Last week: 12-8, 3 Idle
2011 Season: 149-33
Boy was last week rough for my predictions. I mean look at those numbers. Woof. But who could've foreseen Nebraska holding Michigan State to three points, Missouri upsetting Texas A&M in OT or, most shocking of all, Texas Tech getting absolutely housed by Iowa State at home following an upset of the No. 3 team in the nation?
Actually, they all kind of make sense if you think about them. Sparty was too emotionally drained from that miracle win over Wisconsin and the Cornhuskers snuck up on them. Texas A&M has been notorious for blowing leads and essentially gave that game to Mizzou. As for the Red Raiders, they suffered a classic case of coming out flat against an inferior opponent after knocking off a much bigger one. I smell a College Football Predictions Manifesto coming, but we'll save that for a later date.
As for now, it's the week everyone has been waiting for: the clash between LSU and Alabama has finally arrived. As a result, I'm going to move much more quickly through the other selections and spend a lot of time on what is already being dubbed "the Game of the Century." Here are the picks for Week 10:
No. 3 Oklahoma State vs. No. 14 Kansas State, Nov. 5, 8:00 PM ET: Kansas State struggled mightily against Oklahoma last week and will certainly have their hands full against the Cowboys come Saturday. Brandon Weeden and that offense is too high-powered for the Wildcats to pull off the upset in this one. The Cowboys keep themselves in the national title talks with a win over the Wildcats.
No. 4 Stanford at Oregon State, Nov. 5, 3:30 PM ET: Although it took him three overtimes to seal the deal, what I was most impressed with in Andrew Luck was how he erased that fourth quarter pick-six from his memory and immediately drove his team down the field for the tying score. I knew the kid was athletic, but that showed everyone, myself included, that Luck's a gamer and has the stones to make a throw when he has to.
That said, Oregon State is horrible this year and Stanford is just too dynamic on offense for this one to even be close. Cardinal carve up the Beavers.
No. 5 Boise State at UNLV, Nov. 5, 10:30 PM ET: This is exactly the kind of game that most of Boise State's critics point to when discussing the Broncos' soft schedule, and in this case they'd be totally right. UNLV has no redeeming qualities as a football team and the Broncos, even on the road, should roll. Kellen Moore just keeps winning, Boise State wins big.
No. 6 Oklahoma vs. Texas A&M, Nov. 5, 3:30 PM ET: A couple weeks ago, this might have been a matchup that carried a lot of weight in the Big 12, but the Aggies have just dropped too many games to be in the conversation anymore.
That offensive explosion by the Sooners in the second half against K-State gave them a lot of swagger back. Oklahoma is just too polished to drop two straight at home to a floundering Aggies squad. Boomer Sooner, Oklahoma runs the Aggies out of the stadium.
No. 7 Arkansas vs. No. 9 South Carolina, Nov. 5, 7:15 PM ET: Sorry South Carolina fans, but you're ranked entirely too high right now. In your last two games you've managed a total of 28 points against mediocre opposition and your offense looks lost. The good news is that your defense has been dominant against that mediocre opposition and kept you in the game. At the end of this one though, I think if Arkansas can put together four quarters of football, they'll outscore the Gamecocks. I think.
No. 8 Oregon at Washington, Nov. 5, 10:30 PM ET: Boy does this one feel like a trap for the Ducks: away from Autzen with a banged up offense against an underrated Washington team that is a cool 6-2 and whose only losses are to two teams currently ranked in the Top 10. Uh-oh. Regardless of those facts, I still feel that this one will turn into a shootout and as a rule I don't pick against the Ducks in a shootout. Just be wary of Keith Price and that Washington offense. Ducks in a close one.
No. 10 Nebraska vs. Northwestern, Nov. 5, 3:30 PM ET: Nebraska showed that their Blackshirts defense was back last week in their dismantling of Michigan State. I don't like a banged up Dan Persa's chances on the road. The Cornhuskers bury the Wildcats.
No. 11 Clemson, Idle: The Tigers need a week off after the roar of their offense was silenced by Georgia Tech. Look for them to rebound nicely against Wake in a couple of weeks though.
No. 12 Virginia Tech, Idle: I don't think there's been a game this year when I have been impressed with Virginia Tech. I am constantly underwhelmed by the results such a talented team produces. They'll get a good test next weekend when they travel to Atlanta to meet Georgia Tech for what will surely be a showdown for the ACC Coastal division title.
No. 13 Houston vs. UAB, Nov. 5, 7:00 PM ET: Case Keenum went off last week and threw nine TDs against an overwhelmed Rice squad. His matchup with UAB this weekend shouldn't be much different and the Cougar might throw for 10. Houston romps over the Blazers.
No. 15 Michigan at Iowa, Nov. 5, 12:00 PM ET: The Hawkeyes are 69th in the country in run defense and will surely have a tough time containing Denard Robinson. The dirty secret in this game is that the Wolverines are only giving up 14.6 points per game, good for sixth in the nation. Michigan outruns the Hawkeyes and plays suffocating defense to leave Iowa City with a win.
No. 16 Penn State, Idle: Penn State, much like Virginia Tech, is one of those teams that has constantly underwhelmed on the offensive side of the ball, but still find themselves with one loss and ranked in the Top 25. Their defense just keeps them in games long enough for them to get it together on offense. We'll see what the Nittany Lions are really made of when they welcome Nebraska next week.
No. 17 Michigan State vs. Minnesota, Nov. 5, 12:00 PM ET: Sparty won't have to worry about this one. Minnesota is the worst team in the Big 10, hands down, and look for Michigan State to come out fired up after getting embarrassed last week by the Cornhuskers. The Spartans, by virtue of an irritated defense and resurgent Kirk Cousins, dismantle the Golden Gophers.
No. 18 Georgia vs. New Mexico State, Nov. 5, 12:30 PM ET: Yeah, you read that matchup correctly. The Bulldogs face off with New Mexico State in a strange November out of conference game. Barring a monumental meltdown after their win over Florida, the Dawgs win big.
No. 19 Arizona State at UCLA, Nov. 5, 7:30 PM ET: Whenever you Google a coach's name and "hot seat" is the second suggested result, it's never a good sign. The time is nigh for Rick Neuheisel at UCLA. After piecing together a couple solid recruiting classes, it looks like he'll be bowing out after this season. Arizona State is too complete of a football team to struggle on the road against the Bruins. Osweiler, Burfict and company handle their business in the Rose Bowl.
No. 20 Wisconsin vs. Purdue, Nov. 5, 3:30 PM ET: No way the Badgers keep falling, right? I don't think so either. Russell Wilson and Wisconsin stop their skid here and knock off Purdue at home in Camp Randall.
No. 21 Texas vs. Texas Tech, Nov. 5, 12:00 PM ET: This game is a toss up. Texas Tech has an explosive offense, but is wildly inconsistent. Texas can run the ball, but it's been quarterback by committee up to this point in Austin. I'll take my chances with the Longhorns, mostly because they're the home squad and I trust Texas Tech about as much as I trust the e-mails I get telling me I've won a free iPad 2. Longhorns win.
No. 22 Auburn, Idle: The only three-loss team in the Top 25, the Tigers get an off week before taking on Georgia between the hedges. The Tigers' Gene Chizik should be applauded for some of the wins he's stolen in the wake of the talent that left following their national title run.
No. 23 Georgia Tech, Idle: After swearing off the Yellow Jackets last week, they proved me wrong against Clemson and earned a quality win at home. The victory put them back in the conference championship conversation and I am very much looking forward to seeing how their offense matches up against the Va. Tech defense next week.
No. 24 West Virginia vs. Louisville, Nov. 5, 12:00 PM ET: Last week the Mountaineers were able to overcome an emotional Rutgers team and pull off a messy win in the snow in New Jersey. This week they return home after two weeks on the road to face a mediocre Louisville team. The Mountaineers should outscore a Cardinals team that only puts an average of 17 points on the board a game.
No. 25 Southern Miss at East Carolina, Nov. 5, 4:00 PM ET: Whoa hey Southern Miss! Welcome to the Top 25! If you're scoring at home, that's TWO C-USA teams in the Top 25 (and I don't know what screams playoff more than C-USA teams in the Top 25). On the back of their stout rushing offense (18th in the nation), the Golden Eagles will keep their stranglehold on the conference's East division by defeating the Pirates.
No. 1 LSU at No. 2 Alabama, Nov. 5, 8:00 PM ET: By now, you have assuredly heard everything about this matchup, from how many blades of grass Les Miles eats a week to how long Trent Richardson has been growing those dreads, the media has left nothing uncovered. Erin Andrews rode with Miles to work on a Tuesday for God's sake.
I know I promised a much longer analysis of this game, but there is not much left to be said that hasn't been already. Instead, allow me to offer you this.
I grew up in the South and have seen my fair share of football since I came kicking and screaming into this world and after having lived with an avid Alabama football fan, I've seen a lot of Alabama football recently (The word avid doesn't even begin to describe the passion these fans possess. The only thing I've seen that comes close has been the passion of EPL fans.)
The difference between these two teams is this: Alabama expects to win. I've seen a portion of at least every Crimson Tide game this season and at no point have I been convinced that any team was in the driver's seat besides Alabama. The Tide have the look this year. They have it. They also have the better coach, the more dangerous offense and the more physical defense, but ESPN has already told you that enough times that you could probably write a book about it at this point. The Tide will roll in Bryant Denny on Saturday night.