Friday: 8:00: USC @ Colorado (ESPN) – God bless Lane. He said he was lied to by the PAC 12 officials at the end of the OT loss to Stanford last week. Karma! USC gives a very uninspired effort, but Colorado is beyond bad. Trojans 21-10.
11:00 AM: #15 Michigan @ Iowa (ESPN) – What has happened to Iowa? I liked them at the beginning of the year and all they have done is let me down. They lost to Minnesota last week; even North Dakota State won at Minnesota. Michigan continues to roll and will be 8-1 after Saturday…amazing! Wolverines 35-27.
Texas Tech @ #21 Texas (FX) – Tech blasts Oklahoma on the road one week and then gets blasted by the mighty Iowa State Cyclones the next week. What gives? Texas continues to dominate the weaklings in the Big 12 but can’t play with the big boys. I see Tech in this game for a while, but the Longhorns win in the end. Longhorns 28-24.
11:21 AM: Vanderbilt @ Florida (SEC Network – ABC) – The battle of the loudmouth, obnoxious coaches here. Vandy had a heartbreaker last week. Florida had a heartbreaking October going 0 for October for the first time in more than 30 years. Muschamp is already getting on the wrong side of the fair weather Gator fans. Word is the Gator fans are anxiously awaiting Sunday to see if they need to buy LSU or Alabama gear and wear it for the rest of the season. The Gators offense is really bad, but surely somehow, someway they pull this one off. Gators 17-13.
2:30: Texas A&M @ #6 Oklahoma (ABC or ESPN2) – The Aggies lost another close one last week, and the Sooners took out their frustration on poor K-State. I think the Sooners continue to roll here because they know they have to impress the pollsters from this point on. The Aggies have to be feeling the grind of some disappointing close losses this year and now have very little to play for. Boomer Sooner 45-28.
Mississippi @ Kentucky (ESPNU) – BARF! Houston Dale pulls out the worst conference game of the year. Rebel Black Bears 5-4.
#4 Stanford @ Oregon State (ABC) – The Cardinal train keeps on rolling against a struggling Beaver team. Stanford 45-13.
6:00: Missouri @ Baylor (Fox Sports Net Affiliates) – Points, points and more points! Da Bears 45-42.
6:15: #9 South Carolina @ #7 Arkansas (ESPN) – How are these teams ranked in the Top 10 again? I guess the pollsters do not have many choices. South Carolina has beaten one team that is currently in the Top 25, and the Hogs have beaten a whopping zero. The Hogs defense gets worse every week. The same goes for South Carolina’s offense too though. Spurrier may have found something last week though in the second half versus the Vols. He started to run Connor Shaw regularly. The Hogs struggle with running QBs. I have to think the Gamecocks will try to get Alshon more involved in the offense too after catching 3 balls for 17 yards last week. I think the Hogs are tired of hearing how they are underperforming and kind of like last year, save their best performance of the year for Spurrier. Hogs 38-31.
6:30: #19 Arizona State @ UCLA (Versus) – See “If I Were a Bettin’ Man…” below.
7:00: Do not turn the channel off of CBS for the next 3 ½ hours. This is the only game that matters.
#1 LSU @ #2 Alabama (CBS) – The time has come. It is finally here. Defense is the name of this game. Alabama has the #1 unit in total defense, and LSU has the #4. Breaking down the units, I have to give the quarterback, wide receiver, defensive line, defensive backfield and special teams edge to the Tigers. Bama gets the edge on the offensive line, running back, linebackers, and possibly most importantly – the home field. I have watched most of the Tigers and Tide games this year, and it is very difficult to determine who is better. The way I see this one playing out is Alabama will try to ride Trent Richardson (of course), but the weakest link in the whole game is the still unproven AJ McCarron. LSU’s incredible defensive backfield is going to bait him into some bad throws when he has to throw, and he is going to have to throw because the very deep LSU defensive line will be geared up to contain Trent Richardson (not completely stop him though). LSU’s offense does not get the credit it deserves a lot of times, but outside of Richardson for Alabama (which is no doubt a HUGE difference maker), they have the best playmakers on offense with the likes of Randle, Shepard, Beckham, Ware, and Ford.
There were a couple of interesting stats and trends that I came across this week. I wondered how big of a home field advantage Alabama has had since Saban has been there (since ’08 actually – I didn’t count his first season). In 15 SEC home games, Bama is 14-1 at home with an average margin of victory of 18 points. They are 12-2 on the road with an average margin of victory of 17 points. So that tells me that Alabama has been great regardless of where they have played under Saban, and the home field that is usually such a big deal in this game may not be that big of an edge for Alabama in this case. Also, in the last 40 years in the regular season #1 vs. #2 matchups, the home team is only 6-6. Les Miles is 11-1 on the road in night games at LSU. Enough breaking the game down – I’m ready to watch this thing. I have never picked against Alabama in the 1 ½ years of this blog, which spans 21 games and 3 losses by the Crimson Tide. This is a first…Geaux Tigers 24-17.
#14 Kansas State @ #3 Oklahoma State (ABC or ESPN2) – Kansas State was brought back down to earth last week getting thumped at home by the Sooners. Expect more of the same as Okie State’s offense is a well-oiled machine and is on fire. Cowboys 51-28.
9:30: #8 Oregon @ Washington (Fox Sports Affiliates) – Get ready for the points to come down in Seattle. Oregon better pay attention to the task at hand though and not be looking ahead to their clash with Stanford next week. Oregon also has a minor QB controversy going now. It will be a wild one, but the Ducks pull it out. Quack Quack 48-37.
11:00: Utah State @ Hawaii (espn3.com) – God bless the Hawaii game again. The bonus to this one is at the time this game is finishing up, we fall back an hour and you get an extra hour of football highlights watching tonight.
In other SEC games, Tennessee, Mississippi State, and Georgia pick up win against non-conference cupcakes.
If I Were a Bettin’ Man… - I’m going one PAC 12 game this week. That’s all I got. It’s getting really hard to find games that Vegas has off as the season’s sample size grows.
Arizona State (-8.5) @ UCLA – Arizona State has been thumping every team in the PAC 12 not named Oregon. They’ve been scoring at will averaging 38 points per game in PAC 12 play. UCLA has been all over the map. Getting thumped by lowly Arizona two weeks ago and then doing the thumping on Cal last week at home. If UCLA wins this game, they catapult to the top of the South division somehow, but they aren’t for real. They have been outscored on the year by over 50 points total. The Bruins have the #89 total defense in the nation; on the other hand, you know how much I love Arizona State’s defense. Give me the Sun Devils 38-24.
Enjoy your weekend!