West Virginia @ Cincinnati
First of all, I think Cincinnati is absolutely for real. It’s a shame that there is no playoff in college football, because Cincinnati deserves a shot to play for a national title (although I wouldn’t argue they are one of college football’s two top teams.) Also, I’d like to thank the football gods for placing this game on a Friday, so that it doesn’t interfere with the many great games taking place on Saturday. West Virginia is a solid team, and luckily for the Mountaineers, Noel Devine will play, although it remains to be seen if he will be at his maximum production. I do respect West Virginia, but I think there is definitely a sizeable difference between these two teams, and while I expect it to be competitive, I expect the Bearcats (and their expected 2 QB rotation for this game) to take it.
Cincinnati 38, West Virginia 28
Iowa @ Ohio State
Seven days ago, Iowa was undefeated. Now, they are a 17 point underdog (yes, you heard me, 17 point underdog) to an unimpressive Ohio State team. I really have no idea why this spread is so high. Sure, Ricky Stanzi is injured, but Ohio State hasn’t had a good offense all year and Iowa allows under 16 points a game, so the spread just doesn’t add up. As for what will happen in this game, it’s tough to say. Iowa was squeaking out wins all season until they lost to lowly Northwestern last week, while Ohio State, as said earlier, hasn’t exactly set the world on fire. I’m definitely not expecting this game to be high scoring, and I’m going to take Iowa in a close one, as I expect their defense to get the job done.
Iowa 13, Ohio State 10
Stanford @ USC
Two years ago, it was one of the biggest upsets in college football history when Stanford went into the Coliseum and knocked off mighty USC. This year, Stanford is flying high, and is actually ahead of USC in the Pac-10 standings (5-2 vs. 4-2.) Stanford proved themselves nationally with a huge win over Oregon last week, and they hope to take their high powered rushing offense to USC. Some are even expecting Stanford to win this one, and I personally wouldn’t be shocked to see it happen. However, USC should be able to exploit Stanford’s main weakness; their secondary. USC’s weakness this year has been their passing game, but USC has more talent at receiver, and their receivers should be able to get it done this week. Stanford will keep this one really close, and Toby Gerhart will certainly have a great game for the Cardinal, but expect the Trojans to finish on top.
USC 30, Stanford 27
Arizona @ California
At the beginning of the season, I said Arizona would finish fourth in the Pac-10. The media said Arizona would finish eighth. While I knew the media was overlooking Arizona, and that Arizona was certainly better than mediocre ASU and UCLA, I was wondering if maybe I, as an Arizona grad, was overestimating my beloved Cats just a little bit. However, I ended up underestimating my school. Nick Foles, who didn’t even start the first three games, has proven to be one of the best underclassmen quarterbacks in the country, and Arizona has had a very easy time putting points on the board. Cal, on the other hand, is simply pretty average. Add in the fact that their best player, Jahvid Best, is out for this game, and Arizona should take this one. It’s simply going to be tough for the Golden Bears to score enough points in this one to win it.
Arizona 31, California 16
Notre Dame @ Pittsburgh
How many more games are left for Charlie Weis to coach before he gets fired at the end of the year? This one actually has some potential for an upset. Pitt has looked very good this year on both sides of the ball (they rank in the top 20 in both offensive and defensive scoring.) However, this could be a dangerous game for them. Notre Dame can put points on the board and keep it close, and deep down, Notre Dame is more talented. Also, as for why I think this can be an upset, Pitt is coached by Dave Wannstedt. I don’t think I need to expand on why that’s my justification. But then again, Notre Dame is coached by Charlie Weis, effectively making this the toilet bowl of coaching. But I still think Notre Dame wins this game, it’s just a gut feeling. Weis still gets canned either way.
Notre Dame 31, Pittsburgh 24
Five other games to watch: Tennessee @ Ole Miss, Auburn @ Georgia, Utah @ TCU, Idaho @ Boise State, Nebraska @ Kansas