Michigan hosts Northwestern in Big 10 Showdown

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# 15 Northwestern at # 27 Michigan – At the beginning of the season who could ever imagined a Wolverine Wildcat match up would mean so much, not only to the Big 10 conference race, but nationally as well? But after Northwestern’s opening weekend shocker of Stanford (who has gone on to win 4 straight) and Michigan’s drubbing of Brigham Young, this game is taking on a whole new dimension. The Wildcats are playing some of the best defense in the nation and the Wolverines are clicking both offensively and defensively. What a great game this will be to watch. Picking a winner? Well, your guess is as good as mine, but I always favor the home team in a close one. Michigan 20 Northwestern 17. 

# 38 Navy at #11 Notre Dame – The Fighting Irish return to South Bend to host the undefeated Midshipmen after a heartbreaking loss to Clemson on a failed two point conversion. Where will the mindset of the Irish players be? This is no time for a laps in preparation, Navy is a good team. Notre Dame may be sluggish to start, but in the end the “echoes” will wake up in time for a win. Notre Dame 27 Navy 17.

# 25 California at # 9 Utah – The last two undefeated Pac 12 teams meet in Salt Lake City Saturday with the winner taking a big step towards a shot at the conference title game. The Utes’ win over Michigan is looking better and better each week. Sonny Dykes has done an outstanding job rebuilding the Bear’s program and regardless of the outcome of this game, Cal looks like they are headed towards the best season they’ve had since at least 2009 (8-5). Utah 31 California 27.

# 8 Florida at # 33 Missouri – The Gators are one of the biggest surprises of 2015. First, the great comeback win over Tennessee, then the shocking upset of Ole Miss. Now Florida goes on the road to face Mizzou, who’s only loss was at Kentucky, the team Florida barely escaped 14-9. No room for error here by either team, both of whom have visions of an SEC East crown. Florida 29 Missouri 28.

# 3 TCU at # 41 Kansas State – As expected, Kansas State almost pulled an upset in Stillwater last week, while the Froggies were humbling Texas 50-7. This is a huge test for TCU. Winning in Lubbock a few weeks ago took a little luck and the Horned Frogs may need to reach in their bag of tricks for another miracle. The Wildcats are solid and hard to beat in Manhattan under Bill Synder, not to mention hungry for a win after the disappointing loss to the Cowboys. I’m tempted to pick an upset, but if I did I’d spoil the believe that TCU will win a National Championship. TCU 35 Kansas State 28. 

# 13 Oklahoma vs #65 Texas – Why am I even mentioning this game? If you have to ask, you don’t know me very well. For someone born in Oklahoma but raised in Texas, this is always the biggest game of the year, regardless of rankings and won loss records. And it’s true, you can throw them out the window when these two teams take the field at Cotton Bowl Stadium. Think about this, and let it soak in, Texas HAS NEVER in the history of this series entered the game with 4 losses. And this series dates to 1900. This is the second worse ranking for the Longhorns since a # 76 (0-2-0) Texas team took the field against Oklahoma in 1938. This series has a history of huge upsets. Any time one team is favored by more than two touchdowns, look out, the other team plays their best game of the year. Just two years ago Oklahoma took a 16 point favored undefeated team to Dallas and promptly lost 36-20. In 1996 winless  Oklahoma (0-4 ) upset Texas as a 17 point underdog 30-27. Texas is a very dangerous team. Don’t be fooled by the blowout loss to TCU. The Horned Frogs were taking out 100 years of frustration on the Horns in front of a delighted home crowd. Two special teams breakdowns separate Texas from being 3-2. Do the Longhorns have a miracle win left in their hearts or does Oklahoma perform another 65-13 Boomer Sooner Beat Down? Pay attention to the first quarter. If Texas comes out inspired this could be quite a game. If Oklahoma jumps out on top early, well, I’m not sure the Longhorns have it in them to crawl out of a big whole. Oklahoma 38 Texas 16.

For all this weeks projections follow these links:

Billingsley Projections

Billingsley+ Margin of Victory Projections

Billingsley Pre-Season Game by Game Projections