Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Prepare Yourself for Showdown Saturday

I don't know if anyone in the media has given this week's slate of college football games a special nickname, but it seems to me that "Showdown Saturday" would be appropriate.

Of 17 games involving at least one Top 25 team, six are matchups between two ranked teams. Some are traditional battles, like the games between Oklahoma and Texas in Dallas and USC and Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., but some of the games feature relative newcomers to the rankings, like #22 South Carolina, which may have a somewhat short stay in the rankings after its trip to Alabama.

Every game involving a Top 25 team is being televised somewhere. Consequently, some of the teams that are being televised have seldom been televised — like UCF and San Diego State.

Tenth–ranked LSU and #16 Oregon are idle.
  • Arkansas at #1 Florida, 2:30 p.m. (Central) on CBS — As an Arkansas graduate, I would love to see the Razorbacks win this game. The Hogs are coming off a 21–point win over Auburn, but I don't think they're quite at this level yet. On the other hand, if Tim Tebow gets knocked out of the game, who knows?

  • #2 Texas vs. #18 Oklahoma, 11 a.m. (Central) on ABC — Yes, OU has lost a couple of games, and its Heisman Trophy–winning quarterback has been struggling with injury. But this is a rivalry, and team records really are irrelevant. I'm going to pick Oklahoma.

  • #22 South Carolina at #3 Alabama, 6:45 p.m. (Central) on ESPN — I think Alabama will handle the surprising Gamecocks — even though rival Tennessee is next on the schedule.

  • #4 Virginia Tech at #20 Georgia Tech, 5 p.m. (Central) on ESPN2 — Virginia Tech has won its last two games against Georgia Tech. I'll take the Hokies, but I think it could be a close one.

  • #5 USC at #25 Notre Dame, 2:30 p.m. (Central) on NBC — When both of the teams in a tradition–rich rivalry like this one are in the Top 25, it adds a lot to the game's aura, but I am not sure it makes it any more intense for the participants. USC has won seven straight over Notre Dame, which I am sure is a source of motivation but I don't think it will produce a different result. I'll take USC.

  • #6 Boise State at Tulsa, tonight at 7 p.m. (Central) on ESPN — I think Boise State is too much for Tulsa.

  • #7 Ohio State at Purdue, 11 a.m. (Central) on Big Ten — The Buckeyes usually win against Purdue. They've won eight of the last 10. Sometimes Ohio State has won by wide margins. Sometimes OSU's defense has held Purdue to a single score. And sometimes it's been unexpectedly difficult for the Buckeyes. But I think they will win again, and this one is likely to be by a comfortable margin. That is the way Ohio State's games seem to be going this year.

  • Colorado State at #8 TCU, 3 p.m. (Central) on Versus — I think TCU has too much for Colorado State.

  • #9 Cincinnati at #21 South Florida, Thursday at 6:45 p.m. (Central) on ESPN — Of all the Top 25 showdowns I could have imagined before the season began, this one was way down the list. I'll take Cincinnati on the basis of what I've heard about its quarterback.

  • #11 Miami (Florida) at UCF, 6:30 p.m. (Central) on CBS CS — I don't see any way that this game can be competitive. I'll take Miami.

  • #12 Iowa at Wisconsin, 11 a.m. (Central) on ESPN — This is a tough one. The teams have split their last 10 games, but Wisconsin has lost two of its last three at home to Iowa. I'll give the edge to Iowa.

  • Minnesota at #13 Penn State, 2:30 p.m. (Central) on ABC — Minnesota last beat Penn State in 2004. But that game was at home. Minnesota's last win at Penn State was the year before that, but the Nittany Lions struggled in 2003. They're a different team now. And I'll pick Penn State to win.

  • #24 Missouri at #14 Oklahoma State, 8:15 p.m. (Central) on ESPN2 — Missouri hasn't lost at Oklahoma State since 1992. The two teams don't play every year, but, when they do, it's usually entertaining. I'll pick Missouri.

  • #15 Kansas at Colorado, 6 p.m. (Central) on FSNUSA Today says Colorado's Folsom Field is one of the 10 great places to watch a college football game. It didn't help Colorado against Texas last week. Will it help against Kansas? I'm going to say no. Give me Kansas.

  • Texas Tech at #17 Nebraska, 2:30 p.m. (Central) on ABC — Tech isn't the team it was last year, and neither is Nebraska. The Cornhuskers are on their way up, and they're playing at home. I'll take Nebraska.

  • #19 BYU at San Diego State, 5 p.m. (Central) on MTN — BYU should have no trouble.

  • #23 Houston at Tulane, 2:30 p.m. (Central) on CBS — I pick Houston to prevail.
Last week: 14–3.

Season: 83–17.

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