We don't just stick our toe into the conference season water, we dive into the deep end of the pool. There are six games matching top 25 foes, three of those in the SEC alone. The SEC West is going to be a dog fight, with six of the seven teams in the division ranked in the top 25. There are even some important league games involving teams outside the top twenty-five, such as NC State at Clemson and Miami at Georgia Tech in the ACC and South Carolina at Kentucky in a rare SEC game where neither team is ranked. So here we go for this week's predictions.
Overall: 87 - 30
Wake Forest (2 - 3) 13 @ (1) Florida State (4 - 0) 31: It doesn't look like there is anyone left on the Seminoles' schedule that will pose a significant challenge. The Demon Deacons certainly won't.
(3) Alabama (4 - 0) 27 @ (11) Ole Miss (4 - 0) 26: The Crimson Tide will be tested in this one, as will the Rebels. I can't go against the visitors, but an Ole Miss win wouldn't surprise me.
(4) Oklahoma (4 - 0) 27 @ (25) TCU (3 - 0) 24: TCU hasn't been tested this season, to it't difficult to tell if they have what it takes to defeat the Sooners. Oklahoma went into Morgantown and knocked off West Virginia, so I'll go with them to continue their run.
(15) LSU (3 - 1) 27 @ (5) Auburn (4 - 0) 31: LSU got fortunate against Wisconsin and looked pretty average in their loss to Mississippi State. Auburn is tough to beat.
(6) Texas A&M (4 - 0) 30 @ (12) Mississippi State (4 - 0) 34: This is a tossup for me. The Aggies escaped Dallas with an overtime win over Arkansas, while the Bulldogs has had a week to digest their big win over LSU.
(7) Baylor (4 - 0) 30 @ Texas (2 - 2) 21: Texas showed some defensive teeth against Kansas last week, but I don't think they've made enough progress to down the Bears.
Utah (3 - 1) 28 @ (8) UCLA (4 - 0) 37: The Bruins need to play better defensively as the season progresses if they're gong to run the table. Utah is averaging 42 points a game and can move the ball against UCLA, but hasn't exhibited the type of defense needed to win this game.
(14) Stanford (3 - 1) 17 @ (9) Notre Dame (4 - 0) 23: I'm not usually an Irish fan, but this season I think they have a really good team. Stanford's defense is giving up less than a touchdown a game, but they'll be tested by Notre Dame QB Everett Golson.
(19) Nebraska (5 - 0) 20 @ (10) Michigan State (3 - 1) 24: I was not sold on Nebraska earlier in the season, but they still keep winning. The Spartans' loss to Oregon looks a little worse now that the Ducks fell to Arizona Thursday night. But Michigan State's defense should prevail.
Vanderbilt (1 - 4) 17 @ (12) Georgia (3 - 1) 30: Georgia gets a rare opportunity to pick up an easy SEC win. Vandy is trying to rebuild under a new coach.
Arizona State (3 - 1) 24 @ (16) USC (3 - 1) 31: Arizona State's defense was exposed against UCLA. The Trojans don't have the same firepower as the Bruins, but they should have enough to topple the Sun Devils.
(17) Wisconsin (3 - 1) 27 @ Northwestern (2 - 2) 17: After a slow start, Northwestern pulled a huge surprise by knocking off previously unbeaten Penn State on the road last week. Wisconsin hasn't been tested since their opening loss at LSU, but the Badger's defense should be good enough this week.
(20) Ohio State (3 - 1) 34 @ Maryland (4 - 1) 28: Maryland hasn't been impressive but they keep winning. The Byrd Stadium crowd will most certainly be nasty as the Buckeyes make a visit. Ohio State got a wake up call against Virginia Tech and they should be able to outscore the Terps.
Iowa State (1 - 3) 17 @ (23) Oklahoma State (3 - 1) 35: The Cowboys are flying under the radar despite a close loss to Florida State to start the season.
SMU (0 - 4) 10 @ (22) East Carolina (3 - 1) 48: This game could really get out of hand unless the Pirates field some walk-ons in the second half.
Texas Tech (2 - 2) 20 @ (23) Kansas State (3 - 1) 28: The Red Raiders are going to have to play an exceptional game to pull the upset. I don't see it happening.
Virginia Tech (3 - 2) 31 @ North Carolina (2 - 2) 27: The Tar Heels have given up an average of 60 points in their last two games. The Hokies are a couple of late scores from being undefeated. The Tech running game should be able to get on track today.
N.C. State (4 - 1) 31 @ Clemson (2 - 2) 34: Clemson is battle tested and N.C. State is coming off a loss to Florida State where they gave up a 17 point first quarter lead. I'll make my nieces happy by finally picking the Tigers in a close one.
Miami (3 - 2) 30 @ Georgia Tech (4 - 0) 27: The Hurricanes played what may be their best game in a long time in defeating Duke last week. Georgia Tech squeaked past a rebuilding Virginia Tech and otherwise has been unimpressive in wins over lesser opponents.
South Carolina (3 - 2) 27 @ Kentucky (3 - 1) 24: The Gamecocks have played two bad games in a row since knocking off Georgia. Mark Stoops has Kentucky playing pretty well. Is this the upset of the week? Probably not.
Michigan (2 - 3) 24 @ Rutgers (4 - 1) 30: Brady Hoke's days in East Lansing are probably numbered, and today's game won't help his cause.
Kansas (2 - 2) 6 @ West Virginia (2 - 2) 34: Kansas fired coach Charlie Weis last week following a 23 - 0 loss to Texas. West Virginia's two losses are to top five teams. The Jayhawks have no chance.
California (3 - 1) 37 @ Washington State (2 - 3) 31: Cal is a pretty good football team that no one is talking about. They can really put points on the board.