College Football’s 10th Weekend: Picks, predictions

(1) Alabama at (5) LSU

This game is being played in Baton Rouge which is what makes this matchup even more interesting. Talent-wise I think it’s safe to say that the Crimson Tide have the advantage. I like both teams’ tailbacks equally, but other than the running game, I favor the Tide in every other facet of the game other than maybe on the punting side of things.

In order for LSU to take down the nation’s top team, they have to change things up. Ultimately Les Miles is an enhanced version of Jim Tressel. Miles gets more top-end recruits, which makes his program more consistent (now) than what Ohio State’s was. Miles comes up with the occasional crazy trick play, but in the end, he’s conservative. Unless he can unleash Zach Mettenberger and he can throw it with success, Alabama shouldn’t have too much trouble here. Alabama wins 31-17.

(2) Kansas State vs (24) Oklahoma State

Oklahoma State isn’t a bad team. They’re ranked in the top 25, which is probably appropriate, but they’re on the road, facing a team that just doesn’t beat themselves. Collin Klein and company shouldn’t have problems against the Cowboys’ defense. Kansas State wins 45-21.

(3) Notre Dame vs Pittsburgh

This would be a classic letdown game for the Fighting Irish. Again, their defense keeps them in every game. It’s the offense that holds me back from pushing all in with this team. Pittsburgh isn’t a bad team, and although the Panthers are on the road, Notre Dame won’t win this game by as much as the No. 3 team in the country should. Notre Dame wins 31-17.

(4) Oregon at (17) USC

At the beginning of the year, this game was regarded as one of the top games in all of college football. Even a week ago, before USC lost to Arizona, this was still a highly anticipated game. Now we’re here in November and this matchup is still a good one, but many people feel that if Oregon is as good as perceived to be, they’re expected to win this game by more than a touchdown.

It’ll be tough for the Ducks, but I will assume they win by double digits. The game is at USC, so Oregon will have that going against them, but USC is coming off an emotional loss, so the Trojans won’t be going down without a fight. Like every other week, the Ducks will try and speed up the game as much as possible. The issue with doing this against the Trojans is that USC actually has the athletes to compete for 60 minutes. This game ultimately comes down to whether USC can slow down Oregon enough to let its offense put up 30+ points, which is what Kiffin’s squad will have to do if they want to win this one. Oregon wins 41-31. Read more…

Can anyone keep Alabama from repeating?

In January, the Alabama Crimson Tide rolled past conference rival LSU 21-0 to claim the 2012 BCS national championship. Alabama used a ferocious defense to stifle the Tigers in New Orleans, led by linebacker Courtney Upshaw and safety Mark Barron.

With many of the starters returning from last season’s team, including quarterback A.J. McCarron, Alabama was a preseason favorite to compete for the national title. Almost two months into the season, the Tide has entrenched itself at the top of the polls, emerging as the front-runner to claim its second consecutive BCS title. However, there are several teams that could challenge the Tide in its quest to repeat. Here is a look at the teams that have the best shot at knocking Alabama from its perch.

LSU: The Tigers know how to beat Alabama, winning in Tuscaloosa last season in overtime. Though LSU was drummed out of the BCS title game, it should give the team plenty of motivation when the Crimson Tide pay a visit to Tiger Stadium on Nov. 3. Alabama has played a surprisingly soft schedule for a national power, though easy victories over Michigan and Arkansas would have more weight if those teams were having better seasons. LSU will have revenge on its mind for this rivalry game in Baton Rouge. If the Tigers win, they could gain a foothold in the chase for the national title. They have the home field advantage and a tough defense. The question will be if the LSU Tigers can muster up enough offense to top the Tide.

Florida: If the Tigers can not take down Alabama, it may be up to the second-ranked Gators to do so. Florida appears to be the favorite to win the Eastern Division of the SEC and could face the Crimson Tide in the SEC title game. Will Muschamp has his team playing inspired football in his second season as coach, using a stifling defense to knock off both LSU and South Carolina. The Gators may be undefeated heading into the SEC title game, so a BCS title shot could be at stake in Atlanta. Read more…

College Football’s eighth weekend: West Virginia bounces back

Geno SmithTwo strong match up’s this week as Geno Smith and West Virginia look to bounce back after a subpar game against the Red Raiders.

The Florida Gators have gotten up to the No. 2 spot in the BCS rankings and are the next team in line in the SEC that controls their own destiny. Alabama still holds the top spot and the top two teams don’t meet in the regular season, but the Gators have a tough road ahead of them. Last week I did pretty well, going 17-1 in my picks.

(1) Alabama at Tennessee

Don’t get me wrong, I’m pro-Tennessee this and especially next year, but they don’t have the players on defense to keep this a close game. Tennessee’s offense is one of the most underrated offenses out there, but unless the Volunteers can at least slow down the Crimson Tide’s rushing attack, quarterback Tyler Bray will have to have a career day if they want to pull the upset. Alabama wins 45-24.

(2) Florida vs (7) South Carolina

The Gators come into this game with a lot of momentum and they get to play in front of their home crowd. South Carolina also doesn’t have their stellar running back Marcus Lattimore starting the game. My guess is he’ll play around 20 snaps, but he isn’t 100 percent, which kills almost any chance the Gamecocks had coming into this game.

LSU showed that South Carolina wasn’t worthy of a top five spot and unless quarterback Connor Shaw can break out in the Swamp, the Gators should be able to control this game. Quarterback Jeff Driskel is starting to get more comfortable the more he plays, and with the rushing attack led by Mike Gillislee, Driskel never feels like he has to force anything. Expect a ton of rushing plays from the Gators, and a win at home to keep their undefeated season going. Florida wins 31-21.

(3) Oregon at Arizona State

This game was played Thursday night* Oregon won 43-21. This game wasn’t as close as the 22 point difference indicated.

(4) Kansas State at (13) West Virginia

The Mountaineers are coming off a huge loss to Texas Tech and will be at home in this one looking for revenge. Geno Smith had a subpar game against the Red Raiders, and while Kansas State’s defense is certainly better than average, I expect Smith to get it going along with his wide receivers Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin.

What many people don’t know about this game is that we have probably the two Heisman favorites playing in this game.

Wildcats quarterback Collin Klein is as close as you can get to Tim Tebow, and with his rushing abilities, could lead Kansas State to yet another huge victory this year. If Klein outperforms Smith, which is certainly possible, he may get the win, and the nod when it comes to winning the Heisman. If the Mountaineers want to win, Smith doesn’t only have to play like he has all year outside of the Texas Tech game, but the defense has to at least slow down Collin Klein. I think both will happen just enough for West Virginia to make it a bounce back week. West Virginia wins 45-38.

(5) Notre Dame vs BYU

BYU is only 4-3 and are on the road against a very tough Fighting Irish defense, but this one shouldn’t be a blow out. BYU’s defense is better than many people realize, and with quarterback Tommy Rees getting the start over an injured Everett Golson, this could be the upset of the week. I expect the Fighting Irish to keep it on the ground all game long and be able to stay undefeated for one more week before they head to Norman, Oklahoma. Notre Dame wins 24-10.

(6) LSU at (18) Texas A&M

I’m certainly not an LSU guy, but beating South Carolina last week doing what both teams do best was fairly impressive. In this game, I’m picking the Aggies though. What’s even more odd is that Texas A&M has a freshman quarterback who’s starting for them. The most interesting part is that the freshman Johnny Manziel may be the best offensive player on the field in this game.

Manziel has the top two total yard games in SEC history already, and like I’ve said… he’s just a freshman. Manziel is extremely talented, not only being able to throw, but will soon be regarded as one of the most dynamic quarterback in the country. He’s not as fast as Denard Robinson and Taylor Martinez, but he’s certainly in Braxton Miller’s category, which is still impressive. If the Aggies can keep LSU’s running game at bay, expect the unexpected. Texas A&M wins 34-24.

(8) Oregon State vs Utah

The Beavers don’t have top 10 talent but they’ll stay undefeated here. They’re at home and are simply the better team. Oregon State wins 38-14.

(9) Oklahoma vs Kansas

Much like in the game above, Oklahoma’s the more talented team and at home. But I can’t go on without mentioning how impressive the 63-21 beat down was against Texas last week. That not only showed how good the Sooners were, but how good Kansas State is. Collin Klein’s team is the only team to beat Oklahoma this year. Oklahoma wins 52-14.

(10) USC vs Colorado

Yet again, the vastly superior talented team is playing at home in this game. USC wins 56-7. Read more…