As we head into mid-November, the National Championship picture is still murky. Oregon, Alabama, Kansas State, and Notre Dame all stayed undefeated last week setting up a fascinating and frightening BCS scenario. This weekend I don’t see any of them going down either as ‘Bama hosts #15 Texas A&M, Oregon visits Cal, K-State heads to TCU, and Notre Dame plays at Boston College. Looking ahead, next week Oregon hosts Stanford and the following week head to Oregon State while Notre Dame travels to USC. We easily could finish with all four unbeaten, but I think at least one will go down. I don’t think it’s going to happen Saturday though.
Last week’s big college football weekend ended up following the chalk pretty much except for the Texas-Texas Tech game. I picked a few two many upsets (including LSU at home-almost got that one) and finished the week with 47. In our FantasyCPR group Josh Black M2 had the best week with 52 and maintains his overall lead with just four weeks left in the picking season.
I think we’re in store for more chalk this weekend in the top ten games. There are sure to be some exciting games, but here’s how I see the big games going on Saturday:
1 points-Oregon State over Stanford: My only minority selection goes to the Beavers as they travel south to take on the Stanford Cardinal. Cody Vaz will again start for Oregon State after helping his team past Arizona State last week after being replaced by the original starting QB Sean Mannion in the Beavers one loss on the year which happened the week before in Washington. Last week was also an important one for Stanford QB Kevin Hogan who replaced Senior Josh Nunes in last week’s romp over Colorado and played well enough to earn his first career start in this his redshirt freshman season. This gets my pick as the closest matchup of the week and it should be a great game in the late-afternoon window (3:00 kickoff time on FOX).
2 points-Oklahoma State over West Virginia: Oklahoma State hosts a West Virginia team that has dropped three straight now as they head to Stillwater. The Mountaineers were rolling after beating Texas a month ago but have since dropped games at Texas Tech and at home to K-State and TCU. Oklahoma State meanwhile dropped out of the rankings after their own loss to K-State last week, but have the offense to keep up with West Virginia and can score in bunches themselves especially at home. Don’t expect a low-scoring battle here with WVU averaging 40.8 points per game on 340.9 yards passing while OSU averages 42.5 yards pre game on 355.9 yards passing per game and 222.0 yard rushing per game. Points anyone??
3 points-Nebraska over Penn State: This is a coin-flip game in my opinion. I’ll take Nebraska only because they’re at home. Penn State has only lost to Ohio State since week 3 of this season and has played extremely well in Coach Bill O’Brien’s offense. The Cornhuskers also have a solid offense that’s averaging 38.0 points per game so far this season. Nebraska lost to OSU as well this season, but is unbeaten at home and is coming off three straight in-conference wins over Michigan State, Michigan, and at-the-time-unbeaten Northwestern. I’ll take the Huskers, but Penn State could get a nice road win if they can steal this one in Lincoln.
4 points-Louisville over Syracuse: In all the discussion of the four unbeaten teams, don’t forget about Louisville who is also unbeaten after nine games as they head to the Carrier Dome to face the Orange. Syracuse has pulled some upsets in the past in games like this, but I’m relatively confident in a Cardinals team that has won six in a row on the road and three in a row against Syracuse.
5 points-Wisconsin over Indiana: Indiana has the #1 team in the country, but they’ll play football not basketball Saturday at noon in Bloomington as a tough Wisconsin team rolls into town coming off a tough home loss to Michigan State. Look for them to pile on the Hoosiers who are just 2-3 in the big 10 and have lost at home to Ball State, Michigan State, and Ohio State. They beat Iowa last week and aren’t a horrible football team, but Montee Ball and the Badgers will be a little to much for them Saturday.
7 points-Alabama over Texas A&M: Alabama showed last week why it’s the unquestioned #1 team in the nation. It did take a late drive though to pull the game out in Baton Rouge. This week they’ll return home to host the Aggies who are having a successful SEC campaign behind their do-it-all QB Johnny Manziel. It would take a herculean effort from Manziel to get this game won though against a tough ‘Bama D. I think it will be close, but Alabama stays undefeated.
6 points-Washington over Utah: The Huskies host the Utes Saturday night at 10:30 on the Pac-12 network for the nightcap in Pick’Em games for Saturday. Washington went on the road and beat Cal last week and has knocked off then #7 Oregon State and then #8 Stanford at home where they’ll host Utah in this one. Utah has struggled in the Pac-12 giong just 2-4 but they have won their last two games beating down CAl and Washington State. Both those games happened in Salt Lake City though, and playing in Seattle will be much more difficult.
8 points-Kansas Stave over TCU: K-State heads to Fort Worth to take on TCU in a game they may or may not have their all-important QB Collin Klein. Either way though I think they can get the win over a inconsistent Horned Frog team. TCU beat West Virginia last week after back-to-back losses to Texas Tech and Oklahoma State. If K-State has to go Klein-less this could be close, but I think he’ll play.
9 points-LSU over Mississippi State: LSU played well at home as always last week, but fell just short of knocking off the Crimson Tide. Mississippi State had that same chance two weeks ago but was crushed at Alabama 38-7. They followed that up last week by losing at home to Texas A&M and the Johnny Manziel Show 38-13. LSU is incredibly tough to beat at Tiger Stadium on Saturday nights and I think Les Miles and the Bayou Bengals will bounce back and get the win over MSU fairly easily.
10 points-Notre Dame over Boston College: The Fighting Irish scraped past Pitt last week, but Boston College has been a disaster this year at 2-7. The only Eagles wins have come against Maryland and Maine. Both wins did take place at home, but they’ve also lost at home to Clemson and Miami. Notre Dame will be out to prove a point as they roll over BC in the 8:00 ABC featured game.