There are three games involving two top twenty-five BCS ranked teams this week. Two of them are traditional rivalries, with Florida State hosting Miami and Michigan making the short trip to Michigan State. In the other, Oklahoma State travels to Lubbock to face Texas Tech. All three games have potential conference championship implications. Top ranked Alabama and second place Oregon have the week off, so it sets the stage for some possible reshuffling at the top of the BCS standings. Now for the picks.
Overall: 141 - 40
(7) Miami (7-0) 20 @ (3) Florida State (7-0) 37: For the second time in three weeks, the Seminoles face a top ten ACC foe. With Oregon off in advance of its Thursday night matchup with Stanford, Florida State can make a move to skip over the Ducks to get to second place in the BCS. I just don't think Miami has enough on either side of the ball to challenge the 'Noles.
(4) Ohio State (8-0) 51 @ Purdue (1-6) 10: The Buckeyes will probably cruise to an undefeated record, unless they let the rivalry aspect of their game with Michigan cause a hiccup. Other than a spirited battle against Notre Dame, the Boilermakers haven't even been competitive.
(8) Clemson (7-1) 35 @ Virginia (2-6) 13: It will take a monumental effort by the Cavaliers to give Clemson any kind of battle on Saturday. A five game losing streak is about to go to six.
Tennessee (4-4) 23 @ (9) Missouri (7-1) 27: The Tigers let South Carolina score 17 unanswered to force overtime and eventually win the game last week. The week before, Tennessee defeated the same opponent. I'll stick with Missouri here, but it's the SEC and every week's a battle.
(11) Auburn (7-1) 41 @ Arkansas (3-5) 16 : Auburn may be a little underrated and the Razorbacks, at least defensively, appear to have quit on new coach Bret Bielema. In addition, Tiger coach Gus Malzahn returns to Northwest Arkansas where he was a high school coach and University of Arkansas assistant. Unless something changes in a hurry for the Hogs, this is going to be ugly.
UTEP (1-6) 17 @ (12) Texas A&M (6-2) 57: With fourteen teams now in the league, I just can't understand these late season non-conference games for SEC teams. The Aggies will be able to score at will against a team giving up almost 40 points a game against inferior competition. Give me a break.
Mississippi State (4-2) 20 @ (14) South Carolina (6-2) 27: This is the first of a brutal three game stretch for Mississippi St. They go from Columbia, SC to College Station to take on Texas A&M , then host Alabama. So although this is their best chance for victory in those games, it's not likely.
(18) Oklahoma State (6-1) 30 @ (15) Texas Tech (7-1) 31 : This should be one of the premier games of the weekend. Texas Tech blew a chance to take control of the Big 12 with their loss at Oklahoma last week. The Cowboys have been a bit inconsistent on offense and laid an egg earlier in the season at West Virginia. I'll take the Red Raiders at home in a close one.
Nevada (3-5) 27 @ (16) Fresno State (7-0) 37: I keep waiting for Fresno State to play a high school team. It's the only way this schedule could get any easier. Still, they've had to go into overtime for two of their seven victories. Only one of the teams remaining on their schedule has a winning record, 4 - 3 San Jose State. What a crock of...well, you get the idea.
(17) Northern Illinois (8-0) 38 @ UMass (1-7) 13: At least Northern Illinois has played two Big Ten teams, one of them 5 - 3 Iowa. This one won't be close.
Colorado (3-4) 20 @ (20) UCLA (5-2) 34: The Bruins have lost some luster off their season after going 0 -2 against Stanford and Oregon. Most teams would suffer the same fate, so look for UCLA to bounce back against the Buffaloes in the Rose Bowl.
(21) Michigan (6-1) 17 @ (22) Michigan State (7-1) 28: That Spartan defense is really tough and the Michigan offense hasn't been particularly strong. A very overlooked Michigan State team wins big at home.
(24) Wisconsin (5-2) 27 @ Iowa (5-3) 24: I really like the way Iowa has played this season, but I think Wisconsin is just a little better in the trenches and at the skill positions. But if the Badgers don't show up ready to play, the Hawkeyes can pull the upset.
Navy (4-3) 20 @ (25) Notre Dame (6-2) 30: The Irish are trying to put up back to back victories against service academies, not such a great feat considering most other FCS schools don't schedule one, much less two of them.
USC (5-3) 20 @ Oregon State (6-2) 27: USC doesn't travel particularly well and the Beavers are coming off a close loss to Stanford. I just think Oregon State has a little too much offensive firepower.
Kansas (2-5) 13 @ Texas (5-2) 30: The Longhorns have turned it around and I don't see the Jayhawks getting in their way.
Georgia (4-3) 27 vs. Florida (4-3) 21 (in Jacksonville, FL): Who would have thought these two top ten teams would be meeting in the world's biggest outdoor cocktail party with the certainty that one of them would fall to .500 on the season? But believe it or not, both teams still have an outside chance at playing in the SEC championship game because of the dominance of the SEC West. Florida's offense is so bad, I have to take Georgia.
Virginia Tech (6-2) 23 @ Boston College (3 - 4) 14: If I wasn't a Hokie, I'd probably pick BC here. The Tech offense was horrendous last week against Duke and BC, at least until their game against UNC, has played teams pretty tough. But I have confidence QB Logan Thomas can rebound for Va. Tech, at least enough to give the defense some room to work with.
Northwestern (4-4) 30 @ Nebraska (5-2) 27: This is a compelling game, with Northwestern nursing a four-game losing streak and the Cornhuskers coming off a disappointing loss to Minnesota. I'm not a big Nebraska fan, as they've lost convincingly to both quality opponents on their schedule so far this season. Northwestern played Ohio State tough and I think they have the ability to stop their slide in Lincoln.