As the calendar turns to October, we have a few blockbusters on the schedule this weekend. The SEC alone has three really good ones. We also have potential division deciding games in the Big Ten. The “If I Were a Bettin’ Man…” portion of the blog remained on fire last week going 1-0 against the spread for a 7-1 record for the season. Last week the blog went 6-3 straight up in national games (17-7 for the season) and 7-0 in SEC games (30-5 for the season). Baby Cooper and I have had a little down time this week to look over the games and provide some insight to you guys.
Thursday: 7:00: #16 South Florida @ Pittsburgh (ESPN) – South Florida goes to Pitt with their undefeated record on the line. Pitt blew a lead against Notre Dame last week. Despite the good performance against the Irish last week, I’m not big on Pitt or blowhard coach Todd Graham. By the way, have you checked out South Florida’s remaining schedule? They should be favored in every game the rest of the season. Not that they are deserving of a national title bid, but they could be undefeated on the outside looking in at the end. Bulls 26-20.
Friday: 7:00: Utah State @ BYU (ESPN) – Sorry, this is all we have tonight. Another Mormon state battle. It’s gonna get rowdy!
Saturday: See the previous week’s blog if you don’t remember the Saturday morning routine. After you repeat it a couple of times, you will get the hang of it.
11:00 AM (or Big Ten kickoff time as I like to call it): What? Only three Big Ten kickoffs at this time this week? What is going on here?
#18 Arkansas vs. #14 Texas A&M in Dallas (ESPN) – This game lost a lot of luster when both lost last week, but it is still a big one. It sucks the kickoff is at 11. Arkansas looked like a very average football team last week at Alabama. There are probably 7 or 8 other SEC teams that could have played Bama that close last week, which is disappointing since the Hogs were expecting a much closer game. What happened to the Aggies last week? Did they start writing a contract to join the SEC after they got up 20-3 at the half versus Okie State? A lot is still unknown regarding the Hogs for me. Can they run the ball against a less talented defense than Bama? Can the o-line block anyone? Can the defense pressure the QB? I think the Aggies have a better offense here (more proven all around at least), and I like the Aggies defense better too. I am not a fan at all of Willy Robinson and have never been. I also wonder how much weight this game carries for Petrino being in the heart of the SEC schedule and all. It sure seemed like he didn’t care if he lost it last year although the Hogs pulled it out in the end. So give me the newest SEC team to win here. Gig ‘Em 34-30.
Mississippi State @ Georgia (Fox Sports South/espn3) – This is a perfect example of how quickly a team’s perception can change in a matter of a couple of weeks. A couple of weeks back, Mississippi State was riding high after their domination of Memphis (really?). They followed that with a loss to LSU and an overtime win versus La Tech last week. Georgia was getting destroyed by the Georgia media and fans but wins over Coastal Carolina and Ole Miss have silenced some people (really?). The reason I bring this up is because the line on this is Georgia -8. I see these teams as pretty even (and middle of the road SEC teams). I think the difference is the game is in Athens; it should be a good one. UGA 27-24.
Northwestern @ #24 Illinois (ESPN2) – An underrated rivalry game that should have some big plays and stay close till the end.
11:21 AM Kentucky @ #1 LSU (SEC Network – ABC) – This is LSU’s first real home game (unless you really count Northwestern State). The Cajuns will be rowdy. How bad is Kentucky? They should really cancel the November 5th game against Ole Miss because it will set the SEC back 15 years. Geaux Tigers Big 45-6.
2:30: Five ranked teams get going at this time.
Auburn @ #10 South Carolina (CBS) – The sloppy Gamecocks continue to look…well…sloppy. They scored another defensive touchdown last week against Vandy. I have a feeling the luck is going to run out on them soon. They are riding Marcus Lattimore and that is an understatement. Auburn is flying under the radar again this week after their defense collapsed two weeks ago at Clemson. I’m not gonna call it, but the Gamecocks better be on upset alert on Saturday. Cocks 34-31.
#15 Baylor at Kansas State (ABC) – The most amazing stat of this season so far – Robert Griffin has more TD passes (13) than incompletions (12). Of course this blog expected big things from him this year because we were talking about him at the beginning of last year. K-State went down to Miami and got a win last week that really kinda flew under the radar but was pretty impressive. This will be a close one, but Griffin is too good. Da Bears 28-21.
Michigan State @ Ohio State (ABC or ESPN) –This will be a big game that could help decide the divisions in the Big Ten. I’m going with a mild upset here. Sparty 20-19.
5:00: #13 Clemson @ #11 Virginia Tech (ESPN2) – Don’t believe the Clemson hype. They beat a young Auburn team with a terrible defense playing their first road game of the year and a Florida State team without their heart and soul – EJ Manuel – both at home. They’re leaving the friendly confines for this one, and I see a comfortable Hokie win here. Hokies 27-17.
6:00 #17 Texas @ Iowa State (FX) – See “If I Were a Bettin’ Man…” below.
7:00: #3 Alabama @ #12 Florida (CBS) – See “If I Were a Bettin’ Man…” below.
#8 Nebraska @ #7 Wisconsin (ABC) – This is the first game this year between the teams I predict to play in the first Big Ten title game in December. Both are undefeated and highly rated. Wisconsin is a well-oiled machine now with Russell Wilson at QB. I enjoy watching them play, and you won’t hear me say that about many Big Ten teams. This is about the time of year Taylor Martinez becomes a shell of himself. The Huskers will have trouble at Camp Randall. Badgers 28-17.
8:15: Ole Miss @ Fresno State (ESPN2) – Oh Houston! Who are you gonna blame this one on? The good news is you only have 7 or fewer games left in your Ole Miss career. Fresno 28-13.
In another SEC game not mentioned above, Tennessee wins easily.
If I Were a Bettin’ Man…
Texas @ Iowa State (+10) – Dear Texas: Watch out! The Cyclones did beat you in Austin last year, and they’ve had a couple of nice wins this year (Iowa and UConn). The Cyclones have had a week off to prepare (just like you did). After all Longhorns, you really haven’t showed me much this year anyway. All of a sudden, you are comfortable with Case McCoy at QB who has started a grand total of one road game. I’ll take my chances. Cyclones win this one straight up 21-17.
Alabama (-3.5) @ Florida – This line really amazes me. I guess Florida has figured everything out. The offense has a QB that is asked to not throw it farther than 10 yards because a) he can’t and b) he has no wide receivers to catch it. So the offense basically consists of handoffs and screens to Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps. I bet Saban has an answer for that! I am a little worried about AJ McCarron making only his second start on the road, but he managed it at Penn State. But he has a couple of security blankets (Richardson and Lacey). The Florida defense is good but not to the Alabama level yet. I will take Bama -3.5 against anyone except LSU. Roll Tide 24-13.
Enjoy the weekend!