Last Week: 19 - 5 79.2%
Overall: 224 - 71 75.9%
much change at the top of the College Football Playoff Committee (CFP)
rankings this week. Texas A&M fell out after a loss to Mississippi
State, but very few analysts really felt they belonged in the first
place. At the top now are the undefeated front runners in four of the
five power conferences. Can they win out to create an elite playoff
field? History would dictate otherwise, but all four are certainly
playing at a level above the rest of the field, barely ahead of the
one-loss teams just behind them, Ohio State and Louisville. Top ranked
Alabama takes on that Mississippi State team that sent Texas A&M
tumbling slightly to number eight, so I'm sure the Bulldogs got the
Tide's full attention before a virtual tie week precedes their Iron Bowl
game against dangerous Auburn. I would have to agree with the
committee's selections with the other top four teams playing dangerous
opponents: Washington hosts twentieth ranked USC, Clemson entertains
Pittsburgh and Michigan travels to Iowa.
Thursday: (from an earlier post)
(17) North Carolina (7 - 2) 27
@ Duke (3 - 6) 20: Usually a Thursday road game can be a problem for
the visitors, but these schools are only a few miles apart. In addition,
Duke's home field advantage is non-existent. But the Blue Devils gave
now-14th ranked Virginia Tech all they could handle last week and might
be able to challenge the Tar Heels.
(15) Utah (7 - 2) 30
@ Arizona State (5 - 4) 24: Utah had a bye week to get over a close
loss to Washington and they head to the desert to take on the Sun
Devils. Trailing Colorado by a game in the Pac-12 South, they still
control their own destiny because of a win over USC and a season-ending
clash with Colorado. Arizona State's defense is just too much of a
liability against good teams.
Friday: (from an earlier post)
Boston College (4 - 5) 17 @ (18) Florida State (6 - 3) 34:
Florida State is hanging on in the rankings because their losses are to
number two Clemson, number six Louisville and number seventeen North
Carolina, three of the top four teams in the ACC. Boston College finally
won a conference game, a close win over NC State before getting mauled
by Louisville. I expect more of the same from the Seminoles.
(16) West Virginia (7 - 1) 37
@ Texas (5 - 4) 31: Are the Longhorns playing for coach Charlie
Strong's job or is his era at Texas over? West Virginia is an
interesting team, as are the Longhorns. The Big 12 is short on defense,
and the Longhorns fit right in. I'd like to think Texas could win this
one, but I haven't seen any indication that they can stop anyone,
especially a team as balanced as the Mountaineers.
Baylor (6 - 2) 27 @ (11) Oklahoma (7 - 2) 38:
After a rough start to the season, Oklahoma is on a bit of a roll,
whereas Baylor's schedule is starting to catch up with them. It's
starting to look like the winner of the Bedlam game will determine the
Big 12 champion.
Mississippi State (4 - 5) 24 @ (1) Alabama (9 - 0) 30:
Mississippi State jumped all over Texas A&M last week, but Alabama
actually plays defense, so this week should be a little different for
(10) Penn State (7 - 2) 27 @ Indiana (5 -
4) 24:Both of these teams are improved from last season and they're
actually fairly evenly matched. I like Penn State's offense to be able
to score a few more points than the Hoosiers, but this could be a close
NC State (4 - 5) 27 @ Syracuse (4 - 5) 31: Syracuse has been
up and down, while NC State has had problems with quality opponents.
Both are attempting to stay in the hunt for a bowl game. I like the
Orange in this one if they're able to pass on the Wolfpack.
Rutgers (2 - 7) 20 @ Michigan State (2 - 7) 23 : Someone asked me what I thought of this game and I replied "who cares?"
Northwestern (4 - 5) 27 @ Purdue (3 - 6) 30:
After a bad start, Northwestern has made some improvements while Purdue
has struggled defensively, giving up almost 38 points a game. This is
an interesting match-up because of the Boilermakers' ability to throw
the football. I'm picking an upset here.
Iowa State (1 - 8) 24 @ Kansas (1 - 8) 17: In another "who cares" game, I'll take the visitors because someone has to win.
South Carolina (5 - 4) 14 @ Florida (6 - 2) 20: Florida was
exposed last week against Arkansas, but South Carolina lacks the
offensive playmakers that the Razorbacks have. The Gators can all but
wrap up the SEC East with a win and I think they'll be able to stifle
Kentucky (5 - 4) 23 @ Tennessee (6 - 3) 30:
The Vols had dropped three straight before a win over FCS Tennessee
Tech. They need another one today to keep coach Butch Jones off the hot
seat after a season where expectations were very high. Kentucky should
be able to keep it close, but the Vols have a little more offense than
Illinois (3 - 6) 10 @ (7) Wisconsin (7 - 2) 24 : I'm not sure
how Illinois is going to find a way to score on the Badgers' defense.
Wisconsin doesn't put up a lot of points either, but they should be able
to move the ball on the ground.
Auburn (7 - 2) 24 @
Georgia (5 - 4) 17: In fifteen seasons at Georgia, former coach Mark
Richt lost more than four regular season games twice. If the Bulldogs
can't take care of Auburn today, new coach Kirby Smart will have done it
in his first season. Both of these teams are good defensively, but
Georgia has really struggled on offense.
State (8 - 1) 35 @ Maryland (5 - 4) 20: Maryland can run the ball, but
their defense is not good enough, especially against Ohio State's top
ten rushing offense.
Texas Tech (4 - 5) 40 @ (13) Oklahoma State (7 - 2) 49:
I have no idea exactly how many points will be scored in this game, but
it will be a lot. If Texas Tech can ever get a defense, they could make
some noise in the Big 12. The difference here is that even though
Oklahoma State stops people occasionally, Texas Tech can't stop anyone.
Pittsburgh (5 - 4) 27 @ (2) Clemson (9 - 0) 41:
Clemson is starting to look like the team that challenged Alabama in
the national championship game. They're hosting a team that is just a
notch below the top teams in the ACC, primarily because they are
vulnerable against the pass. This one could get ugly.
Georgia Tech (5 - 4) 21 @ (14) Virginia Tech (7 - 2) 30:
The Hokies, with UNC's loss to Duke Thursday night, can clinch the ACC
Coastal title with a win. Bud Foster's defense has generally been able
to find a way to stop, or at least slow down, Georgia Tech's read option
offense. With a balanced attack, Virginia Tech will also challenge the
Yellow Jacket defense.
Wake Forest (6 - 3) 14 @ (6) Louisville (8 - 1) 34:
Wake Forest has a pretty good defense, but they haven't seen much like
Louisville Heisman Trophy frontrunner Lamar Jackson. I find it hard to
believe the Deacons can keep up with the Cardinals on the scoreboard.
(22) Boise State (8 - 1) 31
@ Hawaii (4 - 6) 16:The weather in Honolulu will be a lot different
than what Boise usually encounters on their blue turf in November. The
Broncos have enough offensive balance to run the ball on a porous ground
(24) LSU (5 - 3) 20 @ (25) Arkansas (6 - 3) 27:
LSU is coming off a brutal loss to top-ranked Alabama, while the
Razorbacks are again looking strong in November. If LSU can't get
Leonard Fournette going, it will be a long day for the Tigers.
Ole Miss (4 - 5) 27 @ (8) Texas A&M (7 - 2) 31:
After a tough three game stretch, Ole Miss got a little bit of a
breather last week, but still struggled a bit against Georgia Southern.
A&M got thumped at Mississippi State last week and lost their
starting quarterback in the process. After faltering down the stretch
the last two seasons, the Aggies are trying to avoid making it three
years in a row.
(20) USC (6 - 3) 30 @ (4) Washington (9 - 0) 31:
I've thought all season that there would be at least one game for the
young Washington team where they would struggle to get a win. With USC,
Arizona State and Washington State left on the schedule, time is running
out for my prediction to come true. After struggling to open the
season, USC has won five in a row, one of those against Colorado, the
Pac 12 South leader.
Minnesota (7 - 2) 30 @
(19) Nebraska (7 - 2) 28: Nebraska got run over at Ohio State and now
they need to regroup against what is possibly the most underrated team
in the country. This doesn't match up well for the 'Huskers as they go
up against a very good rushing defense.
(3) Michigan (9 - 0) 27
@ Iowa (5 - 4) 14: At this point in the season, Michigan has been the
most complete team in the country. If Iowa's offense was even average,
I'd give them a shot against the Wolverines, but that's not the case.
California (4 - 5) 31 @ (23) Washington State (7 - 2) 44:
The Cougars are on a collision course with Washington for a season
ending clash with the Pac 12 North crown on the line. California's
defense is just not good enough to stop Washington State's second ranked
(16) Colorado (7 - 2) 35 @ Arizona
(2 - 7) 24: There's little doubt in my mind that Arizona coach Rich
Rodriguez is on his way out as coach. The Wildcats can't stop anyone and
today they face a balanced offense of Colorado.
Stanford (6 - 3) 30 @ Oregon (3 - 6) 27: As badly as
Stanford appears to have played this season, they are still a
respectable 6 - 3 as they head to a very disappointing Oregon. Their
only losses have been to the top three teams in the conference. These
two teams are almost mirror images of each other, with Oregon strong
offensively, weak on defense and Stanford able to stop people but having
Army (5 - 4) 24 vs. Notre Dame (3 - 6) 27
at San Antonio, TX: Is it possible for Notre Dame to lose consecutive
games to service academies at neutral sites? I'd have to say absolutely,
but I don't think Army is as good as Navy and the Irish will probably
find a way to eke out a win.
Don't forget to check out my new book, "Offsetting Penalties - A PK Frazier Novel" at Amazon.com and listen to me Friday's at 8:40 am EDT/ 7:40 am CDT on Lou in the Morning, streaming live on www.WPFLradio.com, 105.1 FM. I can also be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.