What a week last week was. Ole Miss showed it was certainly no where near a top five team, Miami flew back to earth, and Oregon skyrocketed off the planet. Definitely some intriguing games coming up this week as conference play is about to heat up, and maybe a few pretenders will be separated from the pretenders this week. Two games that really had potential to be marquee matchups (Oklahoma/Miami and Cal/USC) lost a good deal of their luster with Miami and Cal’s performances last week, but this week is really important for those two if they want to get into the BCS picture at the end of the season.
LSU @ Georgia
This is a tough game to predict. On one hand, #4 LSU is definitely not the fourth best team in the country, at least in my opinion. On the other hand, Georgia isn’t really that great either. They needed a last second field goal to beat Arizona State, a team that will probably finish in the bottom half of the Pac-10, and their defense hasn’t looked good in their other games. However, I do like the Bulldogs in this one, for two reasons. First is their home field advantage, and secondly, their offense has been pretty impressive. This could involve into a mini shoot out, and that’s why I like Georgia: their receivers are better (especially since they have AJ Green) and QB Joe Cox has been solid.
Georgia 42, LSU 31
Oklahoma @ Miami
Will Sam Bradford be back? That’s the big question going into this battle of elite programs. Miami’s comeback took a hit last week when they got drubbed by Virginia Tech, but at least they get to host the Sooners in this one. However, Sam Bradford or no Sam Bradford, Oklahoma is a really good team. Their defense has only allowed 14 points all season, and that includes games against two really good offenses in BYU and Tulsa. Miami is still on the upswing, but Oklahoma is simply the better team, and since Landry Jones has been playing well in place of Sam Bradford, I’m thinking the Sooners can win this one either way.
Oklahoma 24, Miami 14
USC @ Cal
This game would be way bigger if Cal had won last week. If so, this game would have been an opportunity for Cal to be a great position to win the Pac-10. However, last week Oregon cleared something up: Cal won’t be winning the Pac-10. Cal got beat in every way, and after being completely exposed, they get to face the Pac-10’s best team. Now, for USC, they simply don’t lose these types of games. They will lose to Oregon State or Washington, but not a Pac-10 power. It doesn’t matter if the game is on the road. USC is USC, and USC this game. Plus, Matt Barkley is supposed to be back, just adding fuel to the USC bandwagon (to win this game, at least).
USC 35, Cal 20
Auburn @ Tennessee
Auburn isn’t ranked in the top 25, but they haven’t looked like an unranked team. The firing of Tommy Tuberville (and subsequent hiring of Gene Chizik) was highly criticized, but things are looking great at Auburn, especially on offense. Tennessee is their toughest test so far this season, but the Volunteers haven’t looked particularly strong this season, with wins against miniscule programs and a loss against UCLA. Tennessee looks like they will improve in the future under Lane Kiffin, and they have some good players for the future like RB Bryce Brown, but Auburn’s lowest point total this season is 37 points, and they should score a good amount against Tennessee as well.
Auburn 38, Tennessee 30
Arkansas @ Texas A&M
This game was selected on default. Really, any of the five other games to watch could have been picked for this (well, maybe not the military academy one), but both of these programs are improving, and games at neutral locations are always fun, especially when it’s at a stadium with the biggest TV screen in the world (okay, well that’s bad logic, but the neutral site should give this game a unique atmosphere.) As for who is going to win, Arkansas looks like they are emerging faster than the Aggies. Their offense looks great, and QB Ryan Mallett is just going to get better with every game, so I’ll go with the Razorbacks. Bobby Petrino’s offense certainly looks a lot better this year than it did a year ago.
Arkansas 34, Texas A&M 20
Five other games to watch: Wisconsin @ Minnesota, Michigan @ Michigan State, Florida State @ Boston College, UCLA @ Stanford, Air Force @ Navy
Last week: 3-2
Season to date: 8-2