This week’s slate of games is the best we have seen so far with multiple matches of Top 25 teams. The SEC West title picture will certainly be affected, as will the Big 12, Pac 12, and Big 10. On to the games:
#28 Arizona at #3 Oregon – Thursday night’s ESPN game will be the toughest so far for the Ducks. Both teams come off bye weeks, and both teams struggled in their last outings. The Ducks had a tough time putting away Washington State and The Wildcats had a phenomenal comeback over Cal. Arizona is well coached and talented, but untested. I think Oregon will be ready for this one. Oregon 38 Arizona 28.
#7 Alabama at #14 Ole Miss – I’ve had this game circled on my calendar all year. I have felt for some time that this may be the Rebels year. In my pre-season predictions (which didn’t work out so well for Washington last week) I projected this game to be between two top 15 undefeated teams…..so far I was right on target. Originally I had the game rated as a tossup, again, right on the nose. But I’ve been disappointed with the Rebel offense, and Alabama, well, they’ve played like Alabama. The Ole Miss defense has played beyond my expectations but they haven’t seen the likes of the Tides talent yet. In July I predicted an Alabama win…..very close. I haven’t seen anything to make me change my mind. Alabama 28 Ole Miss 24.
#4 Texas A&M at #13 Mississippi State – Both of these teams have surprised me. Truth is they both shocked me, first A&M beating South Carolina and then coming back against Arkansas, and the Bulldogs totally overwhelming LSU. Both teams are hot, but one of them has to lose. I’m going with the Bulldogs at home. Mississippi State 34 Texas A&M 30.
#16 LSU at #6 Auburn – It’s been a long time since I’ve seen LSU manhandled in Baton Rouge, probably not since Georgia in 2008. It will be interesting to see how LSU responds, especially having such a tough road game at Auburn. War Eagle’s two wins over Arkansas and Kansas State are looking better each week. I think this is a solid team, and playing at home, I think Auburn has more than just an edge. In the battle of the Tigers, I’ll take Auburn. Auburn 31 LSU 21.
#9 Nebraska at #17 Michigan State – The Cornhuskers are in the Top 10 kind of by default just being undefeated. Nebraska certainly had some issues early, but seem to be peaking just in time to travel to East Lansing. The Husker offense will need to play it’s best game of the season to beat this great Spartan defense….I’m not sure they can. Michigan State is probably the best one loss team in the nation (although Georgia and Stanford might disagree). If the Michigan State defense plays well, I think the Spartans will be hard to beat. Michigan State 28 Nebraska 17.
# 32 Florida at #48 Tennessee – I’ve said all summer, this is a turnaround year for Tennessee. The Vols have lost an unthinkable 9 straight to the Gators. That steak stops here. Tennessee 28 Florida 24.
#12 Stanford at #10 Notre Dame – The Cardinal defense was the difference in the road game at Washington. They just smothered the Huskies. Going on the road again, this time to South Bend, will be very difficult. The Irish are exactly where I thought they would be….undefeated and lightly tested. This is a tough game to pick. Notre Dame just has a way of winning in South Bend. I’ve seen the Irish beat superior teams at home many, many times. Something tells me they will find a way. Notre Dame 27 Stanford 24.
#5 Oklahoma at #41 TCU – The Horned Frogs are far better than their current ranking. I’ve seen some polls have them in the Top 25, which is where I have them in my personal poll (#23). The problem with my computer poll is that is is very heavily weighted in strength of schedule and the cold hard truth is TCU has played a ridiculously easy schedule, #125 out of 128 teams. The Horned Frogs were very impressive over Minnesota, but blowouts over Samford and SMU mean basically nothing, well, other than some much needed experience. Bottom line is TCU is a very good team and has not had the opportunity to prove it…..till now. Oklahoma is being hailed as one of the best, most balanced teams in the nation. I don’t like the place this game holds on the schedule, the week before the annual Red River Rivalry with Texas. The Sooners are on major upset alert. Actually, it would only be a mild upset. I think OU is a 6 point favorite. Oklahoma will need every ounce of that balance to beat these Froggies in Fort Worth. Oklahoma 24 TCU 20.
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