playmakers Darryl Clark and Evan Royster will need to step up their games if they are to score many points on the Ohio State defense. If either Clark or Royster delivers a big game, the Nittany Lions should emerge victorious. If the Buckeye defense can contain both, however, Ohio State will sneak out of town with a big win. At the end of the day I think the story will not be about Clark or Royster, but about Terrelle Pryor.
J.Pike's Pick: Ohio State 18, Penn State 13