A Non-BCS Conference We Should Be Paying Attention To: The Mid-American Conference has some very good football teams. Ohio knocked off Penn St. to start the season, and at the time it didn't seem like a big deal. But after losing the following week, the Nittany Lions have run off five consecutive wins and Ohio remains undefeated. Toledo took Cincinnati out of the unbeaten ranks last week they're 7-1 on the season. Northern Illinois is a one-point loss against Iowa away from being undefeated and they have a win against Iowa. And today, Kent St. takes on 7 - 0 and 15th ranked Rutgers to try to gain additional credibility for the conference. Trust me, the big boys are not looking forward to any games they have scheduled with this conference in upcoming seasons.
Big Weekend for the Top Ten:
Oregon 100 Colorado 10: I admit that's far fetched and the Ducks would never run it up that high, but they could easily score 35 in the first quarter against a very bad Buffaloes squad. Whatever Oregon wants to score in this one, they will.
Oregon St. 31 Washington 24: Colin Cowherd picked the Huskies in this one, but I have to disagree. Washington beat Stanford, but the Beavers are better. It might be close, but I'll stick with Oregon State.
Alabama 27 Mississippi St. 13: I would like to think the Crimson Tide is vulnerable with the LSU game looming next week, but the Bulldogs haven't beaten anyone of any consequence and they won't this week. Alabama doesn't turn the ball over, and until they do, forget about beating them. They're just too good on both sides of the ball and Mississippi State isn't great on either side.
Florida 24 Georgia 17: I just think the Gators have too much for Georgia. The atmosphere in this game can be distracting, but at the end of the day it's done on the field. I don't count the Bulldogs out, but the Florida defense is just too good.
Arizona 30 USC 28: This one just smells like an upset to me. Granted, my nose is off pretty frequently, but I like the Wildcats in this one. The Pac 12 is wide open once you get past Oregon and Arizona can light it up.
Kansas St. 38 Texas Tech 24: Both of these teams dismantled West Virginia, but K-State did it on the road in a very hostile environment. I just think the Wildcats have too much defense for Texas Tech, but don't count Tommy Tubberville out. He coached a lot of big games in the SEC and knows how to prepare a team for a tough test on the road.
Oklahoma 27 Notre Dame 17: I just don't see Notre Dame having enough offense to win this one in Norman. If the game was in South Bend, I might have gone the other way based on the Fighting Irish's performances this season. This is a must watch, because if Notre Dame wins, it will hard to keep them out of the BCS title conversation.
Ohio St. at Penn St.: No pick here. Both teams are on probation.
The rest of the Top 25 Isn't So Bad, Either:
Rutgers 28 Kent St. 24: Man, did I ever want to go the other direction on this one, but Rutgers' performance last week at Temple convinced me to stay the course with the Scarlet Knights. At some point, an undefeated Big East team is going to need to be recognized in the polls.
Louisville 28 Cincinnati 27: Before last week I probably would have gone with the Bearcats in this one, but I'll give the Cardinals the home field edge tonight. The winner grabs an advantage in the Big East race.
South Carolina 24 Tennessee 20: If the Gamecocks are going to be vulnerable to an upset, this week would be the time. South Carolina was beaten soundly last week by Florida, but didn't give up many yards. The problem was turnovers. I'm thinking they'll either come out flat or just the opposite, after having to an endure a week of tirades from a very displeased Steve Spurrier. I don't think Tennessee has enough for the Gamecocks if South Carolina comes ready to play. Otherwise, watch out for the Vols in this one.
Florida State 38 Duke 17: As much as I respect the effort it has taken for the Blue Devils to become bowl eligible for the first time since Bill Clinton's first term as president, it's a good thing the they are because their remaining schedule is brutal. The Seminoles are at home and are still battling for significant national recognition. Florida State is just a late touchdown by NC State from being ranked third or fourth in the polls. I agree with Lee Corso of ESPN on this one: "No chance" for Duke.
Nebraska 27 Michigan 20: I'm just not a buyer of the Wolverines. I also want them out of the polls because I don't think they belong, so I'm selfishly picking the 'Huskers at home. The atmosphere will be terrific in Lincoln and I think Nebraska will rise to the challenge.
Wisconsin 20 Michigan St. 14: B-O-R-I-N-G Michigan State lost last week to Michigan 12 - 10. Really? This is 2012. In the Big Twelve and the Pac Twelve they start the games with more points than that. Wisconsin is hanging around the top 25, but like Michigan, it's probably undeserved. Can you tell I'm not much of a Big 10 fan?
Other Games of Interest (At Least to Someone):
Pittsburgh 30 Temple 21: The Panthers are getting better and they are pretty tough at home. Temple has shown some improvement too, but I'll stick with Pitt.
Arizona St. 31 UCLA 27: UCLA started out like they would be a serious contender in the Pac 12, but in recent weeks their weaknesses have been exposed. The Sun Devils got behind Oregon early, but this one should be different.
Oklahoma St 38 TCU 31: Last team with the ball wins this one in Stillwater. It could even be in overtime.
BYU 27 Ga. Tech 24: Even though this game is in Atlanta, I don't have a lot of confidence in the Yellow Jackets. The ACC is weak and BYU has been tested against some very good teams.
NC State 28 North Carolina 24: The Wolfpack travels the 15 miles or so down Tobacco Road to Chapel Hill to take on an up and down Tar Heel squad. Both teams are still in the running for their respective division titles in the ACC, but NC State is one of the few teams to actually control their own destiny. I'm going with the slight upset on this one.
Arkansas 35 Ole Miss 24: The Razorbacks, in a quasi home game in Little Rock, have a chance to continue their resurgence from off and early season turmoil. Arkansas is coming off a bye week after beating Auburn and Kentucky by a combined 73 - 14, and it probably should have been worse than that except the game against the Wildcats was mercifully called with over five minutes left in the third quarter. Both teams are fighting to get bowl eligible and a loss by either one most likely puts those hopes on life support, given their remaining schedules.