ACC Game: Virginia at North Carolina
With the Virginia Tech/Maryland game being played on Thursday, this is the ACC's biggest game of the weekend. Actually, aside from this game, the rest are stinkers to put it mildly (Clemson/Temple, Florida St./Duke, NC St./Wake). Virginia hopes to build on some of the momentum they garnered with their upset of Florida St. last weekend, while the Tarheels try to regroup from a shellacking at the hands of Louisville 2 weeks ago. Virginia is only 1-2 on the road, with their only victory a squeaker over a bad Syracuse team. That trend will continue here as Virginia will fail to build on the Florida St. triumph.
Winner: North Carolina
Big East Game: Rutgers at Connecticut
Yep thats right. With the cancellation of West Virginia at South Florida this game becomes the marquee Big East matchup. It's like going to Thanksgiving dinner where the main dish is Caesar Salad, only to have that be devoured by the time you make it through the line and being forced to eat crackers while you watch the Lions and Cowboys play. I'm so apathetic towards this game, that my analysis is as follows: I picked Rutgers to upset West Virginia 2 weeks ago at home. They didn't.
Big 10 Game: Northwestern at Michigan St.
Michigan St. has found a way to lose 2 very winnable games against Michigan and Ohio St. In the process, they have given up almost any chance of winning the Big 10 and grabbing a BCS bid. Northwestern on the other hand, has quietly put together a 4-2 record highlighted by an upset of then undefeated Wisconsin 2 weeks ago. Although they did squeak by Purdue last week, Northwestern has not been the same team away from Evanston. This will be a high-scoring affair that Sparticus puts away in the second half.
Winner: Michigan St.
Big 12 Game: Texas Tech at Texas
For all intents and purposes, this game is for the Big 12 South title. Mike Leach brings his undefeated Red Raiders into Austin to face the number 2 ranked Longhorns. In his 5+ years at the school(including this season), Leach is 13-23 against teams with winning records and 2-14 against teams with winning records on the road. Expect more of the same this week as the Longhorns rout the Red Raiders.
Pac 10 Game: Oregon St. at UCLA
UCLA is currently 6-0, and if they can get by the Beavers stand a good chance of being 9-0 when Arizona St. comes calling in mid-November. However, their last 3 games have all been decided in the final minutes or OT. Statistics and history say their luck has to run out sometime. Oregon St. has bounced back from early-season setbacks to Louisville and Arizona St. to win 2 in a row and become contenders in the fight for 2nd in the Pac 10. I'll give the nod to the Bruins who are playing at home as they find a way to win another close game.
SEC Game: Auburn at LSU
Auburn has been low-key since their early-season loss to Georgia Tech. They have won 5 in a row over what can best be described as low-level competition. LSU has rebounded nicely from the second-half choke job against Tennessee. It's Saturday night in Baton Rouge so you know what that means: You get down the fiddle, you get down the bow, kick off your shoes and throw em' on the floor, dance in the kitchen til' morning light, louisiana saturday night. LSU has a very good defense, but something about them troubles me. Auburn admittedly has had a cupcake schedule, but look at LSU's wins: 35-31 over Arizona St. (3-3), 37-7 over Mississippi St. (2-4), 34-6, although the game was 12-6 in the late in the 3rd quarter over Vandy (4-3), and 21-17 over an overrated Florida (5-2) team. I think Auburn pulls off the upset.
Close but no Cigar:
Ohio St. at Indiana: The Buckeyes are too talented to lose this game, but Indiana is playing much better under new coach Terry Hoeppner. Ohio St. has only played 1 road game (the loss to Penn St.) so they are relatively untested away from the Horseshoe. Ohio St. is not built for comebacks so a few early scores by the Hoosiers could have Mr. Sweatervest feeling the heat.
Penn St. at Illinois: Another relatively road untested Big 10 team (Penn St. is 1-1 away from Happy Valley) plays away from home. Ron Zook will have his boys playing hard, but Joe Pa has his sights set on a BCS bid and won't let it slip away to some smucks from Champaign.
Vanderbilt at South Carolina: V-bilt this city on ball-control. Vandy's passing game will control the clock and upset the Gamecocks on Homecoming in Columbia.
NC St. at Wake Forest: The last time NC St. howled into hostile Groves Stadium, the Deacs hung an L on them and ended Phillip Rivers Heisman campaign before it got started. This time, the Pack will commit roughly 400 penalties and Wake will finally win a close game.
Enjoy the weekend.